How Decentralized Social Media Can Impact Marketers

How Decentralized Social Media Can Impact Marketers

When Meta announced the launch of Threads in early July, the tech company unveiled its plans for the fediverse, sparking conversations about the future of decentralized social media.

Innovation is already taking hold, but decentralized social media could change Web3 as we know it. But first let’s define the concept of decentralized social media and analyze the most popular platforms. And we’ll illustrate how decentralized social media could impact marketers.

What is decentralized social media?

Decentralized social media platforms are networks that operate on several independent servers and/or a blockchain. Decentralized social media is not controlled by a single entity or confined to a centralized server like the legacy networks we use today. If you were to join a decentralized social media platform, you could send messages and interact with users across networks.

The fediverse, a portmanteau of “federation” and “universe,” consists of decentralized social networks. It’s similar to the metaverse, but here’s the distinction: Instead of interconnected worlds powered by augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR), the fediverse is made up of interoperable social networks. Simply put, the fediverse allows different social networks to communicate with each other because there are multiple servers.

Since there is no centralized server and blockchain technology allows data to be stored anywhere, it promotes stronger user autonomy and community, which has attracted the attention of many users. Many faithdiverse networks are led by Decentralized Autonomous Organizations (DAOS), which make decisions about platform development.

Along with user control and community, there are other factors driving users to flock to decentralized social media in place of traditional platforms. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Resistance to censorship
  • Ownership of personal data
  • Greater privacy and/or anonymity
  • Economic independence and new forms of monetization (e.g. Bitcoin, DAOS)
  • Ownership of User Content
  • Rewards and incentives for users
  • Transparency and verifiability

6 Decentralized Social Media Platforms You Should Know About

Changes in traditional networks in recent years have catalyzed interest in decentralized social media platforms. As we emerge along the Web3 timeline, more and more people are learning about the fediverse and joining. But before marketers join in, you’ll need to understand the current landscape. Below is a quick overview of some of the most popular decentralized social networks:


Founded in 2016, Mastodon is the world’s largest open source microblogging platform with over three million users. Like other social platforms, Mastodon users can share text-based content, GIFs, images, and videos. The feed is in chronological order and users have full authority over what appears in their timeline. Users can join servers that focus on pre-established topics or interests.

Mastodon landing page.  The title of the page reads: Social networking that is not for sale.


Ok, technically Threads isn’t decentralized, but Meta plans to use ActivityPub, a decentralized protocol (it’s the same protocol Mastodon also uses).

Threads is currently a text-based app linked to Instagram, but according to the Meta website, the platform will allow users to communicate with other fediverse platforms. This means that Threads users can follow, share content and interact with others across different platforms.

A post from Sprout Social on Threads asking followers to share their social and marketing successes of the week.


Steemit was launched in 2014, making it one of the oldest decentralized social networks. Steemit is a blogging platform that uses its own blockchain and has a reward system that uses a native token currency, STEEM.

Users can earn STEEM by creating content and completing engagement activities, such as upvoting posts. The platform also allows users to follow others and build niche communities.

The landing page for Steemit, a decentralized social network.  In the screenshot of the page you can see more steemitblog posts.

Lens protocol

Founded in 2022, Lens Protocol is an open-source, blockchain-based social graph dedicated to empowering content creators and creatives. Users have complete ownership of their profile, content, followers and data. The Lens protocol is based on Ethereum.

Lens can be integrated with other Web3 applications and offers new monetization opportunities. For example, Lens handles are minted as NFTs that users can add to their crypto wallet. The platform currently has over 100,000 beta users, but interested Web3 enthusiasts can sign up for its waitlist.

Lens Protocol website and waitlist button.

Social hive

Founded in 2019, Hive Social is another new decentralized social media platform that is quickly gaining traction. In November 2022, the platform reached 1.5 million users. With polls, profile picture posts, text and music, some describe Hive Social as a conglomerate of X (formerly known as Twitter), Instagram, Tumblr and Myspace, but with different twists. The platform offers a chronological feed and customizable profile features including color themes and text editing functionality. Users can also add their own pronouns and star signs.

Hive is only available on mobile and there are no ads, but the platform uses a native cryptocurrency to reward users who create and engage with the connection, allowing users to monetize their creative contributions while cultivating community .

Hive website landing page.  The title reads: Socialize on Hive Social.


Minds is another open source network that aims to give users control of their social media experience. The Ethereum-based platform prioritizes user privacy and data control, allowing participants to create custom algorithms. To encourage content creation and engagement, Minds rewards users with cryptocurrency.

The website of Minds, a decentralized social media platform.  The screenshot includes user posts and a pop-up window that says: The community-owned social network.

This list is really just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to decentralized social media platforms, as Web3 networks are continually growing.

How decentralized social media could impact marketers

As you can see, many decentralized social media platforms are focused on giving users autonomy. This shift away from traditional systems will impact how brands approach marketing and social media as a whole. Let’s explore the potential impacts on marketers.

New forms of monetization will become the norm

More and more brands will embrace the new avenues of monetization created by decentralized social media. Digital currency will become necessary to ensure business resilience and maintain customer loyalty. Brands may also need to implement new cryptocurrency initiatives to facilitate engagement.

Emphasis on organic, community-focused social strategies

New advertising formats, or the complete lack of traditional ads, will influence marketers’ approach to organic and paid strategies. Depending on how things go, marketers could see an explosion of organic reach tactics because they may have a better return on investment than traditional paid ads.

In our LinkedIn survey below, we asked how decentralized social media will have a greater impact on marketers and social teams. The best answer was the community-first strategy, which reflects the essence of decentralized social media.

Sprout's LinkedIn survey asks: "How do you think decentralized social media will impact marketers and social teams the most?" Community-focused strategies are listed as the top choice, followed by more organic reach tactics, single-platform brand focus, and misinformation prevention.

One commentator stated that marketers will need an audience-centric approach, but because this is less scalable, decentralized community management will require more on-the-ground resources to extend reach and achieve the same results that traditional social would achieve:

A comment on Sprout's LinkedIn survey on the impacts of decentralized social media.  It reads: It will force marketers and social teams to think more about their audiences and take a more audience-centric approach with their strategies.  This is less scalable than you think.  Decentralized management of social media and digital communities will require more on-the-ground initiatives to achieve the same results and reach the same audiences."

We may also see an increase in community-first strategies that focus on a single platform. Instead of having to create and manage multiple accounts across multiple networks, decentralized social media opens the door for marketers to focus on a platform of their choice. We will see a focus on creating high-quality content that is malleable and resonates across decentralized social media platforms.

More extensive crisis communications plans

Resistance to censorship is one of the biggest appeals of the fediverse, but it also creates a slippery slope for misinformation and misinformation. Marketers will need to implement proactive structures to prevent misinformation/disinformation, along with extensive crisis communications plans to safeguard their brands.

The future of decentralized social media

While decentralized social media is very different from traditional platforms, one thing remains the same: the desire for connection. Just like other waves of innovation, marketers will adapt and cultivate relationships to amplify their brand. Read more predictions about the future of social media to help you understand how you should shape your community.

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