YouTube is everywhere. It has reached a point where it is consumed more often than food. As a repository to what could possibly be the world’s largest stash of user-generated content, there’s something for everyone in YouTube: cooking channels, game reviews, chess strategies, and even do-it-yourself troubleshooting instructions.
The truth is, there are many categories of videos on YouTube, and of these many categories, only a handful will ever be seen, or will have a user with a large following. I am sure you can relate to this if you are subscribed to some YouTube channels.
But have you ever asked yourself: what made me subscribe to this channel in the first place? What’s driving this particular user’s video views, and not mine?
Welcome to the new social media phenomenon – the YouTube personality. Many of these individuals have become celebrities in their own right, without ever having spent a day on broadcast television. In fact, YouTube has become seen as a stepping stone for personalities to transcend from the computer screen to the big screen. Such mind-bogglingly huge strides are made possible by a dedicated group of followers, who are sources of revenue for the YouTube personality, as well as an audience by which communication is streamlined.
What drives people to subscribe to them, and be willingly spoon-fed with information? Let’s take for example a YouTube personality which I follow – Brandon Campbell. Brandon’s main audience appeal is his lifting videos – he does weight training, and provides voice-over commentary. Often, he will do “collaborations” with peers producing the same videos, and review lifting equipment, video games and food. For me, I enjoy his videos because it’s very male-oriented, full of terrible puns, and very casual.
Not pictured: Terrible puns
What Brandon has done, simply by the virtue of creating videos alone, is to create a brand. His videos come with visual logos, lounge music in the background, and have consistent messaging at the intro and ending sections. Every video is ended by him telling the viewer to “Stay Big”, a motto crafted to motivate others to keep healthy. Subtle inputs, but when consumed over time, he can reach out to scores of people, despite physically being hundreds and thousands of miles away.
On a deeper level,, Brandon, even with a small niche space within YouTube, has transformed into a marketing vehicle – consumer product companies often send him free samples of food and supplements, because they KNOW that he would be obliged to conduct a review. With minimal expenses and outreach efforts to a handful of similar YouTube personalities, these food companies can reach out to hundreds of thousands of people, all of whom fit right into their product’s target market.
Product reviewing; note the number of views
On a deeper level, though, Brandon, even with a small niche space within YouTube, has transformed into a marketing vehicle – consumer product companies often send him free samples of food and supplements, because they KNOW that he would be obliged to conduct a review. With minimal expenses and outreach efforts to a handful of similar YouTube personalities, these food companies can reach out to hundreds of thousands of people, all of whom fit right into their product’s target market.
How does he make this possible? In essence, it all boils down to the connection that he creates between himself and viewers. The common points of weight training, injuries, diets, and gadget reviews are extremely relatable to young men in a certain age bracket. Narrating from my own experience, I follow Brandon’s channel because he seems to me to be a friend I know I could hang out with, due to the persona he exudes (even though this may not be entirely accurate).
Brandon’s YouTube space is very analogous to a business; but the main hooks, or appeal of his channel is his way of speaking, the messages he delivers, and the value he provides to viewers with his insights on products. And he manages to do all this from a single computer. If only businesses could replicate this model with such ease!
Connecting with the subscribers
Is there a takeaway somewhere? Indeed. To keep it simple: the YouTube personality, from a marketer’s perspective, is a consolidation and distribution point for specific demographical audiences. Engaging with the YouTube personality allows communications professionals to leverage their pool of subscriber to their benefit for a small cost. This is a huge and unforeseen revolution within the digital media marketing space. Budgets now can be halved, while outreach and awareness-creation efforts can be doubled. Don’t discount the YouTube personality just because you don’t agree with their fashion sense – they may well be the key in sending your profit margins through the roof.