Becoming a YouTube Influencer

Last week I provided an overview about increasing subscribers on YouTube. One of the ways I suggested was positioning yourself as an ‘influencer’. This week I would like to dig deeper into this strategy.

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First and foremost, what is a YouTube influencer? YouTube influencers are people who have large following due to their video content, but also they have people’s attention with their sincere style, humor and authenticity. Or as another way to put it, people listen to an influencer, for real. They care about if an influencer likes a song, a movie, a book or a food – or not. They are willing to follow the influencer’s lead to consume (or not) that content based on the influencer’s recommendation (or blessing). It is also essential to mention that YouTube influencers are largely followed by millennials. Larger brands, including Google and Disney, who are constantly on the lookout for reaching out to millennial audiences have certainly noticed YouTube influencers, and have moved towards partnering with them in both their brand marketing and inbound marketing efforts.

It is important to stress the difference between celebrity influencers and YouTube influencers. By classical marketing definition, celebrities are basically people that consumers aspire to be. They are the true definition of rockstars defined within the world of consumer economics. Brands have been using celebrities in their campaigns for decades, which is the phenomena that we call celebrity influencer. YouTube influencers are almost a reaction to celebrity influencers, as the key reason YouTubers are so on the rise are their authenticity and sincerity. They are one of us mortal humans, and your YouTube influencer persona should be based on this crucial principle.


So then, if YouTubers are not celebrities, is being a YouTube influencer like being a book or music critic? Not necessarily, as the key to being likeable on YouTube is being as ‘down to earth’ and being as sincere as possible. You are basically a friend of your audience, who happened to like something and would like to share. I think this aspect is crucial in this way. Snobbery usually doesn’t work for the YouTube audience, so likeability is pretty important that way also.

But this doesn’t mean you can’t position yourself an expert in your field. Just like podcasts, YouTube can also help you position yourself as an expert in your field – as a master musician, yoga teacher, Zumba instructor, photographer and such… Combining good credentials in your field with a personable style can be a great combination to be a solid influencer on YouTube, which only will help getting more subscribers. You can simply put a quick biography video or introduction to your channel to position yourself this way. Soon, your fame might spread!

So why is being an influencer so effective for increasing your subscribers? Think of it this way, as a musician I can just post videos of my tracks, live performances and maybe some clips. This would be a nice channel, but it would only relate to the niche audience who listens to my music. But what if I also post videos where I talk about my favorite albums in 2017 or a great concert I went to, or a good book I’ve read or a good movie I watched? I would also reach out to people who don’t necessarily listen my style of music or not just music fans in general but a more diverse cultural audience. So, this would not only help me move from my own niche crowd to a more mainstream audience, but it would also help diversify the content of my channel to make the overall content more interesting!


Seems like a pretty straightforward plan, right? Well maybe some of us don’t like to talk into the camera, or they don’t like the spotlight, which is completely okay. If this is the case, then you can always partner with another influencer in your field, where you can create videos together. You could also interview fellow influencers about different topics, which could also lead to really interesting results. Again, the idea is to diversify the content of your channel and to move yourself from a niche audience to more general one in order to get more subscribers.

Many artists such as Pomplamoose have enjoyed great career success due to using their YouTube channel effectively. While they are heavy on the content with large production value, as DIY artists this is also not the only option. You can simply create a nice YouTube channel with a good microphone, and iPhone camera, an editing software and cool ideas! In the end what matters is the content you provide for your audience, and that will get you far ahead in the long run.

Who are some of your favorite YouTube influencers? Have you encountered any brand campaigns that they partnered?

Alper Tuzcu is a Berklee College of Music and Denison University alumni, and a Boston based guitarist, songwriter and producer. His new EP ‘Lines’ was released on November 17, 2017 and his debut eclectic album ‘Between 12 Waters’ featuring 8 different vocalists is available on Spotify. You can follow him on Instagram or Twitter, or visit his website


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