Any game that wants to find success, must communicate with it’s players. It’s easy to get overwhelmed with the amount of social media platforms available to you. Should you have a Twitter, should you stream on Twitch, do you ignore the dreaded Steam forums? If you do it wrong, community management can take up a lot of your time, with little to no results.
To give you a head start and save time, I’ve taken my experience with building communities for Stoic Studio’s “Banner Saga” and CYAN Worlds and made a quick guide.
1. Remember, an active community is worth real money
They are your marketing, your testers, your clients.
Instead of exchanging money for those services, you exchange time. Time and engagement build trust – something no amount of money can buy directly.
Your end goal is to create a relationship with a group of people who like your product, will talk about it, will find others who like it. This is something you must keep in mind at all times. This is the point of Community Management.
Moving forward, everything you do must help people use your product, share it, tell something interesting about it to others. If you can’t clearly define how exactly your actions contribute to your goal, rethink your actions – back to the drawing board, no matter how good your idea seems.
2. Avoid creating accounts on all platforms
It will overwhelm you, you will not be active enough on all of them, you’ll burn out fast.
Start with just one platform and make it the best one you can. Choose a platform based on the people who play your game. Twitch and Instagram are great for a younger crowd and visual content. Facebook and Twitter are for the working older audience. Discord is fast paced and can get messy and hard to moderate fast. Forums are slower but much more convenient and easy to manage.
Choose ONE and only one, to start you off. Then, start learning the things you can do on your main platform, spend time using it yourself, look at what other, similar accounts do with it. Try every feature and engage with the content others are sharing. Learning to use just one of these platforms effectively will take time and effort, so make sure to use it regularly. Once you’ve spent at least a month using it, try adding another. Have a maximum of three social media platforms of different types (ex: blog, Twitter, Instagram).
3. Be consistent and establish a routine
No point in having an account if you don’t use it regularly.
Finding success by creating content – videos, blogs, articles – relies on consistency over time. The more content you have, the more new people you attract. You retain those people by talking to them, engaging with their content and providing interesting content of your own. No one will engage with you or the things you create, if the last post you did is months old.
Creating a community means continuously feeding it something new and interesting. It can be time consuming and hard at first, but you must do everything you can, to establish a routine. Most content creators find success after 2 years of consistent activity. Yes, it’s not a fast process, it’s a serious time commitment.
4. Avoid spending too much time on creating content
There’s tons of different content you can share, but each type takes different amount of time to make.
Keep your best and most time-consuming content for when you already have a stable community. It can be tempting to spend hours creating cool things to post, but it will most likely be lost and ignored when you’re just starting out. Spending 10 hours creating a video seems like a great time investment. I can tell you from experience, that without an established community and serious planning, those 10 hours are better spent interacting with your audience directly, chatting about whatever.
It’s like riding a bicycle, you have to start off slow, before you’re ready to go fast without crashing. Start with the basics – interacting with your community, talking about subjects that are relevant to them. Sharing gifs, screenshot and just plain being present and active, does wonders to build trust, interest and engagement.
5. Never talk about…
Politics, social issues, religion, controversial or polarizing topics.
Remember the first point I mentioned. Unless the topic serves to gather more people together, best to avoid. This is not your moment to express your opinion to the world, your community is here for other reasons.
It takes practice and great psychology skills to talk about hot topics with a group of people from different backgrounds. If you want to practice, do it far away from the community you are building. Keep your own opinions and feelings, no matter how just or pressing, to your group of friends. It will save you time and help to avoid building a community full of bile and anger. You reap what you sow.
6. Create a calendar
Break it up and write it down to save time.
There are countless events, opportunities and fun things happening throughout the year. Make sure to look them up and mark them on your calendar. Social Media is about planning and consistency and keeping track of your posts or things to do in your community is a great way to be consistent and engaging.
7. Schedule when you can
It saves you time and piece of mind.
Your fans are all over the globe and you can’t be online 24/7 To reach all of your potential audience, you need to post content at different times of day. Countless services like Sprout, Loomly, Hootsuit and others, can help you with that. They will also gather most of your accounts in one place for easy access.
All of them have free memberships that will help you get a head start. As a bonus, you will have an easier time tracking your work, with the help of their calendars.
8. Start building an FAQ from day one
If you’re new to social media, you’ll be amazed at how many times people can ask the same question over and over again. Doesn’t matter if it’s been talked about ten times already and discussed in all possible ways. Someone will come along and instead of searching for the answer, will send you a direct message with the question. It’s your job to answer it!
Save time and start collecting popular questions and answers now! Keep a document on hand and update it frequently. If you see the same question asked a third, forth time – save your answer. The next ten times will be made easier by you just copying and pasting the answer, instead of having to type it up all over again.
Engaging with your audience can be a fun experience that gives you a confidence boost or drains your energy. Make sure to follow best practices to get positive results that help you achieve your goal.