I’m going to keep this blog post very short and to the point as, because it’s such a dry subject, I don’t want to bore you all to tears!
But, with Mosseri announcing that Instagram is going to start experimenting with NFTs this week, I bet you’re all (like me) scratching your heads and thinking what on earth is going on?
And why should we care or need yet another Instagram feature.
If you have not come across, or heard of NFTs yet, have you been hiding under a rock? NFTs or non-fungible tokens are a digital asset that cannot be replaced by another digital asset.
Are you still with me?
It is based on blockchain technology (a bit like Bitcoin) but that’s where the similarities end. Cryptocurrencies are fungible (replaceable by another identical item, like cash) and NFTs are not, every single token in unique.
What are NFTs?
NFTs are seen as a certificate of authenticity and this is why the arts world and music industry seem to be most excited about them.
Having an NFT on an item like a piece of art or a song can mean you have the right of ownership of the copy you bought and you can use it privately, but the copyright is automatically retained by the artist.
NFTs can include paintings, graphics, GIFs, poems, songs and books. It helps us to document both the authorship and ownership of each product and the way the NFT is documented means you can see all the information about the item including the artist, trading history and how much people have paid for it in the past.
Influencing and NFTs
So, as a social media marketer or Influencer, why should we care?
NFTs are a file type that will always keep its unique data, so each image or video you could potentially upload to Instagram or TikTok would have a code that would tell you who had ownership of that image or video.
This is why NFTs could be so important to Influencers and content creators. We’ve all had our images re-used countless times on Instagram and Pinterest, sometimes credited, but more often than not there is no mention of who the original content creator is.
I have lost count the number of times I’ve seen my images on Pinterest with absolutely no mention of me as the content creator.
NFTs have the potential to turn all our images, memes and videos into intellectual property with copyright royalties. Our viral posts can create a financial income, the NFTs of this viral post could be used as a potential revenue stream.
Instead of trying to negotiate a contract for use of their images, content creators could sell the NFT instead.
One of the most important features of an NFT for me as an influencer, is that the ownership of the content can be tracked. You can see where it comes from, who owns it and the ownership history.
Instagram and NFTs
How are they going to implement NFTs on Instagram? The NFT details will be labelled “digital collectibles” and will be similar to how profiles and products are currently tagged on the app.
If you click on the tag, it will show you the details of the NFT, including the owner and the creator.
You might think they would be one and the same, but the creator could be myself – taking a photo of my kitchen – and the owner could be Howdens as they sponsored me and gave me a heavy discount for the kitchen.
So, they are not always mutual.
Instagram launched their Subscriptions back in 2020 which meant that Creators would be able to develop connections with their most loyal followers in the form of paid subscriptions.
Subscribers would be able to access exclusive content and benefits, a bit like the popular, mainly adult material social media platform, Only Fans.
With NFTs, brands will be able to work with Influencers to create exclusive content and would only be accessible to people who purchased the relevant NFTs.
This will create an extra revenue stream for the content creator and brands and will provide the people who purchased the NFTs exclusive experiences.
NFTs can also be digital collectibles, a bit like an auction house but in the digital world. It will enable us to digitally collect artwork, music and gaming assets for example.
It’s similar to the antique world buying items at auction and then selling them off for a large profit.
A bit like a lot of new features on Instagram and Facebook, it feels like Zuckerberg is desperately trying to jump on a new trend and stay relevant. And of course, make a lot of money in the process.
The only people who will really benefit from NFTs on Instagram are celebrities with a huge and loyal fan base, people who are already heavily involved in Cryptocurrency and crypto artists. In time, Instagram could become flooded with NFTs capturing the latest challenges and trends like the current “I Do Not Have Time for This” audio, with people showing, erm, what they don’t have time for!
NFTs are quite a new online phenomenon, but they are everywhere at the moment.
I can’t see how they’ll make any difference to the everyday Instagram user and for Content Creators like myself, I think we are a very long way off before NFTs become mainstream on the platform.
So, for the time being, I shall file this new “feature” away with all the other Instagram features that come and go without making any impact.