There’s this misconception that as an indie developer, social media is either a sales tool – or at the opposite, that no one will hold you accountable for what you say. But social media is exactly what it says on the tin: it’s about community, and everything you say will impact how you and your game are perceived. At a really low cost, it’s one of your best, most accessible assets to make your mark on the gaming community – and if you can leverage it properly, well… The sky is (almost) the limit.
1. Choose your platforms carefully
You’re a small team (or even just one person) making a game, so chances are you can’t afford to spend three hours on social media every day. With two or three platforms to manage at most, you’ll have an easier time doing it all.
Being aware of your game’s strengths and your own, you can choose accordingly: Twitter is usually a great starting point, but think beyond it too. Stunning art style? Instagram could be a wise choice, especially given the extensive advertising options. Give Facebook a try, but you can also turn to video content if your game looks its best in motion: YouTube of course, but aside from game trailers, creating content for Vine, Twitch or Snapchat can be beneficial depending on your audience.
2. Don’t just sell your game, vary the content
This is “social” media after all. In any social situation, only chiming in to say “check out my game!” is likely to lose interest pretty fast. Think about other points of interest related to your game: is there a particular theme or setting? Would your audience be likely interested in certain topics? As a rule of thumb, you should aim for two of these for every post promoting your game.
3. Interact with the community
There’s an incredible indie game developer community online. If anyone ‘gets’ you these days, it’s people in this community. You’ll most likely find them on Twitter – by tracking (and posting your own) #indiedev, #gamedev and #screenshotsaturday for example.
Beyond the developer community, you should care for your own community. Replying to messages, comments and hosting the occasional giveaway if you can will make users feel appreciated. And this accessibility, this personal contact – is essentially your main advantage compared to AAAs.
4. Post regularly
Consistency is a no-brainer. To get the attention of your (potential) players, you need to be present. Given that a tweet’s lifespan is 18 minutes, you’d have to tweet a few times everyday to reach as many people as possible. Many social networks show the best times to post on their own analytics system, make use of it.
5. Visuals above all
“A picture is worth a thousand words”, they say (but a gif is worth even more, if you ask me.)
Images, gifs and videos will usually do better than the rest of your content, so use them wisely. If you decide to show video or animated gifs (which is all the more important if your game looks better in motion), make sure to focus on something that will catch your audience’s attention: an action moment, a funny dialogue, etc.
6. Have fun
I know, I said “5 tips” and here I am giving you a 6th one – consider this one a bonus more than a tip. You’re working on a passion project, bringing your vision and imagination to the world; it’s a really exciting time, and spreading the word is not worth losing your spark over. If you’re not comfortable with a certain medium or content type, find something that suits you. If you don’t like being on social media at all, maybe hiring a community manager could be the best course of action.