Without the creative minds populating the space, the internet wouldn’t be what it is today.
Imagine if Nathan Apodaca had never taken TikTok by storm with its combination of cranberry juice, skateboarding and Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams” or if Jalaiah Harmon had never created the Renegade. Social media would be boring because, let’s face it, your photo of what you had for lunch doesn’t catch my attention as much as the content these creators post.
Creators are also attracting the attention of brands and social networks who are seeing opportunities to expand their consumer base and collaborate on content. For starters, consumers are loyal to YouTubers and regularly return to their favorite YouTube channels through the top branded outlets on YouTube. Add to this the fact that two out of three Twitter users agree that YouTubers are changing and shaping culture, and it’s no wonder that brands and platforms are banking on the creator economy.
But if brands are serious about partnering with YouTubers, brands need to realize that they are no longer in charge and meet YouTubers on their terms.
Let me finish …
The most successful partnerships begin when brands empower creators and put them in the role of drivers, a difficult but necessary transition for many marketers.
Creators have more tools than ever to control their brand relationships and the content they create, and how they are rewarded for their work. Networks such as Clubhouse and Twitter, for example, enable creators not only to generate direct income from their fans, but also to determine their price. And platforms like Patreon allow creators to keep the majority of their revenue, a relatively new luxury.
Snapchat Spotlight’s $ 1 million per day payout ends June 1st – in its place:
• Creator “gift”
• Story Studio content creation app
• Creator Marketplace https://t.co/nRlY0x5S6R
– Lia Haberman (@liahaberman) May 20, 2021
For marketers, the message is clear: either you pay the creators their worth or they lose the collaboration. As they keep expanding their content on social media, YouTubers have every reason to forge brand partnerships if the terms and compensation don’t work for them
Snapchat just announced a “Creator’s Fund” that will pay out $ 1 million a day:
—TikTok has a $ 200 million creator fund
—YouTube affiliate program allows YouTubers to monetize videos with ads
—Instagram enables creators to make money through “shops”
Direct monetization for YouTubers is increasing pic.twitter.com/shD1zXmzRe
– Ari Lewis (@ amlewis4) November 23, 2020
Creators also force brands to face their (or lack of) talent diversity. As difficult as it may be to turn down job opportunities, there is power in Black, Brown, and other BIPOC developers who say no to brands that don’t prioritize diversity. And YouTubers aren’t afraid to name brands that don’t take into account the diversity and inclusion of talent.
This company brought all of these other tik-tokens over here to ATL for this fight and didn’t think about reaching out to any of the black social media talents living here in atl … ok BET #TrillerFightClub enough is enough. More on this story too
– Keith Dorsey (@YOUNGGUNSCEO) April 18, 2021
Another way brands can empower creators? Give them due credit for their work. Black creators are particularly badly damaged by poor credit, as shown by creators like Keara Wilson or Mya Nicole. When brands properly acknowledge the work of the original creator, they have a better chance of developing a relationship with that creator rather than trying to correct a wrong attribution.
Pay Black Creators and give them their credit. Stop taking it yourself. I honestly feel that we should patent dance moves. Sounds silly, but I think so. Tired of people stealing things from black people.
– Natasha L. Dillard (@OfficialTashaO) June 1, 2021
As the creator economy matures, you can expect creators to have more control over their content and brand partnerships. With a better understanding of their impact on culture, YouTubers can (and should) charge more for the trending content they once made available for free. And for many brands, learning to play by a creator’s rules is a price they are willing to pay in exchange for a creator’s influence and the content that resonates with millions of people.
To find the right YouTubers to work with your brand, you first need to know your audience inside out. This article will teach you how to uncover the trends and content that are actually engaging your audience today.