With a population of 148 million strong in the U.S. alone, Generation Z (68 million) and Millennials (80 million) hold $244 billion in spending power. And 95% are online. ALL THE TIME.
The most influential group among this audience is not traditional celebrities, rather they are now more enamored by social media stars. In fact, a survey conducted in 2014 showed that YouTube stars are more popular than mainstream celebrities among U.S. teens.
So what does this mean for brands?
These creators are able to speak to their audiences in a way unlike any engagement we’ve seen before. The personal connection and level of influence is widely unmatched by other types of influencer engagement.
For brands looking to connect with teens and Millennials, strategies must evolve to engage this younger, entrepreneurial group of social video influencers. Some examples of companies already doing this are Intel, who partnered with YouTube star Miranda Sings on promoting their Pocket Avatars messaging app, and HP, who engaged YouTube star MayBaby to run a laptop giveaway.
We spoke with Max Polisar from Awesomeness TV, a media company that collaborates with these creators on producing content, about what must be taken into consideration before engaging new-age influencers:
- Be prepared to trust the creator as content director – While they own distribution, they are also creators. They don’t want to be walking commercials because when the brands leave they still need to manage their communities.
- Know your goal for the audience – When you are thinking about aligning against a creator you also want to be aligned against their audience.
- Devise a single clear call-to-action – Do not have multiple calls to action that fragment the audience. Keep it simple and clear.
- Think multi-platform (YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Snapchat, Vine, Meerkat) – While many creators started from one platform, the power of next generation video distribution models are all part of their micro–community.
- Support the content syndication – If you are going to invest time, energy, and dollars to produce content and get viewers, be prepared to support it with paid media and PR.
- Understand the content is the community – You can’t always control the conversation or delete posts. Remember that once it’s out there, it’s out there.
Will this new generation of creators make other influencer programs become obselete? Tell us what you think in the comments below.