Game Studios Can Kill It This Holiday With These Small Social Hacks

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The holidays are an interesting time online.

Lots and lots of people around the world take things a bit slower, spend more time with loved ones, and engage in relaxing activities that don’t otherwise fit into their busy schedules.

It’s also the time when lots of new laptops and mobile devices get activated.

Whether you have a web or mobile game, this holiday season presents a unique opportunity to put a little extra effort into your social media presence.

So let’s talk a bit about how to make sure you do that well, without spending any extra money.

Below is a walkthrough on how to take advantage of the holiday season. It should be straightforward, cost you nothing (except a bit of your virtual currency if you so choose), and bring you new players while deepening your relationship with current players.

Make An Awesome Game Webpage

Too many studios don’t have marketing sites for their games, but maintain a studio website or blog instead.

Build your game a webpage right away.

That site should be made for someone who’s just heard about your game, gone into Google with the game’s name, and arrived at your website. It should tell them what’s unique about your game, and let them easily download it.

It should also be mobile-optimized. People are mobile during the holidays.

Put your link in here to see it on mobile devices; is it useable? To build  beautiful mobile-friendly webpages quickly look at Strikingly or use a WordPress plugin.

Your site should also show visitors where they can find other people who love your game, either in your forums or on the major social networks (more on this in a sec).

If you want to add some conversion juice to this marketing site, add some social proof. Use tweets from fans, or links to flattering press articles.

Top Eleven Social Proof

Let’s dig into social now that your site is ready.

Update All Your Social Accounts

You should have a Twitter account (for the game, not your studio) at minimum, and Facebook probably makes sense too.

Depending on your game, Reddit and Instagram may be interesting networks for you to participate in.

We’ll break down each network, but first let’s make sure your accounts are ready for new users.

Each network offers you an opportunity to set up profile pictures, descriptions, and links to your game.

Complete all of this information. Use your game’s visuals and copy to give people a sense of what to expect when they get into the game.

If you’re just getting started, fill your feeds with content that you know current users enjoy – favorite characters, high-impact game visuals, facts about the game or it’s story.

You can also include links to press, retweets and shares when people talk about your game, and updates on your development progress.

Hopefully you already have an audience to work with, but if not the holidays are a great time to get started building one.

Amp Up Your Facebook Presence

People spend significantly more time on Facebook during the holidays than at other times during the year.

That gives you an opportunity to spread your wings a bit by driving up the engagement efforts there. Remember, your users are people who have loved ones and family that they’re very likely to spend time with during this time of year, which is lighter fluid for word-of-mouth.

Be present.

Keep your updates visual, by the way. Posts with big imagery and a few words usually perform best.

Some easy ways to get a conversation with fans and potential users on Facebook:

Ask  questions. Better yet, have your gameplay characters ask the questions. Ask about their holidays. Ask about your game.

Extend your game story. Give your gameplay another dimension with inventive holiday-themed updates or content, similar to popular TV shows that release webisodes for their fanbase.

Give a holiday gift or reward to your most active fans. If  you have a Facebook following at all, you have the opportunity to make your most active fans feel great about their activity. You may know who these people are, but if not tools exist to help you identify them.

Be sure to regularly drive attention to your webpage and signup funnel, but give equal attention to users who just want to engage with you on Facebook itself.

Run A Twitter Giveaway Campaign

No, we’re not suggesting a Twitter Ad. We’re going for no-spend growth tactics in this post.

The holidays are a great time to take advantage of the increased social networking we mentioned above. Use this time to run a free promotion on twitter, which is where people connect to their interest graph.

That means gamers follow other gamers, and millions of people talk about their favorite games every day.

Use a unique hashtag, and use your virtual currency as the prize.

This makes for a very affordable way to get people promoting your game for you.

FunRun shared insight into their successful promotion last year, in which they had users twitter their usernames and the #funrun hashtag and double their virtual currency purchases.

You could mimic something along those lines, or find different ways to have your users share their in-game experience on Twitter.

Ask for their favorite levels. Screenshot sharing is great, too.

Note: If visuals play a big role in your game, Instagram can extend a screenshot contest nicely.

Hacking The Holidays Is Worth The Small Effort

You don’t have to spend a bunch of cash trying to run a holiday promotion that brings you new players.

In fact, you can deepen your relationship with current users while you’re growing your game.

People will spend the next few weeks using their social networks more than ever.

Don’t skip the party! And if you do run a campaign, make sure to let us know by pinging us on twitter.

Image by pagedooley

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