- Social media companies are constantly trying to one-up each other and it’s having a damaging whiplash effect on creators.
- Creators need to adapt accordingly. Patreon offers some insight into how: including collaboration with other creators to expand the audience.
- Algorithms may be volatile, but Patreon still believes there has never been a better time in history to be a creator than right now.
All social media slices, dices and serves content to users with an algorithm. But when platform owners chop and change the math, what does that mean for content creators reliant on the site to make a living?
Seventy percent of creators say they feel screwed by big tech companies such as Instagram, Facebook, TikTok and YouTube. But more than 60% say they primarily rely on these platforms to showcase their creative work.
This is all according to a new survey conducted by Patreon that sought to learn what obstacles it’s up against and how the business is faring in an increasingly algorithmically driven world.
Patreon likes to imagine itself as the more equitable face of the creator economy with a business model that doesn’t “screw” its members. Its poll included both creators on the Patreon site and those using other platforms.
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In fact, one piece of advice that Patreon offers to creators is to spread their work over multiple social platforms. Three-quarters of creators from the survey share that they want to make more diverse work. But that can be difficult when you feel like you have to make what the algorithms want you to make.
“By diversifying the platforms where you share your work, you can not only develop more consistent income streams, but also achieve the stability you need to be able to take creative risks and experiment with new ideas that excite you,” Patreon advises.
“Instead of molding your creativity to fit what the algorithms want, you but strategically choose where to post so you can make these platforms work for you in the long run.”
If you don’t publish, you don’t earn. That’s a treadmill for many creators. Three-quarters of them feel like algorithms “punish” those who aren’t constantly pushing material to the site. Patreon’s advice is to use the algorithm to your advantage by repurposing and spinning new takes on the same base content.
For example, comedian, creator and culture commentator Jade Fox finds ways to take a single concept and turn it into a handful of posts that all create value for her community in different ways.
“She might make a reaction video about style tips for her pop-culture YouTube channel, and then collab with herself by linking to a how-to-dress video over on her madeyoulooks channel. From there, she suggests looking at the comments to find ‘what the most memorable parts of the conversations that you’re having are,’ and cutting those into short-form Instagram or TikTok posts.”
Patreon comments that “considering creators ranked lack of time as their number 1 obstacle, it’s a big plus if you find low-touch ways to make ideas work across as many platforms as possible.”
Another suggestion Patreon shares to beat the algorithmic millstone is for creators to expand their audience through collaboration.
Per the survey: 83% of creators say they love collaborating with other creators they respect, and 85% say they’re interested in building relationships with other creators. “By working on a project or cross-promotion with a creative partner, you can tap into a new community of potential fans and introduce your existing fans to a new creator’s work.”
But it will pay to be nimble. Apps are never going to stop tinkering with their algorithms, so it’s up to creators to keep their options open too.
“What worked for you this month may not work for you next month,” Fox says. “And so I think it’s safe to cover your bases. Get on multiple platforms.”
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The cultural impact a creator has is already surpassing that of traditional media, but there’s still a stark imbalance of power between proprietary platforms and the creators who use them. Discover what it takes to stay ahead of the game with these fresh insights hand-picked from the NAB Amplify archives:
- How Creators (Professional and Otherwise) Are Making Money in the Creator Economy
- Almost 25% of Us Are Content Creators. Here’s Why That’s Awesome (and How It’s Actionable).
- Storytelling on Demand: It Has to Happen for the Creator Economy
- In the Creator Economy, Creator-Educators Contain Multitudes
- The Economy Part of the Creator Economy
- Why Community Is Everything for the Creator Economy