Have you ever considered paying a YouTube star to review your product or service, but balked at the sheer cost of such an endeavor? You’re not alone. Many times, small- to medium-sized brands feel they can’t afford to pay an influencer the way companies with larger budgets can. So how can you take advantage of the great opportunities for brand exposure and reach offered by influencer marketing, even if you have a minimal or non-existent budget?
Jeremy Vest and Dane Golden sit down in the 104th episode of Tube Talk to discuss three ways brands can work with influencers while on a tight budget. The two video marketing experts chat about the popularity of how-to, unboxing, and product review videos before diving into the reasons brands should consider influencer marketing and how to do so when your brand doesn’t have a lot of cash to throw around.
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It’s time for Vidpow Tube Talk, everyone’s favorite podcast for video marketing tips, brought to you by Vidpow, your video marketing team. Get your free YouTube channel audit by going to vidpow.com/vidchop.
Jeremy Vest: Hello, my name’s Jeremy Vest from Vidpow, and today we have the one and only Dane Golden.
Dane Golden: Hey, Jeremy.
JV: Today we’re gonna be talking about three ways you can work with YouTube influencers on nearly a zero budget.
DG: That’s right. Yep. Exactly. So I wrote this piece a few weeks ago for the Act-On Marketing blog about doing this type of thing and I want to say that when most people think of YouTube influencers, who do you think of right off the bat, Jeremy?
JV: Probably a big YouTuber-
DG: Like Devinsupertamp, you love him.
JV: Exactly. Yep, I’m a big fan.
DG: Or PewdiePie, or Michelle Phan, if you’re into cosmetics. PewDiePie is gaming. As with any social media on YouTube, anyone can have a voice. And, I think that, unless you’ve got a big budget campaign, businesses can be well-served by working with small YouTubers, sometimes individually, or by groups.
And as I said in the article, I gave examples whether you’re selling floor wax or guitar amps or power tools or software or Louis Vuitton bags, I could gave examples of just average YouTubers that love talking about products. These examples are not always people who were paid to talk about products, but they are interested in reviewing or showing how to do things.
And I know, Jeremy, you work with brands about how-to videos, right?
DG: And you’ve found in your experience at more than one company that these have huge return, right?
JV: Yeah, some of the biggest organic returns you can do.
DG: And what we’re talking about today is a lot of how-tos and unboxings and just demonstrations that come more from organic, influencer side rather than from the brand side.
And paying YouTubers is a great thing, too. I’m not, I have no problem with that, and it can work very well. But these budgets can sometimes go up to $100,000 and more, and I just wanted to offer people some tips about how they might do this with super small budgets.
JV: So Dane, why influencers on YouTube? Like what is the long tail concept behind this?
DG: Yeah, that’s right. So on Facebook and other social media platforms where they have video, I mean video is everywhere now, the immediacy is great. The day one campaign on Facebook is great.
But there’s no long tail. There’s no discoverability for later. YouTube, you might think of it in some ways like a blog because you get a direct connection, in video even more so than a blog, it’s very authentic. But you have that long tail of discoverability. And it’s searchable and findable as people look for these types of products and services or how to do things.
And, with YouTube, people can smell when someone is being fake. So even if YouTubers are being paid, they really should only support products they authentically believe in and use. But, for consumers, they go to YouTube when they’re researching how to use products or which products they should buy.
Also, and this is based on several studies I did when I was with the company Octoly, on average 90% of all YouTube views about brands or products or services are coming from videos created by fans or reviewers. They’re not coming from the brands itself, and that generally holds true across multiple industries, although with some it’s less than others.
So if you think about that, the brands only have a 10% share of voice of the overall YouTube community and sometimes we don’t actually want to hear directly from the brands. Sometimes we do, but we also want to hear an impartial outsider’s view. So companies, brands, should reach out to these important sources of consumer opinion and product analysis.
JV: You know what’s really interesting, we’re quoting a brand right now to work with and they were saying we have about three or four million views on YouTube, and I’m like, that’s really awesome. That’s-
JV: You’re a big brand, that’s a lot of views. The funny thing is they are already so intelligent that they don’t even have a YouTube channel.
They were counting all of, they’ve never even made a single video on YouTube, they were counting all of their customers doing testimonial videos on their behalf without even asking them to do it. So I thought that was really interesting that they were mature enough to understand the positive impact on their business when they didn’t even own a channel.
DG: Some of the most successful brands on YouTube have little or no presence themselves. The most popular brand on YouTube is Minecraft, has almost no videos itself.
DG: But there’s lots of cosmetic brands that have really reached out to the community to make videos about them, either through affiliate programs or just by sending them products. And the same goes into tech and also video games and other segments.
JV: It’s very interesting. So let’s get into some tips here. So maybe if I hear you right, what you’re saying is don’t worry about just the big, the big popular kids here, the A-team players here on YouTube. Maybe people within your industry, maybe people with 20,000 subscribers is enough to carry your message. What do you think of that?
DG: Right, right, right. Forget the popular kids, find the nerds is what I’m saying today. You can reach out to relevant YouTubers who really know and are interested.
If you’re a sneaker company, reach out to people who love sneakers, not just someone who has a big YouTube following. if you have a clothing line, find somebody who knows about why this piece of fabric works better as far as wicking for exercising, or whatever the case may be.
Sporting goods. This can apply to all different categories. So you should select them because they know about products like yours and they’re already talking about them on your channels. Again, I’m suggesting in this particular case, when we’re having low cost or free promotion, get people who love products like this.
If you put your product on a channel where it’s irrelevant, the product can be at best ignored, and sometimes antagonized by that channel’s loyal viewers in the comment section or on Twitter or wherever. And we’re seeing this type of backlash now as some channels are trying to do monetization but it doesn’t, isn’t relevant to their channel viewers.
And the YouTuber herself can be criticized as a sellout and lose some of her audience. So let’s make this experience a win-win-win for you, the Youtuber, and the customer. Not a lose-lose-lose.
JV: Yeah. That’s very good information. All right. Let’s talk about tip two.
You know, it’s interesting we do a lot of how-to content at Vidpow, and a few years ago I was working with one of the biggest brands in the world, and at the time, their competitor came out with a extremely viral video and everyone was like, “Uh-oh, they’re gonna eat our lunch. You know, here we go, they just had a viral success and we have no viral videos.”
Well, what happened is we made 400 how-to videos. They had about 5 or 6 videos in total. We destroyed them. You know, their 20, 30 million-view viral video was not even close to the amount of views and subscribers that we were able to get for this “boring” how-to content.
So I think it’s pretty funny that from the surface, a lot of people resonate with these funny videos and these great amazing viral videos, but sometimes just having a lot of content that people are actually searching for versus being funny or humorous, you can actually win. You know, winning the lottery is not a business plan.
DG: That’s exactly right, Jeremy. So, amazing is boring. But, how-to is hot. So, when people are making a buying decision, they often go to YouTube to get more information, and we’ve all done this. Usually you want to know what a product feature looks like, or how to do a task, or something that may involve a product feature.
I do this a couple times a day when I’m trying to fix something or buy something. So the two most popular kinds of videos are the unboxing video where people walk through features as they unwrap it. Those are very popular. And how-to videos, which is essentially the same thing. One is really how does a product look and the other is how does a product work?
So potential customers, as it turns out, are very happy to watch long videos that show them something useful about how to use your product. So instead of paying a YouTuber to read some sort of script that’s how amazing your product, instead, send a YouTuber the product, and say, “Hey, would you like to talk about this product, show how to use it, or just walk through the features on it? I’m happy to send it, I’m happy to send you all of my products because this is free advertising.”
However, there are some caveats. Because on YouTube no one believes the hype unless they see it for themselves. And if you’re not paying them and you just send them the product, they can say whatever they want.
Surprisingly, having a YouTuber say whatever they want actually works great, because generally, people don’t want to say negative things, and if they do, if they say 80% positive things and then 20% negative things, it actually makes the positive parts stand out more because we really are looking for that honest, true representation and everyone knows that nothing is perfect.
There’s not one thing, one product you can buy that somebody doesn’t have some complaints about. So that makes it authentic. You have to be open to honest opinions and find the relevant YouTubers.
DG: All right. For tip three, reuse, promote, and license.
JV: Okay, yeah. So now you’ve got, let’s say you’ve sent the product out and again this product maybe cost you half of what the retail value of it is, you send it out to a few people, say would you look at this.
They say whatever they want, and then maybe nothing happens because maybe these, in our strategy, these are small YouTubers. Maybe this channel only got 100 views, 1,000 views, 10,000 views but, it’s a great review and you’d like it amplified, so what do you do?
Well, there’s a few things you can do, and it costs very little money. So one thing you can do is if you have a positive analysis of your product, and this is whether you’ve actually contacted the person or not, you can embed it on your website. You can post it to your Facebook page. Twitter. You can also create a playlist on your own YouTube channel.
Again, this takes only a second, ten seconds, a minute, ten minutes, to create a playlist of videos people have made about you. You make it and it says here’s what my fans say about me. Same goes if you’ve actually reached out to that YouTuber and they’ve reviewed the product, you can put them in the playlist.
And you know what, the funny thing is, let’s say you send someone your product and out of the 20 people you send it to, one person didn’t like it. I’m betting they’re not going to make it into your playlist. And they don’t. Because of the mixed authority on discoverability on YouTube’s ranking, that video will not be seen as often.
Now, the only caveat is if you want to reupload it to your own channel or repurpose it in a way that is no longer on their their YouTube channel, then you have to offer to pay them and say listen, can I license this for you for a number of different purposes?
And maybe they’ll say okay and maybe they won’t and you make them an offer. So those are my basic tips.
JV: That’s awesome. So in summary, don’t worry about the popular kids. Find the nerds. Amazing is boring but how-to is hot. Reuse, promote, and license other people’s content.
Dane Golden, what in the world do you do for a living?
DG: I ask myself that every day. I guess now I’m full digital marketing and influencer marketing, but also with a big focus on YouTube, have a huge belief in the YouTube platform. And so I offer consulting services about that, and you can visit me at hey.com and @danegoldeneverywhere, Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, wherever.
JV: And you can find us at vidpow.com or email@example.com. Until next week, keep talking tube!
Thanks for listening to this episode of Tube Talk. Don’t forget to get your free YouTube channel audit now by going to vidpow.com/vidchop.
Screenshot via Elle Fowler’s YouTube channel