Using social networks to promote VNs and other games.

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TeeGee
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Using social networks to promote VNs and other games.

#1 Post by TeeGee » Thu May 30, 2013 1:05 pm

After the release of Cinders, we were surprised how crucial social networks are for promotion nowadays. Traffic from reddit, twitter, facebook, tumblr, etc. completely dwarfed all the press features and reviews, including ones on major sites like Kotaku or Rock, Paper, Shotgun.

What's funny -- while there's a plethora of guides talking about contacting the press available, information on using social media to promote indie games is still very scarce.

That's why I decided to write an article where we share our own stats and experiences in this aspect, along with some tips that worked for us. Check it out: http://moacube.com/blog/how-we-handle-o ... -networks/

Hope you'll find it useful :).

I also know that many developers on LSF have pretty active facebook/twitter/tumblr accounts. It would be awesome to learn how our stats compare to yours, and if you have any cool tips that you could share with the community.
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Re: Using social networks to promote VNs and other games.

#2 Post by dramspringfeald » Thu May 30, 2013 2:46 pm

yeah... um actually that's because sharing your project ON those has been kind of standard practice since year 2 of MySpace and that more and more people don't remember that is... concerning.
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Re: Using social networks to promote VNs and other games.

#3 Post by Greeny » Thu May 30, 2013 2:58 pm

I'm aiming to go commercial, so this is very good information.
I've actually completely failed to set up any social networking situation for my company so far...
It's because I've always had a more reserved outlook on personal information, so I never liked social networking. My facebook is under an alias, and I've never even been to tumblr or reddit.

That's going to have to change.
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Re: Using social networks to promote VNs and other games.

#4 Post by Fairy Godfeather » Thu May 30, 2013 3:07 pm

This really interesting to me. I don't participate in any social networks but I realise I'm going to have to change that if I ever finish my game and need to promote it. It's rather daunting to me. So thank you very much for writing this.

I'm actually interested in the cross-over between selling books (specifically ebooks) and interactive fiction, and I've been doing a lot of reading about the former. An author blog I read speaks about how the industry is changing/has changed and how word of mouth, online, is extremely important in promoting books, and that a large percentage of their sales comes from that avenue.

All those social networks seem intimidating and scary to me so thank you very much for going into such detail.
Last edited by Fairy Godfeather on Thu May 30, 2013 6:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Using social networks to promote VNs and other games.

#5 Post by dramspringfeald » Thu May 30, 2013 4:18 pm

Fairy Godfeather wrote: An author blog I read speaks about how the industry is changing/has changed and how word of mouth, online, is extremely important in promoting books, and that a large percentage of their sales comes from that avenue *and it's free.
Fixed! As for the whole Scary thing, Make the account in the name of one of your characters and Either stay in or out of character. (Why everything is Dram on here) Lets people get to know about your game, Keeps you mostly anonymous and promotes your project.
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Re: Using social networks to promote VNs and other games.

#6 Post by Obscura » Thu May 30, 2013 5:55 pm

Thanks for the article, Tom. As always, that was extremely informative and thoughtfully written. I certainly learned some new things.

As you know, I don't actually have my game out yet, but here are current stats if anybody's curious. My site updates are actually very infrequent and will remain so until I get the main scripting done (some time in fall.) Outside of the actual Coming Out On Top game forum, Twitter is really the only place I update with any frequency, and has about 370 followers. Though I consider it more of a dev's procrastinating tool at the moment than a place to reach more players. :)

I have two articles to write for the press that are unfortunately a bit overdue.

Tumblr (900 followers): A porny pic I drew a year ago is still circulating through Tumblr. As you've so eloquently stated, Tumblr loves its artwork. And I guess this isn't news to anybody, but Tumblr likes nudity.

My Facebook site is probably the least used. I am really not a huge fan of Facebook, but will certainly update it when time comes.

I switched over from Blogspot to Wordpress sometime in Jan.

As you can see the height of blog activity occured during the actual Kickstarter campaign. And it's where most people (I think) continue to find my game, which I'm guessing is by searching for gay+game in the archives.

Here are the stats:

Blogspot, overall
http://i.imgur.com/Gq8qB6q.png?1

Blogspot breakdown by country
http://i.imgur.com/fyjNGaH.png?1

Blogspot, referrals
http://i.imgur.com/jTt6KaR.png?1

Wordpress
http://i.imgur.com/IP5Vvd7.png?1

The demo has been downloaded 26,000 times, but I have no idea what percentage of those people actually played and finished it, or who were in it for the sh*ts and giggles. I mean, I'm sure it's no surprise that this game does get posted on occasion to forums full of straight guys. For example, comedian Joe Rogan's forum, where somebody linked my website during the Kickstarter campaign. Never once did I imagine something of mine would end up in his forum, in this particular context. That was fun.
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Re: Using social networks to promote VNs and other games.

#7 Post by TeeGee » Thu May 30, 2013 6:13 pm

Ha, I was hoping you would jump in, with that obscenely handsome avatar of yours and valuable data to boot ;).

Thanks a lot for sharing your stats! It's a very interesting comparison, as you are going a slightly different route from us. It definitely shows that kickstarter is not only a great way to get funding, but also an insanely effective promotion tool. Those numbers are amazing!

I'm also noting down all the gay-centric websites from your traffic sources. Gonna be mighty useful when we release Solstice :).
Last edited by TeeGee on Thu May 30, 2013 6:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Using social networks to promote VNs and other games.

#8 Post by Obscura » Thu May 30, 2013 6:19 pm

TeeGee wrote:Ha, I was hoping you would jump in, with that obscenely handsome avatar of yours ;).

Thanks a lot for sharing your stats! It's a very interesting comparison, as you are going a slightly different route from us. It definitely shows that kickstarter is not only a great way to get funding, but also an insanely effective promotion tool. Those numbers are amazing!

I'm also noting down all the gay-centric websites from your traffic sources. Gonna be mighty useful when we release Solstice :).
LOL. I don't think all the sites are on there. I'll email them to you tonight.
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Re: Using social networks to promote VNs and other games.

#9 Post by TeeGee » Thu May 30, 2013 6:21 pm

It's actually a pretty good filter -- that way I see only those that bring significant traffic. I'm sure that if we manage to get on them, smaller ones will follow suit.

Still, send away :).
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Re: Using social networks to promote VNs and other games.

#10 Post by jack_norton » Fri May 31, 2013 2:08 am

Interesting, my stats are yet different. I have about 100 followers on tumblr, just started a month ago though. In my case it seems people like fun stuff, my most popular post (56 reblog) was a Nicole screenshot image with a particularly fun phrase :)
I basically suck in all social networks though, 1300 on twitter, 1700 on FB, etc. I think it matters a lot the kind of games you do. For RPGs the social don't work as well as for simpler games like VN or dating sim IMHO.

Also comparing stats with other devs, luckily it's definitely not representative of someone's success otherwise I would be in trouble :lol:
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Re: Using social networks to promote VNs and other games.

#11 Post by TeeGee » Fri May 31, 2013 2:56 pm

jack_norton wrote:For RPGs the social don't work as well as for simpler games like VN or dating sim IMHO.
I wouldn't say so. Almost all sales of Bonfire (a tactical RPG) come from reddit and other social networks. There's a lot of hardcore gamers interested in indie titles on twitter and reddit. Tumblr is indeed geared more towards the typical VN audience, though most of our fans are also fans of Dragon Age.

I'd say that in general social networks are very powerful these days. For any kind of game, including big AAA titles (from what I know -- YouTube is the king there). Of course, it's still possible to succeed without them, but they can definitely help you a lot, especially if you are not as established as you are, and still struggle to maintain a fanbase :).
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Re: Using social networks to promote VNs and other games.

#12 Post by Camy » Sat Jun 01, 2013 1:10 am

I learned about social networking in Principles of Marketing the past semester, but even before then, I knew how much it could change sales. My instructor said it's very crucial nowadays to have social networking to promote, or simply a page for the product is very important to have when you want sales. In fact, that's what a lot of businesses want from a Marketer, they want to see if you have Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc., not a resume, and it makes sense too. I even told my dad when was starting out with his Family Chili recipe to get Facebook at least and promote/advertise it.

It's really quite amazing to see different products have a good flow of sales all thanks to social networking :D

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Re: Using social networks to promote VNs and other games.

#13 Post by TrickWithAKnife » Sun Jun 02, 2013 12:36 am

Thanks a lot for sharing your stats and advice, TeeGee and Obscura. I think the attitude you have towards sharing things you've learnt from experience is extremely to the VN community as a whole, and cuts out a massive chunk of the learning curve. I study these kinds of guides and statistics closely and regularly.

I do wonder if the username makes any difference when using social media sites.
I've been torn between using TrickWithAKnife or my actual name (CJ London) when registering for sites. TrickWithAKnife may have a negative feeling, but my name is almost impossible to find through google.
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Re: Using social networks to promote VNs and other games.

#14 Post by Blane Doyle » Wed Jun 05, 2013 10:10 pm

I can honestly say all of this was an interesting read. I've always been curious about how social media works with promotion different things and how it works for various people (I know of one book in particular that may not have gotten the attention it received/deserved had the author not been an avid video blogger and tumblr/twitter user that regularly interacted with their fans).

I hope this insight manages to help anyone who was looking into this as well.

And yeah, TWAK (Hey, I kinda like that), usernames do have a bit of an effect. As do whether or not certain accounts are things like "Twitter legitimized" or whatever that is. An account with a little blue check ensures that you are the real deal and I've seen numerous people say they refuse to follow anyone without one... which is kinda silly but whatever. Usernames themselves... well, different names do have different feelings.

Blane Doyle sounds much more professional and approachable (in my opinion) than MidnightWalkerReiko (I am more happy to have abandoned that handle than you would ever believe...). Using something like your name could be good depending on whether or not you want it to be clear you are using a handle name to hide your identity and what sort of things you make (Sargent Kittyfluff probably sounds weird for a horror producer, but for someone that makes cute games about kittens... I'd buy it).

But that's just my, admittedly inexperienced, two cents.

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Re: Using social networks to promote VNs and other games.

#15 Post by Victoria Jennings » Sat Jun 08, 2013 9:15 am

TrickWithAKnife wrote:I've been torn between using TrickWithAKnife or my actual name (CJ London) when registering for sites. TrickWithAKnife may have a negative feeling, but my name is almost impossible to find through google.
Use both. Once you get your name out there, you won't have to use your username anymore.

I have high hopes for tumblr once we've produced enough to actually put up there. It's far easier for things to spread through that site than, say, a plain old blog, or deviantART.

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