There has existed a network and subculture of gamers since the dawn of the local arcade, their Internet presence emerging in the late 20th century with the arrival of dial-up modems and the creation of online chat and user forums. This group, once dominated by adolescents, withdrew to the confines of their living room sofas and Atari 2600s, and now encompasses players across generations, as over half of all American households have a modern gaming console. Whether to trade tips and strategies, organize friendly (or not-so friendly) competitions, or develop friendships with like-minded indoorsy types, Internet communication has proven to be an important lifeline in gaming evolution. The transition to social media networking, then, seems almost natural… And video game marketers rejoice!
It really is simple enough; if everyone is using it, so should you – creating a Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, Google+, Pinterest, Tinder (OK, maybe not Tinder) presence is an absolute necessity for nearly any company or brand these days. And like any good social networking account, what you do with it makes all the difference. In order to take advantage of a social media relationship with your fans, updates need to be frequent enough to catch the attention of a widespread, global audience, and varied and engaging enough to stimulate discussion and sharing. Screenshots, press coverage, YouTube snippets, Q&A, interviews with game artists and writers, sneak peeks, and contests are all easy ways to keep interest piqued.
But don’t stop there! The basics are all fine and dandy for your mom-and-pop operations; anyone can sit behind a computer and drum up basic social media amplification. But how can you take it to the next level? Kick it up a notch? Turn it to 11? Please, tell us! We can’t handle the antici… pation.
With real-time amplification for video games at live events! Believe it or not, gamers and video game fans do slink away from the glow of their HDTVs on occasion, attending conventions and game stores, and creating tent cities at various national retailers the night before a release date. By developing custom check-ins for Facebook or e-mail at these opportune marketing events and locations, fans can then share their experiences first-hand and gain immediate additional impact for the brand. Whether it’s a photo activation with characters, artwork, or a custom branded design, or a chance to preview the game and share a high score, fans will want to show off for their friends. And showing off means abundant social media amplification for the game. Every check in, every photo share, every “Look what I did!” creates a unique opportunity to not only create a viral presence through social media, but collect valuable consumer data as well.
By Carolynn Porter, Wordsmith of Wonder