It all started with acne. Daisy Jing, a 28-year-old YouTube vlogger, had struggled with skin problems and decided in 2011 to start reviewing the hundreds of different beauty products she had tried to solve her skin issues. She soon gained a following of more than 200,000 YouTube followers and 50 million views, launching a now multi-million-dollar beauty product line named Banish from her laptop.
“I’ve tried hundreds of different beauty products then I review them and share with my followers who are also suffering with the same problem as mine,” Jing said. Those reviews earned the trust of her followers and a name in the beauty industry as a great resource for consumers. “At that time, I was able to make my own natural skin care line focused on combating skin blemishes. Eventually, my followers saw great results on my skin and encouraged me to launch my own business. Now we are a team of 15+ men & women, inspiring confidence in others.”
Here’s how Daisy made her reviews successful on YouTube and parlayed that success into launching a successful small business.
When did you decide to start your YouTube channel?
I have a problematic acne-prone skin, so I’m always on the lookout for a good skin care brand and research. I became passionate about it and always share my reviews on my channel. My followers love it because they feel like they also joined me on the before, after and progression of my skin.
How do you decide which topics to cover?
It depends on what’s hot and what’s not, or what skin condition I’m experiencing that time. It usually also depends on my mood, the holiday and special occasion where I’m at.
Is there a ‘secret sauce’ to a successful YouTube video?
There’s no ideal length actually, but there are a few things that make for a good video with staying power on YouTube. One secret is to be vulnerable and put yourself out there—share yourself with other people, make your life an interesting part of their day. I just share my life and experiences with my followers, knowing that they’re relating to whatever I experience.
When did you know your channel was becoming successful?
When I started averaging a few hundred views per video. It’s just awesome when people comment on videos I posted a few years back, and they identify with something I’ve gone through and develop a very strong connection with me. When that started happening, I knew my YouTube channel was growing and becoming successful.
Did you get a loan to start out or struggle with managing the finances of the business?
I didn’t take out a loan, but I did take on credit cards, and purchased a lot in the beginning because I needed capital to buy products and equipment to make quality videos. When I started about 6 years ago, it seemed like the threshold to enter YouTube was lower, but now to make a content and production, you need a huge amount of capital to start a channel. That’s because you need good lighting, cameras, props and the ability to shoot the video from different angles.
Did you make a conscious effort to gain followers and views?
Yes, I made a conscious effort (too conscious, maybe), and had a lot of giveaways. Then I noticed that those who followed me for giveaways didn’t watch me day to day. If I were to do it all over again, I wouldn’t do nearly as many giveaways.
At what point did you know your YouTube efforts were working?
I knew my YouTube efforts were working when companies would pay me to do videos, or they’d send me a ton of products to do videos on their behalf, and sometimes payment was a few hundred dollars. They’d fly me out to go places and cover expenses for me to travel and all that. That’s when I thought I had something really valuable to offer to brands and they wanted me to be a part of that.
What impact does YouTube have on your sales?
My followers love me, and they’re the ones who encouraged me to have my own business. Without them, I wouldn’t have my business today and it wouldn’t be as successful. The reason why my business is accepted is because my followers accepted me first. But now, our sales mainly come from Instagram and Facebook ads. We concentrate and put more efforts on posting there for the moment. We value engagement more highly than number of followers, and that’s why we use the same tactic we did on YouTube to connect with followers on Instagram now.
What advice do you have for small business owners who want to use YouTube to drive sales and awareness?
Use YouTube as a platform to connect with others and know what they’re going through. I believe my video “Growing Up Ugly” really demonstrated the pain I had with my skin and everything I’ve tried and how I felt about it—that established me as an authority, allowing my customers/viewers to really trust that I know what they’re going through and trust the recommendations and products I sell.
Is there anything you would have done differently, or wished someone had told you along the way?
I should’ve been vulnerable and shared really raw emotions and use YouTube to connect with customers earlier.
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