If you're a YouTuber, chances are, you've heard the age old question once or twice: What will you do when YouTube dies?
It's a question we all shrug our shoulders to and respond that our businesses will be thriving online and off, so it won't affect us too much. OR, we reply that we'd simply "get a real job" or "find a new hobby."
Today, a number of Vine stars are doing just that.
Vine is closing down shop, just four years after being acquired by Twitter. The viral micro-videos won't be gone tomorrow, but they'll be history soon. I'm not worried about a lack of funny video content thanks to Snapchat, Instagram, Musically, and the social sites of the future, but I do worry about the creators that made a name for themselves on the platform. "Viners" reached such great heights; some of them starred in movies, they won awards, and the platform itself boasted a lofty 200 million monthly viewers... But it still wasn't enough.
And as different as the two platforms are, I have to admit that as a YouTuber, today's news shook me a bit. YouTube is powerful, but it's not invincible. Someday it will end, as all good things do. So what does that mean for its creators?
The answer is simple: Being a social media star (no matter how bright) on a single platform is rarely enough. YouTube phenomenons like Michelle Phan and Bethany Mota are successful because the platform is just one piece to their puzzle. If YouTube "died" today, would you still know who they were? More importantly, would they still be getting paid? I sure think so.
But they're giants in a world of creators that are a dime a dozen; I get that. Not all of us can have clothing lines, join the cast of Dancing With the Stars, or found a successful subscription service. But we can all diversify our revenue streams. This is how:
One Platform Is Not Enough
I'm not telling you to create an account on every social media platform out there. In fact, that's one quick way to annul your chances of ever building a loyal fanbase. But you should be on the ones that make sense for you and your brand, and you should nurture any platform that your name is on.
Start making t-shirts. Create an online course. Offer consulting services to up and coming creators. Start an online store. I don't care what it is. BUT YOU CAN'T RELY ON YOUTUBE ADS ALONE. You just can't. And even if you could, why would you want to? Chances are you're not going to want to be 70 years old still filming makeup tutorials. Get serious about your business. And do it now, while your audience is still engaged and easy to reach.
Develop Real Relationships
If you work with brands or other creators online, you should probably get their email address sooner than later. If YouTube disappears tomorrow, how will they reach you? Bringing your communication to real-world level can solidify the relationships that have taken you years to build, and who knows where your next focus group, employer, or customer will come from?
Never Stop Learning
I'm not a social media expert (they don't really exist); I just know how to adapt. And adaptation and constant change are the only things that you can truly predict in the world of social. Get ahead of the curve by studying industry blogs, attending networking events to learn about the next big thing, and doing more listening than you do speaking. Some basic skills you'll probably need for any social network that comes along include: photography, design, SEO, writing, and marketing strategy, to name a few. Learn them now so you can do anything later.
What do you think about Vine's demise? Click to let me know!