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Efua Aidoo

Influencer vs Creator – What’s the Difference?

Social media has opened up a huge range of opportunities for people to share aspects of their lives in a number of ways, with a ready-made audience of billions eager to consume content on a wide range of channels.

The major video and photo-sharing platforms, in particular, have paved the way for influencers and content creators to tell their stories in increasing numbers.

They may seem to be one and the same, but there are distinctions between creators and influencers, and knowing them can be a real boost to a brand or business’ social media marketing strategy.

Defining Influencers

The clue is in the title, as influencers are classified by their skill in, drumroll please, influencing their audience!

Their motivation is to build a community around the content they create, accumulating as many followers as possible who will return to their feeds again and again.

It’s this notion of community that makes influencers so appealing to brands and businesses, who frequently use them to unlock the door to thousands, sometimes millions of potential consumers, through influencer marketing strategies.

Prized Advertising Assets

What gets advertisers so excited about influencers is not only the reach that they have, but also the authenticity of the content they create and how it resonates with their audience.

Influencers are often promoting a lifestyle, a set of values, or a certain point of view. People gravitate towards them because they identify with the message, as well as the personal brand being cultivated.

And so it follows that their community often trusts an influencer’s opinions implicitly. They are seen as “real”, even more so than celebrity endorsements where you often wonder whether they even have a genuine love for what they are plugging!

It’s for this reason that Gen Z gravitates towards influencer content, and given the purchasing power that this group in society wields, it’s no surprise that brands are so keen to link up with them.

Areas of Influence

If you think of anything that people could be interested in, from fashion and food to cars and gaming, there will be hundreds, if not thousands of influencers specialising in that sector.

Influencers can also specialise in lifestyle content.

There’s “Mumfluencers”, sharing practical parenting advice and relatable, funny content about the everyday chaos of being a parent. Or “Dadfluencers”, who cover much the same ground, but can often have a positive effect on masculine identity through the parenting content they share.

You’ve also got Kidfluencers, testing out the latest toys, sweets or days out, and one of the new big things in influencing, the “Granfluencer”, proving that social media doesn’t have to be a young person’s game!

Defining Creators

The beauty of social media is that we can all be digital content creators, but what makes the type of creators we are talking about stand out, is the high production values behind what they do.

Much like influencers, their natural habitat is the photo and video-sharing platforms such as Instagram, TikTok and YouTube. And if you’ve ever visited one of these platforms (who hasn’t?), you will have certainly come across one of the many photographers, videographers, writers or artists wearing the creator badge proudly.

Typical creator content revolves around photography and video, but could also include podcasts, blogs, and infographics.

It will also differ greatly by platform, with Instagram popular for photos, TikTok being king when it comes to short videos, and YouTube housing lots of longer-form content, featuring some of the most popular names in the content creator space.

Key Differences in Roles and Objectives

 

The main thing that social media influencers and content creators have in common is that their purpose is to create visually compelling and authentic content, designed to engage effectively with the people that are viewing it.

For that reason, many people are unable to distinguish between the two and even group them both together under the same umbrella. However, there are differences between influencers and creators, with the main one being intent.

A Creator’s Motivation

Creators want to make great content that entertains and evokes emotion. They are generally less interested in changing mindsets and more concerned with expressing themselves.

The big names on YouTube do put themselves front and centre, but typically a content creator is much more focussed on the message they are conveying, rather than promoting their own personal brand.

Creators may also review products in the same way that influencers do, but their content choices are based on their own values and preferences, rather than specific partnerships that they have undertaken.

Influencers

When it comes to influencers, it’s important to stress that plugging products and services is not what defines them.

Of course, a huge number of influencers do team up with brands and businesses. However, what has brought them together in the first place is the personal brand they have cultivated, and the resulting effect on their followers.

Influencers’ bread and butter is creating content with the aim of convincing their community to make certain decisions.

These can be monetary in nature, but it could also be something as simple as going for a run, or a walk in the forest, simply because your favourite Instagrammer has been extolling the virtues of getting off the sofa and into the fresh air!

Influencers are front and centre of the content they create, often opening themselves up in a very real way, which creates an authentic persona that people relate to and trust.

Influence and Creation: Impact on Marketing

The most obvious impact of influencers in the digital marketing space is that they have provided opportunities for brands and businesses to move into a different area of social media, in addition to owned platforms.

They have also allowed advertisers to target people in a way that wasn’t possible before. Instead of creating content for their own feeds that relies on people to actively visit, they can partner up with someone who attracts exactly the kind of customer they want to reach.

Influencers are also hugely popular with Gen Z, who many brands covet facetime with. However, with all sorts of influencers out there appealing to different areas of society, there’s a ready made pool of consumers, no matter who you want to target.

When it comes to creators, their impact on marketing is more to do with leveraging the skills they possess to create content that lives on a brand’s owned channels, rather than the creator’s own feed.

How Brands Can Leverage Both for Success

If we were to sum up the difference between creators and influencers, it’s that influencers influence and creators create – rolls off the tongue doesn’t it?

However, it’s crucial to bear this simple distinction in mind when working out how to leverage both groups to beef up your digital marketing strategy.

Effectively Utilising Creators & Influencers

Brands can populate their own channels by using content creators to farm out creative work such as videos or photography, at a fraction of the price you would have to pay a production company, videographer, or photographer.

In addition to leveraging their creative expertise, as a brand you could also tap into the intimate knowledge that a creator possesses, to inform your creative and marketing decisions.

Partnering with influencers can help you advertise a specific product, service, or event, with the main advantage being that they have a ready-made audience on their own channels that trusts their opinions far more than many other forms of branded content.

As you can imagine, there are thousands of influencers and content creators out there, so it can also be a prudent move to work with a specialist agency such as Social Chameleon, who are well-versed in how to find creators and influencers, and how to leverage them in the best way possible.

We are also specialists in search first social media, which takes advantage of the fact that consumers are using social media more and more as a search engine, bringing influencers, in particular, into play in a whole different way.

Influencer vs Content Creator – the best of both worlds

It may sound like we are playing off content creators and influencers against each other – think Godzilla vs King Kong with added smartphones!

However, what we have conveyed here is that while both groups share many content creation skills, they also differ enough to be able to provide different services to advertisers.

And while you can buy their services, the authentic connection with their audience that creators and influencers can offer, is priceless!

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