PwC predicts that the gaming industry will be worth $321 billion by 2026.
But game publishers and developers know that they can’t take it easy.
The sector is facing hurdles such as competition from addictive short video content, saturation in the mobile games market and a pressing need to develop new games and franchises that will pull non-gamers into the hobby.
In the gaming sector, there is a need for brands to keep fans interested in their franchises and future titles – and social media offers an ideal platform for them to engage audiences on.
What works for successful gaming brands on social media?
All developers and publishers know how hard it can be to keep fans happy. Ideally, fans want to be playing the game they’re anticipating right now, but if they can’t do that, they want to know when the game will be released.
So, how are gaming brands using social media to give their fans what they want?
They’re sharing game trailers and sneak peeks to keep fans hyped about the game. Trailers and sneak peeks are the sort of content that fans crave. “When are we getting a trailer?” and “Will you be at The Game Awards?” are typical questions brands get constantly asked on social. But, this sort of content is often rare until the publisher is ready to kick off the game’s marketing campaign. So, how do they keep fans excited and happy in the meantime?
They share behind the scenes content. Fans love seeing behind-the-scenes content, like development process videos and interviews with developers, giving them a deeper understanding and appreciation for the games. Later, when the marketing campaign is in full swing, they also love seeing videos where voice actors are interviewed and seen performing voice or motion capture work. Of course, if fans feel like they’ve been waiting too long for things like trailers, character and lore drops, some can find more technical behind-the-scenes content frustrating.
Interactive content is another great way to keep people engaged. Things like polls and quizzes encourage fans to engage and share their opinions more than non-interactive content. (Though, depending on the style of game being talked about, these debates can get heated!)
Influencer/Streamer collaborations are becoming more popular with gaming brands. Many are working with popular gaming influencers and streamers to reach new audiences and increase visibility.
But, social media – and gaming fandom spaces especially – can be a very emotionally charged place. Discussions can quickly turn into more fraught debates, which can then escalate into a spiral of “discourse” that pulls individual developers into the mix – sometimes causing them stress and upset in the process.
What does your brand need to consider when posting on social media?
- Don’t underestimate the importance of authenticity and a consistent tone of voice. As we very well know, TOV consistency is key when it comes to social media, as it helps build trust with fans. Authenticity is also important, as the gaming community tends to be on high alert, can be quite demanding and easily notice when a brand is being inauthentic or trying to manipulate them.
- Do everything you can to understand your target audience. Knowing who the target audience is and what they are interested in is crucial when it comes to creating content that resonates with them and drives engagement. It also helps you know what topics to avoid if you don’t want to create drama in the community (for example, getting involved in debate about which character is the best might get a lot of engagement, but it also divides the community and tends to make people unhappy).
- Stay current. Due to how quickly social and gaming trends change, staying up to date on the latest social media trends is critical for being able to adjust strategy and ensure the brand is getting the most out of its social media presence.
Understanding your community is hugely important – you might want to capitalise on a hot trend to reach new players, but if it’s something that your existing community will hate with a vengeance, you may want to avoid it.
Pockets of the gaming community can be quite negative and toxic – misunderstand what they want and even positive posts that engage with trending topics can attract a lot of ire.
Developers and publishers that thrive on social media know that it can help them create moments of joy and community celebration, but that it’s a tricky thing to get right.