– By Vivek Yadav
For a content creator to thrive and make content creation their stable source of income; having a sizable social media following is not sufficient. Online communities have for many years been essential in bridging the gap between people and corporations. The majority of users that engage in online communities feel like they have meaningful conversations. While it may be possible for a creator to generate a decent income from a single revenue stream, relying on a single source of income is generally not advisable. In the United States, Gen Zers trust community sites at a rate of 48 per cent, which is nearly as high as their faith in traditional news sources (51 per cent). Diversifying one’s streams of revenue can provide greater stability and security, and can help protect against unexpected changes or fluctuations in any one stream.
Additionally, building a community around multiple revenue streams can be beneficial for both the creator and the audience. Not only do the engaged and supportive fans help to promote and market a creator’s work, but they can also provide valuable feedback and input. More than half of all Facebook users participate in five or more active groups, which equals 0.9 billion people who belong to these online communities and 684 million people who have participated in them at least once.
Ultimately, communities that support creators across multiple revenue streams are essential for helping those creators to generate a stable and sustainable income. Diversification of their income sources and strengthening their engagement can help them build a strong foundation for long-term success. With 42 per cent of communities having existed for five years or longer, organisations are increasingly realising the long-term worth of communities.
Additionally,Having multiple revenue streams can also make it easier for a creator to experiment and try new things, without having to worry about jeopardising their entire income.
Communities are essential for content creators because they create a safe place for people to share their knowledge and expertise, and learn from each other while finding like-minded individuals. This works in the favour of influencers as businesses promote their brands through them. Brands can communicate with millions of individuals all at once, and with frequent audience interactions. 50 per cent of social media users are more likely to join passionate communities that reflect their interests. After the pandemic, according to the state of Indian community management 2021 report, businesses began to see communities as a more important component of their operations and around 42 per cent of their brand’s community builders reported that their company made more investments in community programmes. Also, in the past three years, India’s community industry gr. In the poll, 66 per cent of online communities were created during this time.
When high-quality material is shared on social media, the impact is maximised; and eventually, the audience begins to expand in ways it has never had before. For example, you are a travel content creator, and you have a million followers. When you start promoting a product of any renowned brand, there is a high possibility you also attract or engage the followers or fans of that particular brand too which in turn, helps you grow your community too.
Building communities across multiple platforms also helps creators in getting more brand deals as influencer marketing can provide brands with a greater overall online presence, allow them to access a wide range of high-quality audiences, and present new branding engagement opportunities. Additionally, brands want to break the barrier between their content and community, because creators’ have communities over multiple social media platforms, which allows brands to increase brand awareness while building credibility and trust as well to different types of audiences too. This increases the earning opportunities for the creators.
As far as monetisation is concerned, influencers have been setting their rates based on what the brands will pay; which depends on multiple variables like content genre, a social media platform that they use, reach, and engagement rate. Sometimes even power creators might not have enough growth and engagement to stick to the deliverables. A lot many times creators witness their only channels of audience engagement plunging into obsolescence with the audience count still intact. At such times, communities can prove to be the only aid for audience retention. Not unexpectedly, creators can reinforce growth and monetisation from their fans by engaging them off the media platforms, in close-knit communities. In the near future, communities are the driving force behind creators’ monetisation.
Creator-led interactive communities lead the front primarily because those communities are led by the creator but have extensive two-way interactions between the creator and followers and/or regular follower-to-follower conversations along with recurring content while taking the pressure off many members who prefer to be passive consumers or are occasional contributors. It would be fair to say that the broadcasting community would be followed by interactive communities and still lag due to low member interaction and solely relied upon the primary creator to run the show.
To put it into perspective, a creator should have 3 types of revenue streams. First would be their stable revenue like salary from the platform revenue. Then we have investments that pay back in small amounts over the long-term like pensions / annuity i.e, investing in building a niche-focused community with free content or evergreen locked content or time-sensitive locked content, for example, match predictions. And finally, investments that pay huge amounts in the short-term like Jackpot which is big brand deals, and creating branded content. In order to avoid what happened in the case of the TikTok ban, creators should invest in having a more deeper relationship with their core followers/fans by having a community which amalgamates all of their followers at one place, i.e., their own personal community (which can be free to join) or an exclusive place to interact and grow with them.
Most platforms keep on making changes to their algorithms to fuel their next phase of growth. So results that you previously had on a particular content format may not be the same later. In the future, newer formats could completely alter the present scenario with newer platforms ruling the space. Like today, any social media would be our go-to platform but the world has started exploring the metaverse. Navigating through all this may not be easy for all creators, especially the new budding creators. Hence, a pressing priority is also the evolution of platforms that vow to create an ecosystem to help creators succeed in this fast-changing world.
(Vivek Yadav is the Co-Founder & CEO of Cosmofeed)