How to use vloggers without selling out
Joining Obama and Queen Elizabeth II, Zoella was recently immortalised as a waxwork in Madame Tussaud’s museum. Vogue’s recent fashion week even dared to replace the front row of senior editors with teenage millennials to reach out to a wider audience. We live in a brave new world where ordinary, talented folk can pick up a camera, amass millions of YouTube subscribers to become mainstream celebrities. The secret to their success is the way they make subscribers feel like a good friend.
Take the SacconeJoly family whose 1.6m subscribers have followed them over the last 6 years from wedding proposal to new house, through pregnancies and now raising 2 kids. Being on this journey with a vlogger develops the kind of loyalty from fans most brands could only dream of.
Clearly this presents a huge opportunity to brands who wish to partner with vloggers and reach their subscriber base. But the appeal of vloggers is that people get to know them really well. Just like with a good friend, fans can immediately tell when they’re being authentic and when they have an agenda.
So how can brands work with vloggers without their fans thinking they’ve sold out? We’ve got four top tips from our recent work with vloggers:
#1 Set the conditions for creativity
Vloggers are creatives in their own right. So instead of setting the creative agenda, brands working with vloggers should see themselves as “enablers”. Getting an influencer to pose in front of a car is different from them letting run riot in a track day experience and filming their reactions. Get influencers to take your challenge, play with your product, meet the people your charity helps. Give them the seed of an idea, relinquish some creative control and see what happens! Setting the conditions requires a healthy dose of creative input, just ask our inventive creative team.
#2 Find a common passion
With 6 dogs and a past record of supporting animal rights charities, the SacconeJolys didn’t take much persuasion to become vlogger ambassadors for our Big Walkies event for the RSPCA. Because we share a canine passion, they continually go above and beyond to create relevant content for us. Sometimes vloggers won’t be closely connected to your cause – but you can still find common interests. The British Heart Foundation for example created a pop up shop to engage a group of fashion vloggers, including Victoria @inthefrow.
#3 It’s okay to pay
As vloggers become celebrities it’s inevitable that they take on agents. We’ve found that sometimes vloggers with a close connection to your cause are willing to work for free – but more often than not will require payment. We think charities should be prepared to pay for their services, if you’ve followed tips #1 and #2 we don’t think a paid working relationship will annoy any fans who find out. We think it’s a worthwhile investment of charity funding too. You’d rarely expect a videographer or media agency to give away their services for free – so why a vlogger? We should begin to think of them as a media channel and content creator, who may or may not donate their fees if they wish.
#4 Try many smaller influencers
Having said that, we know paying influencers if unfeasible for many smaller budget organisations and projects. If this rules out working with one of the top vloggers – why not work with many smaller scale influencers? Innovative new platforms have emerged that allow brands to network directly with many smaller scale influencers. We’re keeping our eye on Sponsokit, an emerging network for vloggers and have been impressed by Indahash and Takumi which have had success with Instagrammers with 1,000 followers or more.
Whatever your cause or social purpose, we think there’s opportunity in influencers. If you’re after an idea to identify and engage the right one for you, don’t hesitate to get in touch.