We all know channels like Twitter and Facebook are essential to promoting your products, but what is the most effective way to use them?
James Batchelor asks community managers and other games indutry experts for their top tips...
Community and Social Media Manager, Nintendo
Don’t be a constant salesman. Create conversation, shares and virality with engaging content – not adverts and pushy marketing-led messages. Make sure your content is inclusive and involves the fans – ask them their opinions, rather than talking at them. This will enable a fanbase that feels more connected with your channel and is more engaged.
Social Marketing Manager, Xbox EMEA
People follow people, not brands. Have a human voice and if possible, a human face. Engage your audience with content that respects their passion and intelligence. Use insight to create and curate content that will drive conversation. Data and data-driven insight should be at the heart of everything you do.
UK digital and community manager, SCEE
Know when to walk away. Yes, social media can be infuriating. Some people really don’t like who you are, what you have or what you have got to say and they really want to make sure you know it.
Take a deep breath, close that window and walk away. They may not be eloquent, they may not be smart, heck they probably aren’t even right, but engaging them in a public argument isn’t always the smartest thing to do. Remember that ‘brand image’ you work so hard to uphold.
Still feel need to reply? Make sure you have another member of your team check it – it’s surprising how your opinion changes when you read it all out loud.
Also, hashtags are great for extending the reach of your messaging and tracking metrics, but #you #don’t #need #to #add #a #million #hashtags.
Social Media Editor, IGN UK
Listen and respond. Everything we post creates a new conversation. It may be time-consuming, but take time to engage with your community members’ comments, even if it’s just an acknowledgement, and you’ll be creating a brand evangelist. You only need a handful of these ambassadors on your side to form the cornerstone of a healthy community.
Understanding what, where, when, how, and why you post what you do is the single most important thing you need to know when taking on a big community. You may think you know what they want, but invariably you don’t.
Take the time to do some statistical analysis into your community’s behaviour, and it will be paid back in spades. Your engagement levels and growth rate will rocket once you understand the data and adjust your behaviour accordingly.
And don’t just use competitions or promotions to increase your followers. It may seem like a quick and easy win, but you’ve got to ask yourself: are you adding the kind of people you want with cheap deals or giveaways? Probably not, unless you want bored, disinterested coupon chasers.
Community Manager, The Creative Assembly
Track data religiously. Social media offers a brilliant opportunity for real-time metrics, and understanding these and fleshing out key performance indicators will help you better understand your audience’s needs.
Know your audience. It’s true of all kinds of creative output, but nowhere do you see as immediate a response to off-kilter messaging as Facebook. Giving the wrong kind of content leads to poor engagement – and that means people aren’t talking about your game.
Social Media Co-ordinator, GAME
Always keep in mind that your followers and fans have invited you into THEIR social space. Sure, they want to hear what you have to say, but equally you have to be receptive to what each individual wants, take the time to understand other points of view and engage on all occasions – even through the tricky times.
And remember – it’s not the size that counts, it’s how you use it. Large follower numbers are sure to impress the bosses but what’s more important is the engagement quality and investment each follower has in your feeds and community circles on an individual basis. Inclusion is key and is a good starting point for organic growth.
Community Team Lead, NCsoft
Gamers like to share. Build stories that users would want to share and use social media to bring those stories to your users. Monitor responses and direct brand mentions for relevant conversations and make users speak about you on their own will. Use pictures. The proverb says it all: “a picture is worth a thousand words”. They are more engaging and generate more attention.
Chin Soon Sun
Community Manager, Tecmo Koei
Make sure your content is mobile-friendly. There are over a billion smartphone users, which means the mobile experience has become really important. This applies to things as simple as weblinks. Make sure the content you shared is visible on mobile, and doesn’t turn out to be a broken link.
Think about which channel is best for each outreach. When we’re at conventions, we use Twitter for live instant updates and Facebook to share pictures we take during the show. We then create a video on YouTube for the post-event updates and go back to Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, our blog, and so on to share the link to complete the cycle.
Founder and CEO, Cashplay.co
Let your community communicate through your games and connect with each other in multiplayer through groups. Encouraging users to compete in these groups gives them social bragging rights to share with their own social communities. It can also be useful to allow gamers to share their successful wins via social channels so they can get the word out on behalf of the game itself.
EU Community Team Lead, NCsoft
Use different channels for different user profiles. Facebook users do not normally have the same profile as Twitter users, knowing which approach to choose when reaching your users is key to maximising impact on publications. Also, be individual in your messages, don’t try to use a ‘one size fits all’ tone. It’s more authentic and creates a personality that people are more likely to get attached to.
Community Manager, Jagex Games Studio
Go where your community goes. As new social media channels are created consumers become more selective towards how they will absorb and digest information. If a large part of your community prefers to get their information via podcasts for instance and you aren’t creating these then the core message of your brand in that space is out of your control.
Social is not only an ever-changing barometer for how your business is perceived by its consumers but is also a powerful tool for amplifying the voices of your key advocates, and staying ahead of potential problems on the horizon.