An Introduction to Metaverse Community Building

An Introduction to Metaverse Community Building

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Interest in the metaverse is evolving at a phenomenal pace. Only a couple of years ago, nobody was talking about the concept of a digital future where people could communicate, collaborate, and engage with different realities via computer technology. Now, the “metaverse” is everywhere.
Since Facebook, the world’s leading social media company, rebranded to “Meta”, conversations about the Metaverse have grown astronomically.

Metaverse Community Building

Virtually every major technology company, from Microsoft to Amazon are planning their own “Metaverse” future. Plus, many major brands are beginning to think about how they can also engage their audience in a more immersive, “digital” future.
While definitions of the metaverse have varied in recent months, most experts agree this landscape is intended to be a space all about bridging connections and bringing people together.
As such, it makes sense that a core component of embracing the “metaverse” would be community building. Just as communities are strengthening the evolution of Web 3.0 and NFTs, they’ll also be crucial to the future of the business-focused metaverse.

So, how can companies build communities in the metaverse?

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How are Companies Building Communities in the Metaverse?

Community building in the Metaverse is all about finding ways to engage and delight audiences in a new digital landscape. The Metaverse is already being defined by an enslaught of new virtual worlds, built to bring people together and help them share experiences. Just look at the “Sandbox” for instance, where people can build their own environments, and showcase their NFTs online:
Companies can take advantage of these existing environments to carve out their own space in the “Metaverse”, where users can share and collect NFTs, interact with brand assets, and even explore digital twins of different branded environments.
For instance, Charli Cohen, Selfridges, and Yahoo RYOT lab teamed up to create a virtual city users could explore, inspired by the world’s fashion capitals. The project also provided consumers with an opportunity to shop for exclusive physical and digital garments, which they could wear via an AR snapchat lens or custom AR avatar.
Metaverse Communities are an important part of building a sense of ownership and loyalty among consumers as we approach the Web 3.0 era. They allow consumers to become more involved in creating products and assets for brands to sell, as well as allowing customers to show their support of a brand by collecting NFTs, or purchasing other assets.

Strategies for Metaverse Community Building

At present, while many brands are jumping into the Metaverse, there’s no one-size-fits-all strategy on how to engage and delight consumers. Some businesses are partnering with digital creators to bring NFTs to life, giving their customers more way to “invest” in their brand relationships.
Other companies have taken advantage of hybrid opportunities designed to combine the real-world landscape with the digital world.

Let’s explore some popular strategies.

Leveraging Community Platforms and Tools

One of the most popular ways to start building communities in the Metaverse, is to take advantage of one of the many existing platforms already leveraged by digitally-transforming brands.
In recent years, we’ve seen the rise of various Web 3.0 optimized environments for metaverse and NFT community creations. For instance, Discord, Twitter Spaces, and even channels like Roblox have grown increasingly popular.
One excellent example comes from HSBC, the banking group.
The $3 trillion dollar company is purchasing a plot of land within the “Sandbox” community environment.
Here, it’s going to be producing a range of sports, e-sports, and gaming activities for fans.
According to HSBC, the company sees massive potential in creating new experiences, particularly to engage a younger community of online bankers.
Although full details of the HSBC metaverse environment are yet to be revealed, the early pictures from the landscape highlight how HSBC plans on bringing people together over shared experiences to increase consumer relationships.

Strategic Partnerships in the Metaverse

Alongside strategies which involve working and building in existing Metaverse community environments, many companies are beginning to look towards strategic partnerships for assistance in building the perfect digital experience.
Gucci, one of the world’s most popular high-end fashion brands, has also been one of the first to take some of the initial steps into Metaverse community building. Recently, the company announced a new “100 years of Gucci” NFT collection, in partnership with SuperRare.

Metaverse Community Building

This isn’t the first example of Gucci making waves in the Metaverse either. The company never misses an opportunity to be defined as an innovator in its field. In May 2021, the company opened the “Gucci Garden” on Roblox, celebrating their 100th anniversary.
Here, cusstomers could experiment with Gucci collectable items, interact with other fashion lovers, and even purchase NFTs with Robux, the Roblox digital currency.
Elsewhere, Gucci has also invested in land on the Sandbox, similar to HSBC, to expand it’s online store, the “Gucci Vault”. Here, the company aims to provide shoppers with a more immersive online experience when trying on new clothing. The virtual store also gives the company another opportunity to expand its NFT collection.

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Metaverse Community Building

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NFT Communities in the Metaverse

NFTs have quickly emerged as another valuable tool for business leaders hoping to create their own community experience in the metaverse. NFTs, or non-fungible tokens can be used by brands in a multitude of exciting ways. For instance, companies can use NFTs to allow customers to “own” digital versions of their physical assets, and display them to others online.

Coca-Cola, for instance, launched an NFT auction to celebrate friendships and communities, where a portion of the proceeds were given to charity. This offered a fantastic way to engage audiences around a shared set of values and missions.
NFTs can also provide communities with access to specific information, features, and assets. For instance, Gary Vee uses his NFT collection to provide users with access to specific events and conferences, as well as online community experiences.
NFT communities can even allow people to get involved in supporting specific causes. For instance, the “Women Rise” collective, led by Maliha Abidi showcases and supports female artists from around the world.
The project is committed to empowering women and driving female engagement – a concept and movement many people can clearly get behind. The community advocates for, supports, and highlights females in the NFT landscape too – allowing them to gain more of an impact.

Creating Hybrid Experiences with the Metaverse

Metaverse Community Building

Community building for the Metaverse doesn’t necessarily have to take place specifically within digital environments. Many companies are embracing the flexibility of the digital landscape, and the rise of concepts like mixed and augmented reality to blend the physical and online spaces.
Disney, for instance, is already using technologies to align communities in a metaverse-ready environment. MagicBand bracelets for the Disney community allow guests to collect achievements in the digital world, store photos, and manage their visit to parks.
Combining the real and virtual worlds gives companies a chance to connect with their customers on multiple unique levels, allowing for a more immersive community experience.
What’s more, it also means business leaders can give their consumers more control over the assets they create and use with the brand in the digital and real worlds.
For instance, the leading athletic and sportswear company Nike, announced its acquisition of RTFKT in recent years, a company known for creating NFTs and digital collectibles.
Using RTFKT and partnerships with other teenage artists, Nike has been able to pair the sale of some physical sneakers with virtual ones, so customers can bring their physical assets into the digital world with them. This concept is growing increasingly more appealing at a time when hyper-realistic avatars for the Metaverse are generating demand.
The acquisition of RTFKT is only one in a series of Metaverse strategies initiated by Nike over the years. The company has also filed 7 trademark applications highlighting its intent to sell Nike branded apparel, footwear, and accessories in virtual environments.

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Metaverse Community Building

Building Communities in the Metaverse

The concept of building communities in the Metaverse is still relatively new for most brands, but it’s something virtually every company looking into the Metaverse will need to consider.
Going forward into the age of Web 3.0, when public relations, marketing, and customer loyalty are all set to change, communities will be the key to keeping companies from going under. The connections brands can build with their target audience, both online and offline, will make or break their chances of success. The good news is the Metaverse is already a highly community-driven concept.
Taking advantage of Metaverse opportunities like NFTs, platforms, and partnerships will ensure companies can reach and engage their target audience in the digital world of tomorrow.
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