Influencer Marketing Trends

Everyone’s an influencer or content creator nowadays! Just ask the growing creator economy! Influencer marketing is expected to establish itself as an authentic, cost-effective way to reach new audiences in 2023.  With the rise of social media and short-form video platforms such as Youtube, Tiktok, and Instagram,  the growth of individuals and or groups creating and sharing content and earning an income through influencer marketing well, exploded!  There are now many influencer marketing agencies, influencer marketing hubs, and brands that develop full-blown influencer marketing programs as part of their digital marketing mix and business strategy. 

Tools for Influencer Marketing 

Driving growth in this industry is the democratization of content creation. By making equipment and software affordable so that anyone can create and share content ( many times from the comfort of a phone)  more people are joining in on this trend.  In addition, there are numerous new monetization platforms that make it easy to be generating revenue streams for creators.  There are numerous tools for influencer marketing. Today there are many influencer marketing agencies that help both brands and creators. It’s now easier than ever for creators to establish themselves as creators and to make an income from those efforts. Also driving the growth of the creator economy is the fact that audiences want (demand) new and diverse voices. 

What’s the Difference Between an Influencer, Content Creator and UGC? 

An influencer, content creator, and UGC creator (user-generated content)  can all be used to promote a brand, product, or service across social and paid media platforms. A great marketing tool within a channel for increasing awareness and driving sales.  Creating authentic and relatable content that resonates with their followers, influencer, and content creators are a great way to tap into new audiences for brands. User-generated content, on the other hand, is content that is created and published by individuals that are not professional content creators.  You also see many UGC creators who sell and partner with brands providing (relatable) content who then publish and use it in their advertising. 

Define an Influencer

Let’s start out by loosely defining an influencer. This would be any person who has a large and engaged following on one or many social media platforms. This person has the ability to influence the purchase behavior of their audience/followers. Often times an influencer has a specific niche or area of expertise. For example in destination marketing, a travel influencer can be used to promote a destination and its experiences. A food influencer can be used to promote restaurants and their own personal experiences. (There are different levels of influencers, but that’s a blog post for a different day, series developing). 

Define a Content Creator

A content creator, on the other hand, is a person who creates and shares content on social media and other platforms. These can be photographers, writers, professional journalists, bloggers,  and other types of creators who specialize in creating and sharing a specific type of content. They might have small or large followings, but they are not considered influencers. They are content creators.  Most times they share their content across a multitude of publications. In tourism marketing, a content creator could be used to create and share sponsored content that promotes a destination’s food, and for example, these works get published in a Travel + Leisure article. A food content creator can be used to promote a recipe and their work published in Food & Wine.   Both these content creators get their work published across major publications in their respective niches. 

Define User Generated Content

The key difference between a content creator (above) and someone who makes UGC (user-generated content) is that UGC  content is often times made and published by a person who’s not a professional content creator. These creators have many different approaches to choosing how they work. There are UGC creators who are not comfortable in front of a camera, and they will make UGC content (many times for products) not showing who they are. This content is then provided to brands for advertising.  You have UGC creators who are not camera shy and share their love for a product or service they use in their everyday life. They self-publish their content across their social channels and share these with brands to use in their advertising. These types of UGC creators have recently exploded on Tik Tok, but have been around on Instagram for quite some time. 

Influencer Marketing as a Job, Content Creation

In today’s world influencer marketing is a legit job. In fact, 62% of Gen Z’r in a recent survey indicated that content creation is a credible career choice. Mainstream media uses the term  “influencer marketing” for all content creators but by reading this article it clarifying the types of content creators in the booming creator economy. 

All these types of content creators bring value and play an important role in social media and digital marketing.  The general rule of thumb in the influencer marketing world that is, (until this changes),  Influencers are known for their ability to influence the purchasing decisions of their large following. While content creators are known for their ability to share engaging and high-quality content. UGC content is known for its authentic qualities and lower costs. Regardless of the type of creator you choose to work with, all content creators influence their audiences to purchase. That is after all their job. 

Authentic Influencers 

Authenticity. No longer just a buzzword, but an essential part of any content creation strategy for brand partnerships with influencers.  Take note of the recent #masscaragate as a perfect example. If you have no idea what @masscaragate is all about, have you been living under a rock? Oh, you missed the Tik Tok train? Last chance to get on. 

It’s essential for brands, and influencers/content creators alike to consider the audience/followers when determining whether a partnership is a good fit. Just like brands have a responsibility to their shareholders, content creators have a responsibility to their audience to stay authentic to their voices, causes, and passions. If this deviates you risk getting canceled in today’s online social media culture. 

An influencer/content creator must stay consistent with their audience.  It is after all this what their audience (consumers) trust. Let us not forget, (the basics of marketing). Trust is the mutual exchange happening between parties with all this “influencing, recommending, and sharing of content”  happening on social media.  When a creator’s voice changes or veers too far from what their audience is used to hearing, it’s detected from far away. It’s, for this reason, that authenticity is so important.  Influencers/content creators and brands, together in partnership, (strategically) have a unique opportunity to capitalize (and deliver on) the demand from consumers for well-positioned curated content with influencer marketing campaigns.

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This is new series of writings about Influencer marketing. 

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