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Social Media for the Sophisticated, Seasoned & Scared

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Identifying Brand Ambassadors on YouTube

One of the publicized benefits of social media for businesses is creating brand evangelists or ambassadors. However, depending on your business, you may not have to create these people or find a platform for them to congregate in order to create an affordable campaign. Just the other day, I happened to be looking for a certain type of footage on Youtube and was fascinated to discover how many “how-to” videos had been uploaded on the same topic. There were thousands and these were mostly uploaded by fans that hadn’t been paid to promote a particular brand or product.

I’ll use the hair industry to demonstrate my point. If you use search terms like wig or weave or extensions, along with the word hair, you’ll find pages of videos, both professional and amateur. Ironically, the majority of the video uploads are from amateur fans of a particular brand showing their viewers how they use the product. Some of these Youtube users have taken time to review every single product in a line. I was really amazed because it was obvious that they weren’t contracted by the company that they were endorsing, yet they had tens of thousand more views then the handful of professional company videos.

This got me to thinking. Instead of spending a ridiculous percentage of marketing budgets to hire a model, some of these companies should pick a few of these loyal customers to gift their products to along with decent camera equipment. Since most of the Youtube users were already uploading video for a hobby, most would love to be brand ambassadors. What female wouldn’t like free product of their favorite line if all they had to do was record a 5 minute video demonstration and review.

My suggestion to business owners is instead of creating separate websites with social networks to pull fans away from the most popular ones, allow the loyal customers to continue using the network that garnered the most attention and following. Use widgets to embed the most popular footage and user information onto the business’ website. Contact the Youtube users and propose an arrangement that would benefit both parties. Create campaigns and contests that the Youtube user can promote to their followers, who share the same common interest.

Think about it. Some of the most memorable advertising campaigns featured everyday people talking about the benefits of a product. Just ask Jerod, the famous spokesperson for Subway.

Below is a video by Youtube user, bunny101010, demonstrating how to use the CHI flat iron. The video has over 1.3 views.