Sunday, September 14, 2014

The Good Kind of YouTube Stardom

Digital word of mouth is a hot commodity, and no one has this masted quite like YouTube stars.

YouTube is an awesome way to showcase products, and YouTube stars have huge influence in saying what's cool and what works. They also enjoy a very loyal and passionate fanbase. The comparatively lengthy video content is at least a marketing tool and at most a valuable friendship between creator and viewer.

Entertainment, fashion and lifestyle YouTube channels dominate in the online cult-like followings, which is why brands tend to emulate their styles and content. The commitment YouTube celebs have to their fans, even in the midst of corporate attention, is quite admirable as well. It'd be wise for brands to use a similar foundation when marketing to audiences via social media.

So, think of this as a launching pad for your long-awaited YouTube stardom. Or at least a quickie  guide for brands who are looking to partner with this influential bunch and/or cultivate a similar following.

1. Embrace the nuances of your brand's behavior. Don't abandon your identity, but do develop an audience-centric mindset.

2. Don't overcommercialize, and be picky about endorsements. Viewers know the difference between a sales pitch and honest usage. Pro-YouTubers suggest incorporating the product or brand in a way that makes sense, and remember it's ok to say no to endorsements or partnerships. Keep the interests of your audience at heart.

3. 30-second pre-roll is annoying and doesn't work. Try a five or 10-second bumper instead. YouTube audiences understand that ads fund their free content, and they're ok with that, but to a point. Relevancy is important if you want to be remembered, too.

4. Don't repeat what you did on TV. Viewers are less passive here, just like other social media platforms. They want the option to interact, and it's difficult to do that with an iteration of a TV spot.

5. Get to know the taste and humor of your intended audience.  It makes it a lot easier to tailor content to their needs.

6. Ulterior motives are not cool. This should be a no-brainer, but worth the reminder. You are trying to build a relationship, not a one-time transaction.

7. Natural growth is far and beyond better than forced growth. Let viewers like you for you. Avoid the overwhelming acts of desperation for likes, shares, favorites, etc... If authenticity shines through and viewers' needs are appropriately met, they will be more inclined to continue a friendship.

8. If you are going to pursue a YouTube channel, make it a priority and keep it maintained. Out-of-date and out-of-touch material isn't doing either party any favors.

9. A genuine interest in viewer happiness. As in, "What is the real reason you are invading YouTube with your product or brand message?"

Good luck to you and to them.

I pulled some wisdom from two websites this week, as well as a few successful YouTubers:

Marketing Magazine article here.

Fast Company article and video here.

Missglamorazzi EvanTube HD iJustine Schmoyoho

Disagree with me or itching for an intellectual debate? Comments open to all.

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