Viewers watch hundreds of millions of hours of YouTube videos every day, making it a great place to host social media video productions. We create marketing videos for businesses here as part of our creative video production services. Check out our top camera guide.

Each minute, there are an estimated 300+ hours of YouTube videos being uploaded. The reach and power of this has been demonstrated by many artists, celebrities, and comedians who have launched their careers through simple videos – in some cases overnight.

How do you become a success on YouTube? Guiding a YouTube channel to fame is not an easy task. To get things going, you can speed up the process by purchasing views, likes, and subscribers. It’s no substitute for organic growth, but it can definitely get the ball rolling. Though as a video marketing agency we do not recommend doing this and we will explain why in another post.

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Let Us Give you Inspiration

To give you some inspiration and handy ideas to help you along the way our creative video production team has decided to shine some light. Take a look at how these YouTube stars grew their channels. What can you learn from them? Perfect for your social media video productions.

1. Michelle Phan

Michelle Phan got a humble start on YouTube. She was one of the earliest YouTubers to share personal tutorials. In 2007, she uploaded her first short video on how to apply natural makeup that today has more than 11 million views. Great face for selling marketing videos for business!

Her tenth upload, “Seductive Smokey Eyes Tutorial,” surpassed 100k views in record time. By 2009, after social media sites shared her Valentine’s day-themed video “Romantic Valentine Look” her channel reached 4.5 million views. It wasn’t until her “Lady Gaga Poker Face Tutorial video” in May 2009, however, which reached 1.6 million views in just two weeks, that she really got put in the spotlight.

Almost 10 years and more than 8 million subscribers later, she has now built an empire. She has a beauty social network, a sampling program, her own YouTube network, and her own makeup line, Ipsy. Ipsy raised $100 million in September 2015, and is valued at $500 million.

Advice from Michelle: “The beauty of the internet is there’s a niche market for everything and if you can focus on it you can build a sustainable and viable business of it.”

2. Lily Singh

This Toronto native is now one of YouTube’s superstars, and has even landed a role in a Bollywood movie. Besides being a YouTube personality, Lily is a rapper, actress, motivational speaker, and video blogger.

She operates as a one-woman production company. She is her own boss, editor, shooter, writer, and everything else. Before her success on YouTube she was studying psychology and planning to go to graduate school. She discovered YouTube, uploaded a video, and the rest was history.

She started her channel in 2010 and, suffering from depression, she started doing videos to help herself and other people about their circumstances. Now she has built a channel with more than 10 million subscribers and is Forbes’ third highest-paid YouTube Star, making $7.5 million last year.

Advice from Lily: “There’s no escalators, there’s only staircases to success, there is no substitute for hard work.”

3. Smosh

It was in 2005, when new high school graduates, Anthony Padilla and Ian Hecox, discovered what it’s like to go viral. These two were joking around playing with a webcam and lip-synching to the Power Rangers theme, and decided to upload the video on MySpace. That’s how it all began.

A little later in November 2005, they uploaded a video lip-synching to the Pokemon theme song. This one was a huge hit, eventually going viral and amassing millions of views.

Today they are Smosh, and they’ve gone way beyond lip-sync videos and moved into comedy shorts, where they dominate the industry. Their channel has more than 22 million subscribers and is one of the most popular on all of YouTube.

Since then Smosh was acquired by Defy Media in 2013, and they now have more channels to monetize. They’ve launched Smosh Games, and even starred in their own film, “Smosh: The Movie.”

Advice from Anthony and Ian: “For some reason, to me, it’s the most exciting to try new things, and over the past 10 years, we’ve tried a ton of new things and sometimes they work and sometimes they don’t,” says Padilla. “If we would have just kept doing the same lip-synch videos from the start we would have never stayed relevant.”

4. Tyler Oakley

Tyler Oakley was a freshman at Michigan State University when he uploaded his first video in 2007. The video was about keeping in touching with friends who are attending different universities. His videos eventually grew into different topics like pop culture, sexuality, and mental health, and has used this platform to promote LGBT rights.

He films his videos mostly from his living room. Nonetheless, he has been able to grow his influence to massive proportions and has interviewed some famous personalities like Barack Obama, Michelle Obama, the band One Direction and the singer Idina Menzel. He was also able to sign a deal with Ellen DeGeneres to create his own digital talk show. Tyler has undertaken so many social media video productions it’s crazy!

He now has more than 8 million subscribers and is Forbes’ sixth highest-paid YouTube Star in 2016, earning more than $6 million dollars. He was also named as one of Time Magazine’s 30 Most Influential People on the internet.

Advice from Tyler: “It’s not going to happen overnight. And if you do go viral with your first video, I would say that’s more of a curse than a blessing, because there’s so much expectation of what you then have to keep doing.”

5. PewDiePie

Completing the list of YouTube success stories is the highest paid YouTube star for 2 years in a row: Felix Ulf Kjellberg, more famously known as PewDiePie.

He joined YouTube in 2010 and to this day, he is the most-watched video-game commentator online – and that’s saying something, given how big this niche has become. In order to fund his videos, he sold prints of his art projects and worked at a hotdog stand. Two years later, he surpassed one million subscribers in his channel.

Since 2013, he has held the title of the most subscribed user on YouTube. In 2016, he was named as Forbes’ highest-paid YouTube star, taking home $15 million dollars which was $3 million more than he did in 2015. He is the first person to ever reach 10 billion YouTube views, and was named one of Time Magazine’s Most Influential People of 2016.

Advice from PewDewPie: “I just want to entertain; that is my main objective and what comes before everything else.”


So there you have it, our complete top 5 breakdowns of the most successful YouTubers. Good luck with your own social media production projects and corporate video production tasks! You can see what magic we can do for some of our clients. We have been successfully raising the profile of many other YouTube sensation such as Food with Chetna and Mr Doode.

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About Us

Modus Film is a video production company based in Kent and London. Our services are nationwide and our video marketing agency can help you make some groundbreaking content. If you want to discuss this further contact us or better yet see how video marketing can transform your current marketing mix. We are now fully PPE compliantPlus we carry on working!

Do You Need to Talk to an Expert?

As video marketing experts we are specialists in all forms of video marketing. Here at Modus Film, we have completed many projects for our clients that have required us to define a digital strategy with really great results. If you want to speak to a specialist email [email protected] or call us on 01233 273 273.

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