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Archive for Social Media

Instagram’s New Curated Video Channels

Instagram's new suggested video channel

In something of a muscle move onto the territory of video-sharing giants like YouTube, Instagram have created a new curated channel that collects suggested video content from across the social network. “Videos You Might Like” has now been rolled out on the network’s Explore page for all users.

Back in April, Instagram announced the new video-discovery channel in a post on their blog, and on July 26th, 2016 confirmed in an update that video channels had been rolled out globally on Explore.

“As people share more and more videos than ever before, we’re making it easier to discover the ones you’ll love. To begin, you’ll find a personalized channel called “Videos You Might Like” that collects videos from across Instagram’s global community into a seamless viewing experience…”

The social network has slowly been investing more and more into video. Recently, back in March, they announced the introduction of longer, 60 second videos. According to their research, over the 6 months previous to the update users had increased time spent watching video by over 40 percent. Other developments included the re-introduction of video creation from multiple clips for iOS. In the statement, the network claimed that “longer videos mean more diverse stories from the accounts you love…”

The development of curated video channels makes it clear that they intend to hold true to their promise of developing a user’s video experience, and also shows that they are more than willing to make developments in line with trends in order to complement the natural growth of the network.

Adding features that complement seamless content discovery is integral to the expansion of content-focused networks like Instagram. One of the biggest and most significant developments was their complete overhaul earlier in the year that saw a total re-brand and a new interface that centred on user-generated content.

“Videos You Might Like” will include suggested videos based on each specific user’s activity and will appear on the network’s Explore page. Other featured channels will also begin to appear in the coming months, to complement global events such as the 2016 Olympics and the Cannes Film Festival.

How to do Social Media for Authors

How to do social media for authors

Social media is everywhere; on our phones, on our computers and even in a follow request at the back of our new favourite book next to that witty little author’s bio. But why? Why has social media become such a necessity to the literary world that now even publishers recommend a high social media following? And how do you tap into the wealth of opportunity it provides?

There are countless reasons why social media is beneficial to any industry, but for now I’ll focus on those for all the writers out there.

The social media telephone

In the age of “Fan-Girls” and “Fandoms” fan bases are bigger than ever, this being no exception in the literary world. Novels are so entirely in one’s own head, that it’s hard not to create a personal, possessive bond to the books, characters and even the author. J. D Salinger, author of Catcher in the Rye said “What really knocks me out is a book that, when you're all done reading it, you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it.”

And that’s where social media steps in. Platforms such as Twitter act like said phone and allow you and your fans a direct line to one another.

Solidify and build your fan-base.

Being able to chat to someone you hero-worship or respect is amazing. It makes your readers feel acknowledged, special and valued. And so they should! It’s because of them you are who you are and you do what you do. Answering questions on what your character’s favourite colour is, where the inspiration came from for your newest novel, or even sharing fan-art, could solidify a fans status into super-fan.

This loyalty and commitment is invaluable – especially when your new book comes out. The bond and loyalty that can be created through social media may be the difference of “Well, I’m not sure on the blurb…” to “Of course I’m going to buy it! They’re my favourite author!” Prolific, best-selling fantasy author Neil Gaiman is an excellent example of this; take one look at Gaiman’s feed and nearly every post is in response to a fan, (one of his 2.43M), with a sprinkle of self-promotion in-between.

Still need proof that this dialogue and social media can serve to actually grow your fanbase? A number of questions for Gaiman happen to be “as a newcomer to your books, which ones would you recommend?” A clear indication that Gaiman’s social media presence alone is helping to build his considerable fan-base.

Book launches and making your fans feel special

Social Media is the ultimate space for promoting book launches or drumming up excitement pre-launch. In July 2011 Young adult, bestselling author John Green’s novel ‘The Fault in Our Stars’ hit the #1 bestseller spot - before it was even published. So how on earth did an unpublished book with no front cover fly to the number one spot?

Green - who at present has 5.14M followers on Twitter, Nearly 3M on Youtube and a strong Tumblr account - is no stranger to Social Media and he knows exactly how to use it. On a magical Tuesday in 2011 Green posted the title of the not-yet-finished book on both Tumblr and Twitter. A short while later he tweeted he would sign all pre-ordered copies, and to close up he read out a short passage of the novel on his Youtube channel. By 9pm that evening ‘The Fault in Our Stars” hit #1 on Amazon.

No gimmicks, no big bucks, no publishers; just the exceptional utilisation of a loyal fan base.

Now though this formula will not work for everyone, it does give a good indication as to what tricks and social skill authors can utilise. John Green spent a lot of time building his marketing platform, growing his followers and fans before he even began the process of a book launch. This is a necessity; a high social media following establishes your credibility as an author whilst building your brand. However social media followings don’t grow over night. Start as early as possible, before you have even started your book - and then when the time comes your audience is ready and waiting.

Sneak peeks and excerpts

Platforms such as Twitter and Tumblr are excellent for sharing sneak peek excerpts just as Green did, as well as offering little nuggets of updates to keep fans excited and eager for your next book. Turn every step in your publishing process into one your followers can be excited about.

New book cover? Encourage fan drawings or guesses as to what it will be, begin a count down until the cover is revealed. Sequel? Share an extract between two favourite characters or potential lovebirds your fans and followers are “shipping” from the first book.

Build your audience, drum up the excitement, and ensure a kernel is always fizzing to keep them desperate for more.

Inspiration and visualisation

Never underestimate the value of an image. Chances are your readers are fascinated by the inside of your head, where your characters came from, who they look like, what inspires you and endless questions. Pinterest is not only incredibly valuable to your creative writing process in order to find inspiration, but it allows you to share that inspiration with your readers.

Don’t overdo it

Remember who you are, and what your brand is. Authenticity is one of the most essential aspects of social media, especially as an author where you are effectively selling yourself, or at the very least your imagination. Don’t confuse readers by posting about things that are irrelevant to you and your brand. Readers are following you because they love the way you write and the way you think, social media is an extension of this; be you.

Pick the right platforms

Young adult author - Social Media is definitely for you, your main fan-base is from the millennial era, raised on a host of technology. Twitter and Tumblr are young, vibrant, and allow for easy two way conversations and sharing.

Specialist “How to Garden in Pembrokeshire” Author - Tumblr, most likely, is not going to be your friend. Find relevant forums, discover where your main target audience is and focus your effort on these platforms. Pinterest is visual and perfect for all ages.

Finally, don’t overdo the book promo. Yes, this may be your number one reason for having social media, but be smart. Unless it’s a book launch, less than 10 percent of your social-media posts should promote your book. Earn the right to ask for new readers by providing excellent content and conversation.

Writing comes first.

First and foremost, you are a writer. Writing should always come first. Writing, deadlines, press releases, book tours, blog posts, social media… all of this is stressful and time consuming, and when it comes to the hierarchy of importance; writing wins. Every. Time. Even so, it doesn’t mean you can’t maintain a social presence.

If you ever find yourself in this position don’t be afraid to give yourself a break and share fellow authors’ work, share articles, share fan comments, curate wonderful content that requires no more than a quick google search and keep the creative juices for your book.

Don’t Expect Sales

It’s not impossible to utilise social for sales, (John Green is irrefutable proof of this) but when it comes to publishing and social media, sales take the back burner.

Social media in the literary world is a community. Through social media you can acquire invaluable feedback from your readers, some well-deserved praise, meet other like-minded people who could potentially be interested in your book, and even strike up conversations with bloggers creating the opportunity for some excellent book reviews.

But best of all it allows you to interact with your readers, and share your world just a little bit more.

Always remember that what works for other people may not work for you. Research your genre, know your brand and find a formula that fits.

By business development manager - Laurie Fuller

The Best Way to get Customers Online? Become a Pokémon.

Pokemon Go Social Media Marketing

In the ever-changing digital landscape, businesses are constantly on the lookout for new and exciting ways to reach and engage with users. Social media marketing focuses on the process of luring users from social media onto their websites, attempting to elicit a real-world response from a digital platform. No app or network has been more successful in this task than Niantic Labs’ Pokémon Go.

Pokémon Go, we would imagine, requires very little introduction. We won’t bore you with the ins and outs of CPU/real world integration and the giddy sense of personal achievement that comes from spotting digital potpourri in a duck pond having walked twelve miles, all we will say is the rate at which casual users and gamers have latched on is nothing short of astounding. The hype around the game is so much that Japan’s chief cabinet secretary Yoshihide Suga has issued a comment urging players to follow official guidelines listed in a specifically crafted government flier ahead of the country’s official release date.

Within seven days of it’s release in the US, Australia and New Zealand, it had already exceeded Twitter’s user base of 65 million in America, with mobile users spending more time playing the game than using Facebook. The app is now quite simply a global phenomenon, and like any other event of that scale social media marketers need to be taking advantage of the hype that comes alongside it.

Harnessing the hype of Pokémon Go

Short of undergoing incredibly expensive (and similarly fictional) pixel-replacement therapy to become a Rhyhorn and waiting for trainers to come and find you, there’s very little that can be done in-app to market yourself. Don’t get us wrong, we would absolutely relish the opportunity to train on behalf of your company, but you’re unlikely to see any return on investment aside from a Pokédex to rival Gary’s and control of your local Gym. (If all this terminology means nothing to you, you obviously didn’t grow up in the nineties)

Issues of nostalgia aside, the best marketing campaigns are always active, topically aware and responsive. Right now, Pokémon Go is possibly the most globally topical thing imaginable. It also has something relatively unique in that it is a global phenomenon with a local footprint. The fact that it is geographically-based, sending users to real world locations for digital rewards, could certainly result in an increase of foot traffic for your business.

Social media should be the bedrock of promotion for small and medium sized businesses. Integrating the Pokécraze could be a way to bridge the gap, converting digital engagement into real-world customers.

Local businesses are getting Pokésavvy with Pokéstop lure parties

A whole host of local businesses are already taking advantage of the craze to market themselves. With the app making use of real world locations, towns and cities have a selection of Pokéstops (plenty more jargon to come). If by some chance your business is one, or very near one, you are in a great position to encourage more foot traffic. By purchasing a selection of lures (there’s the jargon), you can attract more wild Pokémon to your area - something very enticing for trainers. Lures last a total of 30 minutes, and cost only 100 Pokécoins (or 79 pence in real money), so purchasing multiple costs very little and can last a few hours.

Many businesses are taking to their social channels to promote these “Lure Parties” (as they’ve become known), many offering special discounts and deals to trainers. Social media is the perfect place to promote these parties as the hype and dialogue can grow instantaneously. A healthy social following will also be something of a community of advocates for your brand, willing to extend your reach if you engage with them and share your exclusive offers.

Evolving social media dialogues put your brand in the mix

Hashtags are wonderful things, especially where location-based user-generated content is concerned. By making use of Pokémon Go’s popularity you open your social media marketing up to a whole other level of influencers. As you, and the Pokémon trainers you bring in, post content related to the game nearby players will take notice and come and join the party.

If you haven’t already, it might be time to think about Pokémon Go. It opens businesses up to a brand new style of marketing that is active, user-driven and constantly evolving. Poképun intended.

Periscope Editors’ Picks Curated Streams at a Glance

Periscope Editors Picks Stream

Last week Periscope introduced a new human-curated channel named ‘Editors’ Picks’. The stream, which suggests popular past broadcasts, could prove useful for new and casual users who are still finding their feet on the network.

‘Editors’ Picks’ are available to all users under the ‘Broadcasts’ tab on the search page. Originally taking pride of place, the stream has since slipped further down the ‘Suggested’ list, with popular hashtags and featured channels overtaking them. Regardless, new users should make use of the stream as it shows a broad cross-section of the wide variety of types of content across the network - each to a standard worthy of curation.

With this addition Periscope have attempted to help new users to ‘browse for unique moments you may have missed’. Certainly an admirable challenge - and one that was in dire need of tackling, as the network now has a daily active user base exceeding 2 million. At this size, content discovery represents something of a challenge for users.

A high-five from us

The direction Periscope have taken with ‘Editors’ Picks’ gets a double thumbs-up from us at Giraffe; nothing quite beats human curation when it comes to share-worthy content. As the usability of functions on larger networks grows, discoverability and developments in search need to be big business for infant networks who are serious about getting competitive. Especially because content is the lifeblood of social media.

The new stream is likely to have something to do with Periscope’s recent acquisition of Evan Hansen, previously of the content team over at Medium. In May, Hansen made the move to be Editor-in-Chief of Twitter’s Live-streaming brainchild, with part of his focus on helping discover and curate the best streams for Periscope users. ‘Editors’ Picks’, alongside other recent featured channels, are certainly evidence of this in action.

Snapchat Usage Among Adult Users Increases

Adult Snapchat use increases

Snapchat is increasing in popularity among adults over the age of 35. Traditionally a network for teens and younger adults, surprisingly the trend hasn't had a major effect on it’s “cool” factor, and popularity remains high a this level.

According to information made available by CNN Money, the percentage of Snapchat users over the age of 35 has risen from 9% to 14% since 2014. What’s more interesting however, is that the network hasn’t lost any popularity with younger users. In fact, it is proving even more popular than ever with those between the ages of 25 and 34, with users up from 19% two years ago to 38%.

Traditionally when the older generation muscles itself onto a social network younger users become jaded and disengaged. By whatever means, Snapchat have managed to sidestep this issue and are now commanding a very unique cross section of engaged users. However, if the network are serious about realising their app’s potential they need to do way more than reaching out to older users - such as taking a good look at monetizing.

Snapchat’s growing popularity and move to the mainstream

The percentage increases should come as no surprise to users and social media marketers alike. Snapchat has become more mainstream, with more and more high-profile individuals and organisations now having a presence on the app - for example NASA, the White House and CNN.

Moves by the network such as introducing advertising API make clear that they are serious about broadening business’ horizons. With giants such as Facebook to rival, creating a fully-fledged advertising platform should be of crucial importance to them. Alongside development strategies which include both user-base development and monetization, Snapchat need to be serious about taking risks about network features at least where businesses are concerned. This means experimenting with more than just funny filters.

On claims about disengaging younger users, comScore’s VP of Marketing & Insights had this to say:

“Historically, those concerns about losing core users have been overblown… For social media platforms, growth can sometimes be a double-edged sword… They’re expected to grow toward mainstream adoption, but the moment they do, there are questions of whether it will drive out the early adopters.”

How to do Social Media for Actors

How to do social media for actors

Social media has rapidly become an indispensable tool for providing exposure for aspiring creative professionals. Whereas a few years ago actors could get by without a social networking presence, nowadays it’s become something of an expectation for ambitious and emerging performers to be active online.

The key where actors are concerned, much like other industries, is to create a compelling and personal brand that reflects who they are and their aspirations, and is backed up by content listing their experiences. However, with such a wealth of social networks available (and even more industry-specific job posting and forum sites) it can be difficult to know how best to invest precious time and resources.

Why actors need a social media presence

It’s now clearer than ever that actors should be investing in their social media presence. As time has passed the way that new roles are acquired has become inherently digitalised. In order to keep pace with a busy global world, auditions have become increasingly video-focused. Casting agents have also caught on and are beginning to look to social media platforms to discover talent.

According to a study conducted in 2015 casting directors believe talent only accounts for 7% of casting decisions. While the aesthetics of an actor are undoubtedly important, directors are now also in the habit of weighing up the quality of talent online. This exploration actually surpasses just content; professionals look at the personality and influence of an individual by exploring rates of engagement and social followings.

So will social media get you cast?

The short answer is no. Social media is not about getting cast in a major role - it’s about keeping in touch with people in the industry, getting noticed and sharing your story in order to develop connections that could potentially assist you in the future. Casting is still very much something that happens through legitimate agencies and requires appropriate training and knowledge. Social media is just an integral marketing tool.

The unfortunate swing for actors on social media

Unfortunately, nailing social media for actors is something of a tightrope walk. On one side you have no social presence whatsoever, which in a digital age is something which will cause you to be easily forgotten about - and there is quite literally nothing worst than being a forgettable actor. On the other side, the side of over-embellished content and foot-in-mouth interaction, you risk being the ruin of your own reputation. In the centre however is where great things can start to happen - people will begin to notice you, spread the word and share your content. That’s the exposure you want to aim for.

To tread the line between the two takes a great deal of understanding from the get-go. Focus on having a clear understanding of how you want people to perceive you as a performer, and an awareness of the sort of networks that might help you achieve that, and you’re onto a winner.

Focus on creating a human brand

Before you get carried away in content, take time to define how you want to be perceived by your audience. For any brand to be successful on social media takes authenticity and humanity, because by its very nature social networking is a social endeavour that requires real people to work. This means swaying away from using your abilities and successes to merely promote yourself. Your personal brand should stem primarily from your personality and secondly from what you want to achieve - for example, if you’re a naturally jovial person who wants to become a successful comic actor, your tone needs to reflect that.

Share everything you do

Use quality content, such as videos on YouTube and professional shots on Instagram, to show people how great you are. Great content marketing is about displaying to the world what you can do, not telling them. This is where many actors fall short. We can sometimes have an overwhelming desire to share a clip purely because we are featured, but if that clip isn’t any good it simply can’t reflect you in a good light. Showcasing yourself is of the utmost importance, but keep your integrity and don’t sell out your talent before you’ve even begun.

Remember, it’s not all about you

Be sure to share and promote content that isn’t about you too. There’s a clear line between promoting yourself and being arrogant. By breaking up your features with other relevant content, including that of industry friends and contacts, you’re far more likely to stay on the promotion side.

Interact and engage

As you build your arsenal of videos and images and more people start to interact with you, your personal voice will begin to develop. In theory, the people who appreciate your personality will become your advocates. In the world of social media marketing, growth is big business, but also commonly misunderstood. Whereas a huge paid-following might look good on the face of it, it’s no use to you if it isn’t engaged.

Organic growth is key here. You want to be building a community of users who are interested in you as an actor. These are the people who will prove integral influencers to your reach further down the line. In order to encourage that engagement you need to be reactive and interactive. Bear in mind that behind every piece of engagement (like, share, retweet) is a real person. Say thank you, ask their opinion, just generally make them feel appreciated for reaching out.

Don’t ignore negativity

Nothing harms a brand more than ignoring negative comments. When you decide to glaze over negativity you also inadvertently make a comment about how serious you are about succeeding; people will see your radio silence as an inability to respond to criticism and thus a lack of passion and drive. Be humble, appreciate others and try to allow yourself to learn from these comments. Bear in mind that going on the defensive is dangerous territory, and it’s very hard to redeem yourself after losing your cool.

Choose your platforms and be consistent

It’s far better to be a superstar on one platform than mediocre on many, so in the early stages it’s a good idea to focus your efforts in one place. When you do interact across multiple networks, be sure to tailor your messages to each audience. Bear in mind the restrictions on what you can/cannot post changes dramatically from network to network - for example character restrictions on Twitter and visual content on Instagram. Develop a posting strategy for each you decide to use and stick to it. Consistent messages is key to revolution and evolution - just don’t be overbearing.

Be careful who you reach out to

Interacting and engaging with users across social networking is a great way to develop your following. It isn’t, however, a way to get jobs. Reaching out to casting professionals that you don’t have a personal relationship with is a potentially damning endeavour. You will become an annoyance and your name will be tainted.

Bear in mind that big names are now not only actors, they are influencers, brand ambassadors and social media gurus. Becoming social-savvy now will only benefit aspiring actors in the future. Any questions? Tweet us - @GiraffeSM.

New Twitter App Helps Businesses Connect with Users

Twitter Dashboard

Twitter have released a new app that could help make it easier for businesses to engage with social media users. Dashboard focuses on providing easy-to-understand insights and actionable advice, all of which are designed for businesses who want to expand their community.

Twitter announced Dashboard in a post on their blog, describing it as a “powerful tool designed to help businesses connect with their customers and community”. At the time only available to business users within the US, three key advantages were listed on the blog; “Easily engage with your following… Tweet when the time is right… [and] Get tweet ideas and inspiration.

Notable features and their uses

The three advantages mentioned on Twitter's blog make it clear that through creating the app the network are eager to compete with scheduling platforms and management tools favoured by power users. Engagement-focused feed development and scheduling features are fairly typical of apps of this kind, so the most interesting are the “tweet tips” tailored to allow you to “kick-start your creative process”.

The Dashboard app takes users through a quick process that helps craft a customised feed tailored to their business and industry. The system then combines mentions, hashtags and keywords to provide an easily accessible feed for monitoring brand and industry discussion with interaction in mind.

Creative tweet suggestions are offered with the user’s business in mind, clearly to help new users begin to utilise the network to it’s fullest potential. Twitter included the below example in their article:

For example, if you work at a restaurant, a tip like, “Your team is as unique as your business. Tweet a surprising fact about one of your team members,” might remind you to share some recent recognition your chef received. Or, is you’re an interior designer, seeing “Share the live. Like and Retweet kind words from your customers,” might prompt you to Retweet a customer’s excited reaction to one of your recent projects.”

Twitter have come under fire in recent months for being inaccessible for new businesses and users, one of the main reasons cited for their fiercely declining user growth rates. Therefore it is great to see the network providing features designed to combat this and allow new users access to the unrivalled potential for interaction and outreach that it provides.

New Pinterest Team Looks Set to Monetise Content

Pinterest Acquire Team Behind Tote

Pinterest have announced that they are acquiring the team behind an influencer­-driven shopping app called Tote. The announcement suggests that the social network are serious about rethinking how they monetise the wealth of creative content shared across the platform.

The new hires created the Tote app which works by highlighting and suggesting products shared by fashion influencers and friends ­- so it’s clear that the team will be playing an integral role in developing monetisation strategy. Indeed, the team will be joining Pinterest’s growth and monetisation team. As a result of the acqui-hire, Tote itself will be shut down on the 15th June.

The reason for the hire

This isn’t the only significant hire that Pinterest have made recently, having also acquired the people behind Fleksy, a custom keyboard app. These hires are going to play a critical role in attracting users to the network, something that has become increasingly important in recent years. Directing influencers to the service will prove pivotal for the network, as will streamlining the full user experience; from discovery to engagement and, most importantly, conversion.#

In order to improve that customer revolution calls for increased engagement at every stage along the way. As a social network, Pinterest is involved throughout every point in the consumer experience, and so the future could hold great potential for them, but only with a willingness to invest. Therefore new talent that can crack each of these areas takes top priority.

It seems the network are serious about developing their capabilities and becoming a real contender in the social media marketplace. It’s now evident that they are more than willing to invest money into making new hires and become a real player in social e-­commerce.

The Tote team’s potential influence

As the Tote team have been focusing on encouraging purchases through the influencer model and using trendsetters as a key part in their business strategy, it is clear their influence could be nothing short of inspirational for the network. Pinterest need to harness what their community have given them in order to successfully monetise their network with long­term projected growth in mind, and those guys could help them achieve that.

How to do Social Media for Indie Game Developers

Social Media for Indie Game Developers

The game development scene has never been more accessible or inclusive. The tools needed to start learning the basics of dev are now available to pretty much anyone. Resources like Twine, GameMaker, or even Unity are just a few clicks away – often costing as little as zero pence.

The result of this has been a buzzing indie scene, with one or two person studios springing up to make and share their creations with potentially huge audiences around the world. With even the main players in the console race making overtures to the indie scene, we’re seeing more and more critical and commercial success stories from small studios. Sam Barlow’s Her Story scooped up a hat-trick of BAFTAs this year (Debut Game, Game Innovation, and Mobile & Handheld), while Psyonix’s Rocket League is possibly the most inspiring story to date, with the game achieving phenomenal success after a free giveaway on PlayStation Plus in 2015.

One of the results of this new found hysteria is a creatively exciting development landscape. However, due to it's popularity, things can sometimes feel a little crowded. Where release schedules used to boast a couple of titles per week, the list can swell to enormous proportions these days.

So how is an indie developer supposed to get themselves out there in this climate? Let’s explore the ways that social media can be used for communications.

Don’t Spread Yourself Too Thin

The focus in the early days should be on building your community. As such, it can be hard to maintain too many channels at a time – certainly with a small team on hand. With Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Steam forums, your own website (perhaps with its own forum) and more to monitor, your time can easily become taken up by checking in on these instead of actually developing your product.

In the early days, consider launching with just a channel or two, making it clear that these are the places your community can check in with you. Twitter and Facebook are ideal platforms on which to get started, building your audience before launching a million and one social channels.

Remember, You Are Not Ubisoft

Tone of voice is so, so important. As a small team, it’s important to relate to your community in the most appropriate fashion. You’re not a corporate giant like Ubisoft or Activision (just yet!) so be sure to engage with and speak to your followers. Never be shy about discussing elements of your game that you’re particularly excited about. But at the same time don’t feel pressured into divulging anything you don’t feel comfortable with.

A good piece of advice for smaller devs would be to remain friendly and approachable, while maintaining some kind of professional distance. Don’t go promising people the world. You may feel confident that you’re going to create a sprawling open­-world experience to rival The Witcher 3, and that ambition is great – encouraged, even – but keep it in the meeting room until you have something tangible to share. Few things shake faith like broken promises, so instead always focus on over-­delivering, rather than under­-promising.

Twitter

Twitter has massive potential as a customer support tool thanks to the instantaneous and concise nature of its communications. It’s also probably the place to garner followers the quickest. Twitter will be a great source for quick-­response tech queries, as well as an immediate tool with which to redirect more complex issues. This is invaluable, particularly in the early access market.

Facebook

Facebook is where you can get very visual, sharing sneak peeks, having more in­depth discussions with players, and organising events both in-­game and out. The audience will likely be highly engaged, so don’t be shy about giving them a call to action – ask questions, encourage them to share their thoughts and experiences, and be sure to foster that sense of community that is so important in the games industry.

There is no need to go for the hard sell – once again, you are not a AAA studio, so there’s no need to act like one. Instead, look to foster an environment where sales and shares will happen organically. Goodwill is extremely important in this rodeo.

YouTube/Twitch

Video​ is absolutely vital to any smaller player in the games world. The success of Markus ‘Notch’ Persson with Minecraft, the baffling but brilliant Goat Simulator, and the meteoric rise of eSports all have roots in Youtube or Twitch. While the very best results will come when a massive influencer notices and shares your game on their own channel, there’s real value in maintaining an official outlet.

YouTube will let you show off new assets, trailers, and dev logs in a controlled environment, while running an official Twitch channel can open so many doors. Streaming your own game brings the attention of more streamers -­ all you need is the next Pewdiepie to be on the hunt for a game to take them to the next level, and it’s game on. Of course, the under­promising rule still applies, but the bottom line is – don’t be shy, get yourselves out there!

Steam

If you’re on PC, then you’re going to want to be on Steam. It’s the largest game distribution platform in the world, and includes built-­in tools which are designed to directly communicate with the hordes of players out there just waiting to check out what you’ve been crafting at your desk for the last year. However, there is a vital code of conduct to be adhered to here. Steam forums can be notoriously vicious, so the temptation will always be there to dive in and defend your creative decisions, but be wary.

Always weigh up the PR implications of getting into a fight online against the scoring of a few points against a disappointed gamer. Efforts should be focused on using the suite of tools the platform provides, such as announcements and events. If a hundred potential players are following you prior to release, only to see a pop-­up announcing a live stream of some new, unannounced content in the next few hours, then you’ve got an exciting event on your hands. Explore Steam to its full potential, but follow the two golden rules – No spam, and absolutely no fighting.

Of course, these are just a few of the benefits that social media can have for a new game developer just starting out. We’ll spare you the dissertation for now, but needless to say there is such a huge depth of potential out there in the social media space.

By Sam Faulkner, social media manager

Instagram Begins Adding In-app Translation

Instagram adds in-app translation

Earlier this month Instagram announced that the network now boasts over 500 million users, of which an astounding 300 million are active daily users. The photo­-sharing network are aware that with a global user base of that scale, the accessibility of content is key to continual growth, and are responding by installing a translation tool to allow users to better understand each other.

It’s becoming clear that Instagram are well aware of the important position that their network has begun to take in the world of social media, and are consistently responding with features which cement that status. The network have announced that an auto­-translation tool for comments and descriptions will be added in the coming month.

Users will be able to create an auto­-generated translation by clicking a ‘see translation’ link below text. This translation will be machine­-generated to a user’s chosen language, which can be changed in the user’s in-app settings. However, Instagram have advised users that certain older comments, and languages that aren’t detectable may not be supported.

Translation capabilities are nothing new for larger networks. Twitter and Facebook both offer auto­-translation to some extent, in order to allow users to keep pace with users across the globe. When you consider their recent milestone, it’s about time Instagram brought their communicative capabilities in line with rival networks

When the feature hits network-­wide in July, it will represent a significant shift for Instagram. Previously, while users were able to engage with a foreign user’s content, they were unable to interact with them if they didn’t share knowledge of a singular language, and so growth was halted. Now users will be able to see exactly what these people think of their craft hotdog picture, and respond in kind! This kind of accessibility is integral to building social network user-­bases at a global scale.

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