Eran Nizri, Founder & CEO of LEADERS.
When former Facebook employee Frances Haugen testified before Congress in September 2021 that there were “conflicts of interest between what was good for the public and what was good for Facebook,” many believed massive changes were coming for social networks as we know them.
A month later, when Facebook experienced its longest outage in more than a decade, it seemed even clearer that the social network may no longer reign supreme. Then, just a few weeks later, Mark Zuckerberg revealed his technology group’s new name, “Meta,” short for metaverse, and social networks got new life through the merger of online and virtual worlds made possible by virtual and augmented reality and blockchain.
In the Web3 revolution, social networks are likely to transform into a powerful ecosystem called social finance—SocialFi, for short—that will merge the existing capabilities of social networks with blockchain and NFTs. As a decentralized network, it will see the onus of data ownership shift from social networks back to the users themselves. Even influencer marketing, born in the Web2 revolution and has been used by 93% of marketers, as of 2019, will get an overhaul by allowing brands and creators to own the digital assets that they create.
So how can brands prepare their social media marketing strategies for the SocialFi revolution, and what are some of the potential barriers to entry that they should be aware of?
Embrace the beauty of NFTs.
Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) may be the latest buzzword, but they are also full of potential for brands’ social media marketing.
Based in the blockchain, NFTs make it possible to securely trade and sell digital content. They enable digital proof of ownership and ledgers on the transference of different virtual and real-world experiences that brands can create for their communities. Brands can generate revenues from these experiences after-the-fact, inspiring them to create viral content in the metaverse.
TIME magazine, for example, has done a great job of starting off its Web3/NFT community. They launched TIMEPieces, giving out a secret word to their community that allows members to purchase a piece in one of their artistic collections. TIME states that the goal of TIMEPieces is to “bring together artists, collectors and fans in a collaborative manner with the goal of building utility and community value over the long-term.”
However, NFTs may not be the best fit for all brands, and there are some pitfalls to consider. NFT communities are great for B2C or direct-to-consumer brands but may be more of a challenge for B2B companies to implement. In addition, brands will need to have an array of beautiful and appealing digital assets in their arsenal to derive real benefits from NFTs. Finally, NFTs are still an emerging and speculative space, so brands should start small by experimenting with a well-defined and limited-time project.
Marketing becomes everyone’s day job.
NFTs are also relevant to the influencer marketing space. Actually, they may not exist without it. Influencers have a key role to play in the marketing of NFT avatars, GIFs, videos and minting campaigns. Just look at the celebrities who are already backing NFT projects like Justin Bieber and Bored Ape Yacht Club and Reese Witherspoon and World of Women. But when Web3 is in full force, you won’t need to be a celebrity to make money off of a digital asset; anyone can become an influencer in the digital world and help brands connect with consumers.
In addition, NFTs make it possible to precisely track how influencers impact brand-related communication and what value they bring to virtual entertainment experiences, which may become a go-to strategy in Web3, especially for consumer brands.
That said, brands should aim to work with influencers who are not only experienced in the Web3 space but those whose online presence aligns with brand values. Set clear milestones, such as the number of attendees they bring to a virtual event or the number of NFT mints they should generate. Ask influencers questions to test their knowledge of Web3 communities, like which hashtags and elements they will use in their posts to increase community exposure. A good option for brands looking for influencer experts is to work with an agency or PR company that specializes in this field.
Finally, campaign messaging should be crystal clear prior to launching a virtual event to maximize impact. A disorganized virtual event could be a huge step backward for a brand, so it’s important to be prepared.
Managing campaigns is a walk in the park.
Marketers have developed a bunch of strategies over the years for managing their influencer campaigns, many of which stay relevant in the Web3 revolution.
Marketers should consider using social media campaign management technologies when the scope and scale of their online presence start to become more complex—for instance, while they are straddling Web2 social media and Web3 metaverse marketing. Campaign performance data from various sources is like gold when it comes to determining the path forward and can be easily accessed using a SaaS platform.
Brands are also expanding their social media and content teams in order to meet the demands of the Web3 revolution, but companies won’t necessarily have to hire additional employees, especially if they are able to access automation tools. At the intersection of social media marketing technology and Web3, tracking and management of a brand’s online presence will be intuitive and simple without diminishing the role of data-driven insights in decision making.
Early bird gets the SocialFi worm?
The words “Web3” and “NFT” are all over the internet at the moment, but little is said about their impact on social media marketing.
If you ask me, the transition to Web3 is a defining moment where creators will be able to officially declare “influencer” as a profession, and brands will be able to redefine themselves while decentralization reaches mass adoption. While it may be virtual, SocialFi will be shaking up the marketing and finance worlds very soon.