Five Golden Rules of Community Management in Gaming

A lot goes on here at Freaks. From marketing and PR to design and broadcasting talent, we provide our clients, whether endemic to gaming or not, with everything they need to make a major impact in the industry.

Our Community Management team strives to grow our clients’ social media and community following through carefully planned social media campaigns and creating engaging content.

Here are some of their golden rules of effective community management:



CREATE AN AUTHENTIC BRAND VOICE

One of the most important things to consider when building a community, the brand voice is not just about trying to appear cool to the audience. Gaming is one of the most dynamic and diverse spaces out there, and gamers are very often vocal in their likes and dislikes. Having a voice which they can relate to and engage with is the master key to the success of a brand’s community.

This means you need to determine just what kind of identity your brand both needs and wants when entering the market. A lot of time, effort and money is spent cultivating a brand’s image, so you need to respect this while implementing a cutting-edge strategy. Retaining the history, tradition and existing culture of the brand is also a must.

This delicate balancing act allows you to speak to the widest possible gaming audience, while staying relevant and true to your core values. Our community managers’ extensive experience in the games industry helps here, but it’s something that is attainable for communities of all genres.



ENGAGE IN THE RIGHT TONE

Above all, professionalism in engaging a brand’s audience is paramount. However, you also need to ensure that all communication with the community fits the purpose of the content. In such a fast-moving, ever-changing space, there can’t be a one-size-fits-all attitude to activating the community.

Being able to address fans and followers in the right tone is crucial to the success or failure of community management. This isn’t something that can be assumed based on big data – it is known, through careful study of the audience and by being able to relate.

Be technical, but not always too technical. Talk of ganks and frags, loot and RNGesus where appropriate. Sometimes you’ll need to be serious, other times you’ll need to bring the dankest of memes to the table. Being able to think, speak and act on the same level as those you target allows you to get right to the heart of the matter with minimal fuss.

This, in turn, will drive action and reaction from the community.



LISTEN AND REACT

This is a given for any community manager, or indeed anyone working in a customer-facing role. A social media or community strategy should not just be about posting messages telling consumers to buy your product, but a key tool in gauging the mood of your community.

People want to be heard, especially in the Internet age, and showing people that they are indeed listened to will generate the goodwill needed to kickstart any fledgling community. From this comes brand loyalty, meaning your communication is more likely to have that positive impact on your overall marketing goals.

Another key aspect is that you can create the best educational content for your community by listening to them. As mentioned previously, gamers will make their feelings known, and this includes any lack of knowledge of products and services. You should use this to make sure there are no gaps in product knowledge, and this aids sales potential when community members are faced with a choice between similar products.

Keeping the community informed about products or services can also drive improvement to all aspects of brand-community communication – from social media to corporate websites. It also allows you to educate the media, reviewers and influencers on a product, who in turn will help you to reach a wider audience through their content.

Finally, listening to the community allows you to see what they are currently playing, and use that to better target them with the content they want to see. Tailoring campaigns to target specific games or genres, and using influencers specific to those, are good ways to increase organic awareness. If the community associates a brand (and their products) with their favorite game, brand loyalty can be established and maintained. On the flipside, by targeting fans of other genres you can also grow the community with new members.

However, simply listening is not enough. As mentioned previously, gaming is a notoriously dynamic space and our community managers need to ensure that our clients always stay ahead of the curve. This means reacting to changes in trends and moods almost as soon as they happen, because you can guarantee the community will be doing the same.

It’s a classic case of undoing all the hard work quicker than it takes to build, so we avoid this by making sure the communities we target are a primary source of data when considering our overall strategy.



CREATE CONTENT THAT IS ENGAGING

Let’s face it – we all love to be entertained. We’d also like to feel as though marketing campaigns consider what we like and dislike, instead of just being generic, one-size messages we’re more likely to mark as spam.

Your communities are no different, and as such, an engaging community management strategy allows you to harness this sentiment to achieve your goals. As mentioned previously, listening to the community is key here – it allows you to create content that firstly is relevant to them, and secondly opens a two-way communication channel.

As well as meeting targets, quality content will also provide a platform for community members to engage with each other. This is a huge deal when trying to grow a fanbase, promoting discussion and allowing them to interact with like-minded people. Anticipation of new content will then keep them coming back for more.

Finally, gamers are a savvy bunch – they know when something doesn’t fit their space. Creating relevant, engaging content emphasises genuine interest in gaming, adding to that brand loyalty in the long-term.



GROW AND NURTURE YOUR COMMUNITY

As the saying goes, ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day’.

Building a community is more a marathon than a sprint, both in gaining a following and implementing an overall marketing strategy as a result. You can’t just throw all the content you can at people and expect it to stick right away, nor can you expect the community to carry you overnight to the kinds of numbers of which a social media manager dreams.

Let’s not kid ourselves here – there’s no magic wand. Growing and nurturing a community is exactly that – nurturing. It takes time, effort, resources, and above all, dedication. Two things will help you here.

The first is effective planning. Are you able to react to trends quick enough? Are you able to cover all conceivable outcomes? Are you able to innovate in the face of an incredibly intuitive audience? These are all questions we ask ourselves when creating a community for a client, allowing us to develop a solid base for the growth of that community.

Ways in which you can nurture the community differ according to what type of community it is, but one thing will remain constant – there will be opinion leaders that make themselves known early in the life of the community. These are the members who are more active and interactive than others, and one of the most powerful tools you can harness is identifying these leaders. By bringing these leaders on board as part of the strategy, you gain organic brand ambassadors who carry the message further than standard advertising often allows, which in turn creates more organic fans.

The second is consistency. Despite trends in gaming changing constantly, you need to maintain consistency in your storytelling. This links back to a brand’s overall message. Is it about quality? Style? Affordability? Sometimes, we have to just run with it, no matter what. If you find that a message is not coming across too well, you don’t just scrap everything and start over. Take the positives from it and find another way to communicate your message, one that gamers can get behind. They may be fickle in which games they like, but they are also loyal to a point with their overarching decisions.

This constant cycle of monitoring reactions, revising strategy and continuing to monitor reactions leads to a…



TL;DR - INSPIRE, RATHER THAN INFORM

If we were to sum up, effective community management is a case of you get what you put in.

Generally speaking the more you, as a brand, are immersed in your communities, the more they will respond to your message.

By showing the community what they can do with your products, you will organically add value and create desire for having those same products in their own homes. This is a supremely beneficial buffer to the reach of traditional marketing, and should be a core part of any strategy.

This ties in to one of the most important beliefs - that members should be inspired into action, rather than just told what is best for them.

It’s the community manager’s job to make sure of this, because after all, the emphasis of your community should be them, not you.
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