Since the explosion of Web2 platforms in the 2010s, we have seen the rise of internet native celebrities who have built significant audiences across YouTube, Instagram, TikTok and other platforms. These people have come to be known as influencers, due to their large followings that they are in theory able to ‘influence’ the behavior of. Over the last couple of years, we have seen another profile on social media come to the forefront, the ‘content creator’.
Oftentimes, the lines are blurred between influencers and content creators, with some people even assuming they are the same. We even see some influencers re-branding themselves to the more trendy ‘creator’ title.
However, in reality there is a difference between influencers and content creators, and as a brand, you should be thinking about how you leverage both to grow, but for very different use cases.
In this article, we will break down the key differences and explain in what scenarios you should be working with each!
1. What do the names mean?
The clue is in the name, content creators focus most of their attention on creating content, rather than building audiences. In this case, many content creators make money by working with brands to produce content for the brands own website or socials.
Content creators focus less on building their own social media following and more on perfecting the art of producing images and videos that tell stories. They are usually more spirited and genuine while creating content, because they mostly do it as a hobby.
Again, the clue is in the name! Influencers focus on building their own audiences across social channels. Oftentimes they have specific niches like beauty, gaming, fitness, travel, etc.
They primarily spend time building the audience on their pages, and monetize through promoting products and services to their own audiences through sponsored content or brand collaborations.
2. Why work with them?
- They are perfect for authentic, real user generated content for your own website or social media. More trustable than influencers which is obviously paid promotion.
- Rather than being reliant on renting the audience of an influencer, you can work with creators to build a content library on your own assets (social pages) and build your own community around the brand.
- They are incredibly good at creating realistic and interesting content. This is why 79% of people prefer ads with UGC when deciding to buy something.
- When working with creators, you decide under what conditions the content is used.
- You obtain 100% usage rights for the assets, meaning you can re-purpose and use however you want.
- Influencers are opinion leaders and their followers want to see product and service recommendations that they will aspire to use.
- Quickly access large audiences and get your brand in front of a large number of people.
- Good if you don’t want to spend a long time building your own community on your own assets.
- As a result of their large audience, the content influencers post gets a lot of engagement. This gives the brand the chance to join the discussion and offer additional social proof, erasing the gap between them and the consumers.
- Consumers trust influencers much more than regular celebrities, which is why brands opt for them.
3. How much do they charge?
- Usually less expensive to work with, due to smaller audiences. Some of them even offer to work for free, or for a small fee.
- However, this might pose a problem if the creators do not have structures in place, or are not accustomed to working with brands.
- This can be taken care of by leveraging a platform like 'Twirl', a simple tool that helps content creators work with brands at scale.
- Large influencers usually have lower engagement, but a lot of people can be reached. These influencers are usually professional and structured, but they can be really expensive.
- Influencers with above 250,000 followers usually charge around $6,000-$10,000 for promotions.
- Small influencers are those with a following of 10,000-250,000, and they usually have a higher engagement rate and are relatively cheaper to work with, usually around $1,000.
- Influencers are usually paid based on their following and not really the results from the promotion.
4. Which of the Two Should My Brand Go For?
As we have learned in this article, there is a big difference between using creators for UGC, posting on your own channels and building your own community, and renting the audiences of influencers through brand partnerships and paid promotions. In the end, it all comes down to your goals.
If your intention is to get your product into the faces of a wide audience, you can consider working with an influencer on sponsored content. It might be costly, but you'll be able to get in front of a lot of people you couldn't otherwise. The challenge however is that influencers are notoriously difficult to measure, which may result in you spending thousands without any understanding of ROI.
If you would rather be more lean, and produce more authentic, real content for your own platforms to build your own brand community, then content creators are just what you need. You can also use this content for paid marketing, which is a massive bonus, on average UGC generates 4X the conversion compared to other formats on paid.
Influencers are also starting to lose a lot of credibility, as it is now so widely known that paid promotions exist, UGC on the other hand looks way more real, real people who are customers produce the content, it is much more credible and trustable.
To summarize, Influencers and content creators definitely have their differences and can both be great depending on your objectives. As a brand you should outline exactly what your priorities are, and under what timeline, to map out what portion of your budgets you allocate to both, and remember to always measure ROI!
If you would like to discuss your strategy or learn how you can quickly scale up your work with content creators, reach out to us at Twirl, we would be happy to help your brand grow!