Influencer Marketing is creating a demand for related jobs
The value creators bring to the table for brands both large and small is undeniable.
From increasing brand awareness to generating millions of dollars in sales, creators and influencers have become powerful tools for brands who want help connecting with customers.
Visit any social platform, and you’ll find no end to the number of people calling themselves creators or influencers. Because of this exponential growth, brands are taking the next step and building out resources and teams, especially for creators and ongoing relationships.
Where’s one place you can see this new growth taking place? Job listings.
The number of job listings related to creators soared 4,645% over the last three years (according to Thinknum). With open roles from major brands like Twitch and Amazon, who were looking to add an Influencer Marketing Manager role to their teams.
Since brands don’t usually have just one creator on the team, it makes sense to grow management roles. Acting as sort of a liaison between the in-house team and creators, influencer marketing managers are set up (at least they should be) to take on challenges like these:
- Manage communications between the marketing team and creators
- Look for ways to get the best ROI on campaigns using creator content
- Find the best creators to partner with a brand in a way that makes the most sense
Major brands are hopping on board with this trend, too.
Amazon is one of the leading brands looking to fill roles in the creator marketing space. From overseeing strategies that increase audience numbers and streamer earnings on Twitch to working with creators online for Prime Video, the indication here from Amazon is that creator roles are only getting bigger and need the infrastructure within the company to accommodate.
Like social media has been an essential part of brand marketing strategies, influencer marketing is not far behind.
Here’s a takeaway to keep in mind: creators aren’t going anywhere. Ecomm brands can especially benefit from using creators as part of an overall strategy, but there needs to be structure to make it work efficiently.
Where do you start?
First, let’s take a look at how we got here.
Creators: One of the fastest-growing small businesses
Roughly only a decade old, creators are numbering in the 50 million to date. Ask a teenager what they want to be when they grow up, and they’ll probably say a career related to social media over being something more ‘traditional.’
During this decade of growth, creators have been following trends like these:
Becoming the face of brands
No longer looked at as ‘just’ influencers – they’ve created a whole niche in the market and turned it into a viable option for money and experience. Consumers prefer to follow people they trust and respect – especially as they go to these individuals for recommendations and reviews.
By building that trust, creators have increased their value and become major figures in brand marketing.
Getting followers to branch away from social platforms and onto websites
This concept isn’t new.
For years, marketers have been telling brands to branch out from using social media platforms exclusively as part of their strategy (here’s where that saying ‘don’t build on rented land’ comes in).
Pretty sound advice, considering outages on Facebook and Instagram seem to be happening more frequently as of late.
The same advice can go for creators and influencers, but here it's probably even more important. For brands, they’ll likely still survive by going back to traditional marketing methods if something strange happens (we’ve all been through 2020 – anything is possible at this point). The Internet or social media ceases to exist. For creators and influencers, social media is a pretty big deal to their bottom line.
By encouraging followers to connect, they directly strengthen the relationship and marketing channel between brand and audience.
If the creator economy wasn’t moving fast enough pre-pandemic times, the last two years has accelerated that growth even more.
Add in the fact that brands couldn’t do campaigns the way they planned initially (think: photoshoots or other in-person content creation events), the appeal of working with creators was amplified for a couple of reasons:
- Creators, working independently, helped provide user-generated content for brands that is vastly more popular with an audience – especially on social media.
- By limiting or pausing traditional marketing efforts to save cash, brands turned to creators as a way to bridge the gap and get more authentic over ultra-curated feeds. Don’t confuse influencers with creators
Depending on who you talk to, the terms influencer and creator might be interchangeable, but it’s important to note that they’re not the same.
Even though they cover different roles, influencers and creators can move organically between the two positions at any given time.
Here’s how these two roles are commonly attributed:
- Use their platforms to engage, grow, and monetize their following
- Have the ability to push or sway followers into purchasing certain brands
On the other hand, creators tend to:
- Develop original content for brands or individuals
- Actively produce content -- anywhere from copy creation down to shooting/editing
For some, they’ll tell you that creators and influencers are the same because they create original content and then influence buying decisions based on experiences or recommendations.
Here’s how to bridge the gap between brands + creators
The value creators bring to the table is astounding, and it’s helping create leverage.
For brands who have goals to meet, working with creators is highly beneficial because they help with:
- Increasing brand awareness
- Building community engagement
- Developing loyalty between customers and brand
- Driving trends and sales straight to your brand
According to Sprout Social, nearly 58 percent of marketers have increased awareness of the brand. In comparison, 41 percent indicate that community engagement is top of mind on the priority list.
To reach these goals, major brands are moving toward expanding influencer marketing positions within the brand.
Another benefit to working with creators is tapping into the authentic connection they have with your target audience. For example, 53 percent of millennial shoppers say they’re more likely to shop a brand with content that’s more socially relevant to them than the competition.
In other words, creators are at the forefront of trends, and with their social selling skills, they have a powerful impact on directing consumers onto websites or social commerce platforms.
But here’s the million-dollar question for ecomm brands that can’t compete with conglomerates like Amazon: how do you remain competitive?
Effective collaboration starts long before selecting the creator(s) you want to work with on a campaign. Whether you’re ramping up now to work with creators or you’re planning to do so soon, here are some key tips to keep in mind:
Connecting with the right creators is key
Authenticity is a big deal in the social world. Partner with the wrong creator for a campaign (Kendall Jenner + Pepsi, for example), and it could end up costing your brand in the long run.
To make the most impact, look for creators who organically fit in with an existing audience. This is where tapping into the conversation online adds benefit – who are your customers talking about or who do they trust when it comes to recommendations in the space?
That’s where you’ll want to start.
Let creators create
Creators have worked hard to get where they are, so don’t be afraid to let them shine on their own.
Whether they’ve amassed a huge following overtime or have an immensely loyal and connected audience, creators have tapped into what it takes to create authentic and loyal engagement.
Brands that work toward inclusion and diversity (authentic, not performative) will have a leg up on the competition due to this simple fact: your target market is diverse.
Sharing unique perspectives and experiences is vital to any brand, especially when an audience is made up of various communities. By partnering with a diverse range of creators, there’s an opportunity to expand brand awareness and engagement.
It’s not enough just to bring on a diverse team of creators, either. Going back to the previous point found above, let creators create content that taps into an audience in a way that matters for all involved.
Building out a team to work with creators
As the demand for using creators in marketing campaigns continues to expand, it will become necessary to have the infrastructure to accommodate growth – especially for ecomm brands.
Looking to brands like Twitch, smaller brands can get an idea of what type of roles are being created to best utilize the creativity and influence of creators in a campaign.
In a recent posting for a Senior Director of Creator & Community Marketing, there were some notable features of the role:
- Creating campaigns and strategies that highlighted creators and creator communities
- Managing creator and influencer functions and building programs that elevate creators
- Acting as an advisor to creators with opportunities and challenges
As more brands move toward using creators regularly, the need for related jobs will continue to grow.
The takeaway here: creators are an essential part of marketing – it’s time to give them the attention and resources they deserve.