Q&A with David Shadpour, founder and CEO, Social Native.

In only a short period of time, the way brands reach and engage with customers has changed dramatically. What was once one-way communication through broadcast and print ads is now a much more complex world of two-way communication consisting primarily of authentic user generated content via social media channels. According to David Shadpour, founder and CEO of Social Native, this “creator economy” is the future of brand engagement. Digital Commerce 360 spoke with Shadpour about how strategies that leverage the creator economy will help brands thrive now and in the future.

What is the creator economy?

Traditionally, the biggest publishers in the world were large companies that made high quality production and editorial content. But today, platforms like Facebook and TikTok, are taking over that space—not by making their own content, but by crowdsourcing user-generated content. At the same time, the evolution of the iPhone and other devices has created a world where anyone can make high quality content from their mobile devices.

This combination of easy content creation and social media platforms has given people—particularly the younger generation—the ability not only to express their creativity in new ways, but also to showcase it to large audiences. Brands now have the opportunity to tap into those creators: curate, categorize, invite and onboard them to unlock their creativity for partnerships. This is the creator economy.

How does marketing to the younger generation differ from traditional marketing?

Traditional marketing is one way—from brand to consumer. With one-way communication, the brand controls the message. But with the influx of social media channels, we’ve created two-way communication that has a bigger impact. This is the world the younger generation knows and understands because they grew up in it. With two-way communication, brands have the opportunity to tap into their creator community and empower them to showcase their products or services in a way that resonates with their target consumers.

What strategies will help brands leverage the creator economy?

Brands used to think the best way to understand and reach their target audience was by putting together a focus group from which they could glean useful insights. Now, brands really need to start thinking about social media platforms as one massive focus group. Instead of immediately trying to make social media users customers, they should listen to what they’re saying and bring them along the journey to be a bigger part of their business.

Like Jeff Bezos keeping an empty chair in Amazon meetings to symbolize the voice of the customer, brands should leverage social media to give their customers a seat at the table. The more they embrace this, the more successful they will be.

What steps should brands take to start participating in the creator economy?

They should partner with a content platform provider like Social Native. Our mission is centered on empowering human creativity for businesses. All of our brand partners are in a position to tap into the best of the best of the billions of people who own smartphones and have social profiles to curate content from the most talented creators, and then empower them to create authentic moments around your brand. That is a beautiful opportunity that has never existed before.

David Shadpour

An executive conversation with David Shadpour
Founder and CEO of Social Native.

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