Rethinking influence: Why shifting your perspective on creators is a must in 2024
Over the past four decades, who and what we define as a cultural influence has changed – a lot. And in the last ten years, the emergence of new social platforms and content trends has only sped up the pace of this evolution.
Take the hit TV show Friends, for example. An average of 24 million people tuned in for its first season in 1994. Pretty impressive – but compare it to this video of Tube Girl AKA Sabrina Bahsoon, which has amassed almost 29 million views since she went viral in August. Now she’s got star-studded music video cameos and modelling gigs with MAC and Valentino under her belt. That’s the power of TikTok.
Today’s creator economy is valued at USD $250 billion, and it’s expected to nearly double in market size by 2027. Creators are big business, and they’re shaping not only our culture, but our economy, in unprecedented ways.
The trouble is, the marketing industry is failing to keep up.
Because the state of play is constantly evolving, brands and marketers are locked in a world of misconceptions, confusion and dated terminology.
The word itself, “creator”, is a term bound up in many other guises. Influencer, talent, TikToker. The list goes on.
Some of these words are restrictive. Some just aren’t applicable anymore. The word “YouTuber” recalls a bygone era – one of vlogs, “Get Ready With Me”s and meet-and-greets.
It fit the bill in 2013- but not in 2023. As content trends and platform features become less distinctive, creators are thriving across platforms and channels. They’re no longer known for just one thing.
That’s why we’re setting the record straight. We use “creator” as an overarching term to reference a broad, dynamic group of individuals. They’re multi-discipline. They’re diverse. And they don’t always have a huge following.
Forget everything you thought you knew about the world of influence. We’re in a new era.
You think: Influencers are celebrities.
We say: Creators come from everywhere.
Most people see influencer marketing as a modern twist on traditional celebrity endorsements. In reality, creators aren’t always high-profile celebrities; they’re anyone who has sway with an audience. Their value is in their ability to connect with their followers on a personal level.
You think: Influencer content is inauthentic.
We say: Authenticity is at the heart of the creator economy.
Let’s face it: overly scripted ads and jarring messaging have given the word “influencer” a bad rep. In most cases this is down to a less-than-perfect partnership between a brand and a creator. The best collaborations let creators’ authenticity shine through in the content.
Part of a creator’s ability to connect with their audience is their versatility. Creators are the Swiss Army knives of social: they’re producers, photographers, videographers, creatives and designers rolled into one. Including them in the journey from start to finish allows their artistic flair to seamlessly blend with the brand’s identity, resulting in one-of-a-kind content that would be challenging for brands to authentically replicate on their own.
You think: Influencers are only good for raising awareness.
We say: Creators offer full-funnel opportunities.
It’s true that influencer marketing helps hit awareness-related KPIs, but the potential of a creator campaign goes far beyond that. Creators can drive engagement, conversions, and even push the boundaries of creative marketing strategies.
You think: I should focus on those with large followings.
We say: Quality over quantity.
Don’t judge a creator by their followers. Influence can come from anyone and anywhere, including smaller scale creators. Follower count can give you an indication of reach, but remember it’s not just about quantity; it’s about the quality of the connection with their followers.
Variety is the spice of life, as they say. So if you want to get the best out of your influencer marketing strategy, partner with creators across all five tiers shown above.
OK, so what?
If there’s one thing we hate, it’s giving information without action. So what do you stand to gain from shaking off these dated misconceptions? And how can you put this into practice today, right now, in a tangible way?
In our latest whitepaper, Impact Beyond Influence: An Insider’s Guide to the Creator Economy, you can find the answers to all this and more:
- The state of today’s creator economy and where it’s headed
- What makes an effective creator collaboration
- How to maximise creator content across platforms and media channels