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Attracting 30 million visitors each day, YouTube is the preferred social media platform for posting and watching videos and is estimated to be worth as much as $160 billion. Viewers watch close to five billion videos on YouTube every day, and the platform generates $4 billion in revenue yearly. Some of the most popular YouTube channels include T-Series, with 100 million subscribers, which features Indian music videos and 5-Minute Crafts, which features how-to videos, with 56 million subscribers.

If you’re considering running a YouTube influencer campaign, the numbers are on your side. A YouTube influencer campaign is when brands and marketers work with the people who create videos for YouTube, known as influencers. They do so because these influencers have loyal subscribers to their channels, and the video content they create interests the brands’ target markets.

What Goes Into a YouTube Influencer Campaign?

A YouTube influencer campaign has a lot of moving parts, so it’s important to research and plan ahead rather than mapping out the campaign on the fly. Here are the top things you need to know before starting a YouTube influencer campaign:

Research and Define Your Target Market

One of the most critical steps in developing a YouTube influencer campaign is to research and define the target market for your brand’s product. It’s one of the first things brands should do and helps with other campaign decisions, like choosing the right influencers to partner with.

Determine Product Positioning

Researching your product’s position in the marketplace helps to focus the campaign message. What advantages does your product have over the competition? What makes it stand out? What type of consumer is likely to buy it and why?

Establish the Campaign Message and Mission

Establish the campaign message based on your product’s competitive advantages and make sure everyone on the team knows what it is. When the team knows what the campaign mission is, it’s easier to keep everyone aiming for the same thing.

Find the Best Influencers for Your Target Market and Campaign

Because there are actually enough influencers on YouTube to populate a large city, finding those that are the right fit for your campaign can seem daunting. Luckily there are tools to make it easier. You can use targeted Google searches to find influencers, and if you’re not already familiar with YouTube, spend some quality time thoroughly exploring it. Learn about YouTube features like creator tiers and tools like Search and Discovery where you can get details on audiences, analytics and algorithms.

Properly vet the influencers first by reviewing their subscriber data. Find out how many views and what kind of engagement their videos get. Confirm that an influencer’s image, reputation and message align with that of your brand.

Influencer fraud is a very real and expensive concern for brands. It’s estimated that the problem will cost brands $1.3 billion in 2019. That’s why it’s critical to beware of influencers who have fake subscribers that they’ve bought or that are actually bots. Look for red flags like influencers who have high subscriber counts, but low video view numbers.

Keep your eyes open for the influencers that are the most relevant for your campaign and that create high-quality videos. Don’t assume you have to partner with a big name with millions of subscribers. Brands often find it best to work with influencers who are authentic, everyday people, not celebrities. Subscribers can relate more easily to them and tend to trust them more readily than they do superstars. It can be more beneficial to work with a group of influencers who have smaller subscriber numbers but high engagement rates.

Set Goals for the Campaign

Just as you need to establish the campaign message and mission, it’s important to set goals for the campaign. It gives everyone on the team a clear idea of what to strive for and alerts the team when the campaign might need adjustments.  

Create a Campaign Brief for the Influencer

It’s crucial to outline the deliverables the brand expects from the influencer in a brief before the campaign launches. Be clear about how many videos they’re to create and what the length of the videos should be. Establish a schedule they should stick to for posting the videos. But when it comes to the actual video content, remember that influencers need creative freedom to do what they do best. Don’t micromanage their creativity, or their subscribers could find that the videos seem inauthentic. It’s a sure way to turn their subscribers off to your brand.

Track the Results of the Campaign and ROI

Measure the results of your YouTube influencer campaign while it’s underway and when it’s concluded. Use tools like custom links and coupon/promo codes so you can see your results and ROI.

The Benefits of Creating a YouTube Influencer Campaign

When you consider that creating a YouTube influence campaign is like having a friend endorse your product to an audience of consumers who trust them, the benefits become apparent. They include:

Raises Brand Awareness

A YouTube influencer campaign can introduce your brand to new markets in a positive, compelling way. Loyal audiences are likely to trust the recommendations of the influencers they follow, even if they’ve never heard of the brand before.

Grows Engagement and Leads

When a YouTube influencer’s subscribers post comments or ask questions about products featured in sponsored videos, it means greater engagement with the market. Brands can also get leads when they respond to subscriber comments and questions, offering more information about the products featured.

Drives Sales

When loyal subscribers watch a video of a YouTube influencer trying out and recommending a product, they trust the influencer’s endorsement. Conversions including online or in-store sales can happen quickly as a result.

How Do You Successfully Run a YouTube Influencer Campaign?

When you understand your target market, it’s easier to shape and run your campaign. 

Think about the content needs of your influencer’s audience, which should reflect the needs of your target market. Are they first-time homebuyers who need how-to videos for household repairs? Are they millennials looking for makeup and haircare tips, or are they another demographic entirely? 

With more than 23 million channels on YouTube, there are influencers that create videos on just about every subject consumers want to know more about. But the videos don’t have to be educational—plenty of YouTube influencers create videos for sheer entertainment value too. Some of the most successful YouTube influencer campaigns both educate and entertain consumers. 

If you’re launching a new product, think about using a YouTube influencer unboxing campaign, where influencers unpack a product for the first time. These campaigns work best when influencers put their engaging personalities on display as they unwrap the box.

Approach the campaign and the influencers with a long-term mindset. Establish long-term relationships with the influencers that are mutually beneficial partnerships. Engage with followers that comment on the videos. Address any concerns they might have and ask if they’d like more information about your product. Remember that you’re developing a relationship not only with the influencer, but also, and very importantly, with their subscribers.