How Virtual Influencers Could Hold the Key to Connecting with Consumers in 2023
A new category of celebrity, the virtual influencer, has emerged on social media platforms, and a recent survey indicates that their market will expand by at least 25% in 2023 alone.
Brands now have more options for promoting their goods and services while maintaining their reputations, thanks to the rise of virtual influencers. Brands are using influencers like Lil Miquela and War Nymph, who have amassed global fan bases, to target particular demographics and promote products in specialized markets. Furthermore, brands will utilize virtual influencers as they become more commonplace to produce personalized and ‘authentic’ content, develop interactive experiences, host online events, and implement influencer marketing strategies that are highly targeted.
These strategies, which are already employed by businesses like Balmain and Prada, will assist companies in engaging customers and cultivating brand loyalty, which will ultimately lead to higher sales and brand recognition.
Here are seven ways that brands will use online influencers to engage with customers in 2023:
1. Concentrating on a certain demographic.
Since Gen Z and Millennials are more likely to interact with virtual characters than other demographics, brands will use them to target these groups. As a result, companies are better able to connect with their target market. By using virtual influencers who have been tailored to fit a particular audience, such as one who is well-liked by Gen Z audiences, brands can target a particular niche market.
2. Marketing niche products and services.
Brands will use virtual influencers to market products and services in industries like music, gaming, and e-sports, where virtual characters are already well-liked. Businesses are able to connect with a community or a group of customers who are already enthusiastic about the products or services being advertised. Additionally, it enables companies to create customized content, which results in more effective marketing campaigns.
3. Creating dynamic and engaging user interactions.
Brands will work with virtual influencers to create engaging, interactive experiences that encourage customer loyalty. For instance, virtual try-ons let customers interact with a brand and a virtual influencer in a digital setting while seeing how a product would look on them. By doing this, companies can develop stronger relationships with their customers, creating more opportunities for sales.
4. Creating ‘genuine’ content.
Virtual influencers will be used by brands to produce ‘authentic’ content that reflects their values and appeals to their target market. Since virtual influencers aren’t real people, such content might seem to contradict with their nature. However, as Paul Urwin of Big Box Content puts it, “authentic” content is simply about “the story behind the product.”
Brands can use content from virtual influencers to connect more authentically with their audience by using their personal experiences, daily routines, and behind-the-scenes content as examples.
Furthermore, brands can foster audience trust and loyalty by highlighting the values and beliefs of both the company and the virtual influencer. Virtual influencers “can be used as a complete visual representation of a brand and its values and are also under the brand’s control,” as Schaunagh Gleeson notes in her article for The Drum.
5. Producing brand-specific content series.
Brands will increase the amount of content they produce in order to make virtual influencers the stars of their own branded content series. For instance, a clothing company could create the “Fashionista” virtual influencer, who would appear in a number of videos posted on the company’s social media channels. While promoting the clothing line, the series might show “Fashionista” styling various ensembles and discussing current fashion trends.
This would enable the brand to communicate with customers in a fun, entertaining, and relatable way while also more subtly and naturally promoting its goods.
6. Hosting online events.
Brands will use online influencers to host online events like livestreams to engage customers and increase brand loyalty. These enable businesses to connect with a global audience and foster a sense of neighborhood among customers. Customers can interact with the influencer and the brand in real-time by participating in virtual meet-and-greets, Q&A sessions, and product launches.
The popularity of virtual concerts and festivals for live and virtual performers is also rising. For instance, the virtual popstar Polar drew over 660,000 people to the launch party for her song, Close to You, in the metaverse. The unique experience translated into a YouTube music video with one million views in less than 19 days.
7. The development of influencer marketing campaigns.
Brands will collaborate with virtual influencers to create marketing campaigns that increase sales and brand awareness. Influencer marketing campaigns can increase their reach and impact by incorporating sponsored content, product reviews, and collaborations with other virtual influencers. In addition, virtual influencers can collaborate with real-world influencers in order to reach a larger audience and forge a more authentic relationship with customers.
Without a doubt, the rise of virtual influencers is a trend that will continue to grow. In 2023, brands will likely utilize virtual influencers more frequently to improve their reputation, create innovative marketing campaigns, and, most importantly, connect with consumers in unprecedented ways.