If you’ve read part one of this series, the words “Web3,” “NFT,” “blockchain,” “non-fungible,” and others don’t seem as out there as they did before. (And if they still seem a little fuzzy in your brain, read again for a refresher).
Why is a professional media person so excited about all this?
In 2021 I started trying to buy NFTs. It was fun to learn something new, to jump into the wild west and bet on women in a strongly male-dominated space. After a while, however, it became less about investing and the hunt for the diamond-in-the-rough project, and more about seeing how the NFT communities worked.
It really reminded me of the early days of social media, when your “friends” were really friends and organic posts weren’t stifled by algorithms. In addition, I began to notice how many brands were riding the wave. That’s when I realized a wave of social media change was coming—and I needed to start helping people get ready for it.
In my last post, I touched on one of the reasons why some NFTs have more value than others, and that reason is the strength of the community around the collection.
Let’s take a look at why this is important to you. Imagine a world where you own your data – not Facebook, not Twitter – and you decide when and how to share it. Imagine a world where a brand wants you to like or share a post on social media, but you want some kind of return on the investment of space on your accounts, and the time it will take. Imagine being part of a community board for a brand where you help decide the features of the product and even the price.
Welcome to how the community works in NFTs.
There are many brands embracing the NFT community – Gucci, Adidas, Nike, Shopify, Bose and more. If you haven’t started thinking about NFTs in your marketing mix, you’re one step behind even the Vatican! Ad Age even maintains a running list of brands using NFTs.
Moreover, these NFT communities are the birthplace of future brands. Think of them as Kickstarter campaigns for the next Oculus Rift.
In addition to brands, the social media networks that we know today are also making changes. Twitter was one of the first to embrace the NFT community, and the Twitter Blue subscription allows NFT owners to use a hexagonal avatar, which verifies ownership. Instagram recently launched a similar functionality as a beta test to showcase your NFTs.
However, the main channel for NFT communities is Discord. And this is where it gets really interesting.
In any given Discord NFT community, you will find these brands interacting with the community, but also the community interact with each other. There are contests for early access to the embossing process, fan art and lore challenges, updates on the project, etc.
Here’s the thing – there are no algorithms. The conversation is organized in a channel structure, and it is arranged chronologically.
There are also no ads. Did you get it? No. Advertisements. NFT projects gain attention through “collaboration” – or announcements in each other’s channels.
Every community member is an instant brand ambassador. Whether they play to HODL (or hold) their NFT or flip for profit, they are invested (excuse the pun) from the start in the project.
This is the key, because we have always talked about how important it is to be social in social media. It is even more critical with this in mind. The conversation happens. Society wants brand participation, no, it demands it. They want full transparency. They want frequent updates. So now, more than ever, if you’re not social, it’s just the media.
In light of all this information, here are the ways I (already) see social media making a shift.
- Become more social. Glossy branding won’t save you anymore. Society will be loud and open more than ever
- Creators are the brands. Creators aren’t going to be as interested in working FOR brands, they want to work WITH them and partner. In many more cases, you may find that these creators are now your competition – especially for social media eyeballs.
- It’s still about content, but more along the lines of conversation. Remember that these communities can talk to each other. They lead the conversation, so you as a brand must be part of it and create the content around these conversations.
- Get used to being wrong. All of this is going to be very new to many marketers. And the NFT world is still evolving. The key here is how you will react when you are wrong. The more transparent and authentic you are, the more your community will join you on your journey.
How can you prepare for the next one? Again, I want to emphasize DYOR and NFA (do your own research and not financial advice) – jump into an NFT Discord and at least go through the motions of learning how to buy an NFT. Follow hashtags on Twitter like #NFT, #NFTCommunity, and #NFTProject to find ones you might be interested in. Once you find them on Twitter, follow that account to see engagement incentive ideas come into play. Be aware of how communities manifest themselves to each other, and how they emerge when a project goes wrong.
Change is difficult, but it is inevitable. Hopefully this primer shows you what’s coming and how to get ready.
In the meantime, don’t forget WAGMI (we’re all gonna make it) and see you in the metaverse! (Or on social media – you can follow me @cshirkeycollins on Twitter, or if you want to follow Web3 me, you can find me @NFTCarmen.)
Carmen Collins is the Head of Social Media and Brand Creator Content for Wish. She is also a member of the PR Daily Advisory Board.