Rounding off our Social Media Special, James Batchelor asks industry experts how games firms can make the most of the world's biggest social networks
“Once we’ve committed time and money building a community, it’s imperative we keep engaging – not just when it suits us, such as when DLC is on the horizon. Gamers have other interests and they’re easily distracted. So to keep mindshare, a brand actually needs to act like its own biggest fan, with a clear voice and consistent interaction.”
Alan Dykes, Ubisoft
FIND THE RIGHT BALANCE
“Flooding your Facebook wall, Twitter feed or YouTube channel with content for the sake of it only serves to dilute whatever message you’re attempting to put across. But agonising over every post or an approval process removes the sense of spontaneity, which is incredibly important in such a lightning-fast medium.”
Dan Maher, Explosive Alan Productions
GET YOUR STAFF INVOLVED
“We have a slew of Codemasters people around the internet, some with a greater following than the official accounts. It’s like insider information for fans, and our guys stay connected to the community. Managers reading this might be having palpitations at the thought of it, but a little training and a lot of trust your greatest asset – your staff – can really make a difference.”
Samantha Russell, Codemasters
BIG BRANDS BEWARE
“When you’re working on large brands, it’s imperative that you think carefully about what you say to drive ongoing interest. We have over 12m fans on the Call Of Duty: Black Ops Facebook page, so that’s not a place you want to throw content around carelessly.”
Shane Bellamy, Activision
Practically every publisher and retailer has a Twitter account.
However, Codemasters’ Samantha Russell warns that companies aren’t engaging with Tweeters enough: “A recent Lithium survey showed that 25 per cent of people expect a response after Tweeting to a company – but only nine per cent are getting one. That’s clearly a missed opportunity for a lot of brands.”
Konami’s Florian Stronk adds that working with icons such as Hideo Kojima also helps.
“Kojima is unique,” he says. “The impact of his tweets is just outstanding and they help us to spread word related to his products quickly. His posts are lively and authentic – and often have nothing to do with his products.”
Facebook is making it easier to track how people share content.
IGN’s Rich Keen says: “The new ‘Talking About This’ metric (the number of people who have engaged with your community in the last week) allows you to define what percentage of your followers are interacting with you at any time.
“We aim for a minimum of ten per cent of our total users actively talking about us – this is currently at the high-end of Facebook engagement in our market but our goal is to get to 30 per cent.”
Companies have also found new ways to raise awareness of their Facebook pages. Ubisoft, for example, only released the first Assassin’s Creed III trailer when the game hit 1m Likes.
The video-sharing site has rapidly established itself as an efficient way to deliver trailers and developer diaries.
Dead Island was a prime example of how a video can put a games brand on everyone’s lips, with 4m people watching the teaser trailer in the first few weeks.
Now publishers are paying more attention to consumer viewing habits.
“YouTube views as a statistic is important to us, and the insights allow us to see at which point people stopped watching a video,” says Codemasters’ Russell.
“This helps us to determine whether the video was engaging or successful and whether we need to re-think our video strategy.”