Online media has become all about the connections we make and the way we impact other people. It’s for that reason, among others, that the traditional concept of marketing and advertising has been turned on its head and it is now imperative that brands include working with online influencers as part of their marketing strategy.

Creators who have mastered the art of making connections that leave a lasting impact on viewers can turn a bland message into one that viewers not only pay attention to, but result in action. But how do brands and marketers do that? Here are three tips:

#1 Quickest Win: Engage Your Superfans

Don’t just pull up a list of the most viewed YouTube channels and throw a big sack full of money at them and ask for results. There is more to a relationship with a creator than just working with somebody who pulls in massive views. Just as creators should be choosy about which brands they work with, so too must a brand. Just look at the stats from a recent study by Nielsen:

“92 percent of consumers around the world say they trust earned media, such as recommendations from friends and family, above all other forms of advertising”.

So, one of your biggest assets in online media is working with influencers who are also fans of your product. This ensures that they not only have the audience to support your campaign, but that the message is trusted and authentic.

Take for example Dominic Sandoval, more commonly known as ‘D-trix’. He recently partnered with Mountain Dew and was featured on a panel at VidCon with Christine Ngo, a leader in digital marketing with Pepsico. When it comes to working with YouTube, Christine suggests not only being selective, but only working with a small number of influencers. This will allow you to focus on building your relationship with that influencer and their fans for hopefully years to come.

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D-trix spoke about an interesting relationship he noticed with his fans from YouTube vs. Television. From his time on “So You Think You Can Dance”. He spoke about how a television based audience wasn’t as connected as his YouTube fans. The television audience would simply ask for his autograph at a show and move on, while his YouTube audience has a deeper connection that wants more than just an autograph, they consider him a trusted friend and want to stay and hang out a while. That’s the type of connection you want to tap into when you are looking for an influencer.

#2 Give Influencers Control and Autonomy

It is also key to allow influencers autonomy when creating work for you. Part of this goes back to picking the right influencers. If you do your homework and know what you are getting into, it shouldn’t be difficult to allow an influencer to have freedom with what they make. After all, having creative freedom is what helped them build the audience that caused you to want to work with them.

Stifling that creativity can smother the very motivation that leads to them creating the best work for promoting your product.

#3 Make Your Collaboration Mutually Beneficial

If you are truly working with a superfan, it’s not all about the money. Yes, you have to fairly compensate them, but they should be just as eager to work with you as you are to work with them. Help build a relationship with them that helps them grow their audience and reach. That’s worth more to an influencer than money in many cases. Be sure to interact with them on Twitter, share their latest work or even common on their videos or other social media posts. It will solidify the bond between you and lend to its authenticity.

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In the end, it’s all about tapping into the people who care about your product the most, both through the influencer you work with and their fan base. That audience can take your brand message, spread it for you and save you a lot of work while building you some credibility. Viewers are not looking for messages spoon fed to them. That’s part of the reason why so many TV watchers are cutting the cord and watching shows from DVR. Consumers need to trust the brand and the messages they put out there. By working with the right influencers, you can gain that credibility.