Creator marketing is undeniably one of the most important forms of online marketing today. While a decade ago it was limited to public figures and bloggers, in 2021 the influence of the creator economy is rapidly expanding and brands now develop unique marketing strategies to get to their audiences. So how can you and your brand take advantage of this new way of marketing and ultimately scale using influencers? Keep reading and find all you ever wanted to know about creator marketing.
Here are the facts that prove why creator marketing is a popular and effective tactic for today’s brands. For example, 33% of millennials trust blog reviews when they make purchases, compared to only 1% who claim to trust advertisements. But, bigger is not always better and in the case of the creator marketing strategy, data shows that creators with 10.000 or fewer followers are getting the best results for brands and businesses. They have a smaller, but strongly built community, are loyal brand advocates, relatable, have strong engagement rates, and cost less. Finally, 40% of all online purchases are related to the promotion of creators on Instagram, Twitter, Discord, TikTok, or Youtube.
What is a Creator
Creators are social media users that make original content that stands out in a certain topic or a field. Unlike influencers, creators can have a smaller follower base and still monetize their content due to their originality.
What’s the Creator Economy
According to Statista, creator marketing is on the rise and the value of this specific market between 2019 and 2021 has more than doubled, with growth from 6.5 billion U.S dollars to 13.8 billion dollars in the last three years.
How to Find the Perfect Creators for Your Campaign
Yet, creator marketing does not involve only celebrities, but users on social media that create original and unique content that stands out in a certain niche industry. Furthermore, one of the most popular platforms to find these creators is Instagram. To learn how to use Instagram for discovering your best creators check out our blog How to Find Instagram Creators.
So, a creator is a person who has the power to influence purchasing decisions of people because they have significant authority, more knowledge, a better position, or a unique relationship with their audience.
Their audience values their opinions which is why they follow them, and not brands.
What is Creator Marketing
Creator marketing means partnering with creators that cover topics that are closely related to your product, service, or brand and use them for social media promotion.
Creators provide content that they usually would post and receive compensation for their work. On the other hand, brands get exposure in front of their most relevant audience. It’s a win-win situation for both parties.
The interesting thing is that, unlike a celebrity, a creator can be anyone from anywhere. Their influence consists of the content they create, not the number of followers they have on social media platforms. A creator can literally be anyone: a travel enthusiast that films their own adventures on Youtube, a nail artist that takes pictures of their work on Instagram, or a marketing manager at a small firm that offers personal tips on LinkedIn.
Depending on your strategy you can collaborate with one of the best 100 creators on Instagram, or hire multiple smaller creators.
One of the best ways to find creators on Instagram is Influencers Club. It’s a data provider with a research team of 40+ people who can find the perfect creators in your own niche. To test the quality of the data here’s a free tool that lets you search Instagram creators by keywords in their biography.
There are different types and scales of creators. Some have millions of followers like Liza Koshy that promote brands, and others may have 10,000 followers or less, developing their reputation and following by being experts in their designated field. They are the people who make the best quality content in a certain field, share the finest pictures, make unique and fun videos, and run the most informative discussions from which their followers can immensely benefit.
The Value of Creator Marketing
At the beginning of the creator marketing days, it was a usual strategy for brands to do one-and-done campaigns with the creators, and these campaigns were based on a bunch of posts that aren’t particularly tied to a broader campaign or an objective, simply promoting one product for example.
But now brands allocate more of their marketing budgets to creator marketing. It is estimated that this industry has grown to $10 billion dollars by 2020, going up from $2 billion dollars just three years before in 2017. In fact, data shows that 67% of marketers believe creators get them a targeted and narrow audience, and whooping 92% of marketers who used the strategy think it was effective. Additionally, 89% of the people surveyed by Mediakix in 2018 said that the ROI from creator marketing was better than other channels.
How to Develop a Creator Marketing Strategy
Creator marketing strategy, like any other marketing effort, takes calculated planning. Giving free stuff to creators and their followers is not a guarantee for success, but with a couple of tweaks and smart planning, you can get there.
1. How to find creators
Just like any other marketing strategy, the first step is research. Choose a platform that is relevant for your business and focus on it. Later, you can expand on other platforms, but in the beginning, it’s advisable to stick with only one. Preferably, your brand should already have some kind of following on the network you choose.
The niche or the field your business operates in is also important when planning out the creator marketing strategy. For example, Youtube and Instagram are good platforms for food brands.
In the research phase, you should discover the influencers you are interested in. With the budget you have at your disposal, you can determine if you are going for celebrities with massive followings, smaller creators with 5.000 followers, or mid-range with creators that have 10 to 100 thousand people that follow them.
Prices vary, and creators with fewer followers tend to be concentrated on fewer topics and accept different types of products. Some of them work alone and some of them may be represented by a network or an agency. Considering that, larger accounts with more followers require financial compensations, and you even might have to go through a talent agency.
Your brand should focus on the expected ROI (Return on Investment) of your content marketing campaign and you might ask yourself how you will determine the contribution of their work towards your marketing goals. One approach is to compare the costs of creating and distributing your own campaign with the one created by the creator. This type of perspective may help you give a good comparison.
2. How much do creators cost
The prices are different and dependable on the number of followers and the platform they’re on. For example,
- a creator with 50-500.000 followers on Instagram can charge $500–$5,000 per post
- creators on Twitter with 1+ million followers ask $2.000+ per post
- creators with 1-10.000 followers on Instagram charge between $25–$250 per post.
The research, of course, is the most important part, and it takes time and patience until you find the perfect fit for your brand. According to Neoreach who analyzed data from more than 2,000 creator campaigns, the total earned media value averages 5,2 times per 1$ spent. This method of calculations tells us that every dollar spent on creator marketing results in five times as many interactions with the brand in comparison to the same spent on paid ads.
3. How to define a budget and strategy
Once you have an idea of what the cost of the creators is, you need to define the budget for the creator marketing campaign. Consider the time for all the activities involved with using this strategy, like the plan, execution, and review of the influencer program. Like any other digital marketing campaign, this marketing effort involves careful observations and follow-ups.
According to Linquia, you should spend about 25% of your total budget for digital marketing on creator marketing. Their research concludes that it should be treated as any other digital marketing channel, becoming an integral part of the digital media plan.
You can use this creator campaign budget template made by Demand Metric to set and track your creator budget.
4. How to contact creators
So you have your goal, message, budget, and strategy, as well as the type of creators you want to reach out to. Go back to the start and finally find the creator you want to collaborate with.
There are certain things that you should keep in mind during the research.
- Make sure the creator’s fans consist of your target audience
- The creator must have a good engagement ratio to follower count and legitimacy is the most important part
- Check their previous work to discover if they already worked with a similar brand to yours
The next step is to decide how to contact them. For creators with up to 10.000 followers you can send them a DM on the platform they are on. Creators with a bigger fan base get tons of collab requests so you have a higher chance of reaching them via email. Inspect their profiles and you will probably find contact information in their bio. For more information check out this article that explains how you can find anyone’s email address on Instagram.
To DM creators you can use tools to send bulk messages, and automate responses, which can save you a lot of time. Some of the listed tools are free, but others cost different rates.
3. Bulk DM for IG Chrome browser plugin
You can find other tools for auto DMs on Instagram here.
5. Review your creator marketing strategy
Before the start of your creator marketing strategy, you should have set dates in your content calendar, so you can track the campaign’s progress with ease. With frequent collaborations with creators, you’ll learn more and more different stuff you can improve on and have more successful campaigns.
Types of creator marketing campaigns
Many brands succeed with different types of creator marketing campaigns. If you’re not sure which one is the right for you, check out our list below.
1. Affiliate marketing and discounts
Tracking the success of your marketing campaigns, tracking the ROI, and reimbursing the creators is quickly done with custom URLs and discount codes.
For example, one of the most popular food Youtube channels Babish Culinary Universe is promoting 20% off for the first purchase for the brand Thrive Market brand using a custom URL link.
The other strategy for creators is to give out discount codes that can be promoted either by photos, videos, and even podcasts.
2. Giveaways and contests
A great way to gain great brand exposure, engagement, and brand presence is to organize a giveaway, competition, or contest in a collaboration with your creator. Based on your product’s price, you can either give away some products to winners of differently set up competitions or directly to the creators.
Some creators get many free and exclusive products, so they decide to either film their unboxing and post it on social media, or use the product and rate and review it for their followers on the dedicated platform. Preferably, the prizes should be interesting enough to generate buzz and get people excited to join the contest.
When it comes to competitions, the best way to get engagement is to include the instructions in the description for entering the contest, and it’s immensely important to be transparent with the announcement of the winners. For example, this is a lifestyle creator with 50.000+ followers that is giving away supplements.
Creator platforms can do wonders to help you find the creators you are looking for, but there are pros and cons to that approach. Platforms like Heepsy, BrandAmbassador, SparkToro, Group High, or AspirelQ give you access to millions of creators and you can quickly find the best fit for your business. But, as we mentioned before, it’s pivotal to find the right niche industry, follower demographics, etc., and these platforms can give you only broad access to creators.
However, by getting emails from Influencers Club you can find creators’ email addresses and reach out at scale. According to statistics, only 20% of creators you contact will end up collaborating with your brand. So cut down the outreach process in half and start connecting with the right creators immediately.
For more information about how to get and use emails from creators, book a free strategy call with our team.
The world of creator marketing has vastly changed in a short period of time, and trends change in a blink of an eye. But, if you follow the steps we mentioned, such as doing proper research, setting a budget, defining the goals, finding the creators, and properly plan your campaign, you may pave the way for a successful campaign.
The success of the campaign varies from brand to brand, and don’t get discouraged if you don’t succeed at first. It’s obvious that these days including a creator and developing a creator marketing strategy is beneficial for everyone.