Kickstarter Lesson #208: LinkedIn, Instagram, and Pinterest

19 December 2016

This is going to be a different type of Kickstarter Lesson than usual, for one key reason: I have no idea how to effectively use Linked In, Instagram, and Pinterest as a creator.

Up until recently, I didn’t consider this a big deal. Stonemaier Games is on Facebook (the #3 most visited website in the world), Twitter (#10), and YouTube (#2). I thought we had social media covered pretty well.

But every now and then, someone mentions to me that Stonemaier should have a presence on LinkedIn, Instagram, or Pinterest. I have accounts for all of them, but I don’t use them (neither as a user or a company):

  • LinkedIn (#16): I’ve heard great things about LinkedIn’s reach, particularly among entrepreneurs (which is great for the content I create for this blog).
  • Instagram (#15): Instagram’s filters and focus on individual photos is cool, but it seems catered for mobile use, and I’m almost always at my computer.
  • Pinterest (#55): I love Pinterest’s infinite scroll of images, but I’m just not sure that the use of it would result in anything that helps the brand or sales of a board game company.

Actually, as I write this, I remembered that I did use Pinterest during my original Viticulture Kickstarter campaign. I asked backers to write captions for some silly photos of meeples with wine-related objects superimposed onto the original art.

Perhaps the key reason I’m not active on any of these platforms is because I’m fully engaged on Facebook, Twitter, BoardGameGeek, and this blog. I could start posting stuff on these other platforms, but I don’t have time to interact with them, which isn’t how I like to use social media.

That said, these are major sites that many millions of people are active on every day. So I’d like to ask you the following:

  • Users: If you’re active on a daily basis on LinkedIn, Instagram, and/or Pinterest, how do you use the platform? Do you follow any companies on those platforms that have an impact on your impression of those companies?
  • Creators: Have you used LinkedIn, Instagram, and/or Pinterest in positive ways for your crowdfunding campaign or company? If so, how have you measured the impact?

34 Comments on “Kickstarter Lesson #208: LinkedIn, Instagram, and Pinterest

  1. I am an active LinkedIn user. I mostly use it for career progression, networking, and branding. If you do want to start posting on LinkedIn, people will push back if your posts are outside of the realm of career related content.

    I’ve posted blogs through Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. The biggest difference I have seen is that LinkedIn users are more sporadic. They don’t check in every day, more like once a week or so. The articles I’ve written there tend to get read over longer period of time.

    One last thing, Sharing a link and Posting an Article will give you different results. If you Post an Article, it has a better chance of showing up in people’s feed, and seems to show up better in LinkedIn search results.

    Good luck! I love reading your posts. I especially appreciate your positive voice. It is encouraging.

    1. Brandon: Thank you for sharing! These are great insights about LinkedIn. It’s interesting to hear that LinkedIn users aren’t necessarily daily users and that posting an article has a bigger impact than sharing one.

  2. For may day job I am a corporate recruiter or “head hunter”. I use Linkedin extensively for my day job. One down side is that you cannot have more than 1 Linkedin account. I rely heavily on the site for my day job so I really cannot use it for my game business as well. I therefore don’t have any insight on how you can apply it to a Kickstarter campaign.

    Linkedin is a great place to make business connections and it is definitely not Facebook. Facebook activities really should remain on Facebook. Linkedin really restricts a lot of the activities that occur on Facebook. On Linkedin you cannot message anyone unless they are a 1st tier connection (or unless you pay for a premium account). Linked will also catch on if the site is being misused and will suspend users accounts for doing so.

    I think that Linkedin is be a great place to form true business connections and connect with potential business partners, reaching out to representatives you might want to work with at manufacturers, shipping companies, distributors, etc. Gaining Kickstarter backers from the site could prove problematic. It could depend a great deal on your project. I think posting a board game, for instance, on Kickstarter would be inappropriate. If you have a unique and creative business project, it “could” work.

    1. Loren: Thanks for sharing your insights from your day job! This summary is really helpful: “Linkedin is be a great place to form true business connections and connect with potential business partners, reaching out to representatives you might want to work with at manufacturers, shipping companies, distributors, etc.”

  3. I use Instagram daily, I use it like Twitter, but I can’t even sift through Twitter anymore I feel like it’s too cluttered and noisy. I like Instagram better. If SM used Instagram I would assume it be used more as an ad space to pull more people to the content you want out there, therefore increasing your reach with little effort. You could leave the website to whatever you want to highlight in your bio and it becomes clickable through to the content.

  4. Hello again,
    I use Instagram daily for almost a year as a ‘user’, mainly to follow my artsy friends and origami creators from all over the world. Few companies I also follow are design magazines or shops, mostly local.
    Last summer I also created an Instagram account for my new company, aiming to launch my first board game sometime soon. Right now I have only 8 posts, 68 followers and I’m following 55 others. Very low numbers. But check the stats on my last post: I’ve posted a picture on Instagram and also shared it on the company’s Facebook page (474 page likes). For Instagram: reached 38 unique accounts, got 23 likes and 1 comment. For Facebook: 494 people reached, got 14 likes and 2 comments (1st was about a typo).

    Pinterest I was using quite often in last 2 years as a design student for discovering lots of projects and bookmarking them. In the last year, while hoarding information about board gaming, not really. But recently I’ve attended an event where a speaker strongly suggested to promote ourselves (graduating designers – aspiring entrepreneurs) on Pinterest, since it became the platform with the highest return. For sure it applies in her field, fashion design, not sure about the gaming industry, but I’ll research this soon.

    In conclusion, I will try to future develop and engage my Instagram network to grow a following for my game.

    1. Florin: Thanks for these detailed notes about how you use Instagram as a user and a creator. It’s interesting that the Facebook post reached way more people, but the Instagram post garnered more likes.

      I wonder the same thing about Pinterest–does it apply to the board game field?

      1. Maybe you’re farther along and better positioned to make a game now. ;)

        I really enjoy his site as well as his business strategy.

        1. I don’t think that was the issue. James seemed concerned that he would be called upon to make art specifically for the game, which he wasn’t interested in doing. I tried to assure him that his Dinotopia portfolio was so vast that more art wouldn’t be necessary, but that wasn’t enough. Feel free to mention it to him if it’s something you want, though! :)

  5. I run Instagram accounts for a publisher and for my personal hobby. As someone that is more visually connected, Instagram is very good for me. I also find I have higher engagement on Instagram than on FB or Twitter for the same posts. I like to think of Instagram’s most recent 9 photos as a billboard for the company or brand that runs the account – it should draw people in and make them want to know more about your product. And it’s a good way to think through different aspects of your social media content – how do you visually communicate on Instagram what you would type on Twitter?

    1. The Boardgeek, I am actually one of your followers on Instagram!

      I use it as a blog of sorts to post regular updates for my prototype game, and to follow other peoples board game prototypes and reviews.

      I do find that there seems to be a lot of “people” (possibly just spammer/bot accounts) that will leave generic comments and follow and then un-follow on a regular basis in an attempt to get your attention, hoping that you will follow them. Not sure if that happens much on other social media platforms, but the desire to get the most internet hugs is rather real on Instagram.
      (Right now I am followed by a Russian table maker (they make some great tables), but I wonder how long they will continue to follow me because I have not followed them in return)

      1. Hi! It’s true, Instagram does have a lot of bots (so does twitter, Facebook,…) and indeed, lots of people just follow someone and hope to get a follow back, something I’ll never do, to much effort, and I like to be honest. I remember the day that geek’n’sundry started to follow me, I was so happy :D I also like how you can start things on Instagram, such as “top 9’s” and it’s also an easy to use platform.

          1. Only on the phone. But the pictures are made with a DSLR
            The Instagram stories are also an interesting integration, makes your page more personal, but your picture feed stays clean.

    1. That’s a good point. I hadn’t thought about BGG as a social network, but it is. It has far fewer visitors than these other social media sites (though they’re much for focused on a specific network). I’m sure similar social networking sites exist for other product categories too.

  6. I’m reading this post / these comments with interest, as I have often wondered the very same thing RE: Instagram & Pinterest!!

    Personally, I don’t use LinkedIn (due to the amount of unwanted email traffic it seems to bring with it!) and haven’t quite got into Instagram… but I have started more recently using Pinterest for much the same reasons as Florin (visual research, design & bookmarking) but tend to keep my pins private, rather than use it in a way to grow a following.

    I have, however, been using it for something much more interesting under a new account – https://uk.pinterest.com/boardgamevisual/ – where my friend Chris and I set up a script that scrapes BGG for boardgame images around different topics / thematics / genre (you can read about how we did this here >> http://bgvd.we-are-low-profile.com/about/) to populate boards that would become a useful resource for boardgame designers / art directors / people interested in critiquing the visual aspects of boardgames. It’s worth taking a look if you like these kinds of things – Jamey, now you are taking a step back from campaign-building to focus more on design and game-making again, it might be right up your street!

    However, this is more of a side project / hobby project, rather than one focussed on building a following of any kind – I’d be interested in anyone’s feedback for how we could expand this further too.

  7. Cheers Jamey, glad you like it – it’s a pleasure to share! RE: specific mechanisms – yes, Chris has recently expanded the script so that it can build the URL for the content we want to scrape in the following BGG tags – category, designer, artist, publisher, mechanic & subdomain – so if BGG separates it out as a distinct category, we should be able to build a board around it.

    Lots of the searches are pretty massive, and so kind of unwieldy (but do-able, with some extra time and patience) for results of 1000 entries or more – here’s an example board https://uk.pinterest.com/boardgamevisual/co-operative-boardgames/ of the Co-operative Play category (http://www.boardgamegeek.com/boardgamemechanic/2023/co-operative-play).

    Got any requests for boards based around specific mechanisms?

  8. Hi Jamey,

    First – I’d like to thank you for your blog. As a reviewer it has helped me out immensely in understanding how publishers approach the review process. But that’s not answering either of your question.

    My 2 primary social media uses are Twitter and Instagram. Instagram works really well for me since with my brand I work hard at showcasing the visual elements of games. Because of that – Instagram is a natural fit. But I also use it to drive traffic to my website. If you look at my account you will see that every third post is a graphic designed to get someone to click a link in my profile and get them over to my website. And it actually works.

    I do think with Instagram though QUALITY matters. Because of this I don’t just throw random pictures up there. I edit them and choose them carefully.

    Instagram stories, however, is a great tool for behind the scenes and “fun” stuff. I have used that to successfully generate many new signups for my email list – again by directing people to a call to action via the link in my profile.

    Twitter is the social media I use to interact, and… well… be social. But I also use it to promote my content. The promotional content on there though is automated so that I don’t have to manually schedule it.

    I am also seeing a decent amount of traffic from Pinterest – but I literally just post my new content to my boards and forget it. I plan on focusing a bit more on it in the future as it is quite untapped in the board game market. From my experience working with my wife who is a Pinterest guru, the first, most important, element to rocking Pinterest is making your images vertical and making them stand out in the sea of content that’s out there.

    Sorry for the long reply… VERY interesting conversation!

    1. Joseph: Thanks for sharing your perspective as a reviewer and avid Instagram user! I like how you steer traffic to your blog. Though I must admit it seems odd that Instagram won’t let you embed a link in the text or the image itself–for people to get to your website, they have to either type in the URL or go to your Instagram profile, click through, and then hunt around for the exact post. Maybe there’s something I’m missing here?

      1. No… your not missing anything. They are a bit backwards on that still (although I think you may be able to imbed a link in the insta stories) There are apps out there that help, but they just help you automate the process of having people click the link in your profile.

        I suspect that will change…..someday.

  9. Jamey,

    You’ve done a great job at finding the platforms that work for you, and then working them to their maximum effectiveness.

    That is one of the keys to being successful on Social.

    There have been a lot of great comments here about the different platforms, and how they could benefit SM Games is helpful. Being able to keep up and respond in a timely manner is crucial to your brand, which makes sense for your hesitation.

    But one question I would ask from you is, what is your overall goal for SM Games and for the Jamey Stegmaier brand?

    Since you announced you won’t be doing Kickstarter any longer, your goal for Social Media may be changing.

    A Linkedin presence can grown your brand beyond the gaming community. A simple method would be to post key blogs on Linkedin, with a link back to your site.

    You would need to pay attention to any comments generated, but this would drop off significantly past the first few days.

    Linkedin will tell you specifically who in your network is commenting, who is reading, what their demographics, their industry, and many other important pieces of data.

    All of this with content you’ve already written on your blog.

    A Pinterest account could be used as a community site for your fans. Asking them to submit their pictures of your games. Setting a clear expectation that you wouldn’t be engaging through Pinterest but it would serve as a visual component to your fan base.

    While BBG is your main source of audience, using these other social tools can help you expand beyond the narrow.

    Where your company goes in the future is up to you, but stacking out some digital real estate and expanding the SM brand can’t be anything but a good thing.

  10. Richard: Thanks so much for taking the time to chime in with your thoughts. I certainly like the idea of expanding our reach onto other forms of social media, and the comments on this post have been very helpful for me.

    As for your question, “But one question I would ask from you is, what is your overall goal for SM Games and for the Jamey Stegmaier brand?”, the goal is to bring joy to tabletops worldwide. :)

  11. Hey Jamey – great points! I think the big takeaway here is to use the platforms that work for you – the ones that are most suited for your own purposes.

    One thing I always talk about is various social media platforms’ reach among different age groups. Instagram and Snapchat are useful tools if you’re looking to appeal to the 12-16 range. For game companies who are focused on making kids’ games, it’s something to think about – because while kids’ parents are the ones who’ll be shelling out the money to buy games, kids’ eyes are glued to different places… and then they come bugging Mom and Dad to buy them things. [There’s a reason why kids’ toy commercials run during Saturday morning cartoons, after all! :)]

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