Why the Fans Matter on YouTube

When YouTube discontinued the response video it seemed like that might be the beginning of the movement away from community based models on YouTube. The humble, and seldom watched, response video was not designed for others to watch, but for the YouTuber that called for the video to be able to connect with his or her audience. 

It is like having a private conversation in a mall. Yes, people can over hear you. No, that is not the point. 

It seems like YouTube is moving to a celebrity and brand space and it is important for the fans to still be seen, heard, and included. 

Why?

Because those are the eyeballs that are being bought and sold. Without fans and the communities they form, the whole business model, and almost any business model, falls apart. Expectations for the roles of fans are changing in the minds of fans. Fans want to be involved and included, granted. I am not talking about the audience, but the fans. Where most of an audience enjoys something, not all of them are going to evangelize that something. 

For those who do evangelize what they love, there are more and more ways to professionalize that love and form micro-communities within a community. 

For example, not all Beauty Gurus on YouTube know each other, but some do know others. Those social circles create smaller fandoms within the Beauty community. Yes, many fans will watch one from here and one from there, but if a fan loves one guru in a social circle, she will probably know of the rest of that group of friends. 

…but I digress. 

Fans evangelize and word-of-mouth is the strongest kind of marketing a brand can get, so engaging the fans seems intuitive. How to engage the fans is the trick here. Word-of-mouth is so strong because it is a genuine opinion, not a commercial. In order to be seen as on the level of fans, brands will actually have to get on the level of fans. This means thinking about them as people, who incorporate products into their identities, not as numbers and purchasing power. 

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