According to a recent survey by Variety magazine, YouTube stars are more popular among U.S. teens than mainstream celebrities. And teens aren’t the only ones taking notice. Many brands have leveraged the growing appeal of YouTube’s biggest traffic-drivers to lend an element of internet celebrity to their events. This spring, for example, Angry Birds game publisher Rovio Entertainment teamed up with YouTube’s No. 1 baking star Rosanna Pansino to create a pop-up shop in New York City where consumers could get a taste of her famous “Angry Birds” cupcakes—and a glimpse at Rovio’s newest Bird, Stella. Pansino was on-hand for the event, where she greeted the media and interacted with crowds lined up around the block.
Unlike most mainstream celebrities, however, many YouTube stars only have their traffic numbers to back up their emerging brands. So for all you marketers out there, it requires a bit more due diligence–and caution–before you find the right match. Here, five ways to navigate a potential partnership with the newest star maker in town—YouTube.
1. Decide if they can handle the heat.
If the internet is a minefield of bad choices, YouTube is a cesspool of trolls and know-it-alls. Make sure you’re ready to deflect trollish attacks, able to trust your soon-to-be YouTube buddy to handle her subscriber base and beat back the attackers.
2. Determine what your approach will be.
There are a few ways to go here. You can use a hiring database like FameBit, which matches brands who want a spokesperson and eager YouTubers who want to get paid. This is certainly the easy way to roll, but it’s also the least effective. Far better is to work with one of the large YouTuber studios like Maker Studios or Fullscreen. There, you’ll work with a talent professional who can help guide you to the right personality for your brand’s goals and help you educate the YouTuber in what you need.
3. Respect one another’s expertise.
Once you’ve fostered a connection with your star, remember this is a relationship. You need each other and both have something to gain, so work together, each of you in your own expertise. You know what your brand wants and needs to communicate to her followers and subscribers. She knows how to do that. If you are up front about your needs, then she can let you know if it’s possible to make that happen with her audience and how best to proceed. Like any newly dating couple, you’re going to need trust and respect.
4. Be open.
I hate to draw the dating analogy again, but as you move into a relationship and your YouTube friend becomes more knowledgeable about your brand, you can become a bit more hands off. Even if this is a one-time or short-term endorsement, let her be open about how you paid for her time and effort. Let her judge her audience and decide how to bring them to your brand.
5. Be cool and be there for YouTube stars.
This is the most important one. Don’t forget that even though YouTube stars “live” in the social sphere, the best way to capitalize on the work you’re putting in with your new personality is with live activations. For many YouTube fans, seeing their favorite online star in real life is a rare and exciting opportunity. Be the brand that brings the two together face-to-face and you might become the next big star.
In this series, EM brings you tips and tricks from pros and experts who eat social media marketing for breakfast. So eat up, and check us out on Twitter @eventmarketer and Facebook.com/eventmarketer for more.