by Jacqueline Simard
December 22nd, 2011
For those of you who don’t keep up with our blog on a weekly basis (for shame!), BLASTmedia’s Vice President of Social Media and Audience Development, Julie Perry, moderated a panel last month at BlogWorld & New Media Expo in Los Angeles. The topic: YouTube “Teen Haulers” and other product reviewers as a new form of advertising.
Her panel, officially titled “YouTube Reviewers & ‘Haulers’ – Why Reviews Are the New Advertising” was a huge hit, with over 70 attendees present. Apart from Julie’s extensive knowledge on YouTube search optimization, the panel also featured some of YouTube’s brightest stars, including YouTube tech reviewer sensation, Mark Watson of SoldierKnowsBest (also now a Revision3 show); bubbly and bright fashion and beauty reviewer, Elessa Jade of YouTube channel pursebuzz; and another popular fashionista and cosmetics reviewer, Sonia Castaneda of YouTube channel sccastaneda.
This experienced group of panelists provided valuable insight on how to get started on YouTube if you are a content creator, what opportunities exist for brands to leverage “wo/men-on-the-street” reviewers, and more controversially, as consumers are now becoming publishers, what New Media vs. Traditional Media issues come up, such as editorial integrity, transparency, and what this means for brands and agencies that solicit such endorsements.
Here are just a few of the panel highlights:
“How do I grow my popularity on YouTube?”
Sonia suggests teaming up with other YouTube personalities that are also trying to grow their audience. “Have cameos of [content creators] that you’re friends with and then link to their channels in the video description,” she said. Julie followed this up with a recommendation that you include other haulers/reviewers on your Featured Channels list on your own channel. That way, when individuals subscribe to your channel, they also have the option to directly subscribe to the others, as well.
Mark recommends cross-promoting your video content on your other social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, a personal blog and even Google+. “You have to know where your audience is,” Mark said. “You might not personally use these sites, but you have to go where the most exposure will be.” Great point!
What is the best method for brands to approach YouTube reviewers?
Both Mark and Sonia are most frequently contacted by PR agencies via email. Most haulers who are interested in receiving product from big companies or labels will post their business contact information on the YouTube channel. Avoid YouTube’s internal email messaging system due to inundation of fan messages and spam.
For Elessa, she often connects directly with business owners and directors due to her make-up and fashion-specific niche. While PR and marketing departments play a big role in making the initial contact, Elessa likes the personalization of connecting with those who made the product in hopes of them forming a true relationship for future promotions.
A word to the wise: Free product is not enough. Giveaways are an option (and a win/win for subscribers) to have your product featured on a hauler’s channel, but it’s becoming more normal for these online influencers to be compensated for the time to make the videos.
At the end of the day, reviewers will stay loyal to their subscribers. “If I don’t like the product, regardless of what is offered (money or giveaway items), I won’t review it,” said Sonia. It’s all about the approach and if the product is a true fit for their audience.
What are some the risks associated with YouTube reviews (from the brand perspective)?
At BLASTmedia, we’ve seen cases of YouTube reviews driving huge amounts of website traffic and direct sales, but there is also a possibility of YouTube reviews going wrong.
Sonia and Elessa commented briefly on the the case of clothing company HOTMIAMISTYLES and YouTube reviewer JuicyTuesday, and what happened when JuicyTuesday released a video expressing her disfavor of an email exchange between her and the company about a review posted…
The initial email to the reviewer included the following verbiage: “I kindly request that your review be in a completely positive way and if this cannot be achieved, please contact (me) immediately.” JuicyTuesday posted her honest review of the 13 items of clothing sent to her and the next morning, JuicyTuesday received a message from HOTMIAMISTYLES asking her to remove the video due to a “dramatic loss of sales” (despite less than 5,000 video views). The video of JuicyTuesday’s reaction now has over 256,000 views about her transaction with the company.
YouTube “Haulers” have truly become an Internet phenomenon in the last couple years. How does your business benefit from this new form of advertising? If you or your business is in need of YouTube search optimization, YouTube reviewer outreach, or any social media platform assistance, our BLASTmedia social media team is your answer! Contact Harrison Painter at Harrison@blastmedia.com for more information.