Video Essentials

Stream Con NYC Offers Tips on Connecting Millennials With Brands

Snapchat star Shonduras, Rob McCarty of PopShorts, and Trevor Guthrie of Giant Spoon.

Snapchat star Shonduras, Rob McCarty of PopShorts, and Trevor Guthrie of Giant Spoon at Stream Con NYC.

Stream Con NYC blew into New York City today, showing itself as the East Coast’s answer to VidCon. Today was Industry Day, with a variety of panels offering brands advice on connecting with social media influencers. While YouTube stars have a strong relationship with their fans, many Stream Con NYC presenters emphasized the careful relationship that needs to exist between influencers and brands for marketing campaigns to go well.

During the session “Increasing Millennial Reach Through YouTube Influencers Over Traditional TV Ads,” Ricky Ray Butler, senior vice president of digital of Corbis, gave the audience a list of dos and don’t for working with influencers.

  • Do: Communicate brand objectives clearly and specifically. Have a list of four or five talking points for the influencer, but let the influencer create the content.
  • Do: Make it a priority to reach consensus. If the deal feels awkward, change what you’re doing or kill the deal.
  • Do: Be open to different genres. Working in unusual areas increases reach. Focus on connecting with the right target audience, and don’t be concerned if online content feels too raw or unprofessional. That might be what makes it look authentic to young viewers.
  • Do: Work with a partner that understands the negotiation process and has a good relationship with influencers. Your partner should also understand the FTC’s rules on sponsorships.
  • Don’t: Try to have complete creative control. Resist the temptation to control how a message is said, or to have a team on-site during the video shoot.
  • Don’t: Over or under pay. Top influencers get offers from hundreds of brands. Know their value.
  • Don’t: Expect a TV commercial. This is a whole different process.
  • Don’t: Change objectives at the last minute. Adding elements at a later stage will effect the product negatively.

Don’ts were also a major part of the panel “Shonduras: Tactics Every Marketer Needs to Drop When Working With Influencers,” in which Snapchat star Shonduras (aka Shaun McBride) talked about working with brand sponsors.

Brands often try to hide their product in the background of a video, McBride said, believing that such an integration is more organic. That’s the wrong approach; showing the host embracing the brand is more honest and effective. When the host embraces a sponsor he or she obviously likes it creates a cool and fun atmosphere, McBride said. He regularly holds sponsored product giveaways that get huge responses. He’s also gone on trips provided by sponsors and shared the journey with his followers.

Marketers should match their goals with the right influencer, McBride continued. While some teen stars can deliver big numbers, fans can tell whether or not the presenter genuinely likes the product. When McBride gets too many sponsorship requirements from a brand, he creates content that checks all the boxes, but believes the content suffers. Results are better when the brand takes a hands-off approach. When working with brands, he prefers to build long-term relationships that feels organic.

It’s important for influencers and brands to meet in the middle, McBride said. They should exchange pitches and hold multiple phone calls before the campaign launches. Brands should never work with influencers who are too busy to take their calls, he cautioned. There are a lot of millionaire 17-year-olds who won’t get on the phone.

At the end of the session, Rob McCarty, co-founder of PopShorts, offered his eight commandments of influencer marketing:

  1. Thou shalt disclose if the content is sponsored.
  2. Thou shalt pay influencers on-time and within a reasonable term.
  3. Thou shalt speak to an influencer’s following in his/her native tongue.
  4. Thou shalt have a timeline planned out in advance allowing for two creative revisions for content.
  5. Thou shalt have discussed all expectations/deliverables with talent before campaign commences.
  6. Thou shalt have reasons for selecting a specific influencer to work with.
  7. Thou shalt not pretend to be someone you are not.
  8. Thou shalt treat your influencer with respect and as your co-pilot.


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