We’ve noticed that the term “social influencer” gets tossed around the internet a lot these days without much thought given to its context. A social influencer is generally accepted to be anyone that is influential on social media. However, there is a very big difference between people who consider themselves social influencers and content creators.
As the influencer marketing industry continues to grow in 2020 companies will start to get a better handle on their strategies. This is where understanding the difference between an influencer and a content creator comes into play. By understanding the difference between the two, you will help ensure that you are spending money wisely and picking the best person for your brand.
What Is A Social Influencer?
According to pixlee.com, a social influencer is:
“a user on social media who has established credibility in a specific industry. A social media influencer has access to a large audience and can persuade others by virtue of their authenticity and reach.”
When thinking of an influencer, think of any of the below…
Kylie Jenner is happy to promote one of your products (for a few hundred thousand dollars) but all she is going to do is post a picture to her Instagram. This is still amazing for your brand because it gets your product in front of approx 152 million eyeballs but that doesn’t mean it’s the best idea for you. There are two reasons why.
1.)Most companies don’t have hundreds of thousands of dollars to pay for high-cost celebrities like Kylie to promote their products.
2.) It is essentially just another form of paid advertising and incredibly popular social influencers are essentially just celebrities. People aren’t dumb and they know that Kylie Jenner probably doesn’t really care about your product. She is just posting about it to get paid. This is especially true now that the FTC has clamped down on what influencers need to disclose.
When it comes to influencer marketing, the main metric that most marketers focus on is conversion. It’s still great for brand awareness when 152 million people to see your product but how many people are clicking through and making a purchase? What is the actual ROI of Kylie’s post as it relates to sales AND is it the most efficient dollar spend?
What Is a Content Creator?
A content creator is anyone who is responsible for the contribution of information to any media and especially digital media. In the context of this article, a content creator is anyone who creates content for social media sites.
Content creators usually create media in any of the following outlets:
-Social media posts
The main difference between a content creator and an influencer is that a content creator is more willing to collaborate with your brand and help to create quality content for you whereas an influencer is just looking to get paid to quickly post something.
Content creators are generally in it for more than just a paycheck. They enjoy what they do and are looking to further their beliefs by partnering with brands they believe in.
Some reasons that you may want a content creator over an influencer are because:
-Content is the core of your social pages
-Good content will connect with your audience
-Quality content can be the best way to increase your traffic
Which One Is Better?
In the Atlantic article “The Real Difference Between Creators And Influencers” they argue that
“an influencer is someone who is building a platform with the intention of being used by brands for marketing purposes. A creator is in it for the self-expression.”
So the answer to which one is better depends on what you yourself are looking for.
If you’re looking for:
-Lots of quick brand recognition and awareness
-To get people to visit your website or make a purchase
-See a high ROI on your marketing dollar spend
Then working with influencers is probably your best bet.
However, if you’re looking for:
-A long-term brand ambassador of your company
-A creative type to help shoulder the task of creating compelling content
Then you’re most likely looking for someone who identifies as a content creator.
Focusing On The Wrong Influencers
There was another article published recently in Forbes that discusses the evolution of influencers over the past few years. Forbes states that most influencers these days are closer to celebrities than traditional influencers. Since the content that these celebrity-status influencers are posting is glaringly inauthentic, it’s essentially just another form of paid advertising. That’s different from influencer marketing.
Additionally, the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) found recently that, while 75% of marketers currently employ influencer marketing activities, only 36% consider those efforts effective and 19% actually admitted they are “ineffective.”
If these celebrity-influencers aren’t effectively driving bottom-line conversions (increased sales) then who should you focus on? As corny as it sounds, usually customers that you already have are your best influencers. Authentic word of mouth from people who use your product to their friends has always been one of the most effective forms of marketing.
In summary, today’s consumers are savvy, skeptical, and content-hungry. They have the world of information at their fingertips and can see through poised influencer posts. As a market, understand that there is a very big distinction between influencers, content creators, and authentic brand ambassadors (consumers). Knowing what goal you’re trying to achieve and the difference in who you’re working with will most likely be the difference between a flop and a truly successful influencer marketing campaign.