Micro-Creators Are Ready For Their Close-Up, And Brand Marketers Are Noticing
Amy Gilbert, Head of Social at The Social Element
First, there were influencers, then came micro-influencers, now the latest niche in the social media/influencer strategy belt is about micro-creators?
Only now are we starting to see the terms more clearly defined, and that’s a good thing because the better we understand the differences between micro-influencers et.al. versus micro-creators, the greater value they will bring to brands and the audiences they’re trying to reach.
As background, Influencers are synonymous with social media stars that have massive followings, thus prohibitively expensive for all but the largest brands. Out of that came micro-influencers, folks with much fewer followers, but who are more deeply embedded into a specific community, which for many brands helps lend a sense of authenticity that can help greatly when folded into a more strategic online branding approach. But segmenting the niche even further has resulted in the emergence of micro-creators, and brands are starting to take note.
The difference between micro-influencers and micro-creators boils down to one word: storytelling. Influencers, both macro and micro, see how products fit into their lives, that’s the “story” they’re telling. Creators though are thinking about how they can bring their aesthetic to tell a story around the product, that’s also what their community is passionate about.
Consider these micro-creator/brand success stories.
- Tik-Tok creator Bridget McFadden inadvertently started a hot sauce war between Tabasco and Frank’s after she gushed over the personal-size bottle of Tabasco she got with her breakfast. The battle between the two brands to become her favorite hot sauce resulted in numerous clever videos viewed hundreds of thousands of times.
- Tik-Tok creator Emily Zugay, who jokingly positions herself as a serious graphic designer, creates logo redesigns so bad they’re good. Now brands are lining up (and paying her) to create cringe-worthy logos, most recently with Panera Bread to create holiday mugs. Her success even landed her as a guest on the daytime talk show, The Ellen DeGeneres Show.
- Tik-Tok creator That Midwestern Mom created a charming Halloween video where she played both herself and her mom asking how her mom made decorative candy ghosts for a kids party using Tootsie Pops, tissues and pipe cleaners. That video has been viewed over 300,000 times.
These micro creators and others like them are going far beyond influencers in terms of the level of sophistication in the content and messages, versus merely posing with a product. For brands looking to add a creative element to their social media engagement, micro-creators are about to have a moment.
Part of that is because Tik-Tok content style is so specific to the platform — a visual language that can be confusing to some, but for millennials and Gen Z’ers it’s one they’re quite fluent in, which is why brand marketers are tapping them. They also have an established voice within the community and people are kind of coming back to them for their content (and perhaps the mysterious Tik-Tok algorithm that dominates the For You feed).
But it’s not as easy as merely sending them your product and hoping they’re a super-fan. Brands that want to engage with micro-creators need to do work in understanding how their brand is being talked about on social media and partnering with the right micro-creators.
More than any other medium, the opportunity to ‘surprise and delight’ your customers on social media, especially Tik-Tok, exists within the minds of micro-creators, but only for those brands willing to put in the research to find the social media Speilberg that can truly tell their story authentically.