A guide to social media marketing

Developers have some amazing tech skills but when it comes to advertising or promoting their work they often struggle. This guide will give you some hints and tips to get started.

For the purpose of simplicity we we just look at Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

So a common game developer approach to social media is – ‘here is the latest screenshot of my game’. To see what I mean, go to Twitter and search ‘#gamedev’. More than likely you are just going to see lots of screenshots, maybe short clips, of the latest game devs progress. While this is important, it is more important to the developer than the audience. This leads us to the most important tip…

the best content is content which is useful to the audience

Many of the messages we send out on social media are the ‘look at me’ type. This type of content only serves you and not the audience. But I know what you are thinking, you have seen some tweets/posts which are just screenshots or short clips doing really well. And you are right, some do. Often the difference is that there are offering the audience something interesting – like a tech demo they haven’t seen before. One such example is Dennis Gustafsson (@tuxedolabs) who has recently been tweeting videos of his destructive voxel creations. From a game dev perspective this is both technically interesting and impressive to see.

However, if you’re just shouting about the latest pixel character you have made, you might struggle to get any interactions. Mainly because everyone else is doing the same. Which leads to the next point.

1% interaction

Thats right, 1% interaction. Say you have 300 followers, you will be lucky to get 3 people to like/tweet/share. Crazy eh? But this number does hold, even for people with larger following. Lets check out this tweet from our main man, The Rock – Dwayne Johnson…

Now this is a pretty funny post, The Rock as 13.1 million followers on Twitter, this post got 169k ‘likes’, that is 1.3% interaction which is high. Typical likes for a tweet by The Rock are between 4k and 8k, way bellow this 1% mark.

Next tip…

Frequency is everything

I was did a test on twitter, I watched how one tweet gets lost in the crowd. Give it a try, go to twitter and find a memorable tweet from someone you follow. Wait 1 minute, how far has the tweet moved down? Wait 5 minutes, how far now? And this is the problem. Many people put out one post or tweet every couple of days, are maybe lucky to get 1 or 2 interactions and then loose interest.

Here are some targets.

Social MediaFrequencyBest Time
Facebook1/2 per day1 – 4 pm
Twitter5 per day1 – 3 pm
Instagram1 / 2 per dayBest Time

Thats right, 1 post per day or every couple of days is not enough. Sure, it is fine if you are just maintaining a presence on social media. But if you want to have an impact it will need to be more.

Why? It’s a scrolling issue. You’re audience is not waiting for your posts, we are not even waiting for The Rock to post. Your audience simply goes on social media when they can. And because everyone else is shouting on social media, you’re post might not even be seen. So frequency is key.

But don’t over do it. On platforms like Twitter you can get away with spamming 5 or more posts throughout the day, there is so much happing on the platform that the audience won’t see most of the tweets. But Facebook and Instagram are difference. Fewer is better. Ever unfollowed someone on Facebook because they put too much ‘look at me’ content on there? I have!

In short…

You have to make your content engaging, not simply a ‘look at me’ tweet. Think, what benefit the audience is getting from seeing your post? Gary Vaynerchuk talks about it like this – Jab Jab Right Hook (there is a book too). It means during the Jab’s you are putting content out what is good for your audience, not you. This could be Quotes, Tips, Short Tutorials, Links to cool free stuff, etc. The Right Hook’s are the ‘look at me’ posts, the ‘please like my stuff’ posts.

But remember, even if you are doing it all correctly, you will only get a 1% interaction rate. Don’t be upset by that, use it as a guide. Especially with a low number of followers, you can use that figure as a target. Got 300 followers, then aim for 3 or 4 retweets/likes. Got 3000 then it should be 30 or 40. Measure your success. Get more than 1% interaction? Great, you did a good job. Get less? Well stop and think, was it the content, the timing or the frequency?

Finally, here is a useful infographic. The URL at the bottom was dead when I wrote this but it is still helpful.

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