Social media should be the first port of call for any indie developer; it’s free to set up, can be done by you and most of your target market is on there. Of course you already know this so why should you read on? The reason is that most people do it wrong and adopt a ‘if I post it, they will come’ approach along with other bad habits which I will highlight below.
Twitter: Be a person and not a game
Many try and set up a separate twitter account for their games but in 9 out of 10 cases this is a bad idea as people want to engage with real people on social channels and not faceless entities. By all means set up a company account but don’t be afraid to put your name in the bio. This way you are not limited to talking about one single game and you can post varied content which will increase your followers. Twitter (as with all social media channels) is all about two way engagement which means you need to talk to your followers. A good rule of thumb is 80/20; talk about them 80% of the time and yourself 20%.
Facebook is one of the best tools in your arsenal as it will allow you to communicate with your customers, peers and customers (fans). The timeline feature means you can log the design and development of your games highlighting milestones and achievements as you go. The comments system also means you can get instant customer feedback regarding the visuals, game-play and direction of the game. Most use this channel to have one sided, sporadic content which doesn’t engage with the community.
Facebook is a great platform to host a giveaway. Fans not only have the chance to win a free game (or promo code), they also have a reason to engage with the company Facebook page more often. This could be as straightforward as “like this post/page and go into the draw to win a promo code” or it could be a one that calls for more imagination such as a photography contest (i.e. the funniest caption wins a prize!). Competitions such as these have a fantastic ‘share’ aspect, such as ‘tag our company in your next status update to win!’ This is an brilliant way to increase organic word of mouth referrals.
However, the same rules as Twitter also apply to Facebook. Make sure you ‘like’ others in your field, industry experts, potential buyers and share content which is useful to your whole market instead of only posting a one way marketing message.
YouTube is a fantastic way to give potential users a picture of your company. Although you can add lots of game-play footage to this channel (which is great) why not try and start with a simple introductory video of you company. Don’t worry if its not a Hollywood production as it will give it more personality. As well as teaser trailers and game-play footage why not do an FAQ on questions that could possibly come up or helpful hints on getting past certain levels. All of these will not only give people sight of the company but could also improve your search results to boot.
Pinterest is the latest player to join the social media foray. This virtual pinboard can be used in three ways. Firstly you can create a board for your game with screenshots, articles, reviews and link it to your Facebook page for extra exposure. Secondly, you can use it is as a research tool and scour the video game sites, retro gaming blogs and mobile development sites and pin useful articles, tips, graphics so you can refer to it for inspiration on your latest and future games. Finally you can use it as a person and pin what you like and what you are about. When people follow your board because they like you they might be more likely to re-pin images of your games.
Although predominantly used for employer/employee networking this network can also be leveraged for game marketing. Join groups that discuss and promote video games and you might find you gain additional allies for promoting you latest venture. Add the ‘Behance’ portfolio add-on to your page and litter it with screenshots of you game so any visitor to your page can see your work. Other add ons such as ‘WordPress blog’ and Twitter means you can get your games (and company) in front of more people.