A social media content creator and an influencer are two distinct roles within the realm of social media. While there may be some overlap between the two, they generally serve different purposes and are used to accomplish different goals.
Many brands are incorporating content creation or influencer partnerships into their social media strategies — especially destinations, downtowns, and experience-driven businesses and brands. There’s no better way for a brand’s story to be amplified than through the lens of real visitors.
The line between a “content creator” and an “influencer” continues to be blurred in the social media marketing world — especially among small- to mid-sized brands. And for good reason: At this point, very few standards exist in this space. Shameless plug: We at Hello Social Co. are working to combat this lack of standards by providing educational resources through the Hello Social Co. Creator Network.
So what’s the difference between them?
Photo by Brittany Brown (@brittaroundtown)
Social Media Content Creator
A social media content creator is an individual or entity that focuses on producing and sharing high-quality content across various social media platforms. Their primary goal is to engage and entertain their audience through their content. Content creators often possess specific skills or expertise in a particular niche, such as photography, videography, writing, graphic design, or any other form of creative expression.
Content creators also can be hired by brands to produce content that will live on that brand’s account; rather than content that’s produced for that creator’s own following.
A few characteristics of social media content creators include:
- A focus on the actual content: Content creators dedicate their time and efforts to producing original and engaging content. They prioritize the quality, uniqueness, and creativity of their work.
- Niche expertise: Many content creators specialize in a specific area or niche, allowing them to establish themselves as authorities or trusted sources of information within that field.
- Community engagement: Content creators actively interact with their audience, responding to comments, engaging in discussions, and building a loyal community around their content.
- Independence: They often work independently or as part of a small team, having control over the content they produce and the creative direction they take. They are often hired as independent contractors; and don’t typically work as a member of a brand’s existing team.
Britt Around Town (@brittaroundtown) at Hyner View State Park, Pennsylvania
An influencer, on the other hand, is a social media user who has amassed a significant following and has the ability to influence the opinions, behaviors, and purchasing decisions of their audience. Influencers typically have a large number of followers who actively engage with their content, and their influence stems from their perceived authenticity, expertise, or relatability.
A few things that stick out about influencers:
- Audience reach: Influencers typically have a substantial number of followers on one or multiple social media platforms, granting them a wide reach and the potential to impact a significant number of people.
- Brand collaborations: Due to their large following and influence, influencers often collaborate with brands and businesses to promote products or services to their audience. These collaborations are often monetized through sponsored posts, brand partnerships, or affiliate marketing.
- Personal branding: Influencers actively curate their personal brand, showcasing their lifestyle, interests, and values through their content. They focus on building a strong connection with their audience and positioning themselves as relatable figures.
- Trendsetting: Influencers often have a finger on the pulse of the latest trends, whether it’s fashion, beauty, fitness, travel, or any other popular niche. They frequently shape and dictate trends within their respective communities.
While there is overlap between social media content creators and influencers, the key distinction lies in their primary focus. Content creators prioritize the creation of high-quality and original content, while influencers leverage their large following to influence the opinions and behaviors of their audience. However, it’s important to note that these roles are not mutually exclusive, and many individuals may embody aspects of both roles to varying degrees.
Planning a partnership
When it comes to planning your first partnership, it can be difficult to determine whether or not to pursue hiring a content creator or an influencer.
Here are two key steps to ensure a successful partnership:
- Define goals and target audience: The first step is to clearly define the goals of the partnership. What does the your brand hope to achieve? Is your primary goal increasing brand awareness, driving website traffic, or generating leads? Once goals are established, identify the target audience. Who does the your brand need to reach? Are they adventure travelers, luxury seekers, or budget-conscious explorers? By aligning the goals and target audience, both a brand and content creator can create a content partnership that resonates with the right audience.
- Establish mutual expectations and guidelines: Open and honest communication between the a brand and content creator is essential. Discuss and agree upon expectations, deliverables, and timelines. A brand should clearly communicate its brand values, messaging guidelines, and any specific requirements for the content. The creator should provide insights into their creative process, storytelling style, and audience engagement strategies. A well-defined contract or agreement can help formalize these expectations, ensuring both parties are on the same page. Regular check-ins and feedback sessions throughout the partnership can also help maintain alignment and address any potential issues proactively.
Utilizing the Hello Social Co. Content Creator Network
The Hello Social Co. Creator Network was built for brands to network with quality, authentic content creators — building more effective and engaging partnerships. The platform connects brands with creators that can visit your destination, and help create some serious FOMO (fear of missing out) to their social media followers. Most importantly, they can show off your destination or experience opportunity to an entirely new audience, expanding your reach and helping you meet overarching brand goals.
Learn more: Brands | Creators
Tags: content creator, influencer, influencer marketing