The web is going through a major transformation. While the social media era is not over, many are beginning to comprehend the damage that is being done by problematic algorithms that drive platforms like Facebook. However, the desire for people to connect with each other is still as present as ever. web3 offers a new opportunity for enterprises and brands to connect with their communities.
Defining and Refining How We Connect
The way brands engage with consumers has rapidly changed in the last 30 years. We went from the broadcast style, where enterprises shouted to their audiences via TV/media but did not get much feedback. Then we entered the social media evolution, in which conversations became more intimate and bidirectional. Now, social media networks have so much content on their platforms that enterprises must pay to create followings. Then, they must pay again to reach the very audiences they helped to build. As a result, many organizations seek new ways to authentically connect with their audiences and create communities.
As an enterprise seeks alternatives, it is important to take pause and define what a “successful” engagement platform looks like. To create and maintain meaningful connections, we think a platform should have the following characteristics:
- It is two-way. Enterprises and communities must be able to communicate with each other.
- It is intimate. Enterprises can engage with their most loyal followers on a more personal level.
- It is fair. Fairness in this case means the bigger the investment from the consumer then the better their experience should be.
- It is sustainable. Any new platform must be financially sustainable. This is the killer of many engagement or loyalty platforms. They begin with a bang and end with a whimper as the investments required to make them successful disappear.
Rewarding close connections is a key way for enterprises to build relationships with their customers, promote brand loyalty and establish communities. These rewards generally fall into two groups:
- Exclusive access. Most people have a few brands that they love to connect with. In those cases, one of the most desirable experiences they can earn is unique or privileged access. Think about backstage passes at a concert or a “meet and greet” with the team behind a movie or sporting event. This exclusive access can create unparalleled experiences that are fulfilling for both sides.
- Exclusive perks. Modern consumers have come to love loyalty programs that reward them with perks for picking one option over another. For example, airlines offer flight miles programs and credit companies offer credit card points. These perks are so integrated into their product offerings that it is hard to imagine them existing without them. Enterprises are not charities though, and the reason these companies run these programs is simply because they work.
The web3 Bridge
web3 technologies, and specifically NFTs, can help enterprises move into the next evolution of connecting with their communities by aligning what they do with what web3 can do. Here are examples of how enterprises can utilize web3 technologies to connect with their communities today:
Gated Discord Rooms – Enterprises can set up Discord rooms that are only accessible to NFT holders within their community. They can even set up different rooms for different levels of NFT holders. These Discord rooms are ideal places for enterprises to engage with loyal consumers. Enterprises can use NFTs to ensure that only those who have engaged with them at a certain amount or in a certain way can gain access to a given channel.
Secret Stores – Enterprises can set up exclusive stores that can only be accessed by NFT holders. Think of this as the modern take on a “members only” shopping event.
Voting – Using web3 technologies, NFT holders can have a voice and vote on questions posed by an enterprise. This can be established in such a way that only engaged community members get a vote. If desired, the most loyal and engaged community members can get more votes. The stronger the connection, the stronger the voice.
Protected Media – Enterprises can protect media behind a “token gate.” This is software that allows only NFT holders to access a certain piece of media. For instance, a band could release a preview of a song that is only available to holders of a specific NFT type.
Loyalty Tiers – An enterprise can now create a world-class loyalty program using web3 technologies. It is possible to quickly create a loyalty program with tiers (e.g., silver, gold and platinum). This can serve as the foundation for administering additional aspects of the loyalty program. For example, an enterprise could give certain access to a new video release to only gold members or platinum members could receive a custom NFT.
Commemorative Memorabilia – One of the most prevalent uses of NFTs has involved issuing commemorative NFTs to individuals who purchase event tickets. This is a simple way for an enterprise or brand to thank their communities and to give them something to commemorate an event. Keeping a ticket stub or purchasing an event t-shirt is not a complicated concept. Similarly, incorporating NFTs can be simple—but that doesn’t mean they aren’t powerful.
Airdrops – Enterprises can share rewards to NFT holders via a quick and simple “airdrop.” For instance, an enterprise could airdrop a coupon to all NFT holders that could be used for a discount or as a simple thank you.
Ready to move forward?
Are you looking to create unparalleled connections with your communities? We recommend that you check out Society. It is a robust loyalty platform that allows you to administer all of the programs described here. If you need help customizing Society, then please reach out to us and we can see if there is an opportunity to work together.