With over 2 billion logged-in Youtube users each month, how do influencers make their videos stand out? We interviewed YouTube influencer Stephen Sharer, who has over 7.6 million Youtube subscribers to date (and over 444,000 Instagram followers). His fans are astutely called “the Sharers” and he has built a brand around his slogan, “Share The Love.” His very enthusiastic videos are a PG series of adventurous activities with his siblings – usually taking place in his own backyard. How does he take everyday objects and surroundings and make them worthy of millions of views? We chatted with Stephen to see how he has grown his brand and acquired his success:
Q: Can you tell me a little bit about when you started your channel and how it’s grown through the years?
S: I started the Stephen Sharer Youtube channel in January of 2017. Within the first 3 months, we started gaining thousands of subscribers and within six months, I had over 300 million views with 1.5 million YouTube subscribers. Today, the Stephen Sharer Youtube channel continues to grow and now has over 3.7 million subscribers and over 1 billion views!
Q: Who exactly is your target demographic and how do you appeal to them?
S: The great thing about my channel is that it targets a wide range of audiences. It started off with mainly young boys around ages 6 to 15, but since the initial start we have had a huge female demographic tune in as well as parents, grandparents and even toddlers (both boys and girls). Brands love that I appeal to a wide range of demographics and am super family- friendly. It’s comparable to a modern Disney Channel!
Q: How did you come up with your “Share The Love” branding?
S: The Share The Love brand was a collaborative effort between my brother Carter Sharer and I. I have always been about spreading peace, love and positivity, so Carter searched for a logo that would symbolize that and found the sign language symbol that stands for “I love you.” From there, we started our slogan “Stay Awesome and Share The Love, Peace” and the “Share The Love” symbol and brand was created. Today, the Share The Love brand is world renowned with merchandise being purchased and worn all over the globe. Our “Share The Love” hit song also has over 38 million Youtube views.
Q: How have you built your community of fans and followers?
S: The community of fans and followers (known as the “Sharer Family” or “Sharer Fam”) has continued to grow due to the strong branding of positive content that Carter Sharer (brother), Grace Sharer (sister), Otter (our dog) and I have produced. Children and young adults all around the world love the creative concepts we come up with and parents and grandparents love allowing their toddlers, children and grandchildren to watch because they’re filled with educational fun, do-it-yourself projects, and activities that encourage you to think, get off the couch and be active.
Q: How do you keep your community engaged and continuously watching, liking, and commenting?
S: Our community stays engaged due to the fact that many of our videos end in suspense and are continued later on, as well as the virality of the topics we choose. New followers may tune in because of the trending topics we center our videos around, but will subscribe and join the Sharer Family community because of the love, positivity and encouragement to get up, explore and try something new.
Q: What has been your most viewed video? Why do you think it was so successful/shareable?
S: My most viewed video besides the “Share The Love” music video is the “MOST DANGEROUS NERF MOD! (EXPLODING COCA COLA).” This video was so successful because of the virality of the idea. Carter and I took something as simple as a Nerf Gun toy, modded it with a household item, and gave it the ability to explode Coca Cola and other sodas! The idea was simple, yet the result was a fun DIY hack that made soda explode and blast all over the place. Anyone can do it!
Q: How do you keep your content fresh and exciting?
S: Every day is new and nothing is going to be the exact same as yesterday. Things change and so do people’s interests. In order to stay relevant, fresh and exciting I am always thinking of creative ideas and searching for new products I enjoy playing with that I think will make for an excellent video. Something I get excited about is always worth sharing! People always ask, “How do you come up with your ideas?” and are astonished with my answer which is simply, “I just think of something awesome to do.”
Shortly after watching a few of my videos on the Stephen Sharer YouTube channel, viewers start thinking open-mindedly and consider doing things outside of their normal habits and comfort zone. We try to get their creative juices flowing so they will suggest crazy ideas for videos we should create next, which we often do! By taking their suggestions and giving them exactly what they want to see, we keep them engaged and the Sharer Family continues to grow!
Influencers and the Future of Video Marketing
Stephen Sharer’s success on YouTube is impressive, with subscribers and views in the millions. But the success of his self-made videos isn’t even an anomaly. At the end of 2019, over 16,000 YouTube channels had over one million subscribers – and that number continues to grow. The boom of loyal YouTube subscribers indicates something important about the future of video marketing and how brands can secure their audiences.
Much like user-generated content, influencer videos are able to deliver on authenticity. Prioritizing story over an over-the-top production value lets audiences build a more authentic and lasting relationship with an influencer, or even a brand.
To build and maintain an audience, even the biggest brands need to pay attention to the continued success of YouTube influencers, like Sharer. The next generation isn’t easily wooed, and they want video content that feels real. So, what will your next video look like?
Updated on September 18th, 2020
Alanna Goodman, Marketing and Communication for Green Buzz Agency. Emily Herman contributed to this post.