The Essential Guide to YouTube Influencer Marketing in 2021

Alan VanToai

September 10, 2021

YouTube is the second most popular social media app in 2021, and many brands have been leveraging influencer marketing on this platform, and in return, have seen a massive ROI.

Working with YouTube content creators is lucrative and rewarding for many brands.

You can find a YouTube video for just about any topic and channels that represent almost every niche. Your brand can discover YouTubers that will best represent your brand, make genuine content that includes your products, and help you tap into a new audience.

If you're new to YouTube marketing, then this is the article for you. Today, we will discuss how you can find the best YouTube influencers to work with and discuss some YouTube marketing best practices! 

Let's dive into everything you need to know about working with YouTube influencers and incorporating YouTube marketing into your mix!

Why Should Your Brand Work with YouTube Influencers

YouTube is a popular platform that allows its creators to make videos about anything they desire.

There is a vast pool of creators on the platform. On YouTube, your brand has a great chance to find YouTubers that align with your mission and whose subscribers would be receptive to your messaging.

You can find YouTubers that make content about anything - beauty, politics, lifestyle, travel, cryptocurrency, business, fashion, videogames, you name it! Even the rarest niches are represented on the platform.

Some of the most powerful ways that YouTube influencers can help you brand level up are:

  • Generate buzz and build trust in your brand
  • Help you increase your impressions, reach, and website traffic
  • Create content for your product that is unique, unconventional, and entertaining
  • Help you gain new customers and attract your ideal audience
  • Boost revenue

How Popular Is YouTube for Influencer Marketing?

YouTube has more than 2 billion monthly active users and continues to be one of the most popular social media channels in the world.

Additionally, there are more than 1 billion hours of YouTube content are watched every day.

And the number of YouTube influencers is vast. There are around 5 million YouTube influencers on the platform:

  • There are between 3,000-23,000 influencers with more than 1 million subscribers
  • There are between 31,000-220,000 influencers with more than 100,000 subscribers
  • There are between 1.5-5 million influencers with more than 1,000 followers

YouTube is powerful, and on this platform, your brand will be able to work with a wide variety of influencers of all sizes. There are so many amazing YouTubers that have smaller but highly engaged audiences that you can contract with to have a mutually beneficial partnership.

You just have to know how to find the right ones!

How to Find the Right YouTube Influencers to Partner With

There are tons of content creators on YouTube, which can be intimidating when you first start to look for content creators to partner with.

Luckily, YouTube does set you up to find influencers and content creators that would be a great fit to work with your brand.

Here are a few strategies you can use when discovering YouTubers.

Search Using Relevant Keywords

Not sure how to start finding relevant YouTubers to work with? Use the search bar and search target or niche keywords, and you will get a list of content creators that have already made videos about topics relevant to your brand.

Like any search engine, YouTube will see the most popular videos at the top, but you can keep scrolling to find smaller creators or videos tangent to the keyword.

Explore Related Videos

After doing the step above, you can click on a creator's profile and get a better feel for what kind of content they create.

Go to their videos/playlists, click on a few, and check out their content style and the engagement the video receives.

You will want to ensure that their videos typically align with your brand's message.

Another way to find potentially relevant influencers is to click on a video and check out the related videos in the search bar on the right-hand side. You will be able to check out other content creators in the same niche.

Look for Smaller Creators with a High Engagement Rate

There are about 1.5 million micro-influencers on YouTube. These creators have fewer subscribers, between 1000-100,000 followers, but that shouldn't discourage you from working with them!

Tapping into this segment of creators will give you a larger pool of potential influencers, and this segment often yields a high engagement rate.

Micro-influencers on YouTube often get videos with hundreds of thousands of views and offer an audience that's tuned in and active.

Also, many micro-influencers are more budget-friendly than mega-influencers with millions of subscribers. These partnerships can be long and rewarding for both parties. 

Analyze Their Audience and Demographics

Once you have found potential influencers to work with, you will want to analyze their audience and demographics.

Be sure to browse their comment section to see what kind of reactions their videos get. When you decide to do outreach, be sure to ask the creator about the demographic of their audience.

For example - If your products are strictly sold in the U.S. and the majority of the influence's audience is located in European countries, then that influencer might not be a great fit to represent your brand. 

That is why analyzing their audience and demographics before signing a contract with the YouTuber is crucial. 

Check Their Analytics

Once you decide to reach out to an influencer on YouTube, it will be wise to check their analytics. It's easy to assume that a creator will have a lot of engagement based on the number of subscribers they have, but that isn't always the case.

Ask the influencer for a report on key analytics, such as:

  • Engagement rate - on YouTube, that is likes + dislikes + comments (in given time range) divided by subscribers
  • Subscriber count
  • Watch time metrics
  • Audience reach metrics
  • Audience retention
  • Click-through rate
  • Source of traffic metric

Best Types of YouTube Content for Influencer Partnerships

There are quite a few different types of content that the influencer can make that feature your product. When going into a partnership with a YouTuber, you should give them the product, collaborate on ideas for content, but ultimately let them use their creativity and do what they do best; make content.

Here are some of the most popular types of content YouTubers make featuring a brand's product.

Unboxing and Try-On Hauls

These videos are especially popular with beauty and fashion influencers. They involve the content creator unboxing or trying the products for the first time.

These videos are great if you want to help authentically showcase your products and get honest reviews.

Vitae Apparel Ty on Haul with YouTube Influencer

Sponsored Ads

Sponsored ads are one of the best ways to get your product featured on a YouTuber's channel.

Give the content creator a script of what you would like them to say and let them record an ad that will resonate best with their audience.

You can give them an affiliate link or coupon code, which will encourage their subscribers to move from YouTube and to your website, helping you boost traffic and sales. 

Below is an example of an ad YouTuber D'Angelo Wallace created for Honey, the brand that sponsored his video.

D'angelo Wallace YouTube Video with Paid Ad from Honey

Product Reviews or Collabs

Asking a YouTuber to do a product review for your brand is a great way to generate genuine and engaging content. Most people would like to know if the product they are going to purchase is worth the money. Influencers can create content and give their honest opinion of your product, which will help build confidence in your products.

Additionally, you could invite the creator to come to your HQ and make a collab together, similar to what Bernal Cutlery did with Joshua Weissman, in a video that generated almost 900k views.

Ultimate guide to picking a kitchen knife with Joshua Weissma YouTube Video

Guides and Tutorials

Tutorials are quintessential YouTube. 

In these videos, the creator will incorporate your content in a 'how-to' format. Guides and tutorials are also excellent for searchability, making them an exceptional content type to be discovered by new potential customers. 

For example, YouTuber Haley Kim made a video incorporating her favorite products that she uses to achieve a natural makeup look. Each product's link is in her description, which will help move her viewers to your website.

Haley Kim no makeup makeup look YouTube video

YouTube Influencer Marketing Best Practices

You have found the YouTubers you want to work with and, now, it's time to create a strategy and launch your first campaign.

Here are a few best practices you should follow to carry out a successful campaign!

Set the Influencers Up for Success

Setting up your influencers for success will be a crucial first step in hosting a successful campaign and long-term partnership.

Ensure that you iron out all of the details before the creator starts making content. Set expectations, and provide the content creator with every element necessary to create great content.

These elements include:

  • Affiliate links
  • Free product to review
  • Key talking points about the product
  • Proper landing pages
  • Upfront payments (if applicable)

Look for Conventional and Unconventional Collabs

Ultimately, you want to work with YouTubers that align with your brand's message and mission in some retrospect, but it doesn't need to be so cut and dry.

Get creative and look for channels and creators that might not directly relate to your product but whose audience would find your products valuable.

For example - this video from Jubliee is a fun gameshow trying to spot the mole in a group of people, and it was sponsored by the wallet brand Ridge Wallet.

Jubilee who is not the makeup artist YouTube video with paid ad

Not the most on-the-nose collab, but it works overall for the audience of this channel.

Ask for Genuine Reviews and Content

Genuine reviews will ALWAYS be better than fluff reviews that feel like the influencer is reading off of a queue card. Give the influencer your products, and let them honestly review your product.

Most subscribers come to their favorite YouTuber's channel to get content that is genuine and trustworthy. With that in mind, it's essential to let the influencer speak their mind, especially when asking for a review.

If your product is good, it will speak for itself and garner positive reviews on its own!

Set Your Budget and Pay On Time

Paying on time is KEY to creating a long-lasting relationship and building trust with your influencer.

Content creators work extremely hard to generate new and fresh content each week for their subscribers.

Oftentimes, brand collabs are a massive source of income for these creators, especially when they're starting and growing their channel.

When signing a contract with the influencer, be upfront about the budget and how they will get paid, and then pay them on time. 

If not, you run the risk of the YouTuber dragging your brand, which will place immense distrust in your products!

Let the Influencer Use Their Creativity

When you partner with a YouTuber, it's important to remember that they know their audience. They know their channel more than anyone and will be experts on the kind of content that will resonate best with their subscribers.

The YouTubers you decide to work with should be given the necessary tools to succeed.  But avoid having too much of a hand in the content they create and their creative process. Influencers don't want to work with micro-managers. 

Let influencers do what they do best, creating captivating content that is sticky with their audience.

Be Active and Engaged with Their Audience

Don't be afraid to be active in the comments of the YouTuber's video. Leave a quick comment, and tell them you appreciate the love!

You don't want to go overboard and respond to every comment, but giving a bit of love and engaging when appropriate shows that you are tuned in to what the content creator is making.


Ready to turn your customers into your thriving crew of brand ambassadors? If so, watch the epic CrewFire demo video or get in touch with us to learn how you can drive more referrals, word-of-mouth, and user-generated content for your Shopify store.

Get in touch w/ Alan (Founder/CEO - CrewFire):

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Alan VanToai

Co-Founder of CrewFire


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