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VR Technology To Reinvent Social Media Experience

Written by: Terry Tateossian, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

 

Are you ready for the next digital marketing revolution?

Because virtual reality is here to transform how businesses do social media marketing.

Let’s start from the beginning.

What Is Virtual Reality?

According to Investopedia, virtual reality is a computer-generated simulation in which a person can interact with an artificial 3D environment with the help of electronic devices.

It completely immerses you in an artificial environment that feels like a real-life situation. Virtual reality uses VR headsets to bring users a captivating experience like art gallery tours, games, training sessions, and more.

You’ve probably also heard about augmented reality, mixed reality, and extended reality so what’s the difference between them all?

Here’s a short breakdown.


Augmented Reality

While virtual reality feels like you’re shut away from the physical world, augmented reality uses digital elements to enhance the real world, through sound, and other sensory stimuli delivered through technology. Metaverse is one such platform that delivers augmented reality experiences.

Mixed Reality


As hinted by its name, mixed reality is a combination of virtual and augmented reality. It uses elements from both to deliver interactions with digital objects in a real-world feel. While the technology is just taking off – Microsoft is already trailblazing the path with their HoloLens apparatuses.

Extended Reality


Extended reality, on the other hand, sums all the above technologies. It is the umbrella term that includes Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR), and Mixed Reality (MR) technologies.

Now that we’ve cleared what virtual reality is, let's look at how the technology is changing the social media experience of users.


The Big Social Networks and Virtual Reality

There are a few companies at the forefront of virtual reality today. Among them are Facebook, Google, and HTC. Yes, not surprising, we know.

Here’s how each of the tech giants is contributing to the development of the technology.


Facebook & Oculus VR

Facebook has invested $2 billion in acquiring the tech company Oculus even before the brand was able to release its VR headset – showing great anticipation in exploring the technology.

Since purchasing the company, Facebook has managed to integrate its social networking services with the VR platform and offer users of the virtual reality set with an automatic connection with friends, Facebook video, and social games.

Google Cardboard

Google entered the VR competition with a $15 headset made of cardboard that, naturally, was called Google Cardboard. Their virtual reality set was designed and created for VR apps on Android smartphones.

Since the first Google Cardboard, the company has launched several other models of VR headsets, preserving the idea of a simple and inexpensive VR set for any viewer. They even offer a “build it yourself” version of the VR Cardboard that users can easily construct themselves and have fun in the process.

HTC Vive


The HTC Vive is a collaborative virtual reality headset designed by HTC and Valve (video game developer). The headset uses a room-scale tracking technology that allows users to move in the 3D space and with the use of controllers – operated with handheld motion –tracking technology, to interact with the environment.

HTC Vive headset allows users to not only immerse themselves in experiences in seated environments but choose between that and multi-user expansive gaming sessions.

Now, let’s look at how immersive experiences like VR will affect the development of brands’ social media experiences.

Social Media And Virtual Reality

Social media users are no longer impressed by colorful images and catchy captions. They’re looking for stories and immersive experiences. Here’s where virtual reality comes into play.

The VR market is growing exponentially and is projected to increase from less than $5 billion this year to $12 billion by 2024.

Social VR has the potential to take users to another dimension, tell them an entertaining story, bring them closer to family and friends.

Although it is a relatively new technology, brands are starting to adopt it quickly. Many already offer viewers not only captivating stories but also allow them to participate in the creation of the experience they want.

Think virtual games, museum tours, education, and training. Virtual reality has even been adapted in fashion. Brands like Tommy Hilfiger, Coach, and Gap already offer 360-degree experiences of fashion shows and also allow customers to try on clothes virtually.

There’s no doubt that VR technology will become an essential part of the marketing strategy of competitive brands. Especially, when companies like Facebook and Google are taking VR mainstream.

On top of that, the year 2020, was pivotal for testing virtual reality experiences with big audiences. VR games became a safe option for users to interact and share space when real-life meetups were put on hold.

VR apps also provided businesses with a more effective channel to deliver their message.

Facebook’s Horizon, for example, creates marketing opportunities through representation, play, and world-building. Imagine communicating with customers through the capabilities of virtual reality apps like Horizon – that open the door to amazing chances of delivering unique and memorable services to clients.

Virtual reality can also be utilized for educational purposes and HistoryView VR is the perfect example of that.

The online platform brings historical sites and museums straight to the classroom. It’s easy to use, doesn’t require VR headsets, and is compatible with tablets and Chromebooks.

A HistoryView VR lesson in progress, source: HistoryView VR

HistoryView VR device allows students to click through museums, national parks, buildings, and other landmarks. The tours are divided by subject to help educators and students navigate the app better.

Virtual Reality & Virtual Social Influencers

What’s next in the world of virtual reality and digital marketing?

VR social influencers.

Along with the real people gaining fame for their work in the field of VR technologies like the amazing Sabarish Gnanamoorthy- a 14-year-old VR and AR developer, and Nonny De La Peña – an entrepreneur known as the “Godmother of VR, there are the social media fictional characters like Lil Miquela.

Lil Miquela was created by Trevor McFedries and Sara DeCou and was given a fictional narrative that presents the robot as a CGI model used to promote a variety of mainly fashion products.

Miquela’s popularity has grown incredibly, reaching an Instagram following of over 3 million subscribers.

Lil Miquela has been featured in ads for brands such as Calvin Klein, Prada, and Samsung, showing a great promise for such technologies turned influencers to reshape the future of digital marketing.

The Take-Away

Virtual reality is the future of digital entertainment, education, and interaction. It’s an incredibly effective marketing tool that is slowly starting to innovate the marketing strategies of companies.

VR offers multiple possibilities of creating unique, customized, and very personal customer experiences that will give any brand investing in the technology, a competitive advantage like no other.

If you’re looking to bring your marketing strategy to the next level, think about investing in VR technology – you won’t regret it.


Follow me on LinkedIn, and visit my website for more info!


 

Terry Tateossian, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Terry Tateossian, Founding Partner of Socialfix Media is a fourth-generation entrepreneur who is recognized as an Inc. 5000 America’s Fastest-Growing Private Companies, Forbes’ Top Women in Business, Fastest Growing Women Presidents by WPO, and 40 Under 40 Business Leaders by NJBIZ. Terry has been featured for outstanding leadership and career accomplishments in numerous industry publications as an engineer, a thought-leader in technology, and an innovator in the field of marketing. But her favorite and toughest earned title is being “Mom” to her 2 children.

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