We see influencers as individuals who have the power to affect purchasing decisions and opinions of others because of their authority, knowledge, position or relationship with their audience. They leverage their personal brand and credibility to influence their followers.
We view content creators as online creatives who primarily focus on producing various types of content, such as articles, videos, podcasts graphics and
other forms of media. They are skilled at crafting compelling and engaging material that resonates with their audience.
The former, then, is the 'you follow me because of the lifestyle I lead, and I like this product, so I'm sharing it with you
' side of the coin. The latter is the 'I love telling stories, and I've collaborated with this brand to make something appealing and beautiful that draws you to my work — and the brand I'm working with
' side of it.
Connection versus creativity
Influencers are powerful because they have a personal connection with their followers, though agencies and brands do face some challenges in verifying some influencers' reach and engagement — and oftentimes, the influencer becomes the star of a campaign rather than the brand itself if not managed properly.
Content creators, on the other hand, have nowhere to hide. There can be questions over their reach and engagement, too — but there's an output in the form of a piece of content that can be assessed and quantified. It's more tangible, and the brand remains front and centre of the storytelling. Or it doesn't, and the opportunity is lost to surface over substance.
Relationships versus relatability
Influencers more easily build strong, authentic relationships with their audience, often based on trust. Their followers look up to them for guidance, advice and recommendations, which can extend to product endorsements and partnerships. When they collaborate with brands to promote products or services to their audience, their influence can create awareness and interest.
Because they're specialists in specific areas of expertise — fashion, beauty, fitness, travel, technology or lifestyle, for example — their influence stems from their passion and the recognition of their understanding of their chosen field.
Expertise versus endorsement
Whereas influencers may emphasise expertise, content creators often have a greater focus on the quality of their output. That's not to say that influencers don't put plenty of time into the perfect post (and that's the crossover where an influencer can be a content creator and a content creator can be an influencer), but content creators often place greater emphasis on the quality, creativity and originality of their work.
They invest time and effort into researching, scripting, shooting, editing and
polishing their content to deliver the perfect final product. They can be less bonded to specific product or lifestyle fields because the quality content they deliver is what matters, rather than their endorsement.
Integrity versus image
In advertising, we often find that content creators are largely unsung heroes in the way they help businesses connect with their audiences. In delivering compelling narratives and driving powerful campaigns, they play a pivotal role in capturing and retaining audience attention. This makes them indispensable assets for any advertising strategy.
One of the primary reasons brands may opt for content creators over influencers lies in their ability to humanise brands. They are largely able to transform mundane products or services into relatable experiences via engaging content.
This content creates an emotional connection with the brand's potential consumers — whereas the connection in the influencer space is stronger between followers and influencers, no matter how strong the influencer's relationship with the brand.
One type of online creator may not be better than the other, but a conversation between client and agency around how the brand wants to leverage another entity's followers is essential when it comes to developing a social media campaign. Being able to quantify that creativity to get the best out of the campaign is the key to unlocking the best from online creators.
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