How brands can work better with YouTubers
Author: Emma Barnes, Partner Development Manager at Boom Video
YouTube. No longer viewed as the wild frontier of five years ago (a strange place populated only by kittens on skateboards), YouTube has evolved to a legitimate platform for advertisers to access huge audiences actively looking to consume and engage with content & creators.
This evolution is in large part due to the emergence of a new type of creator – those who consistently upload fresh, exciting, shocking or informative content on their channels. These personalities build not only large audiences, but also highly engaged ones – all eager to comment, share, like and talk about content.
Working with YouTubers on your company’s brand campaign can be a cost effective way of creating a great piece of content with a ready-made audience and help build your brand’s presence in the social sphere. These guys have highly dedicated, fiercely loyal fan bases that follow their endorsement along with the social media savvy to spread your message beyond YouTube and onto their other platforms.
At Boom we’ve run a number of highly successful brand integrations with our YouTubers and based off that experience here are three recommendations to ensure your YouTube collaboration is a success!
1. Dig deeper when selecting a YouTube personality
Brands & agencies often look to the biggest channels when scouting for YouTube talent, however I think it’s well worth doing a little more digging before selecting a channel to partner with. Check out their back catalogue and get to know the YouTuber. Is their personality a good match with your brand? What kind of brands do they already love and identify with? What is the audience engagement like on their channels? Look at the Likes, the types of comments they are receiving and how they are engaging with these interactions. What are their demographics? Do they match your own target audience?
Working with a network such as Boom can help simplify this process and ensure you’re teaming up with a channel that ticks all the right boxes.
2. Start your planning process with YouTube in mind
As a relatively new form of media execution we often see YouTube channel involvement come later down the line once the creative concept has already been cemented and the traditional media (e.g. TVC’s) already created. However, there is a lot of value in involving channels from the beginning, particularly for digitally-led campaigns. If the content planned is going to live on the YouTuber’s channel it is essential that there be a collaborative creative process from the very beginning in order to get the best results from the content (more on this in the next point!). On the other hand, circumstances may mean a better strategy will be to leverage the YouTuber’s star power outside of their channel. In this case having them cast as the lead in your latest commercial could be a way of maintaining 100% control over the content and messaging, whilst working with you to migrate their existing audience over to your brand’s online home.
3. Authenticity & collaboration is key
Consumers of YouTube are more open then ever to the idea of brands within shows – after all, what would a ‘beauty haul’ video be without brands? Having said that, this audience is a savvy bunch and won’t hold back if they think they’re being tricked, or sold something – whether it may be a brand message or a product – that isn’t authentic.
Overly forcing brand messaging into the video that isn’t a natural fit for the channel is tantamount to a brand shooting itself in the foot. The more you force the brand’s place in the video, the less credibility both the channel and the brand have, and rather than having a positive effect, it could actually be potentially damaging to both parties.
YouTube creators can integrate brands naturally into their content in ways that are entertaining and informative without risking either the brand or channel’s integrity. In order to do this advertisers must view their work with YouTubers as collaborations, rather then outright ownership over the content & creative idea. The more the brand & channel can collaborate at the very start of the project (leading us back to the importance of planning with YouTube in mind) the more opportunity the YouTube channel will have to input how the content can be shaped so their audience engage with it in a positive manner, while maintaining the key messaging the brand wants to convey. Ultimately, brands and YouTube channels can work together to create amazing content that appeals to their audiences, as long as there is plenty of input from both sides!