This article is part of GamesBeat’s special issue, Gaming communities: Making connections and fighting toxicity.
Building a strong community is essential for the long term success of any game. Publishers must prioritize creating a space for players to interact with other fans to grow a community. Social platforms offer game publishers the opportunity to build a fanbase.
However, simply posting content on sites like Twitter, Reddit and Discord will not result in sustained long-term results. Using each platform’s built-in features will help publishers get the most value out of their investment.
Despite recent changes to the platform, Twitter is still a critical resource for publishers to reach gamers. After all, gaming is one of the most popular (and growing) topics on the platform.
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Twitter’s key advantage is the fast pace of conversations on the platform. Topics change day-to-day and publishers that have the resources to contribute to trends have a major advantage. These contributions can help a game reach players outside of their existing player base. Of course, all publishers can access feedback from fans instantly and respond accordingly.
Finding your game’s voice is critical for succeeding on Twitter. While funny memes can work for any title, your tone should advertise the feel of your game. In an interview with Twitter, Victoria Tran, community director for Among Us, highlighted how she took inspiration from the game’s chaotic environment to craft the brand’s voice, especially when interacting with fan’s posts.
Emphasizing community interaction is part of any title’s winning Twitter strategy. Simply liking, commenting or retweeting a fan’s post goes a long way in building a relationship. For publishers that want to go the extra mile, setting up a Twitter Community can help users find more fans and relevant voices to connect with.
Creating a community is only possible if your content adds value. In addition to sharing updates and memes, publishers are using Twitter to distribute additional content. For example, Apex Legends is using the platform to share additional lore and enhance the title’s storytelling.
Reddit is an essential tool for publishers to build communities. Rather than an isolated forum, the platform’s network of subreddits allows publishers to access gamers where they are and identify their related interests.
Setting up your own dedicated subreddit is a good place to start. Publishers can easily share news and updates with interested players through this dedicated space. Additionally, Reddit can be a useful tool to get feedback from players through bug reports or sentiment analysis tools.
Open communication is critical to success. Reddit pioneered the Ask Me Anything (AMA) format. Its voting system for comments helps surface the questions that fans want answered most.
Publishers can stand out from the crowd on Reddit by interacting with fans directly. While some individual developers will address fans, brand accounts rarely use the platform to acknowledge community members’ contributions. While up votes are not as visible as likes, brands like Xbox take the time to respond to fans directly across its subsidiaries’ subreddits.
Reddit’s interconnected forums give publishers the opportunity to reach out to related communities too. This can be especially valuable for indie developers looking to increase the visibility of their games.
For larger publishers, there are also ways to allow users to advertise their fandom across Reddit. Riot Games, Bungie and Ubisoft have all partnered with the platform to release limited edition avatars inspired by their games. This enables fans to find each other in unrelated communities.
Discord is purpose built for connecting gamers. While the platform has expanded its scope over the years, it is still one of the most critical tools for publishers to build a community.
Laying out your Discord server properly is the foundation for success on the platform. Setting up roles (and their permissions), rules and channels will keep things organized and welcoming for users. Luckily, Discord offers a template and a detailed guide to help publishers get started.
Each game is different so publishers should be thoughtful about what will work best for their community. Ultimately, your server should add value for players. To accomplish this, it’s important to create channels with clear purposes that enhance a player’s experience.
Some common channels include news and announcements, bug reports, community questions and organizing player groups (LFG) or in-game trades. Depending on the title, it can be valuable to split channels by platform, region or game mode. Just be sure to use channel categories to stay organized.
Beyond its basic functionality, Discord has many tools that allow developers to customize their game’s server. Using the platform’s SDK allows Discord to link a player’s account to their in-game data. This functionality has lots of potential applications, but its most visible use case is letting users show which game they are playing to their friends.
Creative publishers can use this link to reward players on either platform. For example, a publisher can assign high-skill players a specific role based on their in-game rank. Vice versa, players can unlock exclusive in-game content through their Discord activity. Fortnite recently used this to reward players with a Star Wars gun skin to celebrate May the 4th.
Discord’s customizability extends even further through bots and apps which can automate processes and enhance a server’s functionality. These programs are commonly used to moderate servers and assign roles to users, but that’s only scratching the surface. Bots can be used to play music, run ARGs, generate text and images through AI or even create memes on the fly. Top.gg is a great place to search for bots and inspire new ones.
Discord is also a valuable tool to find your audience. Smaller publishers can join other Discord servers to find new players, just be sure to do so respectfully. For example, Omega Strikers networked with university esports servers to find the next generation of competitive players.
Build community by adding value
While Twitter, Reddit and Discord differ in their functionality, all three of these platforms can help games bring their communities together. With the proper infrastructure, investment and ingenuity, publishers can use them to grow their audience and build their fanbase.
Ultimately, your players are your advocates. Following their lead will help you determine where you should be and what works best for them. No matter which platform you prioritize, adding value to your players’ experience is essential.
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