How can you leverage these YouTube influencers and their followings to your brand’s advantage? For starters, heed these eight tips:
1.) Make a real connection.
One of the most logical and successful ways to get influencers to be responsive to your brand is to build a relationship with them BEFORE you ever ask them for anything. YouTube personalities rely on engagement with their channel, shares on social media, comments on their blog posts, etc. So give it to them.
Court them. Befriend them. Get them familiar with your brand and comfortable with you before asking them to share a piece of content on your behalf. Once you’ve established a relationship with them on social media, THEN take the next step — send them gear to try out, contact about a partnership, or make your big ask.
Being genuinely engaged with the influencer’s work is the first step toward building a mutually beneficial relationship.
2.) Make sure the relationship is authentic.
The only thing worse than not leveraging a YouTube celebrity for your content strategy is partnering with one who is not a natural fit. Inauthentic sponsored content stands out like a sore thumb in this niche, and will feel spam-y to the viewers.
How do you know that an influencer is a good match?
- They like to wear/use your product even when not asked.
- They can talk about it like they genuinely use it, and can speak specifically to how its features are useful for this particular niche.
- They share and promote the same values as your brand.
Ultimately, the goal is to have THEM speak on your brand’s behalf — their audience trusts them, and that social proof can be more effective than you singing your own praises.
3.) Track referrals religiously.
One of the most effective ways to measure the ROI of your influencer is to set up an affiliate program. If you haven’t already established an affiliate program, it’s time to get on it.
The idea behind affiliate marketing is that the influencer is able to earn a commission on a referred sale at no extra cost to the consumer. Typically, they’ll say something like, “Buy this gear through my link in the description to get 10% off!” or “Enter this promo code when you order to get 10% off.” It’s a win-win-win for all involved. Because not only is the customer getting a discount and the influencer earning a small percentage of the sale, but also your brand is now seeing a conversion it might not have otherwise.
Affiliate marketing works especially well with outdoor brands because video reviews of products are popular in this niche. A lot of the gear associated with the outdoors is better understood and sold when the product can be shown in action — and what better way to show it than with someone who has a loyal following?
Beyond that, giving the influencer a unique URL allows for easy tracking, measuring and reporting.
4.) Embrace multi-channel promotion.
If your influencer is promoting an affiliate link, they have every incentive to share the message as much as possible. They will likely promote their YouTube video across all social platforms, using the same affiliate link and promo code to entice people to click through and buy.
Beyond the actual sales, this builds in some additional brand exposure. And not only does this bleed over into your influencer’s social channels, but it offers you the chance to repurpose the content for your own page, then share and promote that influencer’s post across all of your own brand channels. Plus, the influencer gets a backlink from your page — so everyone wins.
Pro tip: Get public relations teammates involved to amplify partnerships even further!
5.) Create a unique landing page.
One way to leverage your influencer is to seamlessly tie it together with your owned media, another crucial component to your marketing strategy. With your owned media — like your website — you own the messaging 100%. This offers your brand the chance to continue conversations that the influencer has started with audience members.
So, you can double-down on your influencer’s sway by creating a unique landing page featuring the products that they’ve used, versus just sending viewers to your regular product page. After all, the easier you can make it for your audience to “shop this look,” the more success you will have.