3 Ways Brands Can Appeal to YouTubers

Variety published an article earlier this month that reaffirmed what we already knew: YouTube content creators can connect with their audiences on a personal level that mainstream media can only dream of. Because popular YouTubers are able to form this valuable connection, their popularity has skyrocketed.

YouTubers’ audiences trust them and hang on their every word because they don’t view them as untouchable celebrities, but rather as friends whose exploits they can check in on from time to time. This connection can be utilized for marketing purposes in startlingly effective ways.

According to a 2011 Nielsen Global Trust survey, 92% of consumers around the world say they trust earned media, such as word-of-mouth or recommendations from friends and family, above all other forms of advertising. Influencer marketing is essentially a large-scale word of mouth peer recommendation. And the numbers show that it is VERY effective. For instance, Grapevine‘s average advocate marketing CTR is a whopping 5%. That’s more than the average CTR for Facebook and Google Ads combined. Interested yet?

Advocate marketing works. However, YouTubers aren’t some program you can download, leave running and then magically see returns. YouTubers are real, live people who can be very selective with whom they work—especially at top level multi-million subscriber talent.

It’s obvious you want them. Here are a few tips on how to make sure they want you too.

1. Be Modern and Buzzworthy

Having a social media presence and strategy is a must for any business right now, but very few do it exceedingly well. Utilize these channels to their fullest potential. Generating buzz for your brand through branded video, leveraging hashtags, and solid communication with your customers can be a surefire way to attract YouTube talent.

Get your own audience excited and talking first before you go after an influencer’s! If YouTubers have already heard of you by the time you approach them, you’re doing well. If a YouTuber is excited to hear from you, you’ve done GREAT.

2. Be Present

Connecting with advocates for a sponsorship and then saying, “Okay see you later!” isn’t a great strategy. Not only does that leave a bad taste of feeling “used” in the influencer’s mouth, but it also increases the chance of the sponsored content being off-message, confused or even down-right offensive.

Consistent (but not necessarily constant) communication is key. Be available to chat and clarify any problems, concerns or misconceptions content creators may have. Respond quickly and personably. Build a bond with the influencers.

YouTubers exist in a social space and thus talk to one another often. Just like any customer service, if you have nine great exchanges and one bad one, you better believe that the person on the end of the bad one will share their experience—so be as pleasant as possible.

3. Invest in the Content Creators.

YouTubers tend to be selective and you should be too. Don’t pick content creators based on their subscriber number, but rather on whether or not they correctly represent your brand. When you find YouTubers who work with your message, don’t hold back—do everything you can to utilize their star power, so long as it coincides with both your and their brand and message.

For example, we work with a client who runs a subscription makeup box. They work primarily with YouTube make-up gurus. They’re very selective, but when they do select an advocate to work with they go all out—they have the advocate select items for their own makeup box, sell it on their website marketed as “Inspired by” the advocate and also have the advocate run a giveaway on their channel for a luxury item of up to $1000.

They take full advantage of YouTube star power and significantly invest time, energy and resources into them. They make the sponsorship something truly special and exclusive, and it pays off.


Advocate Marketing works. Be down to earth, self-aware, ethical, available and target intelligently and you’re sure to reap the benefits. If you’re looking for ways to connect with influencers and manage/execute sponsorship campaigns check out Grapevine.

Tim Kish is the Advocate Marketing Manager for Grapevine. He is an inbound marketer with a heart of gold. He’s into giant robots, retro video games and foreign (non-alcoholic) drinks. Tweet at him! @kimtish

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