Content creator vs influencer, is there a difference?
It’s time to make the distinction between content creator and influencer. Why? Because they fill completely different business needs. These differences are subtle and nuanced, but understanding them will improve your ability to recognize what type of person your brand should be collaborating with to engage in social marketing.
While we’ve treated content generation and influence as two separate entities for the purpose of this article, the reality is that the two are not mutually exclusive. What’s important is understanding both concepts separately so that you can make more informed, strategic decisions for your social media plan moving forward.
Simply put, content creators are artists.
Before Instagram, the Internet, and even modern civilization, there were artists. And no matter what happens in this life, art will exist as long as the world does because it is as vital as breathing to some. And it doesn't concern audience size, monthly reach or engagement rate because art doesn’t work that way.
Companies aren’t working with creative agencies the way they used to. Back in the day, client side marketing departments were held together with a hope and a prayer, a stapler, and a stack of Post-It notes. All outward marketing and creative were shipped off to an agency. Times, they have changed.
Businesses are growing their internal marketing teams, developing increasingly innovative brand-building strategies, and keeping the creative work in-house. But alas, the need for content just keeps growing, with no signs of slowing. Today, more pictures will be taken in 2 minutes than in all of the 19th century combined?
This is where content creators come into the picture and fill the void. Think of a content creator like a boutique ad agency with a niche specialty that operates at 1/8th the price of a traditional advertising agency. This type of individual will help build a library of proprietary brand assets, or help you bring a specific campaign or idea to life as your creative partner. They're able to read a brief and produce something that's in line with the company branding and objectives.
When working with content creators, throw all of your preconceived notions about audience size out the window because in this case, it is not an accurate indicator of quality of work. Quality of work isn’t measured in double taps, it’s measured through composition, symmetry and contrast.
Some of the world's biggest brands are leveraging content creators to produce world class visuals on a global scale. Here are a handful of examples of big brands working with what we just described as content creators.
@finsihline works closely with content creators like @shermyszn to help develop super high quality, branded Instagram content.
Meanwhile, @reebokclassics works closely with other content creators like @shotbyfalkpictures and @dou.bled to develop their Instagram visuals.
A social media influencer is a social media personality that influences their audience with their actions. Influencers have a huge impact on consumer trends regarding product promotions and featured products in their content. When an influencer's audience sees them using a specific product, or promoting a specific brand, their followers are highly persuaded to buy anything because they trust the influencer's judgment. Brands will collaborate with influencers to get them to promote their brand, in return for free products or compensation. Typically, influencers have social media communities that are loyal and will follow their lives for the length of their social media careers - this builds a lot a trust between the influencer and their followers.
Simply put (and for the purpose of austerity in this article), online influencers are distribution channels.
This definition might seem crude; they are obviously people too, but it's fundamentally the truth. As a brand, above all else, you seek out influencers with one specific objective in mind – exposure.
Unlike content creation, influencers are Internet phenomena. At no other time in history have individuals beyond nobility and traditional celebrity wielded so much singular authority. Influencers may seem like they're everywhere, but believe it or not, we've found through statistics that only 0.018% of Instagram accounts have over 100K followers.
Think of an influencer like your media partner. The content they publish is not necessarily crafted by them, and what they lack in visual quality they make up for in savvy and strategy — undeniably two very valuable assets worth leveraging.
Influencers bring more eyeballs to your account, which translates (hopefully) to more sales. Business is so simple, isn't it? You could have the greatest product in the history of mankind, but what difference does it make if no one knows about it? This is the void influencers help fill.
Let’s say you're @creppprotect, a niche sneaker protection and cleaning product. To build clout and gain exposure with sneakerheads, developing a relationship with the right influencer is important to unlocking access to a passionate, engaged audience. That's why @crepprotect works with @the_ perfect_ pair, one of the sneaker community's most influential voices.
You’ll note the caliber of the above photo is not that of a content creator. It’s good, but it’s not stop-scrolling-and-show-your-friend good. Or even “bookmark” good. But it doesn’t matter. In this case, @the_ perfect_ pair is an OG that people listen to within the sneaker niche.
Depending on your brand's needs, it's important to understand the difference between influencers and content creators, and weigh out which is best for your brand's end goal. Collaborating with influencers and content creators can highly impact the performance of your brand’s awareness, but using the wrong one could be less beneficial to our brand. We weighed out the pros and cons of both content creators and influencers to give you a better idea of which will work best for your business.
The biggest advantage that comes with working with content creators is getting fresh, high-quality content for your brand's image. If you are looking to get any new visual content from magazine covers, ad campaigns, Instagram stories, social media content, and more, you are in need of a content creator. Here are some of the biggest advantages of working with content creators:
Content creators are always beneficial for brands, but depending on your brand needs they make not provide your business with any significant gain. Here are some of the (few) disadvantages of content creators:
Collaborating with influencers will give your brand many benefits, but they are not the same as those of a content creator. If you are looking to increase brand awareness and social engagements, influencer marketing will be your best bet. If you’ve decided that influencers are the right social strategy for your brand, be sure you know the difference between micro vs. macro influencers. Now, let's take a look at what benefits your brand could receive from influencers:
Like content creators, influencers may just not be the right option for your brand, and if so, you may run into some of the cons that come with influencer marketing. Here are some disadvantages that come with partnering with influencers:
Like when Future wore Gucci AND Prada, a good digital strategy leverages both content creators and influencers at the same time. The first step is to make sure your own account is performing well, because your influencer marketing won’t be effective if it isn’t.
Imagine for a second you get your product or account in front of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of hyper-targeted potential customers through the help of an influencer. Their audience clicks through to your account and it’s populated with mega mediocre, subpar content. You’ve lost your shot because first impressions are everything, and spoiler alert: you didn’t make a good one.
Start by making your brand's account amazing with the help of a content creator. After this critical component is sorted, you should start employing an influencer strategy to broaden your audience and capitalize on such opportunities.
World domination, here we come.
Stay on top of your influencer's and content creator performance with Dash Hudson’s relationships tool. Track how your influencer relationships are affecting your brand performance with our tools to ensure you can maximize your influencer collaborations. Also, be sure to predict visual content with our library tool to ensure the content your content creator is producing will perform how you expect it to. Having the right tools to track your performance and provide accurate insights on your social channels will ensure that your brand will impress your audience and maintain a strong reputation.
No, content creators are the magic behind the content you see on your favourite brand's social channels. Whereas influencers are the ones promoting products with their online personalities. Though, some influencers can be content creators if they carry both attributes.
Content creators are the people who create promotional content for brands through any medium or channel. Content creators could be photographers, graphic designers, photo editors, and more.
Put simply, content creators create content and influencers influence. Content creators make the content that influencers may be sharing, or what brands use to promote their brands, and influencers share their day-to-day lives and products they love to influence their audience. Both are great marketing tools, but not similar in job descriptions.