Is social media content creation just a side hustle?

The creator economy has grown tremendously over the past few years to become a multi-billion-dollar industry. Creators all over the world have capitalized on the phenomenon of turning their passions into sustainable revenue and income streams. Regardless of their occupation – whether an artist, student, solopreneur, or small business owner – the rise of the creator economy allows everyday individuals to pursue what they love and, in many cases, freely tell their stories through creative works.

In the last two years, the creator ecosystem has increased by more than 165 million people, bringing the number of creators to over 303 million globally, according to the Adobe Future of Creativity (FOC) study. As of 2021, the creator economy is valued at USD 104.2 billion, more than double its value since 2019, greatly outgrowing the perception that creative activity is just a hobby or ‘side-hustle.’

The rise of the internet and innovative technology has allowed creators to establish revenue streams through their creative pursuits. Investments in technology such as artificial intelligence (AI) and data fuels critical experiential learning to better engage and connect with audiences. Emerging technologies and platforms like the Metaverse, non-fungible tokens (NFTs), and augmented reality (AR) are also enabling further growth in multiple industries.

Creativity is not exclusive, or a special gift endowed only to a lucky few; it belongs to everyone. The options and rewards are limitless.

Seizing opportunities to propel the global economy

Major digital platforms today, including social media, provide a variety of monetization features to attract and retain creators. This lucrative, revenue-making model grew significantly in the past year and has become a goal for many young creators today. They are enticed by the opportunities available through content creation, with almost half of Gen Z creators (49 percent) saying they would rather start their creative businesses than attend university, according to the latest Adobe FOC: Monetization in the Creator Economy study.

According to the e-Conomy SEA 2022 report, the Southeast Asian digital economy is expected to reach USD 200 billion in 2022 and USD 1 trillion by 2030. Consumers are becoming digital natives, and connectivity has given them access to an increasingly wide variety of content across an equally diverse range of platforms – from streaming services to social media and multi-channel networks. With new ways of working, creators and businesses that explore, support, and adopt digital and creative tools in their working environment will find it easier to thrive.

At Adobe, we are committed to enabling ‘creativity for all’, empowering people everywhere with access to the tools, inspiration, and support the need to share their stories with the world. With the ability to monetize their content through various business means, the creator economy is poised for further growth across traditional and new immersive media.

Supporting social causes that matter

The creation of high-quality, professional-grade photos, video graphics, and audio recordings is now in the hands of the masses, thanks to easy-to-use creative tools. Creators can tap into niche audiences that would have been impossible to connect with, and creative mediums that would have been difficult to gain traction otherwise.

An interesting trend from the Adobe FOC study states that younger creators are passionate about creating content that advocates societal change to add value through their storytelling. By using their creativity and influence to advance social causes, 51 percent of creators believe they can drive awareness, and 41 percent of creators believe they can give a voice to those cannot speak up. Creators have embraced the opportunity to use their creative passions to engage in discourse and advance conversations around social causes online on the issues they care about.

What the future holds for creators

Creativity is the great enabler in the current economy. It has the power to influence politics, culture, and social norms, so we need to hear from a broader, more diverse set of voices. This includes encouraging the next generation of creators to make lasting changes. Creative expression is the path to realizing our full potential – the creator economy is here to stay and will continue to change how people work with no signs of slowing down. This means that the ability to create must be accessible to everyone and needs to continue to be a focus in the short and long term.

Today’s digital economy is becoming a powerful platform for creativity, and Adobe allows the act of expression to be available anywhere, anytime, with effortless collaboration.

This article originally appeared in The Strait Times.

To be inspired and hear from experts, business owners, artists, and luminaries who are successfully driving immersive and engaging creative experiences, watch Adobe MAX 2022 on-demand keynotes, workshops, and sessions here.

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Do you agree with the notion that social media content creation is often viewed as a side hustle rather than a core component of marketing strategies? Why or why not?

How do you ensure that your social media content reflects your company values and resonates with your target audience?

Share your tips, best practices, and examples of successful authentic storytelling on social media in the comments below to get the conversation started!