How to choose the best social media platforms as a game developer

One of the questions I get the most when it comes to social media (apart from posting times etc, but hey - baby steps) is, "which social media networks am I supposed to use?"

The answer is "it depends" (thanks, Sherlock - ahem, allow me to expand on this.)

  • How frequently can you update your feeds?
  • Which medium do you feel more comfortable with?
  • What are your game's strengths?
  • What's your target audience?

These will define your needs, and if you keep them in mind you'll avoid wasting energy on platforms that aren't for you. Without further ado, here's a roundup of the key facts:

game dev social media

Facebook

You probably have a Facebook personal account, and so it's probably the first platform that came to mind. Facebook is one of the best platforms out there for paid advertising (along with hip sibling Instagram.) The in-depth targeting options make paid campaigns really worth it. But if you don't pay up, you're very unlikely to even reach all the people liking your page.

Best for:

Advertising, native video posts, longer in-depth content, engaging your community. Don't forget those calls to action.

Ugh:

Very poor organic reach, long posts without catchy visuals don't do too well.

Twitter

Twitter works like a conversation, and it's possibly the best place to link up with fellow game devs. You can share other people's work, ideas and show some personality.

Best for:

Joining the game developers' community and game enthusiasts at large, showing work-in-progress (get those gifs on #screenshotsaturday!), extending your general network.

Ugh:

If you can't tweet at least every day, you can be near invisible. This is also no place for constant self-promotion (don't be that person at the party only talking about themselves.)

Instagram

Instagram is a visual haven. If you've got a talent for image composition and you want a platform to show more personality to your studio, this might be the one for you. Although Instagram is the best platform for advertising, this generally applies to lifestyle, art and fashion accounts. But as the gaming community on there is growing, so why not give it a try (using the appropriate targeting settings.)

Best for:

Visual and/or artsy games, event photos, WIP, showing personality in your studio life. The new Stories feature lets you engage in a timely way with your audience, making each of your followers feel like 'part of the club'.

Ugh:

Be prepared to spend a lot of time liking pictures on other accounts before you get a good following. If you don't have many art assets, you might struggle to post the recommended 5 times/week.

Image credit: Andrew Richard

Image credit: Andrew Richard

YouTube

YouTube is a solid platform - of course, this is where you'll upload your trailer. But there are other uses for it that you might be missing out on. How about a development vlog, or showing off the art in your game, maybe doing narrative videos? If you can film and edit, you can really get creative in the content you offer.

Best for:

Advertising your trailers. Also, think about dev vlogs, trailers, speedpainting videos, and playlists of your favourite games or music playlists (spread the love, won't you?)

Ugh:

Each video needs a careful set of tags, and video production to YouTube standards can get quite expensive if you want to invest in it.

Twitch

Twitch is the main live video platform, which is just great as you can interact with the community in real time. Contrary to YouTube, there is no editing possible, so it really feels "true" - careful, there are no outtakes. 

Best for:

It's great for developer streams, art streams and live Q&As, or launching your game while letting viewers play by proxy (if your game mechanics allow it)

Ugh:

You might miss a large audience if you don't advertise your streams beforehand (on other social networks and/or publishing a set schedule for your streams.)

Snapchat

Snapchat is dynamic. It's quick, it's fun, it's spontaneous and most importantly, it's a *great* advertising platform if you have some budget. But this is very audience-specific, so before you get on board make sure your audience is on Snapchat.

Best for:

Humorous games, or the very scary ones. If you have a young-ish (think 15-30) target audience and want a really personal relationship with your followers, go for it.

Ugh:

There's a lack of visibility that comes with it, because of Snapchat's temporary nature - and you need to be on the platform to see the content.

Tumblr

Tumblr is a great visual platform, halfway between a blog and a social network - I personally advise it for dev blogs when you're in a position to show some visuals for your game. Most of your content should relate to game updates in visual terms, but you can also make it more personal if you already have a newsletter etc.

Best for:

Dev blogs, while staying as visual as possible. It will work best for games with a strong visual style.

Ugh:

Limited community-fostering opportunities, but the "ask me anything" feature counterbalances this.

 

If you're just starting out, don't pick more than 3 platforms, unless you have an in-house community manager. And if you're on Twitter and Instagram, feel free to connect with me there!