All influencers are content creators, but not all content creators are influencers. And actually, when you hear someone reference a “content creator” they aren’t usually referencing an influencer. What?! So, what’s the difference? We’ll break it down so you can understand how each group helps brands, and what might work best for yours.
You probably have a pretty good idea of what a traditional influencer is: someone online who has the power to influence the purchasing decisions of their audience. The industry groups these influencers into different tiers based on follower count.
Nano-Influencers: 1,000 – 10,000 followers
- Many of their followers have real-life relationships with them
- They may not even consider themselves an influencer at this point, and you may be their first brand partnership
- They will sometimes accept product in return for a post
- Since their audience consists of family and friends, they will be highly receptive to your product
Micro-Influencers: 10,000 – 100,000 followers
- With a bit of a larger, yet still very engaged audience, they have homed in on a niche and have shown their ability to grow their brand
- They’re amassing a following by consistently sharing relevant content and have developed a strong connection with their followers
Mid-level Influencers: 100,000 – 500,000 followers
- Have a significant level of influence over their followers and typically share an aspirational view of their life
- They are the trendsetters and thought leaders of their niche
- The content they are sharing is a level up, and if done right, can be just as authentic as micro-influencers
- With higher-paid brand deals coming in, these influencers are able to put out more content in order to continue growing their personal brand
Macro-Influencers: 500,000 – 1,000,000 followers
- Bloggers, vloggers, podcasters, and thought leaders that have grown a dedicated following, with many of their followers being considered fans
- Well-established personal brand that is well known
- Heading towards celebrity-level influence and will be very selective about what brand partnerships they take
Mega-Influencers: 1,000,000+ followers
- Celebrities or influencers that have reached a high level of name recognition
- Tend to be long-standing partnerships because it’s important to ensure that the celebrity appears brand loyal, or they will quickly lose credibility
The difference between content creators and traditional influencers is that a company will enlist the help of a content creator for the direct purpose of producing content for their brand or product. The reason brands hire content creators is so they can get the look of “user-generated content” (or UGC) for their feed. UGC-style content shows followers what your product is really like in use. For instance, an Instagram photo of a Pinterest-worthy campsite setup that makes your brand’s followers want to run and buy the newest version of that tent you manufacture right away so they can enjoy that kind of life! The bonus? Your company didn’t have to spring for a full-blown, on-location photo shoot to obtain this amazing asset. Instead, you found a talented content creator who happened to be camping in a picturesque area to send you some shots to use on your feed.
- Create the social content, but aren’t required to post it to their account
- Assist in creating marketing concepts to produce the best possible content for your message
- Create FOMO by bringing people behind the scenes and sharing information from a different vantage point that comes off as authentic and attention-getting
- While influencers are almost always in front of the camera, content creators are sometimes only behind the camera
- Often photographers, videographers, and artists
Influencers usually start out as content creators, because putting out content is how they build a following. It’s the combination of an engaged audience and exponential follower growth that turns a sole content creator into an influencer.
The easiest way to remember this is:
influencers = access to new audiences via the influencer’s account
content creators = content for your brand’s account
The main thing to know about all creators, influencers, and otherwise is that they are professionals. They can be considered as freelancers for your business, and should usually be paid as such. It’s important to be respectful of their time and talents – and to always pay them on time.
Ready to get started but are stuck deciding what type of creators are best for your brand’s goals? Let’s connect! If you’re considering influencer marketing, we can evaluate your brand, help match you with the right influencers, and guide you toward a strategy that will fit your needs.