It’s All About Engagement: An Interview with YouTube Expert Derral Eves

by | Feb 21, 2017 | EduSocial Blog, Strategy, Tools, Uncategorized | 0 comments

YouTube’s gotten a lot of attention lately with PewDiePie’s separation form Google and Disney. It made us wonder: What advice do YouTube experts have for our social media strategists?

We all know video is critical to the success of any social media campaign, and YouTube is the most well-known video platform. But we also know strategy is rarely simple. We decided to ask one of the top video marketing strategists on YouTube to see what we need to know.

Why should we listen to Derral Eves?

Derral Eves is a Dynamic video marketing strategist with a successful background in online marketing and video production. Have you seen the campaigns for Hide My Ass or Squatty Potty? That’s his work – so in addition to his ability to create videos that get traction, you might also realize he doesn’t have any trouble pushing the creative envelope.

What do strategists need to know about video marketing and creating a YouTube strategy?

Since 2016 was dubbed “The Year of Video” by so many, it would be hard to find a social media strategist who would downplay the importance of a video strategy. But recognizing that you need a strategy doesn’t mean you understand how to create one. We asked Derral about what matters – what should we be measuring?

“It’s all about the community. For years traditional media executives told viewers what they were going to watch. How many TV shows you loved were canceled? With today’s digital landscape, creators listen to and interact with their viewers and this creates a powerful community and friendship. This is powerful because viewers feel like they are friends and not fans. In fact, teens are seven times more emotional attached to YouTube stars than traditional celebrities. They might have a smaller following but they have a power than even the actors in Hollywood. The reason why is their community is a social army. If they say “Go do this.” They will literally go and do it.”

How can we as strategists make a difference? It’s not surprising to learn that at the heart of it all is education. As internal or external consultants, we have an incredible opportunity to help people understand what it means to be an influencer. It’s understandable why key stakeholders would be swayed by subscriber numbers, but it’s our opportunity to help them understand what the numbers – all of the numbers – are really telling us.

Here’s what else Eves had to say about measurement:

“What blows me away is that most people and brands care about one metric, subscribers. That’s absurd! I care for these few metrics: subscriber to view ratio, watch-time, and the engagement rate of channel overall. I’ve seen small channels with more power than ones with millions of subscribers because they have a higher engagement rate and they are more emotionally committed and connected to the creator.”

What makes video such a powerful tool?

As we’ve already discussed, it’s obvious that video is only gaining momentum. But why?

They will be left in the dust if they don’t have a video strategy. The best way to sell a product or anything is word of mouth. The second most powerful way to sell a business product or service – or ruin a business product or service – is virtual word of mouth.

“If someone moves into a new neighborhood, they ask their neighbors, “Hey, who’s your doctor, dentist, lawyer. We’re new to this town and we don’t know anybody. And they will go off of the recommendations of what people say. Virtual word of mouth makes that a lot easier. They say, “I’m looking to do this. Who has ideas?” Social media platforms have made that very easy.

“Outside of that video strategies are the best way to get people to convert because you can engage with people on multiple senses. You’re going to need a video strategy and a live streaming strategy. I know Facebook is pointed that way. As they progress further, it’s heavily video focused and live video focused.”

We have to agree with Derral’s assessment of the growing video and live streaming market. Buffer compiled a list of compelling video stats last week including HubSpot’s report that 43% of people want to see more video content from marketers in the future (2016) and Facebook is finding that people spend, on average, more than 3x more time watching a Facebook Live video than a video that’s no longer live (2016). It’s clear that social media strategists need to be keeping up with video.

What does Derral think happened with PewDiePie?

I’ve asked each of the YouTubers I’ve interviewed for NISM what they thought happened with PewDiePie. It’s a story everyone is talking about – even outside of social media. Who was right? What will the consequences be – and how far will they reach? The answers have all varied, but Eves was quick to point out something I hadn’t heard yet; something that is a great example of how easy it is to get caught up in media hype.

Eves shared that Disney was cutting more than PewDiePie from their line-up. In fact, they were making drastic changes, as reported by Tubefilter on February 15th – just one day after Disney’s highly-publicized separation from Kjellberg.

The Disney-owned company, which represents “thousands” of channels, according to its website, is expected to slash that number to around 300, according to The Hollywood Reporter, in order to increase its focus on influencers at the highest echelons. As a result, Maker will not renew deals with channels that boast smaller followings.

Did this completely change my perspective of what happened? Does this mean Disney wasn’t influenced by Kjelberg’s controversial actions, the Wall Street Journal report, and the negative press that followed? Of course not. But it does mean there’s a bigger story here and two days later – after reading various articles and researching different perspectives, this is the first I’ve heard of it. You could blame me, I’m sure – but I think it speaks to the value of connecting with industry professionals like Eves to keep us focused on understanding the whole of what’s happening.

As social media strategists, it can be overwhelming to consider everything we’re supposed to keep up with. That feeling can be alleviated by focusing on what matters – like your video strategy – and the way we really connect with our customers and potential customers. What have you learned about measurement (on any platform)? What numbers tell you the most? Share your feedback in the comments below!

More About Derral Eves

Derral is CEO and president of Creatus and has helped generate over 8.23 billion views on YouTube and 2.1 billion on facebook. He was also the executive producer on several viral video campaigns, including Squatty Potty’s ice cream pooping unicorn and HidemyAss. Derral is the founder of VidSummit, an annual video marketing event for creators, agencies, brands and marketers. He personally has several successful YouTube channels, putting his marketing principles into practice. Derral has been featured on Good Morning America, The Today Show, NBC, ABC, CBS, FOX, ESPN, FORBES, Christians today, World Religion News, and several other media outlets. He was recently featured on an article in Forbes as #4 on the list of “20 Must Watch YouTube Channels That Will Change Your Business”.

About the Author

Dr. Amy Jauman, SMS, is the Chief Learning Officer at the National Institute for Social Media and author of the Comprehensive Field Guide for Social Media Strategists. Amy is also one of 58 members representing 12 countries in the inaugural class of the Prezi Educator Society. Previously she was the Social Media Director for Women Entrepreneurs of Minnesota (WeMN) and she currently serves as the marketing director for the Minnesota Chapter of the National Speakers Association. She is also an adjunct professor in the St. Catherine University Business Department and the St. Mary’s University of Minnesota MBA program.


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