We are officially in the era of the social media content creator.

What was once a hobby is now a bonafide career path. Brands of all sizes and industries want in on the creator economy, creating new functions within social media teams.

Hiring for a role you’ve never filled before can be tricky, especially when it’s a role that’s still emerging within its discipline. If you want to level up your social strategy with a social media content creator, here’s everything you need to know.

What’s a social media content creator?

A social media content creator is an individual who creates and shares content intended to educate or entertain an audience across social media platforms.

The internet offers several avenues for content creation. You can write blogs, share newsletters, draft web copy—the list goes on. This subset of content creators is solely focused on understanding and building their audience on social media.

On the surface, that may seem limiting. In reality, it’s anything but. Social media trends and functionality change daily. Their focus on the channel gives them an unparalleled understanding of what works on their preferred networks.

Content creator vs social media manager: what’s the difference?

While there certainly is overlap between social media content creators and social media managers, they’re not one and the same.

Content creation is one of many responsibilities a social media manager might take on. Social media management also includes:

  • Community management
  • Online reputation management
  • Analytics and reporting
  • Strategic planning
  • Team management

These efforts make the most out of the channel as a business function. They also take a lot of time. Adding video and graphic production to the list can quickly create an unsustainable workload.

That’s why social media managers and social media content creators are a match made in heaven. Creators allow managers to offload content production, allowing them to focus on more strategic initiatives.

The apps social media content creators use the most

It’s pretty common for social media content creators to maintain a presence across most major social media networks.

Why? It’s good business.

Each network has its own engagement advantages. Maintaining a presence across a handful of networks ensures that a creator can continue to grow and connect with their audience as trends shift and evolve.

For example, Tyler Gaca (AKA @ghosthoney across all networks) rose to popularity on TikTok but now uses:

  • Instagram to post about upcoming appearances and collaborations
  • YouTube to share long-form video content
  • Twitter to share off-the-cuff thoughts and observations
  • Twitch to stream video game plays

This is great news for marketers who are revving up partnerships across several networks at once. Our research found that more than half anticipate using Instagram, Facebook and TikTok for creator collaborations within the next three to six months.

A chart showing the top platforms marketers plan to use for creator collaborations in the next three to six months. Instagram, Facebook and TikTok take the top three spots.

Think of it this way: If a marketer were to partner with a social media content creator that has a major following on TikTok, they’d only reach audiences that are currently using TikTok.

If they partner with a creator that has a following on TikTok, Instagram and Twitter, they can request that a sponsored post be shared across all networks. That’s way more reach with just a little bit of extra effort on behalf of both parties.

Social media content creator jobs

If you’re interested in hiring a social media content creator, there are a few different ways you can go. You could:

Each of these options has its own pros and cons depending on your needs. Regardless of which one you choose, one thing is certain: these individuals should focus solely on creating content.

That may not seem like enough responsibility to justify an entire role, but a lot of work can go into a single post. Greer Hiltabidle, a TikTok creator for 360i, broke down the role responsibilities in a recent interview with Marketing Brew: “You’re a director; you’re an actor; you’re a filmmaker; you’re a writer. You do wardrobe, set design.”

On top of all these production duties, social media content creators are also tasked with creative ideation. Adding too many additional responsibilities on top of that can easily overburden a creator.

How to craft a social media content creator job description

There’s nothing more intimidating than a blank page, especially when writing a job description.

Thankfully, there are a lot of places you can turn to for inspo. For starters, our pack of social media manager job description templates has a digital content creator role description that’s ready to personalize.

You can also look at existing job listings to kickstart your creativity. For example, you may want to mimic how this contract social media content creator role from Blizzard outlines the collaboration and creation expectations.

A social media content creator job description from Blizzard Games.

At the end of the day, as long as you’re clear on your purpose and realistic about your expectations, you’ll find the candidate you need.

Social media content creator salary estimates

Social media content creator salaries are a bit of a wild west. At the end of the day, it all comes down to your chosen compensation structure.

If you’re going with a freelance social media content creator, we’ve gathered some price-per-post baselines in our most recent data report on the creator economy.

A chart showing average creator compensation by post type.

These estimates can be influenced by several factors, including brand investment and creator-to-brand affinity. Depending on your industry, comped products or affiliate marketing opportunities could work as a supplement to smaller base pay.

Graphic of a brand-creator compensation matrix, detailing four options for how brands can pay for creators' time and effort

Those looking to hire an in-house content creator ditch the price-per-post payment method in favor of an annual salary. According to Glassdoor, the estimated total pay for a social media content creator in the U.S. is $69,419.

How brands can collaborate with social media content creators

There are tons of ways brands can partner with social media content creators to drive their business forward.

A chart outlining marketer's primary goals when working with creators.

Whether you want to generate more engagement or simply reduce the burden of always-on content creation, there’s a creator that can help you meet your social media goals.

The key is to work with creators who know what’s trending online. Memes and viral video formats can rise and fall in popularity in less than 24 hours. Partnering with someone who can quickly put their own spin on a social media moment is crucial to maintaining brand relevance.

The more you work with social media content creators, the easier it will be to develop a process that’s collaborative and on brand without sacrificing timeliness. As you prepare to take the plunge, here’s how you can lay a foundation for powerful, lasting relationships with creators.

Hire freelance social media content creators

You wouldn’t buy a car without taking it for a test drive first, right?

Think of working with freelance creators as that initial test drive. It allows you to better understand what you want out of a partnership, which networks yield the best results and what content formats work well with your audience.

If you’ve never worked with a creator before, try using freelancer apps like Fiverr or Upwork to parse through your options. If you find a creator that you establish a strong working relationship with, there’s always an opportunity to expand the contract or offer them a full-time position.

Look for the right fit (not the flashiest)

If there’s one certainty in social media, it’s that people can sniff out a fake partnership a mile away.

According to Kerrie Smith, a content strategist for Twitter ArtHouse, authenticity is everything.

“Consumers are on the lookout for partnerships that feel forced and many creators now have the luxury of turning down brand opportunities that don’t feel like the right fit for their business goals. People are no longer averse to #ad, but they will reject inauthentic advertising. Invest in tools to help you listen to your community on Twitter and uncover the creators that are talking about your brand already. Leverage insights to align with creators that are driving the trending moments that your brand can participate in.”

Prioritize diversity and inclusion

It’s no secret brands have struggled to diversify the talent they work with.

Not only is it bad PR, it’s also bad business sense. Inclusive campaigns bring unique perspectives to your content, broadening your reach beyond any single group of consumers.

For example: When Häagen-Dazs wanted to increase its brand awareness among non-white consumers, they partnered with award-winning actor Lena Waithe and marginalized social media content creators to develop branded content. Representation matters in marketing.

When brands fail to account for the diversity of their target audience, don’t be surprised to see members of marginalized communities take their business elsewhere.

Trust your creators

As Rachel Karten, social media consultant and author of the Link in Bio newsletter puts it: “It’s not hard to spot a brand that has an overbearing approval process.”

When working with creators, you need to be ready to abandon the multi-step approval process you’re used to. Nothing shorts originality like putting a post through a few dozen rounds of editing. Plus, it runs you the risk of missing a trend entirely.

To reap the full benefits of partnering with social media content creators, you need to give them the creative freedom and creator tools needed to do their thing. Remember: you’re paying for their perspective and unique voice. Stifling that can hurt both your brand and your relationship with a creator.

Ready to hire a social media content creator?

Trends and consumer preferences are changing faster than ever before. If you’re looking for new ways to maintain your brand’s relevance online, social media content creators may be the solution for you.

For everything else you need to know to evolve your social media strategy, check out the latest edition of the Sprout Social Index™. Inside, you’ll find data-backed insights on what people want from brands and what other marketers are doing to keep up.