Why Social Media Helps Indie Gaming Studios Succeed
by Game Marketing Genie, on 31-Mar-2020 15:21:55
Most brands have made the move to digital advertising in recent years. There is a good reason for this - your audience exists online and you’re missing out on opportunities if you don’t choose to reach them there.
But it’s not only a powerful tool for connecting with potential customers. You can also use it to make your indie gaming studio stronger, establish its authority and become a known brand in your industry.
One of the best digital resources for your marketing needs is social media. According to Social Media Examiner, around 96% of all small businesses use social media marketing.
This means going forwards, if you haven’t already established a presence on the major social media platforms you need to begin to help grow your indie studio. For small businesses, this is even more relevant as you need to ensure that you stand out in a marketplace that is cluttered with other brands.
Let’s take a look into what social media marketing is and why it will make your studio (and game) stronger.
What is social media marketing?
Social media marketing is the use of social media platforms to reach your audience, drive sales, build your brand and gather valuable analytical data to optimize it all and learn from your output.
But it’s not just as easy as posting an image on Facebook and hoping it reaches the right audience. Social media marketing is all about producing relevant and useful content, engaging with your followers in a meaningful way, analyzing your metrics and running advertisements that get people converting.
The major social media platforms (for a general audience) in 2020 are Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Pinterest and Snapchat. Depending on your industry, you could also benefit from other platforms not listed here. For example, a video game developer may find benefits in existing on Discord or Twitch. Primarily, the ones you choose to use rely on where your audience exists and will interact with you.
Why is social media marketing important in the current marketing sphere?
There are a few reasons that this is the case.
More and more businesses are becoming present online
Marketing is predominantly going digital for most industries. The global marketplace is vastly saturated with brands of all kinds, so you need to make sure that it is clear that you’re active in the places that your audience can reach you easily.
You need to make sure that you stand out from other brands by having a good user experience in your page designs, releasing content that is relevant and useful for your industry, being helpful and active in your response times and in general making it easy for potential customers to choose your indie game over others.
Because chances are that your competitors are already online in the same places your audience is - which means that if you’re not there, or if you’re not harnessing social media to its best advantage - then you’ll be overlooked every time.
Your awareness and reach will exponentially increase
The number of people that use one social media platform or another is expected to hit 3.1 billion by 2021 according to data from Statista. As such, it is more than likely that your audience is present on one of the major platforms. This means that you should be reaching them there.
Reach refers to the estimated number of potential customers that have come in contact with content or advertisements from your brand. It exists to give you an idea of the number of new customers you could be bringing in with your campaigns - especially on social media.
And let’s face it - whether your game is sold in a bricks-and-mortar store or an online marketplace, you’re probably going to reach more of your intended audience if you’re present online rather than handing out flyers or posting ads in the local newspaper.
You can do this organically, or using paid methods. We cover this in more detail in our blog How to Get the Best Social Media Reach for Your Video Game.
Even if you are only releasing content organically, you’ve got a wide array of tools that you won’t get anywhere else. Targeting metrics, scheduling, insights - anything you’d need to see how you’re performing and where you can optimize. Harness these to show your authority and become a recognized player in your industry. But you need to do it well. The average organic reach for a Facebook post is just 6.4% of the total number of likes that the page has according to WeAreSocial.
Unfortunately it is true that social media platforms tend to favor brands that spend money with them, and so you might need to invest in paid advertising. This does not mean that you cannot maximize your reach without extra ad spend, but it is recommended for more effective reach.
Analytics are one of your most valuable assets
You need to be analyzing and optimizing every campaign you create, on social media or otherwise. One extremely useful benefit you’ve got using social media is that of the inbuilt analytics metrics on most platforms.
For example, when you post to your Facebook page it provides you with the option to view the post’s performance. This shows you important data including people reached, their interactions with the post and more. If you choose to boost your posts (a paid service), you get access to even more data than before.
Paid post metrics can show you anything from the cost-per-click (CPC) on your links to the demographics you reached and the specific actions that viewers took.
You can also check out how your page itself is performing with the Facebook Insights tool. This shows you statistics about your followers, likes, actions on the page, your audience demographics and more. You can track these by date, and it can give you a valuable look into what your audience thinks about your page.
Many social media platforms have a similar setup, and this data can not only help you optimize your posts, but your marketing strategy as a whole. It will give you an idea of what you need to do to reach the people most relevant to your game, help you find ways to reach them, let you see where you can improve, and ultimately give you the tools to grow.
It's cheaper when compared to other marketing methods
Making a post on social media is free. The only costs you incur come when you choose to create an ad, sponsor a post or sign up for premium services.
When you compare this to traditional marketing methods like television adverts, you’ll notice that you don’t need to spend nearly as much. When we look at Facebook, data from Oberlo shows that the average CPC comes in at around 1.72USD. For anyone aiming to get a higher conversion rate, this price range is the perfect place to allocate some of your ad spend.
It also means that it is more than likely that social media marketing will fit in your budget! Start by producing consistent and relevant content, and you'll watch as new audiences interact with your posts and your studio grows.
Your competitors are doing it so don’t get left behind
Like we mentioned earlier, it is more than likely that your competitors exist on social media. If they have an active presence on a certain social media platform, you can be aware of two key things: your audience exists in this location, and you should be too so you’re not losing opportunities.
See what they’re doing to reach their target audience, and learn from it. Ask yourself a few questions:
- Do their methods seem to be working?
- Are they getting the level of traction you would expect from their content?
- Does their audience seem engaged?
- How could you do it better?
- Do they have authority within the industry?
Once you’ve answered these questions, you can begin to formulate your own social media marketing strategy for those platforms. Weigh up if the platform is right for your brand, and make your move to ensure your game comes out on top. You want to make sure that you’re presenting yourself as professional, audience-focused, educational and importantly, you want your audience to understand that you’re the best brand to help them with their needs.
Indie game devs - we've got your back!
Hope you liked this article! If you'd like to learn more about indie game marketing, check out our full guide on the topic in Indie Game Marketing 101: Your Top Indie Game Dev Guide!
As an indie studio, you need to make the most of your opportunities to ensure that you stand out in your field. Social media is the perfect tool for connecting with potential customers, gathering valuable analytical data and creating a brand platform that proves you’re the best pick for your customers’ needs.
You need to make your game count wherever it can, so start devising a good social media marketing strategy. The team at Game Marketing Genie are creative masters, analytics experts and strategy professionals. We can help you rise to the top of your industry with social media marketing. We’re available any time to talk about how you can get started on your own customized marketing strategies, so let’s chat soon!
Need more info? Take a look at our social media marketing page to find out how we can help you!