YouTube has been increasingly promoting its homegrown talent to advertisers. YouTube vlogger Michelle Phan partnered with Lancome, Bethany Mota partnered with Aeropostale, and the Fine Brothers partnered with Friskies.
Brands have been partnering with social media influencers for years. It can be an effective way for a brand to combine content creation with audience reach. But it’s tempting for brands to chase viral to the exclusion of everything else. Marketers shouldn’t forget the importance of brand fit.
This is especially interesting to watch as brands newly try to appeal to Millennial audiences, sometimes in awkward ways.
Fortunately, channels like YouTube feature infinite niches. There are potential content partnerships for every imaginable brand. But brands need to take the time to find the right fit.
Marketers can struggle with social media because their historical bias is to create commercials. Content creators can struggle with how to incorporate a commercial message into their work. The ideal is when there’s a genuine connection between the two and the freedom to collaborate creatively.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on how best to partner with social media influencers.
(Marketoonist Tuesday: I’m giving away a signed cartoon print. Just share an insightful comment to this week’s post by 5:00 PST on Tuesday. Thanks!)
9 CommentsJoin the Discussion
Ideally you should share something in common. In fact, not just one thing. The more the better. Values are a good place to start. A similar audience is helpful. And a mutual respect. Let them do their thing. And then you stand half a chance.
Gail Gardner says
While some major brands have long worked with mom blogs, I know of some huge opportunities and don’t really see brands partnering with them yet. There are some very large gardening brands on YouTube such as GrowingYourGreens you would think major brands would have already scooped up.
There are opportunities beyond YouTube. For example, both #blogchat and #dadchat Twitter chats are huge. Brands could reach targeted audiences by sponsoring either of those.
It appears it is still early days for developing best practices for identifying and working with influencers. The best way to find them is to identify one in your niche and then ask them. They’ll know who else is highly visible in that niche.
Nate Challen says
If you’ve been listening to the StartUp podcast, Alex Bloomberg and Gimlet have come up with a fantastic way to approach this. During the ad breaks, they interview people who work at the sponsor, much in the same style of the show. Makes for interesting and engaging ads, that I never feel like I want to fast-forward ads from SquareSpace, MailChimp, and MeUndies. On the other hand, if you haven’t been listening to the StartUp podcast, you should start.
Average Jane says
Friskies is doing an especially nice job with video lately. In particular, their “Dear Kitten” series voiced by Ze Frank and the recent “Kitten Therapy” video. Both are branded with a very light touch – just enough that you know what company is responsible for the video but not a constant barrage of logos and brand messaging.
Makhdoom Ali Fareed says
I think it depends upon the Geo Location of the brand. If we talk in a sense like that of developed countries then the idea of content creation and its compatibility with the brand image does makes a difference. But if we look at the under developed countries take Pakistan for instance, here no body bothers about “Compatibility” issue.
And its really important for the Ad Agency to select a compatible source for the brand to attach it with and the message it carries….!
C. Hsu says
As marketers try to tap into the power of social media stars, it’s important to aim to provide the right content to the right people at the right time. A recent campaign of Uniqlo (#HeattechPower) feature multiple videos of four YouTube stars at these influencers’ channels. These videos offer valuable, entertaining content (dance, mad science, visual illusions, etc.) to the Millennial audience while at the same time bring out a relevant brand message for Uniqlo’s HEATTECH clothing line.
http://www.uniqlo.com/us/special/blog/post/powered-by-heattech/ (with Youtube videos)
Your Marketoon inspired a blog post I’ve been meaning to write. Here’s a link and thank you! http://janetfouts.com/get-the-millennials/
Rustin Banks says
I’ve been working with social media influencers for 5 years now. It’s effective but really really hard to scale. How do I find the influencers? How do I manage them? How do I measure results. When I started, it was all manual – searching on Google and Managing and Tracking with spreadsheets. Now with companies like TapInfluence (disclosure: founder) the goal is to make it automated and scaleable just like other types of marketing. From someone in the industry, your cartoon made my day!
Joshua Rodriguez says
As a YouTuber myself who is constantly looking for brands to work with that match my core values and message, I gotta say it’s hard/annoying sometimes when companies don’t really think about whether their product or service matches your audience.
I feel like there are a lot of generalizations made by big companies, a big one being that they assume all online audiences are the same. I’ve turned down plenty of companies that simply want to toss a link in my description or for me to just wear their product.