If you haven’t heard of Sibu Mpanza you probably aren’t spending enough time on the internet. Sibu is a 22 year old YouTuber that is changing the game in South Africa and proving that YouTube can be a full time job.
You would expect somebody like Sibu to have hundreds of thousands of subscribers but that is not the case. He’s managed to navigate South Africa’s unique YouTube space by making thought provoking but hilarious videos about social issues, race, gender and current affairs. His videos partnered with a fierce online fan base that has landed him work with top brands like Jameson, Standard Bank, Dunkin’ Donuts and Take-a-lot.com.
According to Sibu, if you work smart in the SA YouTube space you can make anything between R3000 to R100 000. We sat down with him to find out how exactly, in the short space of three years, he has managed to monetise his YouTube channel. Here are his top tips.
“Be yourself.” People will see right through you if you are fake. Sib’s content may at times be controversial but he is not willing to change anything now that big brands have come into the picture. “I would never change who I am or my content for a brand – they know who I am before any contract is signed.”
“Don’t chase the money. You wont make anything for at least two years. You need to build your following and master your craft first then get a pay off.”
Sibu started YouTube’ing while studying at UCT and only made the move to full time YouTuber when brands had already started wanting to work with him.
Social media is a major key
Social media is very important. “You can’t run a successful YouTube account without being equally active on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. That is where people will get to know you, where you’ll make most of your fans and where you can put your name out there.”
The biggest YouTubers in the world all have equally strong social media accounts and use those accounts to make money as well.
Sibu has a PR company, project manager and accountant helping him with his business (yes, you need to think of your YouTube channel as a business). It may seem easy but if you really want to monetise and make the right decisions, you will need assistance.
Drifting from one brand to another is not going to help you in the long run. You need to build a relationship with brands – this helps your audience see that you are authentic as well.
Get your subscribers up
Subscribers are important, specifically on the international scene – which is where Sibu is trying to be. Also, did you know once you pass 30 000 subscribers YouTube will actually pay you?
“In SA views and engagement are more important that subscribers but it is still important to try and get your numbers up.”
Don’t rest on your laurels
Step up to brands and ask to work with them. “Nothing is effortless, you can’t be afraid to ask for things – whether it is cash or free stuff, it is important that brands know you exist.”
“If you’re trying to make YouTube your full-time job, let brands know from the outset that making money is your aim. Set up a rate card for videos and social media posts. Know your worth and don’t work for peanuts.”