Have you ever stumbled across a YouTube makeup video? You know the kind: pretty girls with their DSLR cameras, perfect winged eyeliner and white bedroom walls?
The top beauty gurus have millions of subscribers, who tune in 2-3 times a week to watch them host a tutorial, review a product, or give an update on their life. This up-close-and-personal style builds super fans, the kind of loyalty any musical artist would love to have. After doing a ton of research (*cough,* watching YouTube videos), I’ve managed to boil down the elements of a makeup v-logger, and found a lot of similarities to musicians on social media (not only video). Here’s how YouTube beauty gurus are successful, and what musicians can learn from them.
Beauty gurus find a niche in an overcrowded market.
If she hasn’t been around for years, it’s not enough for her mission statement to be “I’ll show you how to create looks I like.” Unspecific raison-d’être’s don’t cut through all the noise. Instead, these girls focus in on what makes them unique and stand out, such as being the voice for an underserved segment of the beauty-loving population (for example, it’s harder for a girl with darker skin to find the right foundation than her caucasian counterparts), or having a different style of presentation.
As musicians, we need to get really specific about what makes us special, and why fans should come out and see us play (and maybe even buy our music!) as opposed to the all the other forms of entertainment out there. Once you can define your sound and have an elevator pitch, you’ve got this!
Beauty gurus invest in the right equipment.
In 2005, it was probably okay to film a tutorial on a webcam in a darkly-lit room. Twelve years later, the game has been stepped up and everyone who wants their videos to be watched has an expensive camera, and lighting set-up, and edits their clips in post production.
Same goes for artists. That $50 songwriting demo aimed at the majors in Nashville won’t get very far. Neither will a band without a custom website domain. Yes, it costs money; but so do your instruments and their maintenance!
Beauty gurus provide value to first time fans.
YouTube is the second biggest search engine in the world. Chances are, when you watch a makeup tutorial, the first two words in the search bar above are “how” and “to’” These beauty gurus are constantly reeling in new fans by giving away useful tips. Artists do the same thing, with a gift in exchange for an email address. Giving away presents (may they be songs or information) helps build relationships.
Beauty gurus upload consistently, giving fans a reason to subscribe.
The top YouTubers will upload videos about 2-3 times a week. Musicians should be posting on social media at least that often, to give fans a reason to follow/like them on those accounts.
Beauty gurus are humble and super girl-next-door.
They say “hi!” and giggle in every video. They are very humble when receiving compliments in the comments section below. This kind of BFF attitude makes subscribers feel like they are part of the journey, and are more willing to support their “friend” financially.
Independent artists in the modern music business know they can’t stay silent for two years, and then only come online to sell their album once it’s released. Crowdfunding campaigns streamline this into having fans literally pay for the project’s creation. Communication is essential during the journey.
Beauty gurus go out and seek endorsements.
Because very few of these girls make their own products, they work closely with brands they love. It’s not selling out, it’s getting paid. In 2017, it’s good to realize that albums aren’t selling like they used to, but there are a lot of companies of all sizes willing to endorse unsigned musicians. Look into creating an EPK for brands.
Beauty gurus treat their passion like a business.
It’s not all fun and fluff. Beneath their sweet, friendly personas, beauty v-loggers are a serious business, making money from company endorsements, sponsored reviews, affiliate links, YouTube ad revenue, and sometimes even Patreon. They have built a brand for themselves from the ground up, and are pretty successful at it, too.
I think there is a lot that anyone on trying to build a brand for themselves on social media can learn from these girls. Hope you were inspired, and please leave a nice comment below!