A beginner guide for influencers who want to set up a YouTube channel
Instagram is often described as a highlight reel of the feel-good moments, and it is fast becoming the go-to channel for influencer marketing because it is cost-effective, content reaches a larger audience organically than on other channels and it lends itself well to visual content. While Instagram is an effective channel for influencer marketing when done right, it’s harder for influencers to connect with their audiences at a deeper, more personal level because of the “highlight reel” nature of the platform. While Instagram Stories and IGTV give content creators different opportunities and formats to connect and engage, YouTube offers a unique opportunity for creators to share more with their audience, and for brands to reap the benefits of content that is even more personable and authentic.
Read on to find why YouTube you should consider YouTube as one of your social media channels and the best practices you need to know when it comes to setting up your channel.
Video content is a great way to show a glimpse of your life in a very intimate, personal way and audiences love it because they get to see the influencers they love in a more personal, relatable and approachable format. This form of content helps build trust and establishes a great relationship with the audience.
As a platform, YouTube is a goldmine for content creators and there are so many opportunities for video content to succeed. Over 1 billion hours of content is watched daily on YouTube - that’s a lot of people all around the world watching video content every day! YouTube’s goal is to give users an amazing experience and to keep them engaged and coming back for more content, so, creating high quality and engaging content is in your best interests if you want to do well on YouTube (we’ve included these best practices further down in the article!).
Why are brands keen to work with YouTubers?
The short answer is: video content is the future of digital marketing. The internet is a competitive space and brands, creators and publishers are competing for the attention of the audience, and video as a format is a great way to capture and hold attention. So, brands are looking to YouTubers to create video content as part of their influencer marketing strategy.
Not only is YouTube and video content in general an engaging formation, outsourcing the creation and editing process that video content requires is super valuable for brands, especially those who do not have an in-house creative department or agency partner. They get production and distribution all rolled into one! From a brand perspective, it’s a win-win!
In collaboration with brands, YouTube videos can take on many different forms, with unboxing and hauls some of the most popular types of video content. In unboxing videos and hauls, influencers share products they received, sometimes capturing their first impressions. For example, a fashion influencer might do a clothing haul video and sharing all of the pieces they received in a week (or month), trying them on and talking about how they would style the pieces. It’s quite natural on purpose, and is usually unscripted, with the influencer sharing their honest feedback and thoughts. Both brands and the audience appreciate this candid style of content and YouTube is the perfect platform for it.
Now you know why you should consider YouTube as one of your social media channels, here is how to do it so you can start working with brands on video content. If you have the resources, equipment and skills to start creating video content, then why not?!
Setting up your channel
Getting your YouTube channel set up and ready to go is an important part of the process, and should not be rushed and overlooked. If you set up your channel correctly, you are setting yourself up for success from the beginning.
Here are three things you should definitely do…
- Make what you ‘do’ obvious. Fill out your ‘about’ page with a description of your channel and a short bio. You could also add your social links and contact information so brands know what other channels you are on, and how to get in touch.
- ‘Brand’ your channel. Here are some things to consider:
- Your YouTube channel should be an extension of your personal brand, so it should have the same look and feel as your other socials (if you have already established other channels like a blog or Instagram).
- Upload a display picture that clearly shows your face or your brand logo.
- Create a banner image with your channel’s name on it. This should match your branding and aesthetic - everything should be consistent, and make sure you use the right dimensions - 2560 x 1440 pixels is recommended.
- Create a channel trailer. The channel trailer is the video that automatically plays when someone visits your YouTube channel. It should be short and sweet - about a minute is great! This gives people an idea of what to expect from your channel and your content, especially if you’re just starting out and only have a few videos.
Optimising your content
With 500 hours of content being uploaded onto YouTube every minute (yep, MINUTE), it’s important to optimize your content so it can reach people in your network and beyond it. Here are some ways that you can optimize your content…
- Define your channel tags - You should use at least six tags that relate to your topic.
- Video tags - Tag keywords that relate to your video. This is how YouTube categorises your content. Make sure they’re consistent across all videos.
- Create thumbnail images that make people click, but are not clickbait - The YouTube algorithm can detect “clickbait-y” titles and thumbnails, so steer clear of this. You can try and test different thumbnail styles to see which are more successful, but make sure they always align with your brand’s aesthetic.
- Share your YouTube content on your other social platforms - Drive extra traffic to your YouTube channel and video content by sharing the link across your other channels. You could create a teaser trailer on Instagram Stories and use the ‘swipe up’ function to get people watching the video, or Tweet the link to your new videos.
- Group videos into playlists - This makes it easier for people to look for particular videos on your channel around a consistent topic. E.g. you might have budget travel and lucury travel content grouped separately.
- SEO optimise your content - Check what keywords people are using in the YouTube search engine and find out where your content can fill a gap.
What kind of content should I post?
Like any social media platform, to be successful on YouTube, you need to decide on a topic or niche, produce high quality content that is relevant the topic or niche and engage your audience and keep them coming back for more.
The format of your videos may vary depending on the topic or niche of your channel, however,some of the most popular video formats include unboxing, vlogs, how to, challenges and reactions. When creating your first few videos, experiment with different formats until you find your recipe for success and then keep it consistent. Changing formats and topics confuses the YouTube algorithm and makes your content irrelevant because the algorithm doesn't know what to do with it, so, consistency is the key to success.
Although it’s important to stay within your niche and video style and format, make sure you are always thinking of new, innovative ideas to stay on-trend and keep the audience coming back for more. YouTube is a super competitive space, and you can’t get away with recycling ideas and copying other creators. You need to be unique and different.
When you’re ready to start working with brands…
Once your YouTube channel is up and running, it’s time to start collaborating with brands and monetising your work. When approached about your rates, think about how much time and effort is required for the task at hand and understand what benefit you will get from being involved. Remember producing a YouTube video will likely take more time than an instagram post, so don’t be afraid to say that. Brands receive a lot of value from your hard work, so don’t forget that.
It’s also important to know your audience inside and out. If you already have an audience on other channels, ask them if they would follow you on YouTube and subscribe to your channel. Ask them whether they like video content and what type of content they would like to see.
As your audience on YouTube grows, understand who they are, where they come from and what they like (and what they don’t). Brands will often ask this information, so make sure you can answer this question confidently. It will show brands you are serious about what you do.
Now you’re ready to get started with YouTube! If you only take away one piece of advice from this article, remember to be yourself, create content that you love, listen to your audience and know best practices for YouTube content and channels. The rest will follow.