How to arm your product and community to recruit more players
A marketing team can spend incredible sums of money on billboards, YouTube ads and social posts, but one thing that’s worth its weight in gold is word of mouth. If your product creates such a buzz that people are telling all of their friends about it, that will always carry more value, because it comes from a trusted source.
Ahead of entertainment and editorial outlets, social media and friends are the top two sources of game information for players, ahead of entertainment and video game websites, with 39% of gamers actively recommending games to their friends (GWI, 2021). Creating opportunities for your players to convert their friends as often as possible is one you should build around and provide as many opportunities to make happen.
In order to achieve this, the most important thing for you to understand is the vital role community management plays in retaining referred users and keeping them attached to your product. Maintaining engagement and ensuring recruitment is complete, and making them feel more than just a small part of a large group, is only achieved through CM.
Here are some of our best tips for how you can stimulate word of mouth, and arm your community to recruit more players.
In order for your target audience to have as much opportunity as possible to see all the cool in-game moments they’re missing out on, and generate that FOMO, it’s important that your product is easily shareable amongst the current player-base.
Not only do these moments need to be shareable on social, but they also need to inherently encourage conversation. If there’s a clutch moment in a multiplayer match involving a group of friends, then those involved are going to want to brag about it on social platforms for online recognition and kudos from their peers.
When this happens, it’s important to provide that validation through community management, and help amplify these moments, while also getting these players to ‘tag’ their friends in the conversation, bringing their attention to the cool moment.
Key beat moments
Any time there’s new content in a live-service/GaaS title, trailers advertising it are littered with comments of friends tagging their buddies and telling them “we need to get on this”. Amplifying these key content beats as “content refreshes” is a great way to re-introduce your product as something “new” to those you didn’t grab on the last round.
Not only is it a chance to present the “more” coming to your product, but it can also show how broad your offering is. While a particular USP may not have initially hooked certain users, showcasing new ways to engage with your product is a chance to widen the net. Have you added a new PvE mode to your PvP video game? Promote the hell out of it in your upcoming trailer!
Simple user journey
The proliferation of technology has brought one consistent thing to consumers: ease of use. The more convoluted and complex a journey is from advertising to product, the less likely you are to convert an audience into customers. Once someone is referred to your product, you need to ensure it’s as easy as possible for them to become part of your ecosystem.
If referees are tasked with viewing an ad on one channel, bouncing out to another to sign up to your platform, then jumping to another space to download an APK, then another five steps to confirm their identity before even having a chance to find out what the hell your thing is, there are too many opportunities to drop off.
Your job is to simply get out of the way and let people start playing your game as fast as possible. Don’t force the community to jump through hoops to get to the thing they’ve been recommended. Click a link, get downloading, start playing.
Harness community advocates
If you have influencers, even at the micro scale, who are singing your product’s praises across all their platforms, make sure you do everything you can to elevate them and put them into a position to become an advocate for your brand.
Give these influencers early access to upcoming content, direct access to your development team to create exclusive content and even allowing them the opportunity to input on the direction of your title means they will maintain that sense of positivity and ‘spread the word’ to their fans.
Indulge in positivity
For new players coming to your social space, it’s important that they see a welcoming and friendly community of which they would like to be involved in. If the top comments on all posts are nothing but negativity, vitriol and trolls, then it won’t invite new, excited players to join.
This is where the responsibility falls on having a top-notch community management team engaging with the positive conversations so they are elevated to the top of comment feeds, and kicking out those who violate community guidelines.
You can also help foster positivity at the post-level. Creating content that leads with the optimist’s perspective, focusing on the aspects of your product that are leading to thriving conversation amongst the community and proactively creating responses for when the negativity/trolls engage all provide a robust presence to build positive sentiment.
Maintaining a healthy social channel is so easy to ignore, but can prove vital in achieving growth KPIs.
Make everyone feel valued
Whether a player has been part of your community for five years or five minutes, you need to make their contributions to your channel feel equally important so that they both want to stick around and also continue to be a voice in the responses.
Again, the key thing here is having best-in-class community management to surface these response opportunities and make sure they’re not missed. Also, the team must find these community “heroes” who consistently contribute to conversations in your feeds and give them the recognition they deserve.
In summary, the key takeaway is to think of two strands of referrals: first you need to create marketing that encourages your existing community to tag and invite their friends, and then you need to have a community space that invites referred members in and creates a simple user journey to convert them into players of your game.
One cannot exist without the other. Having countless referrals to your game, but then an off-putting environment means nobody will stick around, and having a great social space that nobody is privy to means growth is unachievable. Achieving that balance will give you a great chance of sustained success for your game.
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