How-To-Guides

How to Effectively Use Social Media as an Indie Game Developer

Creating and executing an effective social media campaign is a valuable tool for indie game developers that allows you to be in control when marketing games. The nuances of social media can be difficult to navigate if you don’t have the experience, and hiring an agency to do PR for your game can be expensive with no guarantee you will get a return on your investment. However, it is abundantly possible to manage your indie game studio’s social media on your own if you are willing to set aside time for research, planning, and content curation.

The importance of social media in video game marketing

The three most common social media tools you might use for indie game marketing are Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Each platform has benefits, and creating social media accounts across different platforms helps you keep your audience fully engaged and informed. All social media will help give you a better idea at who your audience is and where you should focus your efforts when marketing games. You should have at least one active account on one of these major social media platforms in order to stay connected with your audience. In order to decide which platforms you want to commit to, it’s important to craft your strategy with each of their strengths in mind.

Twitter helps you stay relevant in the indie gaming community

Twitter’s fast pace makes it great for connecting with online communities, handling customer support issues, and knowing what is trending––all in real time. Twitter is like a direct line to the indie gaming community. It makes it very easy to engage in relevant conversations and share news with your existing network as well as those you want to reach. In the gaming world, if an indie game studio has one social media account, it is Twitter. This doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s the only one you need, but it does show how important Twitter is for indie game developers.

Facebook provides the best insights from social media

The thing that is so powerful about Facebook is that it has incredibly accurate and detailed information about its users. Facebook’s advertising service is one of the most effective means for tailoring advertisements to specific audiences and receiving insights on your page’s interactions. Facebook ads are also a relatively affordable way for indie game studios to market games and promote their indie game studios. The caveat is that Facebook ads are passive and may not yield the highest sales for indie game developers. Consider using Facebook in your social media marketing strategy as a way to increase brand awareness.

Instagram can convert good branding into high sales

Instagram allows you to supplement your brand with visual content and offer a unique behind-the-scenes look at your indie game studio. Instagram is an excellent place to share trailers, show off works in progress, and post photos of things like convention appearances. Having a strong presence on Instagram is the most likely to result in sales with a higher average order than other platforms you might use for marketing games.

Which one should you choose?

In a perfect world, you would use all three of these major social media platforms as part of your game marketing strategy. But growing and maintaining social media accounts takes work. If your indie game studio can’t spare the resources, pick one and put as much work as you can into it. Having multiple accounts across different social media platforms is utterly useless if they are not consistently posting and engaging with other accounts.

Not sure whether your indie game needs its own account?

Perhaps you have established accounts on one or more social media platforms, but you’re wondering when it’s a good idea to make a dedicated account for a specific game. While it is not necessary to make separate accounts for indie games in development or slated for release, it can be beneficial in certain situations.

If you have a game that has a strong player community, you might create an account for that game in order to centralize that community and better serve their needs. Additionally, if you have a title in development and you’re trying to build interest by streaming your game development, that might be another reason to make an account for your indie game. Ultimately, it depends on your marketing strategy for that game, and whether or not you want to allocate the resources towards building and maintaining that account for that game’s player community.

Incorporating social media into video game marketing

Think about your social media accounts as part of your game marketing strategy rather than a separate entity. Start gathering interest before events to maximize engagement by creating a social media calendar that reflects your indie game news, convention schedule, and other important dates. Plan out a series of posts for each of your social media accounts to go out before you reveal any important news. Think about the time of day your posts generally get the most activity and make sure to schedule your most important posts for that time frame.

If your social media activity feeds lack consistent posts or an overall cohesiveness, developing a solid social media plan gives you an opportunity to rebrand all your social accounts and boost your game marketing efforts. Giving your social media accounts a new look and more polished feel is a great way to renew interest in your indie game studio.

Don’t just focus on the top social media influencers

When trying to participate in relevant conversations, it’s important to be authentic and try to create organic engagement. Yes, it’s important to try to jump in on trending topics and yes, it is a good idea to engage with popular posts from big accounts that are relevant to you and your audience. However, just because a topic is trending or an individual has a lot of followers, it doesn’t mean that it will result in quality engagement. There isn’t an exact science to what makes a post go viral, but some key  to publishing successful posts that perform well is authenticity and timing.

Lastly, try to have fun with your social media when marketing games

Social media allows you a unique opportunity to imbue your brand with personality and connect with people you wouldn’t normally get to in real life. You don’t need to focus primarily on video game marketing with every post. While the goal of your accounts is to build interest and expand your audience, engaging with social media is a more intimate form of advertising than buying ad space or hiring a video game PR agency. Your social media feeds should reflect the ideas behind your indie game studio and provide a unique perspective of your game development. Creating and executing an effective social media campaign can be a daunting task before you break it down, but when done correctly, the payoff is increased brand awareness, sales, and organic engagement with your audience.

Looking for advice on how to network as an indie game developer? Check out our networking guide! Be sure to follow Indie Boost on Twitter and Facebook to stay up-to-date on all our latest news.

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Developer/Publisher Relations @ Indie Boost

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How-To-Guides
Carefully crafted how-to-guides made specifically to help indie game developers with game marketing and video game PR.

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