The future of social media and gaming is closely linked
In 2020, Epic Games and Travis Scott hosted a surreal virtual concert in Fortnite. It wasn’t the first time the video game developer made “Fortnite” a virtual venue, but this show broke its previous records by attracting more than 12.3 million people. One journalist called it “the beginning of a whole new kind of media experience”.
Epic Games’ virtual concerts may have changed the future of digital events, but the game developer is striving for more. For this reason, there was previously Party Royale, a small island in the game where players can socialize and hang out in an open-air theater, dance club, soccer field, and pirate ship, among other places. It’s a marked departure from the rest of Fortnite, but Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney says it represents the future.
Social media, gaming and the metaverse
Many of the best-known names in tech today believe that the Metaverse – an immersive, three-dimensional digital community – is the internet’s next evolution. If you’ve seen the movie Ready Player One, you’ll know what they’re talking about. Instead of interacting with the digital world through two-dimensional apps and experiences, you can put on virtual reality gear and explore just like you would in the real world.
A side effect of the Metaverse is that it deeply connects social media and gaming. The future of social media will help you have digital experiences. You don’t have to scroll through people’s feeds by yourself as you can be exactly where they are at any time. Engagement will shift from likes and comments to shared experiences and human connections.
You will likely see this shift in real time already. The pandemic forced people to quarantine and practice physical distancing, which generally normalized digital experiences like zoom meetings, teleparty tours, virtual concerts, and video games in general. These new social institutions have rapidly changed the way people live their lives. Even if it is safe to socialize in person, you will likely see many people still enjoying digital experiences with friends and family around the world.
Prepare for the development of social media
The combined future of social media and gaming presents a valuable opportunity to improve your company’s social media accounts. Follow these three strategies to capitalize on digital interactions and prepare for the metaverse:
1. Encourage people to adopt their digital identities.
The virtual world is a place of imagination and there are many people who love to have fun and discover their business through digital adventures. Encourage individuals to accept their digital identities when interacting with your company on a personal level. For example, you can run contests on TikTok to see who can create the most unique video with your product – or you can create branded items that can wear avatars (like Ralph Lauren did with Snapmats Bitmoji).
2. Create an informal digital community.
Many companies completely miss the mark on social media and use their accounts solely for corporate communications. The problem is, your audience wants to get involved on a personal level – they don’t want to listen to a talking head. No matter which platforms you rely on, use your social media channels to foster friendship and community. Find inspiration in the authentic digital communities of Netflix and Starbucks.
3. Let the content flow.
If your company wants to take advantage of the opportunities in the digital world, you need to meet fans and followers where they are. Games like Fortnite have become an integral part of pop culture, so streaming clips of your employees playing similar video games can increase your engagement. Take part in virtual events and take advantage of the latest discussions and media trends.
The future of social media won’t be a Facebook wall or an Instagram feed. Instead, it will be a metaverse that drives digital communities through rewarding and engaging interactions. This will also be the future of gaming, with virtual reality universes becoming popular and accessible to the average consumer. When these areas come together, prepare for your company’s media exposure to evolve.
Austin Smith is the co-founder and CEO of Mission Control, a platform for collecting and growing communities through recreational sports. Austin is an economist and entrepreneur focusing on urban politics, social entrepreneurship, and sports / sports technology.