Influencers Lead the Way into Virtual Worlds

[Free Takeaway Included – Instagram Macro Influencers in the United States]

In October 2021, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced that the social media giant will change the name of its holding company to Meta. With the announcement, he described futuristic plans to foray into the digital realm of the metaverse in which users will feel they are with one another and have a “sense of presence”, despite being far apart.

Pokemon, the famous gaming platform took the plunge into metaverse and unveiled its vision for a new AR-powered environment overlaid with digital creations, entertainment and information.

Furthermore, Microsoft made its recent announcement that it was also creating its own metaverse solutions as an extension of its Teams platform known as the 'Enterprise Metaverse'.

All in all, as many brands join the metaverse bandwagon, this new world of virtual and augmented reality is poised to reshape the landscape of social media. In turn, it has opened up tremendous opportunities for marketers to collaborate with meta-fluencers who follow and dictate new trends in the metaverse.

Spicing up Virtual Influence in the Metaverse

The role of influencer marketing is expected to grow—potentially into a 16.4 billion dollar industry in 2022 alone. Fueled along by a crackdown on data collection with data privacy laws, the proliferation of ad-blocking tools and the deprecation of third-party cookies on the horizon, influencer marketing is grabbing all the attention.

Influencer content, by virtue of its nature, is a form of native advertising placed within media content that can bypass any form of ad blockers, making it an effective alternative in reaching your target audiences. Therefore, it’s not surprising to note that influencer marketing spending will expand further in the future.

With the advent of metaverse spaces such as VR communities and social forums in online games like Roblox and Fortnite, virtual influencers are a strong force to be reckoned with.

The Rise of Virtual Influencers

Virtual influencers are CGI (Computer Generated Imagery)-rendered characters or digital avatars controlled by a real person in real-time. It includes the current zeitgeist of Vtubers and virtual live streamers who use AI-powered algorithms and real-time motion caption software to entertain in social media spaces. However, like typical influencers, these virtual caricatures also share moments of their real persona through photographed scenes or livestreams. Besides, they can be solicited by brands for marketing campaigns and aid in augmenting your online presence management strategy across the metaverse.

A recent survey revealed that the global engagement rates for virtual influencers with accounts of over 1-million followers were three times higher than their real-world counterparts.

Lil Miquela is widely considered the first CGI influencer who debuted on Instagram in 2016 and was puppeteered by Trevor McFedries and Sara DeCou. Initially, the creators of the virtual influencer kept their identity a secret and evolved the storyline of the character by injecting more background into her existence and pumping up an emotional appeal. Portrayed as a young teenage rebel and a social justice activist, this virtual influencer amassed around 1 million followers in a span of two years and now holds an active presence on several social media platforms with an aggregate 3 million fan following. In June 2018, Miquela was named one of Time’s 25 most influential people on the Internet along with fellow fashion peers and celebrated musicians.

The Role of Virtual Influencers in Metaverse

As the metaverse develops well past its infancy stage, we can expect to see more and more virtual influencers creating new types of immersive experiences and social connections.

For established influencers, the metaverse appears to be an opportunity to evolve on their digital journey alongside their virtual avatar, where they can partner and further cultivate their already existing relationships with brands while interacting and communicating with audiences. For others, it can serve as a fresh opportunity to build an audience in the new world, which may be less saturated and capitalized with a first-mover advantage.

Brands can even experiment creating their own virtual influencers with a personality, aesthetic, belief and tone of voice that reflects the brand and the values of its target audience. You can also consider moving these virtual avatars between different social mediums and metaverse spaces as they develop.

Regardless of your plans for virtual influencer marketing, remember that a gripping story and theme is what keeps the character alive and appealing to audiences in the social landscape. This keeps your target audience hooked and adds up to the authenticity of the character, which leads to higher brand credibility.

How Influencer Marketing and Metaverse work Together

The possibilities in the metaverse are endless for marketers across the world and applicable to practically any industry. Here are some ways brands can tap into influencer marketing in the metaverse:

  • Launch influencer marketing campaigns that target users in specific metaverse spaces by creating promotional posts, videos, exclusive discounts, etc.
  • Host online events, exhibits, conferences, and forums with thought leaders and influencers to promote global fan participation and engagement
  • Conduct contests, competitions and giveaways with NFT (Non-fungible Tokens), virtual collectibles or cryptocurrency
  • Gather audiences from all regions under one metaphorical roof within the metaverse and initiate live streaming of conversations, demonstrations, reviews or feedback sessions
  • Collaborate with influencers to co-create a branded virtual world and invite users
  • Leverage influencers’ outreach in focused and niche virtual communities
  • Reward loyal fans of influencers with early or exclusive access to new products or time-limited coupon deals
  • Integrate product or ad placement in popular influencers' videos, livestreams, games and other types of content

Here’s a free download of Instagram Macro Influencers in the United States.

The metaverse is slated to accentuate the creator’s economy. In a new universe that is not bound by the laws of physics, the stakes are greater for creators to build more innovative and experiential content than ever before.

As it stands today, the current iteration of the Metaverse is a world of experimentation, opening doors for brands to transform their marketing approaches, unlock strategic partnerships with influencers and engage audiences with unique experiences. Until technology advances further, brands can continue exploring the best of both worlds, combining complementary activations in the current social landscape as well as a metaverse setting.

Ultimately, creators that will thrive in this new format are the ones that are agile and willing to explore an uncharted yet promising territory.