10 Tips for Businesses to Engage With the Creator Economy
There are many reasons a business might engage with the creator economy. Whatever your reason may be, there is a bit of a science to this process. You can’t simply pick a creator at random – there are steps you need to take before creating that partnership and engaging with the creator economy.
This article covers the ideas and tips shared by successful creator economy enthusiasts who have boosted their brand’s success through these relationships that they’ve formed. Take a look at what they had to say!
1. Do Your Research
Research is an essential part of any new business idea. Researching tips and information about what it means to engage with the creator economy (in addition to reading this article) can help prepare you for any potential engagement you might have with the creator economy. The economy of creative platforms is largely fueled by sponsorships and networking so it’s important to have some comparison points as you start to strategize.
“Research other brands that have walked this path before you and explore what worked and what didn’t,” says Lyudmyla Dobrynina, Head of Marketing North America at Optimeal. “Take a look at partnerships and engagements both in your industry and in other fields to get an idea of the broad range of opportunities you could explore when it comes time to engage with the creator economy.”
2. Partner with Creators Displaying Similar Values
There are so many creators out there, it can be confusing for consumers if you pair with a creator that doesn’t seem to ‘match’ your brand. If you’re focused on marketing to young families but you partner with a creator who is popular for their BMX trick videos, not only is it not going to reach your target audience, but it will likely be viewed as an annoyance by their viewers.
“In today’s day and age with advertisements being in our faces all the time, people don’t want to see things that aren’t relevant to them and their values,” says Christy Pyrz, Chief Marketing Officer of Paradigm Peptides. “If you’re a business engaging with the creator economy you’ll need to find creators that match your brand’s values. You don’t want to have your brand’s values tarnished or cause confusion about what you stand for by advertising in a way that confuses viewers by misaligning your values with a creator just because they’re getting a lot of views.”
3. Quality of Partners is Better than Quantity
Building off of the idea of finding a creator with good values, it’s best to enter the creator engagement economy with the mindset of quality over quantity. There’s a massive pool of creators out there so you’ll need to search for the best partners to fit your brand, products, and message.
“Quality definitely trumps quantity when it comes to partnering with someone in the creator economy,” says Omid Semino, CEO and Founder of Diamond Mansion. “Small and medium businesses looking to partner with creators have to create their own kind of quality control method for selecting potential creator candidates. Make sure you’re doing your research! Check out all of their social profiles, websites, and any other partnerships they’ve engaged in.”
4. Be Heard Above The Noise
Audiences – including your target audience – are often overwhelmed by the ‘noise’ that they’re exposed to in terms of advertisements. It’s estimated that each person sees, hears, or is otherwise exposed to thousands of advertisements per day. Most of us don’t even register most of these exposures, but as a business, that can be disheartening to hear.
“One of the greatest things about engaging with the creator economy is the opportunity to break through the filter most of us have toward ads,” says Andrew Adamo, VP of Bullion Shark. “I was shocked when I learned how many times we see or hear an advertisement each day. It’s no wonder we’re starting to look into new methods of connecting with our consumers through creator partnerships!”
5. Embrace Authenticity
If you’re looking to reach the people viewing creator content (which are largely Gen Z and Millennial audiences), you’ll need to cater to their preference of authenticity. While there are noticeable differences between these two generations, one thing stands firm as a common value: the preference for authentic connections with a brand over polished traditional ads.
“These younger generations aren’t looking for the coolest commercial or even the best social media post by the brand itself,” says Yusuf Shurbaji, Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Prismfly. “They want to see how that brand is living out their values so they can feel like they’re supporting something bigger than themselves. ‘Authentic’ is the new ‘cool’”.
6. Look for the Right Audience
Make sure you’re looking for the right audience before you pair with a specific creator. As mentioned before, most creators cater to millennial and Gen Z, but there are some creators out there with older audiences. Going back to the first tip – make sure you’re doing your research and looking for the right audience in this endeavor.
“If you’re targeting a really specific type of audience, you’ll want to partner with a creator that can reach those people,” says Ryan Rottman, Co-Founder and CEO of OSDB Sports. “That’s one of the major perks of joining the creator economy – you have a captive audience gathered without much work on your end.”
7. Seek Out Niche Creators
While it can be tempting to look for the ‘hottest’ or most ‘viral’ creators, these creators are going to be in high demand and, therefore, a lot more expensive to work with. Additionally, their viewers often span a much larger range of demographics than a niche creator would. These niche creators have a specific interest or topic that they create content around to draw in their niche crowd.
“Niche creators are really a goldmine for businesses looking to engage with the creator economy,” says Ubaldo Perez, CEO of Hush Anesthetics. “They are often less frequently pursued for advertisements and will be more affordable while providing an audience that aligns much better with your target demographic.”
8. Look for Mutual Benefit
Yes, you’re going to be paying the creator to advertise, but what other benefits can you bring to the table? Often, promoting their content on your brands websites and social media accounts and creating those positive professional networking connections can provide mutually beneficial perks to both parties.
“Network, network, network,” says Alex Novak, CEO of SLR. “All business owners know the importance of this. Remember to think of the creators you’re working with not just as an advertising medium, but as a networking connection that you can nurture and grow into a beautiful partnership.”
9. Increase Your Credibility
Partnering with the creator economy means putting another person’s face alongside your brand. While this can be a risk, it can also help increase your credibility. If your name doesn’t mean something to a viewer, you’ll become one of the thousands of ads that we see and ignore.
“It’s not a new idea – having a celebrity or professional athlete promote a product has been a common practice for many years,” says Shaunak Amin, CEO and Co-Founder of SwagMagic. “The creators you partner with will be doing the same thing. They are people that these viewers connect with and trust more than a brand (and probably more than those paid celebrity ads too). Take advantage of this connection and increase your brand’s credibility and recognition with a creator partnership.”
10. Look for Strengths you Lack
Finally, one of the things you should examine are your weaknesses. This is business school 101. We’ve all been told to use the SWOT method when approaching a new business decision – and this is no different. Check yourself and identify the weaknesses you’d like to overcome through engagement with the creator economy.
“Creators are often very strong communicators and form connections easily with their consumers,” says Brian Lee, Co-Founder and CEO of ARENA CLUB. “This is often a weakness that we, as a business, have. Instead of working to create a personal connection with each consumer, you can use the relationships that have already been formed by the creator and their audience to boost your brand’s image.”
Making the decision to engage with the creator economy is something that can be highly beneficial but should also be done with caution and intentionality. Creators can be a great asset to a brand if they’re chosen correctly, so you’ll want to make sure you’ve done your research into the type of creator or creators you may want to partner with.
While it can be tempting to partner with the most popular creators on each platform, doing so typically decreases the number of memorable impressions you’ll make for the price you’re paying. Credibility is best built with those niche creators who have a very specific and engaged audience that trust the words they say.
Forming these connections is about more than increasing sales. This is how you can set your business up for future success by forming relationships and a reputation among creators so you’ll be able to continue those relationships while networking with other creators in the process.
Hopefully these tips have helped you explore ideas about the benefits of engaging with the creator economy as a business and how you can take your first steps!
Hattar, M. (2022, July 14). Why B2B brands should partner with creators, not influencers. Fast Company. Retrieved August 27, 2022, from https://www.fastcompany.com/90769474/why-b2b-brands-should-partner-with-creators-not-influencers
Simpson, J. (2022, April 14). Council post: Finding Brand Success in the Digital World. Forbes. Retrieved August 27, 2022, from https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesagencycouncil/2017/08/25/finding-brand-success-in-the-digital-world/?sh=7586fc5626e2