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YouTube Me

Published 10 years ago
By Forbes Africa

He has more than 190,000 subscribers to his YouTube channel; more than 10 million views and more than 130,000 Twitter followers; 70,000 Facebook subscribers and chances are, you’ve never heard of him. In his own words, “I am a South African teenager who sometimes talks to a camera.” He is, Caspar Lee.

His dry humor tweets range from “I had four too many strawberry milkshakes today” to “If my feet are happy then I am happy” and some which are slightly more risqué. The video content is made up of such simple concepts as babysitting his niece and nephew, prank videos that include getting passersby to send suggestive text messages to friends and a guide on how to be awesome.

“Usually I make videos that I edit and I do funny things in them,” says Lee in one of his YouTube videos.

The 18-year-old matric student, residing in Knysna, South Africa, started making videos in November 2011 out of boredom because he wanted to do more with his spare time. It was then that the self-confessed gaming addict turned to YouTube.

“And then I made another video and another video,” says Lee in his YouTube monologue titled ‘Pro YouTuber’.

“I’d won a competition in which I received R40,000 ($4,600) worth of equipment from Google including a Canon 60D with an L-Series Lens, two studio lights, microphones, stabilizers, other lenses and tripods,” says Lee in an email to me.

Yet, true fame only came when he started collaborating with YouTube stars in the United Kingdom such as Jack Harries (JacksGap), Sam Pepper (OfficialSamPepper), Marcus Butler (MarcusButlerTV) and Alfie Deyes (Pointlessblog).

“I went to England and met some of the best people in the world and they made videos with me,” says Lee.

This was a case of crossover audience marketing at its best. People started subscribing to Casper Lee’s YouTube account and now he is in a position to record his social media videos full-time.

“I’m gaining 1,700 new subscribers on YouTube a day at the moment—that’s more than 50,000 in the past month,” he says.

However, the story is so much more lucrative, as there are some economic rewards that come with online fame.

“Most people don’t know how lucrative YouTube is for the top 1,000 channels. It is a full time gig! Not only do you get paid to make videos on YouTube, you also get paid for all the other things that go along with it such as selling T-shirts, broadcasting live webcam shows, sponsorships, and so much more! It is so exciting,” he says.

Although he was hesitant to reveal how much he is earning to justify being a full-time YouTuber, Lee assures me that the top YouTubers are making a small fortune through shared advertising revenue models with YouTube and promotional work.

With YouTube comments galore from adoring fans which run along the lines of “How do you make your hair all sexy like that?” and “Hi, my name is Alison and I’m a unicorn,” it becomes quite evident that Lee is a hit with the ladies or just a hit in general with those who enjoy an energetic youngster from the Western Cape. In Caspar’s opinion, 99% of the things that go viral are either really funny, really sexy or really cute. The formula has proven to work for him.

Social media tends to be a bit like compound interest. The more followers you have, the more you are bound to receive. When asked about the secret to his fame, Lee enlightens me that it has something to do with being South African, which is a rarity on YouTube and the fact that he is very open and genuine.

With all this social media traction, not seen by some of the country’s biggest media and celebrity brands, what could marketing professionals and brands learn from Caspar Lee?

“I see so many marketers and brands automatically sharing everything they do and it just becomes irritating. Less is definitely more when it comes to social media. I don’t really follow any brands unless they’re funny because if I want to buy one of their products I’ll research it myself rather than having them shove their products down my throat every five minutes,” he says.

There is no talk of university degrees or studying in the near future. He plans to move to London in 2013 to become a professional YouTuber, or in other words, to record himself, in a room, upload it onto YouTube and make money through endorsements and advertising whilst entertaining a new following of people, that have subscribed to his accounts, since you started reading this article.

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Related Topics: #Caspar Lee, #Internet, #November 2012, #Subscribers, #Views, #YouTube.