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Looking to build an online presence for your gaming community? Here are some tips to get you started! Whether you're just starting out or looking to take your community to the next level, these tips will help you get there. Read on to learn more.
You don’t have to be a hardcore gamer to know that gaming communities are some of the strongest and most interesting groupings you can find online. Most of them are built around a game or a gamer and bring together passionate people who enjoy similar things.
In today’s day and age, the lack of proper support from online communities can lead to failure, even if your game is good and has potential. This is why major game developers work hard on hyping new releases and creating strong communities that are ready to try the new game and spread the word about it.
However, a successful gaming community doesn’t sprout to life overnight. Building a fanbase is not easy, and maintaining one is just as challenging. In today’s article, we will look at how gaming communities work and how to gather people around your game.
Types of Gaming Communities
With around 2.96 billion gamers in the world, it’s easy to see why there are so many gaming communities out there. People like to talk and share what they are passionate about, so most of these communities form naturally. However, this only happens around extremely popular games such as Minecraft, Call of Duty, or Skyrim (to name a few).
There is also the case of gamers who manage to build a community by streaming (on YouTube or Twitch) while playing or by sharing their thoughts and analyses on popular video games. In this scenario, the followers are more attracted by the gamer’s charisma and way of playing than by the games the person plays (although the games do play a role). This is how big names such as PewDiePie or Mr. Beast started.
So, while there are countless gaming communities out there, you can easily organize them into these two main categories: communities built around a game and communities built around a gamer. This aspect is important because it gives you, someone interested in building a fanbase, an idea of how different gamers react and why.
Building Your Own Gaming Community
Image source: Pixabay
We get it; the gaming world is vast enough to be confusing when you’re trying to promote your own game. Plus, as a developer, you may not want to share too much from a project that’s still ongoing.
But if you take a better look, you’ll see things are not that scary. In fact, you can apply the same rules a startup applies when designing its social media strategy. And to get you started, here are a few tips to keep in mind:
Be Loud and Proud
If you want people to be excited about your game, you have to start early and be the spreader of excitement. This means designing a social media campaign across multiple channels that let people know what you’re working on and why you’re enthusiastic about it.
For this, you first need to find the right channels where a big chunk of your target audience spends their online time. Of course, this means you know your target audience and what they want from a gaming experience.
Next, focus your strategy on piquing followers’ curiosity for the game you’re preparing for release. For this, you can use screenshots, video trailers, and other visual materials to keep people engaged and interested.
For instance, if you’re working on a blockchain game (these are Web3 games that let players win assets that can be turned into value in the real world), one major incentivizing factor would be the earning mechanism. Also, since Web3 games are just starting, there are a lot of gray areas that need to be cleared up. Show your followers that your game is legit and trustworthy.
A strong community doesn’t grow overnight. This is why starting early is essential, but it’s also the motivation that can keep you going. When you’re first starting, it can seem like your work doesn’t yield results (which may be true in the short term), so you have to see things for the long term.
Start by trying different channels (YouTube, Facebook, Reddit, Instagram, TikTok) and see where you can build a following. Also, design a proper content strategy that creates value for the type of people you want to attract.
Once things start progressing on social media, look for gaming communities like IndieDB and gamedev.net and establish a reputation. It doesn’t hurt to participate in events (online and offline), such as contests, conferences, or comicons (if the game fits).
As time goes by, your strategy will include more channels and activities, which will help increase brand visibility and gather more followers.
Keep Followers in the Loop
To benefit from the support of a strong community you need engaged followers. This means that the communication flow needs to go both ways, not just from you, the game developer, to them, the followers.
So, besides standard content pieces that create engagement (videos, articles, short stories, and more), you also need to hear your audience’s preferences, desires, and hopes for your project. Do that by asking people’s opinions through surveys, polls, comments, direct messages, and so on.
Also, don’t ignore messages and comments from followers, even if it’s just to say “thank you.” People like to feel heard, and this small gesture is enough to keep them coming back. Plus, there’s data that shows fans are more impressed by quick replies, so it wouldn’t hurt to have someone take care of social media and other channels.
Another way to keep people’s eye on the prize (the game you’re developing) is to give them something to do while on your chat. For instance, Discord has a few interesting tools that help developers connect with followers interested in participating in the testing phase. Plus, you can send out rewards to active community members.
Learn the Language of the Internet - Memes
There are gamers of all ages out there, but the majority of them know what a meme is and use such means of communication in their chats. Plus, nowadays, there are entire channels dedicated to reacting to memes and turning these tidbits of fun communication into entertainment.
So, if you want to build a fun-loving gaming community, you need to learn about memes. It will be like learning a new language, especially if you’re new to the game (pardon the pun). However, if you manage to include memes in your communications and make them as natural as possible, you’re already in the winning race.
Maintaining Engagement Once Things Pick Up
Image source: Pixabay
If you are diligent about social media promotion and spreading the word via other channels, your online gaming community will start to take shape. However, this doesn’t mean things will continue on an ascending trend.
You also have to make sure followers are engaged and continue to enjoy the overall experience that makes the community interesting and unique.
Find Good Collaborators
Once your community starts to gain some traction, it’s time to think about reaching out to some creators and communities in the online gaming world. You may not be able to find a collaborator right away, but it is a good idea to get noticed by some of the big names in the field.
You should also think about working with a couple of micro or mini influencers in the online gaming sphere. These are small channels (under 10k followers), but their following is more intimate and tight-knitted, so they have their audience’s attention.
Overall, it is good practice to expand your network of supporters and keep the communication lines open. Many online gamers who have a big following like to organize events (usually for charity) where they invite and promote the smaller brands, channels, and communities they find promising.
Encourage User-Created Content
One of the things that makes online gaming so fun is the way games manage to get regular people involved in the experience by providing skins for their tools and weapons, cool transportation vehicles, creating open worlds and challenges, and allowing players to explore their own hobbies and passions while playing.
You can do the same with your game, even before the release date. Keep users entertained by encouraging them to create content for and around your game. This can be anything from customized skins, fan art, video trailers, and more. Plus, you can make it easier for them by providing free assets people can edit as they like.
Once this starts to pick up, choose the best creations and give them a shoutout on the main channel. This will keep users happy and looking forward to anything new created by the community.
Call to Action
At the end of the day, every marketing strategy needs a well-designed call to action to tell people what to do. So don’t be shy about it (of course, don’t be spammy about it either) and tell followers when and what to RT or share or when to download your game and try it on.
Also, remember that while a gaming community is a powerful marketing tool, it’s also a big online family that will support and nurture your project for as long as they find it interesting and satisfying.
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