The world of social media and social commerce is expanding exponentially. Instagram alone caters to 40 million users who base many of their purchasing decisions off of creator-sponsored content that directs their attention to businesses and brands based in all parts of the world—companies they would have never encountered otherwise. The rise of content creation has altered every business on the planet.
With social media content creation services, along with individual influencers and creators, marketing possibilities are limitless. Content creators now come from every corner of the world with a passion for every field and industry under the sun. As they cultivate their audience, your brand has an opportunity to cultivate its customer base.
Defining the Creator Economy
Different types of creators curate and disseminate content that an online audience identifies with. Because they set themselves apart as authorities or enthusiasts within a certain niche space, creators wield a powerful degree of influence over what an audience decides to sample, purchase, or inform themselves about.
The creator economy consists of all the content created and distributed online and across the digital world. People around the globe use the internet to curate their own singular lifestyle and explore their place in a range of overlapping communities. In the process, they increasingly turn to well-developed, authoritative digital content that allows them to embrace new brands that shape the interests, activities, and optimizations that make up their world.
Observe the relationship between creators and consumers of media. Online communities offer untold value where human connectivity translates to new opportunities for money-making. For businesses looking to reach a highly specific demographic with highly specific interests, creators provide a straight line to that niche target—with the added benefit of making stimulating and well-thought content that automatically meets many of the broad marketing needs of a particular brand. Many creators are professionally trained writers, photographers, and videographers eager to use a brand to help them express their own artistry and voice.
Active social media creators typically boast at least 1000 followers on their page or channel. This includes independent video content creation on YouTube. Similarly, prodigious bloggers bring in thousands of website visitors a month. Their own social media and email subscriber lists allow them to maintain and grow this following and communicate directly with their readers.
How Businesses Work Within the Creator Economy
As the creator economy grows and transforms, the amount of quality content replaces many of the promotional and advertising considerations traditionally shouldered by agencies and internal marketing departments. Indeed, every social media platform relies on the creative energy of individual creators to attract and retain its users. Instagram content creation compelled the platform to establish Creator Week. Experts suggest we are headed into a future where creators will have the ability to monetize their audience in new ways.
The Authenticity Imperative
Notably, the creator economy has ushered in an era that prizes authenticity over fabrication. With their demand for lifestyle content, consumers insist on material with a real-life look and feel—and imagery with an extemporaneous quality that moves away from highly produced studio shots and a perfected aesthetic. People have caught on to how the most makeshift homemade video often imparts a greater sense of reality and relatability than its expensive studio counterpart.
For any commercial or ad, no matter how perfect the lighting or sound quality is, a production company simply cannot manufacture authenticity. We're witnessing a democratization of the marketing world led by influencers whose brand endorsements display an actual love and zeal for the products they're sponsoring. When the right brands and creators align with one another, it's marketing and product-promotion magic! However, the synergy usually always comes when each party comes to the table with excitement, vision, and a mutual respect for the other. This alchemy occurs less often in a matching scenario when brands and creators are essentially placed together at random.
Finding Authenticity in Digital Content Creation Services
When brands and influencers or content creators synchronize their vision and learn to amplify their authenticity and enthusiasm, the power of conversion is unstoppable. Many of the greatest digital ad campaigns simply feature a short video or evocative photo that immediately signals to people: this item is something you want to own. If the audience has developed a relationship with the creator, they are prepared to move to a landing page and make that purchase.
Now that so many platforms provide their own easy tools for in-app shopping, the combination of influencers and brands driving eCommerce on social media is beginning to make earlier methods of outreach and advertising seem distant and outmoded. You can't overstate the benefits of social proof, and for the sales that a newspaper ad used to attract, a TikTok paid promotion will now accomplish the same results faster, with a lower ad spend and more far-reaching results.
Content creation and social media go hand-in-hand with eCommerce. By choosing the right creators and forming solid long-term partnerships, brands give themselves the advantage of guiding prospects at every stage of the marketing funnel. When creators deliver a resonant message at every touchpoint, the customer experience is elevated such that they are compelled to proceed to the next step in the conversion process. What starts as a casual interest soon becomes deliberate research followed by decisive action. What's more, because the brand-creator duo has established a real connection, that buyer is far more likely to come back for future engagement and purchases.
How Creators Identify in the Creator Economy
Of course, most content creators or content creator services cannot claim prestige influencer status with an audience of a hundred thousand followers. But creators fill different roles—each of which makes a valuable contribution to your overall brand strategy and individual campaigns. Here are a few ways to think about the creators you collaborate with.
Creators Who Serve as Celebrities
A celebrity endorsement has helped elevate the visibility of a product or service since the beginning of time. In influencer terms, a creator that has secured over a million followers is considered a celebrity. While expensive, these individuals help you cast a wide net, targeting both a specific niche and a wider audience who's aware of that particular celebrity and interested in what they're up to. Many athletes and artists who develop a following separate from social media will then assert their presence on social media to further their business online and provide the IRL content that keeps them relevant. This makes them a major asset to the brands they partner with.
Creators Who Serve as Content Makers
You will find that a lot of creators are less focused on promoting themselves and more interested in the craft of their chosen content. These creators may appear in front of the camera, but above all, they love the blogs, videos, imagery of the specific area of interest they specialize in. Direct-to-consumer brands often call on these content producers to create reasonably priced, well-made content that reaches their audience and saves on the cost of pricey media production agencies.
Creators Who Serve as Influencers
Many creators cultivate a following they interact with directly. They set themselves apart as experts in a specific content creation niche and become sources that everyday people turn to for guidance about purchasing decisions when they've looking to further their own goals. These include all of the following:
1. Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs)
A KOL is fully credentialed in their field—they might be a professional artist, a coach with experience in the industry, or someone who is actually licensed in their specific specialization. Opinion leaders make an exceptional contribution to B2B markets and industries that require a complex or technical knowledge base.
2. Brand Ambassadors
When you've maintained a relationship with a particular influencer for an extended period of time, they might evolve into an official brand ambassador who receives a commission and other benefits for the high amount of sales they spearhead on your behalf
Some brands think of affiliates and ambassadors as the same tier of creators. Affiliates are influencers who work based on commission. Affiliates maintain a close connection to their audience and thus provide high returns for brands.
4. Customer Advocates
In spite of their smaller audience, these influencers are a great category to keep in mind for their place in your brand's community of fans. They serve as a reliable go-to for providing updates they can share to increase the loyalty of your following and encourage sales.
The Expansion of the Creator Economy
The industry for marketing influencers has ballooned 550% since 2016 and doesn't show signs of slowing. As your business goes out into the world to form brand partnerships and leverage the advantages of the creator economy and the digital age, here are some challenges you might encounter and some ways to think about addressing them.
Managing Multiple Creators
Once you have a thriving influencer marketing strategy in place, you might want to look into some form of creator management software to keep yourself organized and to circumvent any operational issues before they arise. You'll be able to track your transactions with individual influencers and map out where you plan to take your relationship into the future.
While many platforms now have ways to help you identify high-performing creators who might be a great fit for your brand and marketing campaigns, it still pays to do some research for yourself. We recommend wading in and seeing what the discussion and interest look like surrounding your industry and the products and services you're providing. The platforms can help identify specific demographics, engagement rates, and keywords, but it's up to you to initiate the outreach to particular creators and influencers you want to work with.
As you establish new partnerships, you'll want to draw up detailed contracts that stipulate the terms of your agreement. From there, it will be essential to iron out logistics like shipping information, product preferences, and how you envision the campaigns progressing. You might want to provide your creators with a packet of brand guidelines and introductory materials that help them understand your products and allow them to acclimate themselves to the partnership.
Overseeing Your Relationship
Over time, most influencer marketers learn to leverage each creator team member according to their strengths. One creator might be perfect for a certain task, while another might excel at something different. Personalizing your relationships means paying close attention to details and maintaining impeccable communication with each creator partner.
Your brand might run a number of campaigns with a number of partners, each taking the lead at different times. Managing these campaigns and relationships in a sustainable and systematic way will allow for the long-term, ongoing success of your marketing efforts. Many of the workflow tasks are repetitive, which makes them easy to carry out by using a software solution efficiently.
Anyone who is in the business of physical products knows that product fulfillment is always an ongoing logistic. You can find software that integrates with your influencer marketing platform to make the entire process more streamlined and avoid discrepancies.
A Final Word
Above all, don't ever be afraid to innovate. Look more closely at trends, listen to your audience, and embrace creators as a welcome and essential part of your company, brand, and team. The efforts you make today will pay major dividends down the road.