What is the creator economy?

and how do you make it work for your brand?

As somebody who uses social media, whether in a personal capacity, for your own brand, or as a digital marketer managing accounts for other people, you’re bound to have heard the term “creator economy.” This sounds exciting but perhaps a little intimidating to the uninitiated. It may need a little more exploration until you understand what the concept means and how you can use the creator economy’s rapid growth to your benefit. Good thing Dawning Digital is here to help you figure out what the creator economy can do for you! Just read this blog. We promise it’s more exciting than an accounting lecture! 😉

What is the creator economy?

Li Jin of The Economic states that “shared ownership and control of online platforms is the way forward.” And that is the principle that lies at the heart of the creator economy. In short, it’s the sector of businesses built by over 50 million individual independent content creators over social media platforms across the world. It consists of eCommerce stores and service providers and social media influencers, bloggers, and videographers. This economy also includes the software and financial portals and services that allow this manner of business to take place.

Social media platforms originally started as ways for people to connect with friends, relatives, and acquaintances and share day-to-day experiences. Over the 21st century, however, their focus has shifted. Think of how much time you used to spend curating your “MySpace Top 5” and messaging your best buds on AOL. Now, take a look at your Instagram feed. Are some of the posts from your besties sharing their dogs? Sure! But a lot of them will be content from brands, influencers, content creators, and meme accounts who add valuable content to your life. 

This shift from acquaintance-focus to creator-focus fuelled the boom of the creator economy and allowed platforms to nurture significant economic growth in the sector. 

Even though the creator economy only took off ten years ago, more than fifty million people now consider themselves content creators, making this the fastest-growing type of small business globally! Forbes estimates that the creator economy is currently valued at around $20 billion, and some estimates predict that it could grow into a $100 billion market in 2022.

 More traditional businesses are anticipated to contribute over $800 million to the creator economy in 2022 to hop onto that growth. It makes sense that your brand capitalizes on this creator economy growth, too, and joins in on the fun.

Consumer behaviors directly contribute to the growth of the creator economy. The more engaged the global audience becomes with the content and algorithms on places like TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook, the more opportunity brands have to use this creator marketplace to distribute effective marketing. The software developers of these platforms have a vested interest in making these spaces optimized for marketing and use sophisticated algorithms to keep consumer eyes locked on their media for as much time as possible. Why? Well, because marketers are willing to pay more to these platforms if they know their ads are is being seen. People will look at ads when the ads appear alongside content they really want to see. Engaging content creators attract interest and foster audience trust, so platforms will naturally want to cater their user experience to benefit and nurture creators and thus attract more significant advertisers. The way the creator economy has developed has created a unique symbiosis between content creators, platforms, and marketers that, when used strategically, can benefit everyone involved. 

How can the creator economy benefit your brand?

Naimeesha Murthy, a business predictions specialist, recently pointed out in an article for Forbes magazine that “creators now have the necessary tools at their disposal required to produce top-class content. The proliferation of content creation platforms empowers them for design, video, streaming, music, podcasts, and writing tools to help them grow their businesses from a creative hobby to a full-grown money-making venture.”

There’s a large myriad of ways in which you can get involved with creators across their respective platforms, but we’ve compiled some of the ways we’ve found most effective to hitch our brands to creator growth! We’ve established what the creator economy is, how rapidly it’s growing, and how it’s in the best interests of everybody involved to keep that symbiosis working efficiently. Now we want to figure out how you, as a marketer, can be an active player in this creator economy and make it work for you. 

 

INFLUENCER MARKETING

We know that these two words next to one another can be a little terrifying, but we think that’s just because influencers have been given quite a bad rap in news media. 

Not all influencers are wild-partying, money-spending youths. In fact, the dictionary defines an influencer as “a person with the ability to influence potential buyers of a product or service by promoting or recommending the items on social media.”

Therefore, an influencer is any player in the creator economy with an engaged community who trusts their recommendations. Their influence could be instrumental in converting your offering pitches to sales.

In fact, according to recent data from The Digital Marketing Institute, up to 49% of consumers depend on influencer recommendations when they’re making a purchase. That means that, without getting some partnered influencers vouching for your brand, you might be missing almost half of your potential sales conversions! 

This is because influencers use their unique place in the creator economy to build trust with their community. Through their own engaging, value-adding content, they have created an identity with which people relate or create a content style that people really want to consume.

Therefore, when your brand creates a meaningful, relevant partnership with an influencer, they’re “borrowing” the influencer’s consumer trust while simultaneously benefiting the influencer and the platform through payment/products and more engaging content, respectively. 

Influencer marketing can happen through paid partnerships and product exchanges in which the influencer creates branded content to show to their audience. These can be long-term agreements or one-off deals, depending on the offering you’re trying to promote. Influencers also make ideal partners for affiliate programs, campaigns, testimonial drives, and large-scale brand awareness efforts. If your influencer is a good fit for your brand, your relationship will be one of mutual growth, understanding, and creativity. 

Bigger doesn’t always mean better when it comes to influencers! You will see that international fashion houses will use A-list celebrities in their social media campaigns. However, if you’re a small local business, shelling out $30 000 to get a 15 second Instagram story shoutout from a movie star is not a great idea. It won’t have nearly the return on investment that a long-term campaign with a local blogger would, at a fraction of the cost. If you’d like more tips on how to start using influencer marketing, please take our step-by-step guide to get started


TARGETED SOCIAL MEDIA ADS

This aspect of capitalizing on the creator economy is less about the creators’ content and more about the effect their booming popularity has on the way people consume media and information. In 2011, the average American spent 453 minutes a week focusing on traditional media, such as television, radio, magazines, and newspapers, but only 214 minutes on digital media. In 2022, it’s projected that the average time spent on digital media is 482 minutes, with only 318 minutes being spent on traditional media! (Source

This inversion can be attributed, in part, to the fact that the creator economy has allowed the majority of entertainment to take place for a much wider audience, in a much more accessible way, across digital and social platforms. 

This hard data shows how many people are replacing cable television with Youtube, radio with Spotify podcasts, and newspapers with Twitter because of the creator economy boom.

If the growth of this industry continues on its current trajectory, it makes much more sense to invest your advertising budget in the digital marketplace. 

he most centralized locus for social media advertising is the Facebook Ads Manager, which allows you to create and target effective ads on Facebook and Instagram. Independently of this, platforms like Twitter, LinkedIn, and TikTok have their own ad managing software, the use of which often funds the creator economy tools that the platforms develop to encourage their use. As new media becomes the predominant avenue for information consumption, it would be beneficial for you as a marketer to become acquainted with these ad platforms and start integrating their sophisticated algorithmic reach into your ad strategy. 

If you’d like to know where to start with the Facebook Ads manager, we’ve created an in-depth guide to help you build your foundation. You can take a look at it here

 

PLATFORM-INTEGRATED ECOMMERCE

If you want your brand to take advantage of the boom, why not BECOME PART of the creator economy? We’ve already established the power of trust that creators have with their community, and as a brand, it would be in your best interest to capitalize on that trust and build your own community. 

The first step in creator community building comes from establishing an authentic brand identity and defining the message that your brand wants to communicate. We know this sounds daunting, but if you haven’t mastered that process yet, we’ve created a FREE branding starter kit to get you going, which you can download here

Once your brand is up and running, you need to create engaging content and interact with your community to build trust. This process won’t happen overnight, so if you’re looking for some help figuring out the best way to create value-based connections in your social strategy, feel free to schedule a consultation call with us to help you out! 

This is one of the most fun parts of being a social media creator because of all the exciting people you’ll be meeting along the way. 

Once you’ve established an audience and a content strategy, using in-platform eCommerce functions to create ease-of-access to your offerings will undoubtedly up your conversion rate. Do it in the right way. You can use creator economy trends to foster enough organic, unpaid growth that your paid advertising strategy plays understudy to your trust-based creator persona. Platforms like Instagram and Facebook contain integrated shops, and linking your other creator profiles to your eCommerce storefront is almost effortless. 

In short, the growth of the creator economy presents the best way to use your unique personality and perspective as a vehicle for promoting your brand. 

so... now what?

Now that you know exactly WHAT the creator economy is, and HOW it could help you grow your brand, we bet you want to get involved ASAP! Don’t rush into it just yet, though! First, we recommend you read the second part of our content economy series: Tools & Trends for the Creator Economy in 2022.

If you’re finished the series and you still want a little guidance, please don’t hesitate to book a consultation call with us here at Dawning Digital so we can shine light on your brand and illuminate your content!