How to start a career on Instagram and YouTube

How to start a career on Instagram and YouTube

We trust you’ve already rolled up your sleeves and started working on the foundations of your path to becoming a master Instagrammer, YouTuber or overall content rockstar. 🙂 

Read more: Digital Academy for Young Content Creators (Part 1)

In the second part of our Digital Academy for Young Content Creators series, we are going to go over some of the best practices for these two social platforms. Why? Because they are the most popular ones, plus, we really love them! As a small bonus, we’ll show you the absolute ‘must steps’ on your way to stardom. With bits and pieces of our sound advice, soon we will be setting you as an example of how things are done in Instagram and YouTube industries. 😉

You ready? Let’s start! 🙂

Wake. Play. Insta-Slay.

With the possibility to share pictures, videos and stories, Instagram is a very creative outpost for ideas. We know some of you spend a considerable amount of time editing stuff before posting it on Instagram and that says volumes about your dedication to your followers. Since we know you are forward-thinking in creating content, we are going to focus a bit more on growing your audience and tactics to build a better presence on this platform. 

We already mentioned that the audience you choose to present your work to is one of the pillars of great content creation. Understanding where your potential tribe members usually spend their time online and what kind of things they would find interesting is essential to your success.

The key to a successful Instagram and YouTube channel is caring about your audience. Thank them, appreciate them, and pay attention to what they like about your content!

To help you figure this out, ask yourself: Who’s making a majority of my audience – girls or boys? How old they are? Funny or educational videos, nature or photos with people, answering questions or doing polls – what type of content they usually like and comment on? What time of the day is the epicenter of their Instagram activity – when they wake up, on a lunch break, before bedtime?

Answer these and you’ll know when is the best time to post a new post or to start a live stream to get maximum reach and audience engagement. You’ll also know which kind of content resonates with your audience the most. Or at least, it should get you a good idea on what to focus on.  🙂

Instagram tools and helping hands

One good thing about social media is that you don’t need to do everything manually. There are various tools that can help you manage your account and some of them can help you with the numbers and analytics. 

For example, let’s say you are getting a ton of DMs and answering them on your phone is a total nightmare. (Disclaimer: this is not a hypothetical nightmare. Answering all those DMs on your phone is a thumb killer – we know from experience.) Anyhow, we’ve got a solution for you. Go to IG:dm, download the app on your desktop and simply continue answering your DM from your computer or laptop. Yeah, mindblown, are you?

Then there is filtrr.me which offers you various Adobe Lightroom presets. Comes in handy when editing your photos! 

Another revolutionary tool is Social Rank. It’s a miracle worker really, as it pinpoints followers that engage the most with your content; it shows you potential prospects; the biggest influencers; and who of your followers are being followed the most. Pretty good insight huh?

This is hard to believe, but if you can imagine a child of Pinterest and Instagram it would be Pinsta.Me. No joke. It allows you to search, see, like, comment, basically browse through Instagram through your web browser on your computer. Not bad when low on battery.

A few words on Instagram hashtags

A post with the highest numbers of likes and comments can be a signal for what type of content your audience likes (and would probably want to see more of). 

We know you are busy, having all those extracurricular activities besides school, so to save your time we suggest you also create hashtag lists based on your posts. These will help you reach new people who might be interested in your content, help you interact with those who share your interests, and categorize posts to make it easier for people to discover your content. 

EXAMPLE: Let’s say you are into fashion and love posting street style inspired content from time to time. The hashtags you will most likely use are probably gonna be something like #streetstyle #streettrend #streetfashion #dailyinspo #outfitblogger #stylehunter #fashionaddict. If you copy and save this list, you’ll be able to use it later, add more hashtags and tag people when you do a post on the same/similar topic. Easy breezy, right? 🙂

A friendly tip: skip #Follow4Follow, #Like4Like and their varieties. They might help you get new followers quickly, but the people you acquire will lower the quality of your follower base since they probably won’t be actively engaging with your posts.

No matter how popular you get, never neglect your followers. If you want to build a great Insta-rep make sure to communicate with your followers. This might sound like a job itself – since it takes a good amount of time – but engage in replying to comments, direct messages, liking other people’s posts. By showing that you care, you create positive feedback and build trust among your followers. And when you establish trust and respect in that way, the chances are that you will succeed rocket-rapidly. 😉

Sassy, Classy, & Badassy YouTuber

Raise your hands all of you who spend countless hours watching videos on YouTube and get inspired by what you see there. 

Now, raise hands all of you who believe a YouTuber and a vlogger are dream career choices. Well, you are not alone. In fact, kids in the US and the UK are much more likely to aspire to be the next YouTube star, rather than the next person in space. 

We believe that in order to succeed at whatever you set your mind to, the key to success lies in good preparation. Knowing what equipment and tools to use, what to present and how to do it, will lead you to triumph and save you from making the beginners’ mistakes. Therefore, we have outlined just that and gave you the necessary pointers to conquer the world of YouTube. 

The Equipment You’ll Need for YouTube Videos

Beginnings are humble, and although you don’t need much equipment to start your stardom on YouTube, here are a few ‘musts’. 

  1. First things first, the camera. You don’t need a ridiculously expensive camera to begin your YouTube career. A high-quality one – either on your phone or the built-in camera of your computer, will do the work. You can always upgrade it along the way. 
  2. Although obvious, you’d be surprised how many people skimp on tripods. Let us be frank, no matter how good your camera is if the video is shaky, your viewers will get annoyed and lose interest in your content. 
  3. The third piece of equipment on our list is a microphone. Here’s the thing, people will tolerate an ‘ok’ sound, in fact, they might not even notice that your audio is not top-notch. But, at the first sign of bad quality sound, they’ll bounce. Yeah, we know what you are thinking – the mic on my smartphone/computer is a great one. Sure, but the mics built in the devices cannot really capture a high-quality sound. That is why we suggest you invest in either a USB mic, a shotgun mic, or a lavalier mic. You’ll thank us later for pushing your buttons now.
  4. Last but not least, the video editing software. If the first thing that crosses your mind after you hear video editing software is ‘no way I can afford that’, you need our help. Yes, you are right, video editing software can be really expensive, but every computer should have a basic video editing software already built-in when you buy it – like Apple’s iMovie. 

Bonus tip: Lighting. It would be a real pity to have done all that work and yet, your videos didn’t turn out the way you wanted them to. And it is all because of the terrible lightning. While it goes without saying that you should always aim to shoot in as much natural light as you possibly can, we get that it is not always an option for you. So, write down a soft light kit on your list, should you wish for your videos to have a professional look. 

What Type of Content Works Best for Your Audience and You

Now that we have equipment sorted, and you have almost firmly chosen to go down the YouTuber’s road, get ready to show your passion and sprinkle a bit of magic one video at a time. 

The key is to figure out what your audience cares about all the while having in mind what you stand for as well. The ideas and topics that overlap are something you can use as a basis for your content creation.

Your YouTube content needs to be of premium quality and created with passion.

Folks watch YouTube videos either for fun and entertainment or to educate themselves on various topics. So, your videos need to meet one of the two criteria – or both. The more useful and/or entertaining they are, the more viewers and subscribers you’ll get. 

Some content works for YouTube’s audience, while others might not. But, we cannot recommend you enough to stick to doing things you love, and not to blindly follow what others are already doing. Copycats are not really known for their 15 minutes of fame. Either way, some of the most popular types of videos on YouTube, revolve around product review videos, how-to videos, vlogs, gaming videos, comedy videos, haul videos (typically showing off products, such as clothes, makeup, shopping sprees, etc.), meme videos, educational videos, unboxing videos, prank videos, Q&A videos, and so many more. 

But how to do it?

Take the world-famous PewDiePie for example. This Swede started his YouTube career as early as 2006 and has picked gaming as his niche. His wits, charisma, and hilarity come to spotlight every time you hit the play button on his channel. This says a lot about his dedication to the content he creates, as he is always making sure to be entertaining and educative at the same time. No wonder he surpassed one million subscribers just two years after his channel’s creation.

You might get pumped up about vlogging, but note that creating a single video and taking a six-month break will not get you anywhere. You have to publish content on a regular basis if you want to reach a wider audience. Yes, it might be difficult at moments, but don’t get discouraged if your videos don’t take off in an instant. Just look at the early videos of any famous YouTubers, such as Lilly Singh a.k.a. IISuperwomanII for example. Take a moment and see how they’ve evolved thanks to their work and commitment to providing great content for their communities. 

One of the key metrics you want to pay attention to is the video’s watch-time. See, when your videos get enough viewing time, YouTube starts recommending them to other users. This means your content is engaging and brings value to users, thus it will help you increase (fingers crossed) your subscribers’ list. 

Obtaining the desired watch time, you’ll need to focus on reaching the right kind of audience with the right tags that go in line with the content of the video, and then engaging with your viewers. Naming your titles with carefully chosen words that would attract someone to watch your video (no click-baits). Write a good description of the video (anything between 150 to 250 words) that explains what the video is about. 

Besides all of this, you’ll need to think about the design and images of your channel art.  Channel art might sound like an obnoxious phrase, but in this context, it refers to the thumbnails – a cover image of your video, your profile photo and your channel’s banner.

In the vast sea of videos, you would want yours to stand out and get the views. That’s why a visual part of the channel has to be attention-grabbing. And while we’ll cover this aspect of your brand in more detail in our following article series’ post, you can get a jump start with Youtube’s Creator Academy’s video on how to make thumbnails

Take Your Game To The Next Level With a Personal Website

Posting content on social media is fun and can be beneficial but have you ever stopped to think what would happen if those platforms suddenly stopped to exist? It’s a super scary thought, right? 😱

If you analyze some of your favourite influencers you might notice they invested their time and energy into creating their own website. We are pretty positive you’ve stumbled upon the amazing urban monk and viral content creator Jay Shetty or lovely fashion blogger and model Stefania Ferrario on your news feed. So it happens both of them have a personal website along with an amazing social media presence. 

So, whether you’re making videos, podcasts or photo content, your website should feature your creations and show the full character of your brand. Think of it as your online home – you can do with it whatever you want. You have full control over design and content, so let your creative juices flowing. 

A personal website is your online headquarters, a place where you can showcase your creations.

We understand you are quite familiar with the ways of Instagram and Youtube and that you might consider building a personal website to be next-level stuff. Don’t worry, the good news is you don’t have to have everything set up and figured out right away. Start with basics and choose your domain name.

Read more: How to Choose a Perfect Domain Name

Let’s consider this scenario: You are a bright new star on the YouTube/Instagram scene. As your brand evolved and you got better reach, you see that protecting your brand name is something you need. If you are lucky, the domain corresponding to your brand name is still available. If not, you might need to go through some trouble getting it for yourself. To prevent this from happening, you should register your personal domain name at the same time as starting your influencer career on social media – you don’t want somebody potentially feeding off of your hard work. This also means unifying your brand name, domain name and social media handles!

Then in time, you can learn step-by-step how to set up a personal website, which is no longer an unimaginably complicated and demanding thing to do. 🙂 In case you were wondering what to include on your website, here are some ideas:  

  • Have a written trail of who you are and present yourself to your followers and the world by writing your biography.
  • Publish your portfolio on the website.
  • People will want to get in touch with you, so make sure you have a contact page clearly visible.
  • Links to your social media profiles which will make it easier for people to connect with you on their preferred network
  • Encouragement to join your email lists which can give you greater control of your online interactions. Chances are that the people who truly enjoy and love what you do and follow you across all social networks will love to stay connected via email, as well. You can keep your community updated on your latest content and important announcements about your future projects and exciting collaborations.
  • Interesting CTAs that would engage your audience, make them stay a bit longer on your website or connect with you on some other way.
  • And who knows, maybe one day you’ll have an online shop of your own!

A great example of how someone has great social media and YouTube presence that has slowly grown towards a personal website is The Bucket List Family. Over time they have developed a clothes and accessories brand that you can shop on their website. Since they call themselves travelling journalists, all their video content is easily reachable on the destinations section of the main menu. Most importantly, you can sign up to their newsletter and enjoy special perks of being on their ‘friends’ mailing list!

Again, even though it’s highly unlikely, those platforms might stop operating, change their policies, issue insane updates, all of which can potentially cut you off from your followers in a beat. So, another aspect of an email list is that it also serves as a safety net. Finally, your followers, sponsors and the rest of the world will see you in a more professional manner – and that can never hurt! 🙂

Let’s Sum It Up!

So, guys, this makes our second step in helping you become awesome content creators who will allure the audience with their newly acquired storytelling skills. It’s not as hard as you might have thought, right? 🙂

Remember that being a copycat is never cool, and this rule applies to online as to the offline world. Also, no one likes a clickbait! Trust us, your audience will see how much passion you have put in creating the original content and they will appreciate it even more so when they know it helps them in a certain way.

One more thing before you go and experiment with what you’ve learned today. Be mindful not to post the content in the exact same way on every platform you use. That Puppy filter might be cool on Instagram stories when you explain stuff but let’s agree it wouldn’t be as cool for your YouTube channel. But we’ll talk more about it in the next part of our Guide! 🙂 

Oh and once again: don’t forget to follow the advice in our guide for Young Content Creators. Not because we want to say “We did that!”. Nah, more like we have the answers on how to become popular and grow your Instagram and YouTube, and have clearly written them here. 

We good?

Next up: We’re gonna go through the basics of branding for young content creators. You will learn about the messaging and visual identity of your content. Stay tuned!

Author:

Goran Bogunovic

Now, you're probably wondering how I got here! Running a marketing agency, educating people about branding, and helping you to develop your own presence online. To understand, you’ll need to follow me @Domain.Me

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