During the COVID-19 pandemic, internet commerce became more essential to our lives than ever before. With everyone quarantined, businesses had to find a new way to promote their products virtually. Social media became a huge source of entertainment and apps like TikTok skyrocketed, in fact it now dominates all other social media platforms with over a billion users.
Companies recognized these apps’ potential and started to take advantage of their algorithms, livestream functions, and in-app purchasing options in order to find new ways to market their products. Without an end to the pandemic in sight, companies had to adapt, building their entire business around these platforms. This phenomenon brought the rise of a new type of entrepreneur—the content creator.
There are now over 50 million content creators, according to a 2020 Report by SignalFire, which include social media influencers, bloggers, and videographers who utilize software and financial tools that assist in their growth and monetization. This population is now recognized as the Creator Economy and it is one of the fastest growing economies to date.
To analyze how creators and users are interacting with this new economy, our influencer marketing agency, The Influencer Marketing Factory, worked on a Creator Economy Report. This report includes studies surveying a population of influencers and general users which gathers data on how they are engaging with each other allowing us to conclude key reasons as to how brand marketers can work more closely with these creators.
Creators know how to access target audiences that large businesses are struggling to reach
In order to reach their audience, creators spend a great deal of time on social media platforms studying the fast-paced trends, language, and overall culture of each user population. Over time, influencers become experts in reaching the most niche groups, learning new ways to become relatable, and when they gain a large enough following, even dictating future trends. Most of these creators have a consistent following across all platforms—TikTok, Instagram, YouTube, etc.—making it easy for them to always connect with their audience.
In our Creator Economy Report, we asked 600 U.S. based users what drives them to support creators. Many reported that the influencers “inspire them,” and that they “trust almost everything they advertise.”
Once influencers become well known and have reasonable experience, they start to build their own businesses that have the potential to make millions.
How can your business can utilize creators?
1. Partnering with them
A huge way that brands utilize influencers is by collaborating with them. This can be seen largely in the beauty community where makeup artist influencers partner with makeup brands and create a product. Examples like the Bretman Rock collab with Colourpop in 2018, where he created an eyeshadow collection based on the flag colors of the Philippines, his home country and Madison Beer’s collab with Morphe where she launched a full range of face products “perfect for creating her signature soft glam look,” (People) are hugely successful and promote both the influencer and the brand.
In the fashion community, we see brands sending creators various items from their stores, such as clothes, accessories, or products, and sponsor the creators’ videos in which the creator reviews the items for their followers. Sponsoring creators in this way allows for the creator to give an honest review to their audience, turning them into the brand’s possible consumers.
2. Hiring them
Brands recognize the potential these people have and we can even see influencers move into positions known as “Creative Director” of huge companies. Creators have more to offer than just content, as they know how to connect with their generation, something that is imperative for large brands if they want to stay relevant.
3 pieces of advice for marketers:
- Overall, these influencers are experts of their craft and if they have succeeded themselves, they will be very helpful in your business’ success. They know what the punch lines are and what trends are happening, so trust in them to make sure your brand hits the right notes.
- The last thing you want for your brand is to come off as the dreaded cringe. Social media users are smart and they easily pick up on when someone is trying too hard, so better to keep it real. Creators are helpful in this area, as they know the best way to communicate with their audience is to act as if they are one of the audience, embodying their humor, life struggles, and overall culture.
- Content creators come in all forms, so it is imperative that your brand works with one that aligns with your message, target audience, and overall company values–a beauty influencer might not be a great match if your brand is promoting a gaming app for example. Finding the perfect match may be hard, but it is worth it in the end, as they become a valuable communication tool to your consumers.