The question of whether or not to work with YouTube stars is a hot topic in video marketing. Can your brand benefit by partnering with a YouTube celeb with a large and enthusiastic audience, or should you create your own path to your target customers?
We spoke to Zach James who, as the cofounder of the brand software-as-a-service and YouTube management platform Zefr, is firmly on the side of partnering with the right influencers. Zefr’s BrandID platform helps companies locate and work with YouTube personalities.
“Fans are becoming fans of fans,” James says. On YouTube, viewers are watching others talk about the brands they like. There are thousands of potential spokespeople already talking about brands on YouTube, he says. Brands need only reach out to them and get those video creators delivering the right message.
The BrandID platform shows companies all the YouTube videos that talk about their products, ranking the videos by importance. Once brands have determined who they want to work with, they need to reach out to them. While some prominent YouTubers have management, James says it’s easier to work with YouTube stars by contacting them directly.
As for why companies should work with YouTube influencers, James offers three reasons:
For brands looking to attract younger customers, YouTube is a big asset. Younger people don’t watch television as much as older demographics, but they do watch favorite YouTube channels. Working with YouTube stars helps brands attract a new audience.
When working with YouTubers, brands can dictate the script, but James recommends letting the host speak off-the-cuff. That way the message comes across as a lot more authentic. “If you let go of the control of your message a little bit, the rewards that come back to you will be worth the risk,” James says.
YouTube influencers have fans, and those fans will amplify the brand’s message, carrying it to new friends and followers. Working with YouTube celebs carries a significant earned media bump.
But the question remains: Should brands rely heavily on influencers when they could be using that energy to develop their own bonds with customers? According to James, it’s not an either/or proposition.
“The brands that have been the most successful have the most control over paid, owned, and earned media on YouTube,” James says. Brands don’t get the full benefit of what can be done on YouTube if they focus only on one or two of those areas.
So consider working with the right YouTube influencers for your brand, but don’t skimp on creating original videos for the official brand site.