Have you ever bought anything because a person you follow online or your favourite celebrity recommended it? Social proof is a powerful driver of sales and many content creators are starting to realise this. As creators produce content to entertain, engage and educate, many of them are unlocking the profit potential of selling to their audience - in fact, the global creator economy has grown to an estimated US$104 billion. In this article, we explore the radical phenomenon of the creator economy and discover the tools that creators are using to grow their businesses online.
The creator economy is the category of businesses built by independent content creators, curators and community builders such as social media influencers, bloggers, podcasters and videographers. Over 50 million of these self-employed individuals worldwide launched their businesses and generated profits out of their following, skills and expertise.
The rise of social media platforms like YouTube, Facebook and Instagram meant that creators sought ways to monetise their following such as through sponsored posts, brand partnerships and engagements. However, the irregularity of advertising opportunities and unpredictability of the social media landscape meant that in recent years many creators are moving their fans away from social networks and onto their websites and other individually-owned media platforms.
Many creators are thus becoming business founders - utilising their platform and audience to sell products and services. This shift has given rise to the creator economy as we are seeing exponential growth in these kinds of businesses. For example, popular influencers such as Kim Kardashian and Michelle Phan have found success with their brands SKIMS and Ipsy respectively - making hundreds of millions in revenue annually.
For content creators looking to profit from their brand and following, starting a business online doesn’t have to be difficult. Technology has bridged many of the barriers to entry so that they can start selling in a matter of minutes and manage their sales channels with minimal effort so they can focus on creating engaging content.
For content creators, their e-commerce store can act as a platform for their products and personal brand. For their most loyal customers that are looking to support their favourite creators, websites act as a one-stop hub for everything about the creator including the merchandise that they are selling. Creators can customise these storefronts so that they are exactly how they want them to look and work. In this way, creator e-commerce stores can design a store that matches their brand personality and visual identity. For busy creators, print-on-demand tools have become an easy way to sell custom-branded t-shirts, hoodies and mugs so that fans can show their support.
Live selling is an online shopping event where creators can live stream a video demonstrating their products while customers can purchase these products in real-time while they watch the stream. For creators, this means that they can activate their social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram to sell to their top customers. With its entertaining and immersive format, creators are able and convert sales with a time-sensitive and engaging format that mimics face-to-face interaction. For many creators that interact with their followers in these more personal settings like on Instagram and TikTok live streams and stories, selling interesting products on these channels is a natural evolution of this format. In Singapore, many creators use live selling tools such as SHOPLINE LIVE to promote their wares to their followers on Instagram and TikTok - this popular format has been used to sell everything under the sun from durians to streetwear and branded bags.
Many content creators have blogs and similar types of content-focused websites that showcase their content and work. As their fans view and engage with their content, these sites offer a prime opportunity for creators to feature products to sell. Buy button features allow creators to produce an embeddable product card and checkout that can be placed on any website. This means that customers can purchase products directly on the creator’s website without needing to click off to another page - driving up conversions. Additionally, the products sold can be placed next to related text or video content - helping to promote the goods in an educational way.
Are you a content creator looking to profit while you engage with your audience? Or are you an everyperson looking to succeed in online and offline commerce? Many top creators in Singapore like Lee Teng and Vivian Lai use SHOPLINE to grow their brands online - and you can too.