One of the bigger questions wondered about in today’s day and age is typically about social media influencers. What does it take to become one? How much do they earn?
Social media influencers make it look easy, and the large paycheck they can earn (Those with over 100,000 Instagram followers can make $1000 from a company for a single picture with their product, and the number one youtuber, Pewdiepie, reportedly earns up to 40,000 dollars a month from his videos and sponsorships) has made being an influencer a desirable job. YouTube is flooded by up and coming youtubers and Instagram’s most popular tags are focused on getting more likes and followers (#like4like, #likeforlike, #l4l, #followforfollow, etc.) But how feasible and attainable is the idea of becoming a Youtuber?
Well the best way to learn is by doing. So, I did.
So what did I learn? What strategies work the best and what strategies fall flat?
1) It is a marathon, not a race.
All those ideas of you amassing 1,000 subscribers in the first month? It’s a great dream to have however, not a very attainable one. Growth on a channel is slow. Studies have found that channel growth typically begins to speed up after accumulating 1,000 subscribers, but getting to 1,000 subscribers is not an easy feat. Let’s put this in perspective…
I started with my first video on July 31st, 2015. It amassed 40 views within the first 2 weeks, and was lovingly filmed with my Samsung Galaxy s5. I attained 6 subscribers from that video.
Fast forward to today where my videos now achieve 45-100 views the first day I post and I average 4 subscribers a day. And this is with 167 total current subscribers. Sounds great, but this means for 5 months of videos and hours of work, I average less then 40 subscribers per month.
2) Time you put in/ Content = Subscribers.
The more time you invest in promoting yourself as a brand, editing for great videos, interacting with other youtubers, and interacting with your subscribers, the more subscribers you get.
For example, when I invested in a better camera and spent time planning and editing my videos, the amount of subscribers and views I got greatly increased. I set small goals for myself and achieved them. Within the first 3 months, I hit my goal of 50 subscribers.
Strategy: I then reached out to my social media following, friends on Facebook, and Twitter, and set a goal of 100 followers by the end of November. I released a video and included a giveaway, stating that once I reach my goal, I would choose 2 subscribers as winners for my giveaway. My channel (and Instagram) grew, and by November 31st, I had 106 subscribers. So, pretty good growth, going from 50 subscribers in 3 months to 50 subscribers in one month.
Strategy 2: I was still not engaging with the YouTube community as much as I could. I set out to commenting on more videos, supporting other youtubers, and making the effort to interact with people who had the same goals as mine. 18 days later, I have grown by 60 subscribers.
(note the paragraph under #4, “–reach out”, written below! )
3) You will not be rolling in dough.
Youtubers make around $1 for every 1000 views on their video, but this is more related to how many clicks the ads get. The more subscribers you have, the more may click on your ads, the more money you make make. Most of the money youtubers earn is actually through sponsorships. You can get sponsorships through host websites however, again, you usually cannot apply to work with a company until you have between 1,000 to 5,000 subscribers (depending on the host website). Having 1,000 subscribers does not mean you will start getting calls from big brands. The more subscribers you have, the more desirable you will be. Think of the youtubers with 30,000 to 50,000 subscribers. They typically start coming out with more of the sponsored videos and are sent more products.
How much did I make? From when I became monetized (about a month ago) until now, I have made “around” a dollar. So 5-8 hours of work per video, 4 videos released within 30 days, that means I made about 4 cents an hour.
4) What the websites tell you is true.
Every video and website article on growing subscribers will tell you the same basic points. Here they are for you, summed up.
–Let your audience know your brand
why you are making videos, make them feel like you are talking TO them, you relate TO them
–Make your YouTube page look professional:
Take time making your videos. Look at successful channels and see how they have branded the appearance of their channel. Picmonkey.com is a great free resource to make professional looking thumbnails and cover picture.
Use natural light if you don’t have professional lighting. take the time to look at your video and make sure you are not too blurry, overexposed, or dark. Filming at night? Not a great idea unless you have professional lighting. Even a great camera will have trouble in low light.
comment, subscribe, and make friends in your YouTube community. Do collaborations with people (I currently have 3 in the planning process), listen to your subscribers. Now, reaching out does not mean spam! I am much more likely to check out the page of a subscriber who leaves a nice and thoughtful comment instead of one who asks me to check out her channel. One seems genuinely interested in me and my content while the other has a motive and invests no actual interest in MY content. Genuine comments establish relationships which leads to subscribers, collaborations, and eventually even a great friend!
–Utilize social media.
Have a Facebook, Instagram, or a twitter? Use these platforms to help gain exposure for your videos.
The tags you use make a HUGE impact on your views. generic tags that are used often (such as #beauty, #haul, etc.) will not bring you to the top of the search page. Tubebuddy is a fantastic free service that has a tag explorer. It can tell you how often that tag is used vs. how often it is searched for and will give you a percentage based on that information. Anything less than 70% I usually avoid.
Be aware of what videos are popular during those seasons! For example, post a Halloween DIY or tutorial the week before Halloween. make a “Back to school outfits” video in July! Bethany Mota uses these tools and has a huge increase in subscribers every summer.
I don’t know what the next few months will bring, but I hope to keep you updated 🙂 In the meantime, I would love for you to let me know if this helped you! What was your YouTube growth? Are there any tips you use that you found to be successful?