How To Use YouTube For Influencer Marketing: A Comprehensive Guide

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Have you ever heard of PewDiePie? If you are a marketer, and you don’t know him, you have obviously been living under a rock. He is a top YouTube influencer. His YouTube channel has more than 61 million subscribers. There are hundreds of YouTube influencers changing and challenging the rules of digital marketing, ushering in a new era dominated by them.

Influencer marketing has energized the online marketing space and changed its dynamics. Marketing trends are changing. Brands are doing their best to meet the challenges that have cropped up due to this constant shuffle. Traditional marketing tactics are considered too mainstream and are not very effective.

YouTube influencer marketing has been slowly but steadily gaining recognition as the perfect tool for targeting customers. And when compared to all the other platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest, YouTube is an excellent platform for influencer marketing.

Brands know it. YouTube knows it. Google knows it too. In fact, Google has reported that about 70% of teenaged YouTube subscribers can relate to YouTube creators more than they relate to traditional celebrities.

Today’s consumers love influencers more than they love traditional celebrities because they have a more a personal connection. So they trust influencers and make decisions based on their reviews and feedback about products and services.

And these influencers have also grown in popularity. You can see the faces of your favorite YouTuber on Billboards and TV, and in newspapers and magazines. They are everywhere; transcending the boundaries of the digital world into the real world.

Why Should You Use YouTube For Influencer Marketing?

As a video-viewing platform YouTube is very popular, with 1.5 billion logged-in users using the platform every month. And this massive user base has made YouTube video creators just as popular as traditional celebrities. Video creators have a highly engaged audience, and they have strong ties with their fans.

Twitter is good for building conversations around your brand. Instagram is best for campaigns involving a physical product, and for building a following on social media. Snapchat is better for creating awareness. But if you really want to get into sharing the nitty gritties of your brand with your potential customers, YouTube is your best bet.

YouTube has proven to be the best platform for influencer marketing because it works on every part of the conversion funnel. It helps build an audience. It’s a highly-engaging visual medium, and its detailed format works like a charm to educate your customers about your products. So it also helps with customer acquisition. Additionally, the platform can offer a huge return on investment as making videos is now much for affordable.

With the rise of ad blockers and the new endorsement guidelines from the FTC in place, brands are struggling to find new and innovative ways to connect with their target audiences. According to a study conducted by Wyzowl, 81% of businesses now believe in using video as a marketing tool. You can take this a step further by leveraging YouTube influencers for your video marketing campaigns.

How to Identify the Right YouTube Influencers

In order to use YouTube effectively, you need to have the right marketing strategy in place. You must be clear about what your objectives are. Once you know your goals, you can work towards achieving them by identifying and partnering with influencers who are the best fit for your brand. This means influencers who have the kind of online presence and personality that fits the personality of your brand.

You have to understand the personas of your influencers. Do they have influence over the demographic your target audience consists of? Do they create content and communicate in a similar tone as your brand’s marketing?

How strong is the engagement rate of the influencer? Do they respond to their followers and reply to their messages? How do their followers respond? Gather as much data as you can on each influencer to determine if they will be a good “brand fit.” This includes details about their followers as well, such as locations, genders, ages, and interests.

Can you see their followers as your potential customers? Do you think they will like the product or service or experience you are offering? If so, you can move forward confidently and work on building a relationship with the influencers.

The gaming company, Super Evil Megacorp promoted their multiplayer action mobile game Vainglory 5V5 by collaborating with Felix Kjellberg, aka PewDiePie.

How to Identify the Right YouTube Influencer marketing

Source YouTube

Kjellberg played the game and created a memorable video for his enormous game-centric audience. The video has more than 2.1 million views.

This is an excellent example of how influencer marketing with the right influencer can yield impressive results. Being a gamer, PewDiePie already has influence over an audience that is likely to be interested in gaming and video games. So the brand was able to reach a highly relevant audience.

How to Use YouTube Influencer Marketing

YouTube has emerged as a popular video streaming service and social platform, which is very effective for influencer marketing. Its strength is its diverse creator base. It has its challenges, but brands are slowly learning to adapt to and leverage this dynamic tool. However, there are certain basic tenets of the YouTube influencer marketing game, which can significantly increase the effectiveness of your campaigns. They are:

#1. Trust Your Influencers

According to an influencer marketing, 89% of marketers believe that the main benefit of influencer marketing is that it helps create authentic content for their brand. Authenticity is the soul of influencer marketing. And influencers are skilled at infusing it into their sponsored content.

When brands decide to partner with influencers, they have to ensure that they keep the authentic voice of the influencer intact. As a brand, you need to trust your choice and believe that the influencers you choose will create quality content that will benefit your brand once you have conveyed your expectations to them.

Many times brands try to execute an influencer campaign with the ingrained assumption that they know best. This can be a huge mistake. Trust the influencers you work with, and give them room to showcase their talents and creativity. Influencers know their audience, and they know the kind of content that resonates best with their audience.

Audiences appreciate the authentic voice of the influencer. So do not try to overpower the narrative or change their style by dictating what the influencer has to say. In fact, Crowdtap found that 77% of influencers would be likely to form long-term partnerships with brands that grant them creative freedom.

#2. Plan Your Budget and Pay Influencers Well

YouTube videos deliver real, measurable results. So if influencer marketing on YouTube was one of the last things on your mind while allocating your marketing budget for the year, it’s time you get back to the drawing board. Even if you are trying influencer marketing for the first time, you need to allocate a decent budget for it.

When you begin negotiations with influencers, and convey your expectations to them, don’t try to cut corners. Hire influencers only after vetting them carefully. Pay influencers what they deserve for the best results. This is also essential for forming long-term partnerships with influencers. According to the previously-cited Crowdtap survey, 68% of influencers favor brands that offer them competitive compensation.

Plan Your Budget and Pay Influencers Well - YouTube Influencer marketing

#3. Create User-Centric Content

Marketers in the previously-cited Wyzowl study admitted to relying on videos to help them communicate effectively. 47% of marketers said that user-centric content helped them reduce support queries. Their videos answer a lot of questions the customers generally have regarding the product or services. 76% of the marketers in the same study said such content helps them increase traffic and consequently sales.

YouTube videos provide you with the freedom to describe things in detail. But that doesn’t mean you should go on and on about how good your product is. Instead, you should focus on creating content that focused on the customers, and how your product can serve them.

You can use the medium to educate your customers and ensure that they find the information you provide useful. The content should answer all of the usual questions that a user may have about the product or service you’re offering.

This is also true when you partner with influencers on YouTube. Influencers should make their sponsored YouTube content user-centric to help their followers understand your product or service better.

Most seasoned influencers know this, and create user-centric content that helps the brands they promote.

#4. Be Experimental

Don’t be afraid to experiment. Sometimes taking chances works wonders. In the case of influencer marketing, it isn’t surprising to see beauty or fitness influencers taking part in unboxing campaigns of mobile phones. There have also been instances in which car makers have partnered with beauty influencers with a focus on the hot new colors of the cars they sell.

Dare to step out of your niche and collaborate with influencers who aren’t really from your space if they can help you reach your target audience. You never know what will catch the fancy of consumers. If an influencer who is not from your niche is willing and ready to partner with your brand, go ahead and experiment.

For example, Subaru, one of the fastest-growing car companies in the U.S. collaborated with influencers from different niches for their #MeetAnOwner campaign. They showcased the lives of different people who were owners of Subaru cars.

Subaru collaborated with Devin Graham, popularly known as DevinSuperTramp, an adventurous YouTuber known for extreme stunt videos. In one of the videos, he slides off a 500 foot cliff. The idea was to show ties between Subaru and outdoor adventures.

Be Experimental - YouTube Influencer marketing

Source YouTube

Devin created three videos which generated 1.2M views and 45K likes with an engagement rate of 4.5%. That’s pretty impressive!

Subaru also partnered with Zach King, a magician for their promotion. Subaru thus experimented with different influencers and succeeded in creating a memorable campaign.

#5. Choose Relevance Over Reach

If you have been chasing a YouTube influencer who has millions of followers, you might want to reconsider. Numbers alone shouldn’t impress you. You have to determine whether or not the influencer has real followers. This is important because followers can be bought to dupe brands. There is a whole industry out there that supplies fake followers for a few bucks.

As a brand, you need to be cautious of the following size of your influencers. The best way to check for fake followers is to look at the engagement rate. An influencer with massive following but significantly low engagement rate might not be ideal for you.

If you like an influencer, but they don’t have as many followers as you’d like, should you take a chance on them and collaborate? Yes. Because influencer marketing is based on authenticity. If the influencer has a small but dedicated following, they can likely help you effectively engage your target audience.

Your brand will get genuine exposure by collaborating with smaller, but more relevant and engaging influencers. Don’t let a big number of followers alone sway you. Find influencers who will be able to form an authentic relationship with your brand and your target customers.

#6. Engage with Commenters and Share on Social Media Platforms

If you think your job ends when an influencer posts a video on YouTube, you are wrong. This is only the start of a long journey. It is an opportunity to build conversations around your brand and your products or services. As a brand, it is a chance for you to listen to the feedback that is offered in the comments section.

Once the video is uploaded, try to start a conversation with the influencer’s followers by posting a comment like, “We would be glad to answer any questions here in the comments.” There will be several kinds of responses. You need to be savvy and engage with the comments from viewers.

Answer their queries with sincerity. Avoid negativity. Use sarcasm only if it fits your brand’s personality. You can use the questions (and your answers) on YouTube and on other social media channels like your blog or Facebook. It will be a user-generated question and answer session, which can prove to be a very useful resource for your marketing teams.

#7. Use and Track Custom Links

When you work on a YouTube campaign with different influencers, create and provide a custom tracking link to each influencer. This tracking link can link back to your main product page or website. The influencers can then add these links in the descriptions of their YouTube videos.

Here’s an example of that being done by YouTuber, Jack Douglass for VRV.

Jack Douglass - YouTube Influencer marketing

This way it will be easier for you to determine which influencers are doing well and sending customers your way. You will then be able to maximize results and ROI by continuing to invest in the most effective influencers. Based on the data, you can then decide to invest in top-performing influencers again, and discontinue partnerships with poor performers.

#8. Use Coupon Codes

Tracking video conversions on YouTube can be challenging. You may be able to tell how many viewers saw the video, but it’s difficult to determine how many viewers actually converted. Viewers may, for example, watch your video and then open another tab in their browser to visit your your website. From there, they may or may not make a purchase.

Providing a coupon code with your videos is an excellent way to track conversions. Coupon codes work on several levels. They attract consumers, and give them an added incentive to convert. It is especially helpful if your brand is new to the market because it can help convince consumers who have never heard of you before to give your products or services a try.

Influencers love giving coupon codes to their followers. Coupon codes help them keep their current followers engaged, and help them attract new followers. And their followers love coupon codes as well because they give them a chance to experience the products or services at a discount.

#9. Work on SEO for Your Videos

According to Cisco, by 2020, videos will account for more than 80% of all internet consumer traffic. When it comes to influencer marketing, you normally don’t need to worry too much about getting lost amongst the sea of other videos because influencers already have dedicated followers.

But every bit helps. If you take care of SEO for your sponsored videos, it will help you get discovered by new consumers and viewers from your niche.

Even when it’s a video created by the influencer, you can help it rank higher in search engine results. It is very important that you work on the metadata of the video. Conduct research to find the right keywords. For example, people may search for your product using its name and the word “review.” So that combination should be used in the title of the video. You can additionally ask the influencer to use specific tags to categorize the video accurately and help it get discovered by your target customers.

#10. Create Powerful Titles for Your Videos

Titles matter a lot. Titles impact viewership in a big way. A viewer tries to get cues for the kind of content in the video by reading the title.

You must collaborate with influencers to create good titles for the videos you intend to use for influencer marketing purposes. The title should fit your product and it should be similar to the ones the influencers have been using in the past. You don’t want to alarm their followers by using a title that is very different from the influencer’s other posts.

ExxonMobil understands this, and used the title, “What’s Inside an Engine?” for an influencer video. There’s no brand name in the title, but it matched the influencer’s usual video titles, which typically start with, “What’s Inside.”

Create Powerful Titles for Your Videos - YouTube Influencer marketing

Source YouTube

The YouTube influencer channel, “What’s Inside?” features father and son duo, Daniel and Lincoln Markham. Oil and gas giant, ExxonMobil partnered with them to promote their new product

The channel’s format involves cutting things in half to find out what’s really inside. Keeping the format intact, Daniel and Lincoln cut a car engine in half and discussed Exxon’s Annual Protection Motor oil which is found inside. They provided useful information to their viewers.

Most Common Pitfalls to Avoid

YouTube can prove to be a very important tool for your influencer marketing strategy. However, there are some common mistakes that you should avoid to maximize the results and ROI of your campaign.

Avoid the following common pitfalls in your YouTube influencer marketing campaigns:

#1. Giving Influencers Strict Creative Guidelines

YouTube influencers know their followers. They know the kind of videos their followers appreciate. When you collaborate with an influencer, make sure you don’t shackle their creativity with overly strict guidelines.

Give them the freedom to create and experiment. They may surprise you with their ingenuity. If you interfere too much creatively, influencers will not be able to use their authentic voices and styles. Don’t expect them to straight up sell your products or services. Partner with them to raise awareness about and build trust in your brand.

#2. Focusing Too Much on Functions and Features

It may be very tempting to use a medium like YouTube to try to communicate everything about their products or services. If you were to create a YouTube video in-house, you may try to describe all of the functions and features of your product or service.

But when you collaborate with influencers, that is not the best approach. Influencers should focus on the usefulness of the product or service and how it will improve the lives of their followers.

Wrapping Up

YouTube influencer marketing is a powerful solution and effective platform for online marketers. You now know how to use YouTube for influencer marketing, as well as the most common mistakes you should avoid.

If you have any questions or tips about using YouTube for influencer marketing, let us know in the comments.