Your familiarity with Instagram influencer marketing likely surpasses that of other social media channels comfortably. Instagram, after all, commands a significant space in a swelling influencer marketing industry.
In 2019, 65% of marketers plan to up their spend on influencer marketing and 89% say Instagram is the most strategically important social media channel for influencer marketing. YouTube, however, follows comes in close second with 70% listing it as a strategically important channel this year.
YouTube’s propensity for churning out successful influencers coupled with its pervasion among key demographics has positioned it at the forefront of influencer marketing. Consequently, finding the right YouTube influencers is increasingly more important for companies on the quest to reach its massive audience.
YouTube creators are ever-present in their fans’ lives, following strict upload schedules to meet their audiences’ demands. Their content is as diverse as any other social media platform, from fashionistas to techies to gamers, leaving few gaps in YouTube’s crowded influencer space.
As trusted trendsetters, YouTube creators are idolized by children and are more relatable to their fans than celebrities. Variety found that 63% of Millennials would try a product or brand recommended by a YouTube creator compared to 49% for traditional celebrities.
61% of marketers struggle to find the best influencers for a campaign, indicating the widespread difficulty in locating the right influencers. Therefore, brands must consider several factors before collaborating with YouTube creators.
Below are 15 tips on how to find YouTube influencers for successful marketing campaigns:
Firstly, assess your audience. Influencer marketing is effective only when it’s predicated on understanding and building trust among your target audience. This grants your brand better exposure to a more engaged audience, strengthens brand messaging through authentic endorsements, and influences consumer buying decisions.
Secondly, look out for who’s mentioning you online and what they’re saying. Find out if influencers are talking about your brand across social channels and if so, find positive sentiments you can highlight in your campaign. Influencers who take an interest or, better yet, already recommend or endorse your brand, will be more receptive to potential brand partnerships.
So long as brands take into account their audience’s interests when partnering with influencers, it often produces better quality customers than traditional marketing channels. What kind of content does your audience like, and what is likely to resonate with them?
As the burgeoning influencer space welcomes more types of creators, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the different influencer tiers. Collaborating with a top-tier YouTube creator may require a significant amount of money for exposure among a wide audience, while a large set of nano-creators and micro-creators provide comparable reach and engagement with more niche audiences.
As a general rule of thumb, nano- and micro-influencers cost less and generate less brand awareness than mid-tier, macro-, and elite creators. Whereas subscriber count used to be more important in determining reach, it’s less relevant than average video views. YouTube creator tiers produce varying levels of average video views, so understanding their respective engagement levels will give you a better grasp of who’s the best fit for reaching your campaign goals.
This will seem like a blatantly obvious thing to do, but narrowing your search is crucial to finding YouTube influencers. Googling ‘YouTube influencers’ will return a slew of results detailing the top-ranked and most expensive personalities in the world, while Googling ‘YouTube cooking influencers’ will zero in on more specific creators that are within budget.
Tailoring your search to your industry or brand will present you with results from reputable sources while providing you insight into more realistic and more useful potential patrons for your brand’s influencer campaign.
YouTube’s search engine is governed by a complex algorithm based on a variety of factors. When searching for a channel or creator on YouTube itself, be as specific as possible by using keywords related to your brand, audience, and industry in order to return the most appropriate results.
For a YouTube creator, having a video trending on YouTube is coveted. YouTube’s algorithm dictates that only the hottest videos get on the trending page—they are there because the creator has found a thriving audience that has responded positively to the content. By searching the ‘Trending’ tab for creators relevant to your brand, you will almost certainly find creators capable of reaching your audience through content that YouTube’s algorithm favors.
Use hashtags in YouTube’s search function that are relevant to your brand or trending in your space to find emerging creators who have something to say about your industry. This is an excellent way to find YouTubers who are making a smaller but significant positive impact on their core audience but who may not have the star power to stay afloat at the top of YouTube’s search.
Search ‘#ad’, ‘#sponsored’, or other related queries to find existing sponsored content from creators, or comb through known YouTube creators’ videos to find sponsored content. YouTubers who already participate in brand endorsements will be more willing and more familiar to engage in brand campaigns. Better yet, search for YouTube influencer marketing case studies to find potential influencer partners from successful campaigns.
YouTube influencers often operate in creator communities, frequently collaborating, recommending, and talking about other YouTubers in their field. By researching other YouTubers in a given network, you can find talented creators relevant to your brand. It’s also helpful to check out other channels that an influencer may have in addition to their primary channel, and who they follow and mention across them.
If you have existing relationships with YouTube creators, reach out to them to see if they would refer other YouTubers as partners. As mentioned before, influencers often have large networks of influencers with similar content and interests, so consulting them is a good way of refining your search. This works particularly well if your brand engaged in a long-term influencer relationship.
There are several free tools on the web designed to maximize your search—use them. Platforms like FameBit, specifically made for influencer marketing to bring brands and creators together, are superb tools for marketers.
Meanwhile, services like Channel Crawler are great for finding smaller influencers in YouTube’s deep sea of creators, while SocialBlade is an indispensable service for determining the health and growth of a particular channel and whether it’s worth investing in.
For creators, whether to join a multi-channel network (MCN) constitutes a major decision. There are many MCNs representing thousands of YouTubers across the world, which provides brands unique opportunities for tapping into networks of receptive and innovative creators, as many MCNs have relationships with brands seeking partnerships with YouTubers.
The YouTube Creator Blog is mostly a destination for creators to learn about new things regarding the platform. However, the blog is often adept at highlighting successful creators on the platform in various niche markets.
— YouTube (@YouTube) February 22, 2019
Similarly, the popular YouTube Creators Twitter page is devoted to showing off the latest and greatest influencers YouTube has to offer. Updated regularly, it’s a good resource for discovering who’s big or up-and-coming in the community, and often presents some of the most active, creative, and engaging influencers on YouTube.
When qualifying creators for your campaign, assess whether their content is in line with your professional standards and creative expectations. Is the content they produce suitably authentic? If they have had previous sponsorships, are they following FTC guidelines? Is their online personality and ethic brand safe?
These are all factors you should consider when identifying YouTube creators—it’s in the best interest of your brand, your audience, and the influencers to have consistent standards and values for influencer brand partnerships.
Once you find creators you’d like to work with, contact them. Contact information is often included within a creator’s ‘About’ page on his or her YouTube channel with the option for people to email for business inquiries. Initiating a conversation means establishing whether the influencer would take you up on the opportunity, and personal correspondence will help you decide if you want to go forward with an influencer partnership.
Working with a trusted influencer marketing agency can mean easy access to existing, vetted YouTube creator partnerships. Both the agency and their creator partners know what campaigns work, what to expect from clients, and how brands are successful on the platform.
Put simply, an agency has the experience to do the heavy lifting that brands may find difficult to do in-house. Deciding to use an agency, however, is entirely up to the brand based on their goals and resources.