We all know that trends and conversations begin online, but who sets and starts them? Over the years, there’s been a shift. While stars and celebrities once ran social media, the ever-growing creator economy lets everyday people connect with swaths of followers (and make a lot of money doing it, too).
When we talk about the creator economy, we’re talking about the industry of nearly 50 million people who expertly use apps like Twitter, TikTok, and YouTube to spread important messages, generate buzz, and entertain major audiences. These creators weren’t necessarily famous when they first got online, but built lucrative careers just by finding, steadily growing, and consistently engaging their fanbases. They resonate with users because they aren’t public figures or companies—they’re equal parts accessible and aspirational, and most importantly, they’re authentic. Basically, there’s no one better prepared to help your brand reach its target demographic.
Though it’s been around for awhile, the creator economy has blown up over the past few years as we’ve gotten more and more online. Today, the industry is estimated to be worth over $100 billion, and platforms are also investing accordingly. U.S.-based Instagram users can earn thousands of dollars for publishing viral Reels, and Pinterest announced its own $500,000 Creator Fund last year. Over on Twitter, features like Super Follows and Tip Jar let followers pay small fees for more content from their favorite users. (We previously wrote at length about all the different ways to monetize your content across apps.)
But even with these tools, creators still heavily rely on partnerships for money. According to a 2021 study from CBI Insights, 77 percent of successful content creators say that most of their income comes from brand deals. Not sure how to get in on the action? Here are some tips and tricks to keep in mind as you venture into the creator economy.
1. Find creators who make sense for your brand.
TikTok star Charli D’Amelio always has an iced coffee in hand before she launches into one of her viral dance vids. So it made sense (and seriously paid off) when she ultimately teamed up with Dunkin’ for a custom drink and sweepstakes. Don’t forget that content creators tend to resonate with their audiences because of their specific interests and personalities and engaging, genuine content—their savvy millennial and Gen Z followers can spot ads that feel forced from a mile away. When finding a collaborator, think of why it makes sense for them (and their built-in audience) to work with your brand.
2. Create content with creators, not for them.
Whether they’re starting conversations on YouTube or penning quippy, relatable tweets, content creators know how to reach people. Instead of just reaching out to a partner’s following, utilize their unique skills. (Wendy’s, for example, often teams up with TikTok and YouTube stars for humorous posts and videos.) TikTok offers a ton of opportunities for this kind of collaboration: Thanks to tools that let you stitch, duet, and reply to videos, there are countless ways to work with and riff off of successful creators.
3. Check out resources from TikTok, YouTube, and more.
As platforms invest in their star creators, they’ve also spearheaded tons of ways for creators and companies to find each other. TikTok’s Creator Marketplace lets brands access information about content creators’ viewership stats, target demographics, and more. Over on YouTube, BrandConnect gives you the tools to measure the real-time impact and ROI from any given partnership—along with “matchmaking tools” that can help you find the perfect fit.
Interested in working with creators to help your brand reach its target demographic? Give the Likeable team a ring.