Influencers come in all shapes and sizes. Some are high-profile reporters; some work at nonprofits; some are lobbyists or government officials or celebrities. But if you’re trying to reach millennials, your biggest influencers are likely lurking on YouTube.
They might be making inspirational videos on Soul Pancake. They might be commenting on popular culture on The Fine Brothers channel. They might have blue hair, or bright red lipstick. And they’re all commanding millions of views per video.
For those of us who are used to banner ads and blogger programs, the land of YouTube is uncharted territory – it’s the Wild West of influencers. But if you think the platform is for amateurs, think again. Today’s savvy, young influencers know their value, and they’re setting up shop with managers, talent agents and creative studios to help them sign deals with the biggest brands around. Working with them is a business proposition, so if you want your product featured, be prepared to pay for an influencer’s time, audience and unique viewpoint.
Let’s take a step back. As public relations professionals, we certainly have many tools at our fingertips – one of which is earned media, which is completely free. So what is the argument for investing in a paid relationship with an influencer?
Here are a few key reasons:
YouTube influencers speak directly to your audience, in a language they understand. They don’t coat their videos in key messages or cliché business phrases. They say exactly what they think is funny, and it resonates.
YouTube influencers have a concrete ROI. Consider this: If a single video costs $20,000 and generates 700,000 views, you’ll be paying less than three cents per view. That’s a high ROI. Additionally, by using a service like bit.ly, you can track links to your brand’s homepage or microsite, and draw educated conclusions about purchase behavior as a result.
YouTube influencers have loyal fans. Most established YouTubers have content calendars, and they stick to them. For example, many of them upload new videos twice per week, on pre-planned days. This way, avid viewers know exactly when to tune in – and they do so consistently. This means that every top-tier influencer has a solid idea of what his or her average views are, with very little fluctuation.
YouTube influencers drive action. When millennials watch YouTube videos, it feels like they are taking advice from friends. This endorsement can be far more powerful than even the most well written review in PC Mag or Vogue.
Intrigued? Here are some top tips for getting into the YouTube game:
Have you had experience launching a YouTube influencer campaign? We’d love to hear from you.