How to Find TikTok + YouTube Influencers in the UK

Article Image
Photo Source: Unsplash

TikTok and YouTube influencers have become an essential part of marketing strategy, particularly for those in the creative industries such as filmmakers, theatre producers, and actors. Here, Backstage looks at how to find influencers, how much they cost, how to plan and budget your campaign, as well as the rules and etiquette.

As online content grows, so does online advertising, and every major social media platform now offers a host of options to help creators capitalise on their own style and brand. From classic advertising banners and pre-video ads to creative practice that takes over hashtags and runs wild in memes, using social media astutely can take the smallest of projects to the highest heights.

YouTube and TikTok have emerged as the dominant video-sharing platforms, and influencers active on one tend to have a presence on – or have migrated from – the other, which is why it makes sense to look at them together.

The oldest, of course, is YouTube. With over a billion videos watched on the platform each day, it’s now difficult to imagine a world without YouTube. The site also ushered in a whole new type of celebrity: YouTube vloggers. Mostly young upstarts with lots of energy and good editing skills, YouTubers such as Smosh, PewDiePie, and Dodie Clark have accumulated millions of subscribers and can make significant money on just one video. And while all age groups use the platform, it skews young: 97% of British 18–24-year-olds and 96% of 25–34-year-olds use YouTube, demonstrating a strong potential to reach a younger audience.

Few apps have managed to rival YouTube, and less still have managed to surpass them in monthly downloads, but TikTok has somehow managed to do both. Since the demise of Vine in 2016, TikTok has taken over the mantle as the fast-paced video app of choice. With its impressive, easy-to-use editing function, the use of hashtags to navigate trends, and the mysterious “for you” algorithms no one can quite figure out, TikTok has been specifically made to be fun, fast-paced and addictive.

By 2020, TikTik had been downloaded over 2 billion times on smartphones and is the most downloaded app from Apple’s App Store. And if YouTube skews young, Tiktok is even more so – the platform says 60% of its users are Gen Zers, which is to say, born between 1997 and 2012.

That, plus the number of YouTube stars also crossing over to TikTok, means if you’re looking to reach young people, there is arguably no better platform. If you’re targeting older generations, though, TikTok is unlikely to be the best fit as only 7.2% of users are over 45. In this instance, consider targeting Facebook, which has a much higher percentage of users in a higher age bracket.

JUMP TO

How do you find influencers on TikTok and YouTube?

There are a number of methods and tools to find the right YouTube or TikTok influencers for your target audience – influencers who will chime with the values of your content, film, brand, or production.

If you pick the wrong influencer, you risk throwing your resources away on content that won’t be engaging to that person’s following. Just as you wouldn’t advertise your new flavour of beef jerky in a vegan magazine, asking an influencer with no personal connection to – or passion for – your project is unlikely to be worthwhile. Take the time to look through accounts that complement your vision, and whose followers are likely to respond to what you’ve got to give. Use yourself in this calculation, too. Maybe you already follow influencers – if so, who do you trust? Who would you listen to? Who influences you?

First-off is the question of the kind of influencer you want. There is a multitude of influencers who have cross-platform appeal and that could be a really good way of reaching different audiences and even different ages. A lot of YouTubers, in particular, have ventured onto TikTok over the past few years and many have huge followings on both sites. This also goes for Instagram, which has a video aspect, but mostly deals in static photos, offering a different facet to your social media campaign.

However, if you want your main platform to be TikTok, there’s a good argument for using what’s called a “TikTok-first” influencer – one who got their following from being great at TikTok rather than someone who transferred their skills from another app.

The reasoning is that a TikTok-first influencer is likely to be savvier about the ins and outs of the app and its algorithms, and has a passion for this app in particular. Being a newer platform may also work in your favour as big names on TikTok are often still not as widely known outside the TikTok bubble as established Instagram or YouTube stars, and you can often get more bang for your buck with them.

YouTube influencers have less immediate opportunities to engage with their audience directly, but much more scope to go in-depth, with longer videos and the ability to do more thought-out pieces. Have a think about what exactly it is you want. Do you want a movie-based channel to do a deep dive into your film, launch a watch-along or an online event, or do you just want a straight-up shoutout? Maybe you want your merch featured on an account or you want to be a guest on a video. Deciding what exactly it is you want to do with a YouTuber will automatically narrow down your options and save you time sifting through partnerships that are never going to work.

Finding the right influencer to work with is a balance between price, follower-count and engagement. They might be the perfect influencer in your book, but if you can’t afford them you’ll waste everyone’s time. Credibility also means how their fans engage with their content rather than just passively flicking through feeds. If an account has tens of thousands of followers but not many likes or comments, it may be better to spend less on an account with fewer followers, but ones who are passionate and engaged with their posts.

Do I need macro-influencers or micro-influencers on TikTok and YouTube?

One of the things you’ll have to decide is whether you want to put all of your budget into one major influencer with a large following – a macro-influencer, or split your budget among multiple accounts with fewer followers – micro-influencers – who might have a higher engagement rate and potentially a more specific niche.

If you can afford a celebrity endorsement or a huge YouTube star then great, but once you’ve narrowed down your core audience you might find that a few smaller accounts actually have a greater reach. Some big brands employ dozens of influencers for the same campaign and that can have really far-reaching effects.

This is especially true on TikTok. The way you get those hashtags trending is by having lots of different accounts taking part. One major influencer with high engagement might be able to set off a mini-trend on their own, but guaranteeing multiple accounts will take part straight away may be a safer way to start spreading a message.

How much do TikTok and YouTube influencers cost?

If you have a decent budget (but you’re not a corporation who can throw £100,000 at a hashtag) then an easy way to create a campaign is to approach specific influencer platforms or agencies. There are a growing number of sites specialising in partnering brands with influencers and some of these act more like a regular agency, while others will help you create an entire campaign.

Influencer agencies
Some of the top sites that cater for both YouTube and TikTok influencers are Grin, Upfluence, and AspireIQ, though there are lots to be found, all with different USPs, so do some research if that’s the route you want to go down. TikTok itself has something called the Creator Marketplace, which could be the perfect place to start.

The direct approach
If you want a more hands-on approach (and if you don’t have the budget to spend on an agency cut), then you’ll need to spend time finding accounts to contact directly. Being clever about who you work with can save you money in the long term and even enhance your standing in the industry.

Prices for individual TikTok and YouTube influencers are unpredictable as they choose their own fees and freely negotiate what you get for them, but these ballpark figures give a general indication:  


YouTube:

  • Nano-influencer (1,000–10,000 followers):  £15–£150 per video
  • Micro-influencer (10,000–50,000 followers): £150–£750 per video
  • Mid-tier influencer (50,000–500,000 followers): £750­–£7,500 per video
  • Macro-influencer (500,000–1,000,000 followers): £7,500­­­­–£15,000 per video
  • Mega-influencer (1,000,000+ followers): £15,000 + per video

Some influencers on YouTube charge on video views rather than per-video.

TikTok:

  • Nano-influencer (1,000–10,000 followers): £3–£15 per post
  • Micro-influencer (10,000–50,000 followers): £15–£100 per post
  • Mid-tier influencer (50,000–500,000 followers): £100­–£1,000 per post
  • Macro-influencer (500,000–1,000,000 followers): £1,000­–£2,000 per post
  • Mega-influencer (1,000,000+ followers): £2,000 + per post (Source)

As you can see, TikTok springs out as a much cheaper option, but a TikTok post also has a much shorter shelf-life than a YouTube video, so it’s about whether you want to capture a moment and get trending, or spend a little more for something that sticks around longer, and that you can continue to link back to.

Deciding to go for a cross-platform influencer could raise the price, though it might be cheaper than finding separate influencers for each platform.

The nature of the platforms means there’s an element of quid pro quo that can go with the territory too. When users are building up a following and trying to branch out into sponsored content, they may do something for free in return for a VIP perk – tickets to an opening, for example, or a copy of a film, or some merch. This is worth considering if you don’t have much budget, but remember that being an influencer is a legitimate profession and asking people to work for free is generally not acceptable. 

How do you plan an influencer campaign on TikTok or YouTube?

The key to planning a successful influencer campaign on TikTok or YouTube is to figure out your messaging, key campaign dates like launches and events, and working out your budget.

Once you’ve taken a look at the landscape and narrowed down your potential pool, make sure you decide exactly what you want out of a partnership.

Properly mapping out a campaign may take time but it avoids stress further down the line, so decide on what you want and when you want it. The most popular influencers work on a tight schedule so think ahead if you want the bigger ones, and be prepared to end up with a slightly different line-up than you originally anticipated,

Specific targets will make life easier for everyone, ensuring the influencers know exactly what you want from them and you know what you hope to get out of it. You won’t always hit your targets, but having a list of goals focuses your campaign and will at least mean you learn from any mistakes made along the way – and there will always be mistakes.

Do you want clicks, views and sales, or is brand awareness more your aim? Are you wanting to trend and tap into the zeitgeist (TikTok), or do you want something that sticks around (YouTube)? Think about the message you want to put out into the world and how you want the world to engage with it.

Both TikTok and YouTube offer a personal approach to promotion so trust the influencers you’re using and see them as creative partners. Their influence lies in their personality and you chose them because you liked their vibe, so why would you then want to remove their unique voice with a rigid campaign?

The truth is that unless you’re a huge conglomerate, you’re unlikely to get anywhere with a mass content dump of the same images and videos, so embrace the user-generated content (UGC) and let them do their thing.

Behind-the-scenes stuff is also a great way to get engagement. Perhaps you want to offer up exclusive content for a YouTube video or ask an influencer to do a series of TikTok reviews. These are more creative ways to build partnerships and get your projects seen.

What are the rules of working with TikTok and YouTube influencers?

The main rule when working with influencers on YouTube and TikTok is to make sure it’s absolutely clear that an ad is an ad. People recommend things all the time online but once money passes hands, the influencer is providing a service and not acknowledging this in a post could undo all the good you’ve done together. Don’t ruin a great partnership with a rookie mistake, so take some time to read the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA)’s Influencers Guide to familiarise yourself with the standards expected of you both.

TikTok tends to be less regulated than YouTube or Instagram, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t still follow the rules, so make sure you make it clear that any sponsored posts are clearly labelled that way. Not only will not doing this potentially get you in trouble down the line, but it also risks the erosion of trust in both your own and the influencer’s brands. In the end, it doesn’t matter if you “get away with it” legally if nobody wants to be associated with you. So, do things properly, clearly, and above-board.

And when you’ve done your research, set your goals, and forged new partnerships, don’t forget to let yourself enjoy the creativity that comes with this side of the industry. Apps like TikTok are still relatively new, so relish the opportunity to play a part in this first wave of social media marketing.

There’s never been a better time to be an independent creator, and if you take the time do it right, the smallest budget campaign can achieve dramatic results.

See also:

More From Influencer

More From Creators

Recommended

Now Trending