In this piece, I dive into these waters to explore what this transition means for brands accustomed to the constant stream of accessible information on social media and if those riding the metaverse wave will ever make landfall.
What is the metaverse?
A consensus on the definition of the metaverse has yet to emerge due in large part to the fact that the metaverse is largely a concept at this point in time. But this article from The Economist provides an effective definition for the purposes of this piece: “…a fully immersive, persistent virtual world where, with the help of high-tech goggles and other [equipment], people interact, work and play via online avatars of their real-world selves.”
Social Media Intelligence goes one step further. It combines the qualitative aspects of social listening with quantitative analyses of the broader social media landscape, which look at social message volume and engagement metrics over time to formulate a comprehensive narrative fit for informing strategic communication decisions.
How might social media evolve in the metaverse?
The metaverse is not social media. The high barriers to entry, hardware and a level of familiarity with blockchain and crypto jargon to name a few, are not conducive for any person to meaningfully contribute to conversations or for an idea to take a culture by storm. But that doesn’t mean something like social media won’t exist in the metaverse one day. It may follow a conventional text-based model like Twitter or Facebook, or it may rely on video and collaboration like TikTok. It could also be something wholly new that could only exist in a virtual reality. Whatever shape it takes, the implications of a more immersive social media and mass communication solution merit imaginative consideration.
What does this mean for brands?
Based on our own experience working with developers to refine the tools we use for our Social Media Intelligence work, we have found that client feedback is instrumental in the construction of a premium service aimed at corporations looking to enhance their reach in novel spaces. The reality is that developers can’t always predict how their tools will be used. It is ultimately up to the early corporate partners, who function as both clients and beta testers, to establish how the platforms should work for them. This access will allow these companies to express what they hope to gain from their ventures, and more importantly, what they want the performance data to tell them about their enterprises. In other words, early adopters get to help shape what “Metaverse Intelligence” could look like.
It is still unclear what data in the metaverse will look like, or if there will ever be an adequate equivalent to Social Media Intelligence. But this does not mean that companies are at the mercy of metaverse developers. In fact, it is quite the opposite. Companies with first-mover advantage in the metaverse are well-positioned to play a major part in how these platforms handle major brand partnerships, as well as best practices for how the space fits into a company’s marketing strategy. And being that social listening is still a new and emerging service, the metaverse may drive innovation to new and exciting depths.