What is your general approach to working with brands?
My approach is to be very collaborative. Acuvue gave me the reins and allowed me to have freedom with how I communicated their brand to my audience. In the end, we had an awesome product, and a lot of people were listening and paying attention to their contacts.
What is your advice to brands that approach online influencers to market their products?
You are a brand. You do have rights to getting your message across, but this world is a lot different than TV and traditional marketing. A lot of these social influencers actually have very niche audiences they communicate to very well, and if they change the way they communicate with them, the audience is going to sense something wrong. In the end, just trust us.
What leads to the most success and engagement with your content?
The videos I make where I sit down and really talk to my audience, or videos where I include them are the most powerful.
How do you build a community of followers?
You can have two different types of audiences on YouTube. There is an audience that watches from afar, and there is an audience that watches real close. The audiences that watch from afar are easy to build, but they can also fall apart very easily. The most important audience is the audience that watches really close. It is a cult following. By releasing content consistently and then rewarding your followers for sharing that content - because a lot of them found out about you through each other - there lives a tight-knit community of people who enjoy just talking about what you did that week.
What do you bring to the table that mainstream media doesn’t?
If you see Tom Cruise on the street and walk up to him and say, "Hey, Tom Cruise. I loved you in this," you loved his character. When my friends and I who are on YouTube are out and people approach us, they say, "Hi, I love you." On YouTube, although it doesn’t seem like it, we communicate directly with our audience. There are no layers, no character. It is one-on-one between two people.