Hello, and welcome to another post on the Metaverse! Today, we’ll be diving into influencers and how that might work. Grab your coffee or tea, and maybe a snack, and let’s get going!
An influencer on social media is someone who has a lot of followers that listen to recommendations given by the influencer and make purchases based on those recommendations or suggestions. That was a long sentence, so let me simplify: An influencer is someone who gets other people to buy your stuff by praising/using it.
You may or may not be aware that all influencers are required, when posting on their social media platforms, to declare that an item they’re showcasing is from a company that either paid (or will pay) the person to showcase that item or offered free stuff in return for a spotlight. There’s a disclaimer on the post, on the person’s profile, or somewhere in the description. It’s required, so if you’ve never seen one, take a peek.
Which brings us to our topic for today. How will an influencer in the Metaverse show others that the content or items they’re showcasing are paid placements?
In order to interact in the Metaverse, you’ll have to create an avatar—a digital representation of yourself that can move in the virtual world. That avatar will be able to use what are known as skins—hair, makeup, clothing, shoes, etc. that enhance either the visual appeal or abilities of the avatar. This is pretty much a limitless cache of options. If you want a pink mohawk, that may be a paid upgrade to the avatar you’ve created. It may be an upgrade you can earn by playing games, and it may be an upgrade you simply get access to over time. If you’ve ever played Roblox, think bacon hair.
Now, if there’s a company that makes and sells pink mohawks that look the best, they’ll brand them in some way or offer a freebie to an influencer if that person will wear the hair and tout how amazing it is to their admirers.
As I said before, influencers in social media today have to have disclaimers when showcasing a product in exchange for something, but it makes you wonder how that might work in a fully digital world.
If I see a cool pair of shoes on someone’s feet in real life, I don’t wonder if they’ve been paid to wear them. I like them, and I hunt them down to buy them.
You can already kind of see where I’m going with this, I hope. If so, stick with me.
Now, say you’re traipsing along a street in the Metaverse using your VR headset and are in full avatar mode. You see a guy across the street getting a super boost from drinking a Coca~Cola. Label out, Coca~Cola red filling his avatar from shoes to hair, and a look of bliss on his face. When done, he jumps a fifty-story building (something you’ll probably need to purchase). You want that boost, too, so you dive into the shop nearby to grab one. He makes money from your purchase because Coca~Cola paid him to stand on that corner and consume their product.
How will you know that was paid for by the company?
Sure, you can see the product label and make an educated guess, but if you stand on the same corner and do the same thing as the other guy after your purchase, and you drive another person to also purchase a boost… See where that can get confusing? He made money; you didn’t make a cent. There are a ton of options here because we’re not in a real-world scenario.
I can see a platform beneath the avatar’s feet that swirls with the words “paid placement.” If we go a step further, I could also imagine a colored arrow above the avatar’s head that flashes and indicates there’s a sponsored demonstration about to begin.
Influencers may use and demonstrate how a product impacts an avatar in the Metaverse (which seems most likely), and you’ll be drawn in to watch what will happen, the companies hoping you’ll purchase the item as well.
Nike has already bought RTFKT (artifact) to ensure they can create virtual sneakers you’ll be able to purchase either with real-world funds or crypto—in the Metaverse. These will be skins you’ll be able to apply to your avatar. If those shoes give avatars special abilities (jump higher, run faster, etc.), they’ll probably want to give a pair to an influencer to drive sales. It might be cool if those avatars were gifted a specific glow color, eh?
But these are some of the things influencers and businesses need to start thinking about now. We’re not as far from the Metaverse as you might think. Being prepared can only behoove you.
Here’s a quick list of items you need to consider if you’re a business that will do sales in the Metaverse:
- What will I sell?
- Where will I sell it?
- How will I showcase it?
- Will my company have virtual offices?
- Where will those offices be?
We’ll be diving into Metaverse real estate in this series of posts, too, so keep your eyes open for that if you answered yes to the virtual office question above. We’ll also be talking more about skins and potential of companies that do digital design to get a foothold on that space now.
Are you starting to understand the impact this technology will have on the future of how business is conducted? We certainly hope so, and we hope to see you back on future posts as we dive more deeply into things like funding, NFTs, and potential pitfalls. Until then!