YouTube has over two billion users worldwide and is the world’s second most-visited website. Naturally, YouTube is a great choice for brands to partner with marketing influencers. Improved ROI, SEO uplift, increased traffic, expanded social reach, and a more diverse marketing strategy are just some of the advantages of working with YouTube influencers. Beyond hard metrics, YouTube also has a significant following of channel subscribers who actively trust the content they view. In fact, 6 out of 10 YouTube subscribers say they would follow advice on what to buy from their favorite creator over their favorite TV or movie personality. This level of confidence is extremely valuable to harness and use to present brands in a new (or improved) light. However, to get the most from YouTube influencers, brands need to understand how best to choose the right influencer, how to strike a deal, and how to monitor the results. These simple steps can have a significant effect on how successful your YouTube influencer partnership is.

Choose the right influencer

Arguably the most important part of working with an influencer is knowing that they’re a good fit with your brand. Before you contact anyone, make a shortlist of people you’re interested in and watch a wide selection of their videos. Confirm whether their tone, style, and content echoes the things your brand values. Additionally, research the influencer’s demographics to check their audience is the same as yours. If the influencer is only popular in the US, for example, it’d be redundant to work with them when targeting people in the UK. Remember, the number of subscribers an influencer has is not a sign of how well-suited they may be to your brand. Instead, the number of views is what matters most. Moreover, the number of views should be consistent across all the influencer’s videos; if they have only one video that went viral and bumped up their views, they’re not likely to have a steady, broad reach. At the same time, target influencers who publish a regular number of videos – ideally, one or two per week.User engagement on influencer videos is key, too. Generally speaking, comments are more relevant than the number of likes a video has. The higher the ratio of comments to views, the more likely the influencer has high-performing videos. However, be sure to browse through the comments and get a feel for the opinions shared – if the influencer only has thousands of views and comments because they’re controversial and not well-liked, you may want to reconsider associating your brand with them. 

Strike a deal

When you decide it’s time to reach out to an influencer, your message has to be personalised. Reference some of their videos and focus on the qualities that make your brand and them a perfect partnership. Not only will this encourage the influencer to accept your offer, but they’ll also be impressed that you’ve dedicated time to really getting to know their work. Next, provide a clear brief about what you expect the partnership to look like – this can be the number of videos, how you want your brand to be referenced, and how many hours of work you anticipate. Always create a contract for both parties to sign, and specify the rights to the video and brands involved. Having guidelines like these will make it easier for the influencer to give a fair quote. Payment negotiations can be tricky over message but a rule of thumb is don’t overpay to expect guaranteed results. Instead, apply the cost per thousand impressions (CPM) you pay on other acquisition channels and try to stay around the same figures with YouTubers.Another option is to use technology that can predict impressions on YouTube and suggest an appropriate price. Alternatively, look at similar influencer YouTube channels and find out what they charge. Don’t be afraid to contact people solely to inquire about pricing – this is a necessary way to find out the market value. After, use these numbers as a benchmark and propose an amount based on what you find.

Track the YouTube results

Influencer marketing is a game of repetition. Like any type of advertising, it requires experimentation and fine-tuning until it’s spot on. That’s why, once the campaign is live, finding and defining patterns is crucial to later scaling to a larger marketing strategy. When the influencer has made the video and you’ve reviewed it, take as many reworks as necessary until you’re happy with the finished product. Then, let them tell you when is best to publish the post. Although it may be tempting to micromanage, don’t change their workflow – accept the feedback and trust the influencer you have chosen.Before the video goes live, a trackable link or code should be placed at the top of the video description to actively monitor how it performs. Where the link is directed depends on your goals – yet it’s worth acknowledging that only a small percentage of people are likely to click on the link at all. Other main metrics to keep an eye on include the cost per impression, click-through rate, cost per swipe up, number of sales, and the number of installs (if your brand is an app).Other harder-to-measure metrics include earned media value like shares, hashtags, and customer feedback. Without tracking metrics, you won’t be able to know the real results of your influencer marketing campaign.

The bottom line

Choosing the right influencer, striking a deal, and tracking results may seem like obvious processes in influencer marketing, however, each step requires critical thinking and smart decisions. By understanding your audience and ensuring you work with an influencer who aligns with your brand, you’re better poised to achieve an ROI-positive campaign.It’s important to note that brands have to be patient and flexible when working with influencers on YouTube. There is a lot of competition from other influencers, other platforms, and other modes of marketing. Plus, customers are savvier than ever to brands’ inauthentic attempts to push their message. That said, if utilised correctly, YouTube can be a place to create content that explains the value of your services or products. It can also help establish your brand in a certain audience group, plus keep you relevant among today’s technology-oriented consumers. Most importantly, YouTube influencer marketing can dramatically boost visibility, build stronger relationships with users, and see an upward trend in revenue. 
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