Information travels extremely fast nowadays, especially through social media. Nearly everyone in western civilization participates in this phenomenon. The question is how can your game company and games stand out in a large crowded and infomation heavy environment like this? Well, you have to be smart and ready to invest a large amount of time to get noticed. A few weeks ago I attended a presentation at a local business meeting. Kristian Esser a spokesperson from the Mr.Harder initiative told us about the ways social media 'moves'. I thought I knew quite a bit about social media, but Esser proved me wrong. Today I would like to share and describe my own ideas about the use of social media for my game company.
Social Media in General
Let's start analyzing social media in general. There are a lot of different social media outlets. One of the largest are: Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, Youtube and Tumblr. These are clearly the most 'obvious' of all social media around. Individual Blogs and Vlogs also contribute in the social media universe and become all the more important. Then you have smaller social media designed for your smartphone like: Vine, Instagram, and SnapChat. After analizing these social media seperately you would agree their 'core' differs from eachother. Besides using some of them on 'private notice', how would you use this for a (game) company?
Old Media vs Social Media
Companies use media to get their products or services noticed by a large audience. Hoping their 'target audience' will pick this up and start using their service or buy their products. At the presentation Kristian explained something important. Old Media is build upon pushing products down your throat. Just check the television. Commercial breaks became longer and even more annoying in relation to fifteen years ago. I will not say this doesn't work anymore, allthough this landscape is changing quickly.
Social Media is one reason Old Media currently loses ground and will do so in the coming years in my opinion. They try hard to intergrate this within the social media universe, but users are not as forgiving as they are when they watch television. For example, the 15-30 second ads infront of Youtube videos are insanely annoying and feel misplaced. Compared to TV commercials it feels like they take hours. This is because we are accustomed on how TV is done. We are also accustomed that everything you do on your PC, Smartphone or tablet is 'on demand'. So if we are hold back on this activity we endure extreme annoyance and shortens our patience. It also creates ad-blindness in my opinion.
Kristian told us if we want to use Social Media, pushing our products is a 'no-go'. Still a lot of large companies use their Social Media to deploy their Marketing campaigns and smash all their products in our face. They use these platforms as if it's Old Media. Kristian explained Social Media is the other way around. We have to let our products speak for itself. For example Faceboook is about 'liking' something. Some try to force likes by doing contests, but those are likes you do not want to have. They like because they can win something. They do not 'like' your page because they are so in love with your company. The thing is we do want them to 'love' our company. So I thought about this and developed an idea for each of the Social Media platforms I think is relevant information to them.
How To Use Facebook?
There are many ways you could interpret posts on Facebook. I think the strongest element Facebook is running on is 'humor'. Everything on Facebook is about 'liking' something. Humor is a big part of liking something. If something is funny, you laugh and feel better about yourself and are more likely to 'like'. I think a strong element for game companies to focus on is to entertain their audience on Facebook. If you want to entertain people with your game, why not radiate this on Facebook as well? When I created a post about future developments for example: "Soon more information on an special project we work on" The participation in this post was very low. Even friends left me out in the cold. When I created a funny post about my artist intern finally having his own desk, and showed a picture with the most uncomfortable workspace you can think of, people engaged greatly. If you combine these humoristic posts with content you would like to showcase, for example: Showing a live demo in the background of the game or exclusive screenshots on the wall, you leave this for individual intrepretation and are not bashing someone in the face with it. A much more subtle way if you ask me.
Example: "So, after a month of work, we decided the 'interns' deserve to get their own desks. As you can see here, Leon is pretty happy how things turned out for him! A comfortable new workspace"
How To Use Twitter?
I have to be honest, I am not (yet) much of a Twitter user, but I have thought about a strategy to use this for my game studio. Twitter is a platform based around direct interaction. It's about 'following'. Following interesting companies, people, celebrities. I think Twitter is one of the fastest ways to spread "News" around currently. It is not just about posting an update, it's offers a way to communicate directly to customers, developers, bloggers, vloggers. Do not use it as a 'megaphone' and shout around how cool you are. Use it to participate in discussions, ask questions, help to find an answer to questions. You want people to 'follow' you. If you deliver meaningful content people are more likely to follow you.
How To Use Linkedin?
Linkedin just introduced a way to communicate as a company. It shares a lot of features Facebook offers as well. Allthough there is one big difference. Everything is on a more 'professional note'. Posts done of Facebook are not always suitable for Linkedin in my opinion. It's great to mingle into groups and maybe continue discussions started on Twitter. If I am honest again, I do not mingle 'well enough' into certain groups. I have to take time for this.
How To Use Youtube?
One thing large corporate companies do best is create a ton of teasers and trailers. Nothing wrong there. Very important you as a game developer take time for this as well. Many great game-marketing articles I read would tell you this. Another great thing Youtube offers is 'vloggers'. I think vloggers and bloggers became all the more important today. Vloggers have fans because most of them are funny, people share their point of view, or like the games they like as well. There are a lot of people that vlog about games and review them. You definitely have to take them seriously. For example if Markiplier, TotalBiscuit or PewDiePie (one of the most popular game-vloggers) feature your game in a review. You can easily say around 20 million people (a target audience) would see this. Because they are Youtube partner they run a serious business, so treat them seriously and with respect. I think Old Media is not able to be this 'targeted'.
How To Use Tumblr?
Having talked about most of the popular social media, Tumblr is not one to forget. Tumblr is actually 'blogging' made extremely easy. Especially meant for pictures and gifs. I would use Tumblr as a 'massive moodboard'. You can include screenshots, art or promotional banners on your Tumblr blog, but the 'reblogging' part will help you most. Reblog everything you and your company stand for. Pictures or gifs you love. Try to create a large collection of pictures and blogposts that define you as a company. By doing it like this, Tumblr is like a small peak in the developers mind. What is your inspiration? Where do you got it from? Share it with the world and people will get more insight in you as a developer 'visually'. Because hey? we live in a Visual Culture at the moment.
How To Use Vine, Instagram, Snapchat?
These smaller Social Media platforms are easy and take little time. It's a small effort to upload a cool picture with you playing the game. You 'live' showcasing at a conference. You have to remember, these platforms feel more 'direct'. People use their smartphones everywhere. When they are traveling, before they go to sleep, even sitting on the toilet. This device feels closer than any other device. Therefore these small insights through these media will hit them directly and feel special if they follow you and they see an update through one of these. Speak to them directly. Guaranteed engagement.
So Let's all Link These Accounts to Safe Time!
Well, NO. Let's not do this. Maybe for some of the Social Media I think it's doable, but I won't recommend it. Different platforms need a different approach. Why should I follow, like or share you at Linkedin, if I can also read it on Facebook? Try to be exclusive to certain platforms. Make it worthwhile to keep track of you as a developer on different Social Media. Create an development blog of your company, show the deeper insights on the games you create for the 'hardcore' fanbase. What's better than discovering new things about something you love?
So this does sound like a lot of work. Well, your right. It IS a lot of work. I can hear you think about 'But I still have to run my business'. Kristian told us one last thing, by putting this amount of effort in your Social Media means you 'ARE' running your business. It's part of it. You just have to believe it and start working on it.
Do you have any great experiences or opinions about the use of Social Media?
Mr Harder: http://www.linkedin.com/company/539865?trk=prof-exp-company-name