Sharing video via social media is a great place to build your brand, assuming you have a big enough following and anyone is actually paying attention to your posts. But what if you could get really popular influencers--people with tens or hundreds of thousands of followers--to tout your products and services? You can. While it's certainly possible to make real fans of these people, the other option is to simply hire them through a relatively new crop of companies that now exist to connect companies with social celebrities. Take it from Marco Hansell, CEO of twtMob, a company that has helped brands like Microsoft, Corona, Kia, Universal and 20th Century Fox reach and leverage social influencers. Here's what he says you need to know about connecting with them.
Understand how the top social video platforms differ.
YouTube is the classic place for companies to share video content with fans, but creating longer-form videos can be expensive and time consuming. Twitter's Vine is on the other end of the spectrum as a short form platform through which users post six-second long looping video clips. There's also Instagram, wherein users share videos up to 15 seconds long. Snapchat, which Hansell sees as sitting somewhere in the middle, lets users send people photos and short videos annotated with text or drawings. "You have an opportunity to create this sort of mixed video plus imagery plus commentary you're writing on the photos," he says. "It makes for a very creative experience."
While the shorter-form video platforms may seem quite similar, the fact that Snapchat Snaps disappear upon viewing and are only available for 24 hours after recording, makes them particularly compelling for some people who don't want to miss anything an influencer may be posting. "You've got this expiring mechanism where the content is only going to be available for a short time period. It's popping up in real time so it feels like it's a part of this pulse so the level of attention and the open rates that you're getting across Snapchat content are just really high," Hansell says. "We've seen aggressive open rates where some people can get almost the same number of Snapchat opens as they have followers on other platforms."
Find influencers on other platforms and track them back to Snapchat.
One disadvantage to Snapchat is its lack of public index, making it hard to find a Snapchat celebrity with whom you want to connect. Reverse-engineer the search by finding them on other platforms where search is easy. "One of the cool things is that most of the top people that are content creators on Vine and Instagram also are big on Snapchat," Hansell says.
Think about how an influencer could create content that promotes your brand.
You need to determine how you're going to get influencers to push out video of themselves using or talking about your brand. To do that, you need to somehow empower them with your story. "If they're somebody that does lifecasting [or] style Snapchats, how could they integrate your brand into their normal life so your brand pops up almost like in a product placement way?" Hansell suggests.
For example, the movie studios that use twtMob provide trailers to influencers who share them with their followers. Social celebrities on a studio's payroll also create their own content, doing things like posing in front of film posters, recreating a scene from a movie or recording themselves attending screenings.
Drive people to engage with content on other platforms.
While it's great if you can get a million views of a video, it's even better if you can use it to drive people to other social platforms and keep the engagement rolling. So, maybe it's a Snapchat scavenger hunt where people get tokens to use on another platform for taking screenshots of Snaps, or daisy chaining an Instagram photo that teases a story found on Snapchat. "Brands and influencers alike will use those tactics to try to drive traffic from one platform to another and use a strong audience that you may have in an existing platform and find a way to get them to engage across multiple platforms in a different way," he says.
Understand the Snapchat demographic.
If you're looking to target moms or middle-aged men who play golf Snapchat probably isn't the best medium considering its demographic skews toward younger people who crave immediacy and appreciate short-form content. "It's almost a fun voyeuristic type of look into the world because the level of commitment that you have to have with the content is so low that you see people more freely willing to develop content," Hansell says. As for engagement, Hansell says the number of Snaps being developed far exceeds the posts on Instagram, where a person might post one or two photos a day whereas Snapchat users might be doing 30 or 40 snaps a day to create a stream story.
What you'll pay depends on the level of celebrity.
If you work with a company such as twtMob you'll pay anywhere from a few hundred dollars to tens of thousands, depending on how many followers an influencer can reach as well as how much work they need to do to develop content. In other words, it's one thing to send out a simple tweet and quite another to ask someone to create a Snapchat story over the course of a day.
It also helps to involve an entire network of influencers. "What we really specialize in is being able to identify top influencers and you may have 10 of them creating content but then we'll have another 50 [or] 100 of them amplifying that content and developing these large scale media campaigns that are comparable with what you're doing with traditional media plans."