Any game designer, game publisher or game developer (big, small and indie) likely has a decent understanding of how much gamers use social media. But knowing how gamers use social media doesn’t exactly mean that you understand how to reach gamers on social media, let alone target specific gaming audiences on social media networks.
In this guide, we’re going to show you how to create a game marketing strategy to reach and engage with your target audience of gamers on social media.
How to connect with gamers on social media:
- Be authentic: Gamers are going to find it much easier to connect with your games and you as a developer if you are more genuine. It’s hard for a lot of social gamers to feel a connection with huge conglomerates like Ubisoft because it might as well be like feeling a connection with Target or Nestle. The brand is so big that it has lost its human persona. Small developers, designers, and publishers have a chance to create a unique image for themselves on social networks and their personality makes them more relatable, likable, and approachable. A great example of a gaming company with a unique personality is The Behemoth. They are a group of quirky designers and developers who have an uncanny ability to show that quirkiness in their games and the way they connect with their gaming community.
- Hire a community manager: Managing social media is 9 times out of 10 a full-time job. To make sure you’re putting in the required effort to manage your gaming social media, hire a social media community manager that will do it full-time. They can help answer questions about your games, plan social media posts, build social networking connections, and respond to gamers in your social media communities. A great example of this is Studio Wildcard’s social media community manager's strategy for their games. Since Wildcard has a game as massive as Ark, they have a lot of information they have to share regularly with their social media community such as servers going down for maintenance, new updates, patches, and special “evolution events” that occur during specific time periods. Wildcard has had a few community managers but they each have an image that follows their branding and deep in the trenches connecting with all of their gamers on social media and forums.
- Share as much as you can: For gamers that are both just trying out your game and completely utterly hooked, they want to know what the plan is. What kinds of updates are planned for your games? Do your games have any new content coming out soon? When are you going to address that game-breaking bug? So try to update the gaming community regularly just to let them know what’s going on. Even if there isn’t a new patch coming out that day or you’re still working on the next update for one of your games, gamers would appreciate the effort to give them a heads up on the status of things. The team at Wube Software who created Factorio do such a wonderful job of this. They send out updates every Friday to let their gaming community know what’s going on with the game.
- Try to answer questions often: Nothing is more frustrating than being in the middle of a game and hitting a roadblock and then not being able to find out any information about it either because no one in the gaming forums has asked or worse, those questions have gone unanswered. Yes, sometimes other players will be able to answer questions about certain games and help out but don’t use that as a crutch. It’s going to mean so much more to the gaming community if the designers or developers themselves answer your question.
- Address bugs head-on: Gamers aren’t expecting games to be perfect, they understand that game bugs are a fact of life, just like typos in texts. Gamers really only get frustrated when the bugs in games go unaddressed by the only people that can do something about them. So let your gaming community know that they have been heard and that you’re working on fixing those bugs, or better yet, that a patch is planned to come out on a specified date to resolve the issues. Trust me, your community will be thankful to know. Otherwise, if they think those bugs aren’t going to be fixed anytime soon, they’ll likely just move on to one of the other 9,050 games released that year.
- Reach out to influencers: Finding influencers that can demo games in beta or create a Let’s Play series on their YouTube channel can be a fantastic way to reach new gamers and give people a chance to see what the game is like before they buy it and play it. There are a lot of gamers who feel a bond or connection with a gaming influencer on social media and if they give your games high praise, it will be the best word-of-mouth game marketing you could ask for. There are many ways to engage with gaming influencers on social media, you could offer games to them for free to play and share on their social profiles, you could give them early access to a new DLC or update, you could send them some cool merch and swag for them to post about or you could offer up the chance for an interview. It’s totally up to you and what you think would work best with your game marketing strategy. Bethesda did a great job of this when they were preparing to release one of their games, Fallout 76. They flew out a bunch of gaming influencers to their business headquarters to play the game on their test servers. Then the gamers were allowed to take the footage back and post it on their social channels.
Where to connect with gamers on social media:
- Facebook - A great place for game news, updates, and announcements.
- Instagram - Developers and designers could take advantage of Instagram to give your followers a look behind the scenes. Show some photos from around the office or maybe a look at how a character is being developed. It’s also a great place to showcase user-submitted imagery.
- Twitter - If there is anything urgent that your followers should know, Twitter is a great place to post it, but you should try to give everyone a heads up on as many channels as possible.
- Reddit - There are many great things about Reddit, it can be used to share news, answer questions, ask for feedback and to do research on how your gamers are playing your game.
- Steam - Sharing news in Steam is crucial, especially with the new layout, so take advantage of that chance to get front-and-center of your gamers. Developers and designers should also try to assist on Steam by adding guides, uploading Workshop content and getting involved in discussions.
- Discord - The gaming chat platform of Discord is a tremendous, live tool to engage with your gaming community. It’s a great channel for chatting with people in-game and discussing ideas and questions.
- YouTube - Probably the most impactful social media channel for game marketing, YouTube gives you the chance to show off your game, share new updates, give gamers tips or guides and so much more.
We hope this guide on social media for game developers, designers, and publishers was able to give you an idea of how you can transform your game marketing strategy to better target and engage with your gaming community.