Leveraging Social Media To Maximise Your Game Sales

Connecting with your audience is absolutely critical to the success of your game and is something you should take seriously and adopt a professional understanding. I’ll cover some of the high level points here and provide how to maximise social media communication for different business types.

Old Skool / New Skool

Forums – old skool

The old style way of interacting with “consumers” was to wait for them to discover some forums you had lurking around somewhere, on a discretely hosted web-site hoping they stumbled across them. Such forums still have a valuable role and can gain some feedback that you really need to know. A certain amount of “know how” is required to use the forums as registration is often required and users have to build up an internal reputation. The big bonus is they typically contain dedicated gamers used to giving feedback.

Social Media – new skool

The more modern way is to go to your audience on social media sites and connect there. Good examples include [blippr]Facebook[/blippr] Fan pages and [blippr]Twitter[/blippr] streams where people are likely to be sharing feedback about your game anyway and you need to be there, especially if you’re doing Minimum Viable Product production and need to iterate your game.

Facebook

Make it easy for people to ‘Like’ your game on Facebook, which also posts on their wall and tells their friends too, and encourage conversation by using the discussion areas on the Facebook Fan page. It isn’t enough to just setup the Fan page and expect people to just turn up, it takes effort. I would discourage you from setting up a Facebook ‘Page’ as these feel very business like as they don’t currently incorporate much in the way of community.

Twitter

Twitter is also an amazingly powerful, and yet simple, tool for interacting with the community around your game. There’s a deep vein of gold to be mined here as your community will not only connect to your dedicated stream for news and updates and send messages to you but they will ‘retweet’ your information to people they know thereby expanding your audience. Anything you post doesn’t necessarily have to be just about your game, posting relevant notes, articles, news and critically your conversation with the community is also reflected here.

It is also possible to extend your reach on Twitter with the introduction of your own #hashtags (subject headings) to encourage common discussion and also discover for real-time conversations about your game using search.

[blippr]TweetDeck[/blippr] is an awesome tool for doing all of the above in one easy to use, free package.

RSS Feeds

If you have a blog, or web-site with an RSS feed it is possible to syndicate this automatically onto Facebook and Twitter, which saves some of the leg work in releasing longer pieces of information but these are obviously quite robotic and need to be married with real human interaction to truly engage the community.

I would advice running your RSS feeds via services such as [blippr]FeedBurner[/blippr] to enable more powerful subscriptions through email, and embedded sharing

The use of link shortening sites can have a beneficial side-effect in that they usually incorporate link tracking took. The ubiquitous [blippr]Bit.Ly[/blippr] provides some fantastic tools for discovering the popularity and reach of items you link to, including

Community Managers

I’d say from the outset that if you have big ambitions, or you have a big title, then you should engage a specific community manager to be successful. I have been fortunate to work with a great community manager and I have witnessed what a real difference this can make, this is a skill that is not to be under-estimated. They can engage with your audience in a concise meaningful way and really understand the chaotic world of relationships.

Summary

In a nutshell, there are no easy ways to work with communities, you’ve just go to go there and put in the effort. The invaluable feedback and interactions you encourage frequently pays back your efforts many fold.

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