How to get started in the metaverse on the cheap

Tips for when you’re curious, but don’t have a budget. Yet.

So you’ve heard about this metaverse thing and you want in. The problem? You don’t have much of a budget. Or maybe you don’t have one at all.

Don’t worry. That doesn’t mean your organization can’t get started today in the metaverse. And, as the speakers during Ragan’s recent “Brand Panel Real-Use Cases: What’s Working with Metaverse Brand Activations” said, the time to do so is now – or you’ll regret it later.

“It’s not what my return on the investment’s gonna be today, but what is going to be the cost to my brand if I don’t start doing this now or start doing this soon?” says Tamra Knepfer, founder and president of Metabrands. Not only can competitors and emerging competitors get the jump on you in a new virtual space, you may also be losing a chance to forge a strong relationship with the up-and-coming Gen Z.

Here are a few tips for getting in on the ground floor of the metaverse without breaking the bank.

Know your audience

As with any marketing tool, don’t waste your time or money in a space if your target audience isn’t there. For instance, if your customers are mostly baby boomers, you probably can skip the metaverse for now. But if younger folks do make up a chunk of your target, then it’s a matter of choosing where in the metaverse to concentrate your time.

“The more familiar you are with your audience and who you wanna reach and what worlds they’re most likely living in, and seeing how those worlds are operating, you’re going to come up with really interesting and engaging experiments to try to reach and engage with them,” says Jeffrey Klein, senior executive director for DKC. “And you’re gonna get incredible learnings from that, on top of the PR.”

Build on what already exists

The metaverse is a constantly evolving series of worlds that are shaped by their inhabitants, whether those are brands or individuals. That’s good news for a communicator on a budget.

“See how the world operates, and then see how your brand fits into the experience that is already there,” says Klein. “Don’t try to change the experience of what the world is. Understand how you fit into expanding that realm and being embraced by that audience.”

Knepfer agrees: There is already so much going on in the metaverse, you don’t always need to build something new. Many other brands might be excited to have someone join into what they’re already working on, whether that’s a music festival, fashion show or other event.

“There a lot of activities happening, so for brands to become part of that as opposed to building a bespoke event is a great way to also get your foot in.”

Expand your reach with smart media relations

One of the biggest ways to get more bang for your buck is to expand your reach with earned media. But to do that in the metaverse, you might have to do something a little counterintuitive: ignore the technology media.

“Metaverse is not just a technology story. If you look at it as, ‘that’s technology, we’re dealing with technology media,’ then you’re gonna lose,” says Klein. “That’s not where your audience usually is.”

The rub, Klein says, is that tech journalists are most familiar with metaverse. They’re more jaded about what they’ve seen. But journalists on other beats are trying as hard as you are to get your head around this. Just by having a presence in the metaverse, you’re a step ahead – and you have a valuable chance to educate journalists.

Reach out to those who cover your industry, Klein suggests, and hold a briefing with them. Steer them toward other organizations doing cool things in the world. Help them understand and grow your own profile.

Klein points to the example of an article by a Wall Street Journal real estate reporter who covered the virtual land boom in the metaverse.

While the metaverse may be small in terms of users now, it likely won’t stay that way. And while it’s still novel, you have a chance to make a splash without a huge investment.

“The social play that comes out of (the metaverse) in terms of people talking about it and the PR value, that’s where the money is,” says Knepfer.

Watch the full panel discussion via Ragan Training.



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