Social VR, Facebook Horizon & The Future Of Social Media Marketing
Presence is more important now than ever. Many around the globe are staying home and limiting their physical, social contact. Families and friends connect via Zoom calls or drive-by birthday parties.
Professionals spend countless hours on screens talking with colleagues and clients. "Zoom fatigue" is a new saying among remote workers.
Spatial presence - the feeling of "being there" in a virtual space can unlock doors to social experiences and give people a sense of belonging and fulfillment in a world changed by a pandemic that keeps many physically apart.
The hours we spend on social media have also increased. A recent Statista survey showed that 29.7 percent of US social media users used social media 1-2 additional hours per day. eMarketer notes that 51% of US adults are using social media at higher rates during the pandemic.
Social virtual reality, or social VR, has seen an increase in users too. Social VR apps like Rec Room, BigScreen, VRChat, and AltSpace have all seen an increase in traffic. AltSpace is even hosting one of Burning Man's virtual worlds from this year's virtual event. This week, Facebook announced the launch of the public beta for its social VR experience, Horizon.
"I believe the next phase of social media is presence," says early beta Horizon content creator and social media consultant, Navah Berg. "Imagine a place where a brand can invite their brand ambassadors to try out a product without hopping on an airplane? A place a brand can launch a press release without writing a press release but actually being there and sharing the news with a community of journalists in a get together in social VR. There are so many opportunities for brands and content creators. I can't wait to see what happens next."
Berg adds that currently, in social media, people learn through shared passions and build relationships by relaying stories/content via a screen. For her, VR takes it to another dimension, where new friends and new memories converge through an immersive lens that feels as though they are in the same shared space while given tools to use together, before ever meeting IRL. Social VR allows you to learn and build meaningful relationships with your audience by being there creating together vs. watching from a screen in a flat 2D newsfeed.