At Develop Brighton, Grace Carroll gave an informative talk on managing communities in the modern age, covering best practices for the industry, but also some of the do’s and do not’s of community management in games.
Carroll mentioned that one of the most essential things is to manage the expectation of a game’s community: “if an audience is really hyped about your game, they might be really hyped about something that isn’t in the game, or have a different idea of what the game should be,” said Carroll. “This is good for your pre-orders, but you’ll see a backlash later.”
This could mean that a game will get a reputation or negative reviews and both of these can do serious damage.
Carroll said that many developers should also try to prioritise finding their unique voice for social media as this will humanise the brand, allowing communities to emotionally invest. Do this well and you increase positivity and good feeling towards your games and your company.
Most companies will have a unique voice, and it can be different between even individual games, but finding this is a solid first step.
“I can’t emphasise enough that you should not be a faceless corporation,” says Carroll. ““Most of the time if they (customers) are on your social media page they’ve already decided they’re interested, but they want this to be a two way communication.”
Some of the top mistakes that games and developers are making include being defensive, not owning their mistakes, failing to manage expectations, censoring comments, being too corporate, not having a clear social media policy, and not tailoring content.
Caroll suggests that good companies match communications with the way their community wants to operate. Put simply: If your community is using memes, those are what you should engage with. Creative Assembly uses puns and memes, and we engage with those and CA lets people mock them or shake their heads at puns. It’s a way to communicate that makes their audience feel comfortable and fosters a positive attitude.
Good community management is like *“Putting savings in the good will currency jar,” said Carroll. “Later you will need to remove them” *
Surprisingly, groups of people on the internet can get worked up if there’s a decision that people don’t agree with.
“Gamers are some of the most passionate fans on both sides of the equation. Even if they love your game, they hate your game.”