19 March 2018 | 10 Comments
On Friday, I ate ice cream thanks to another company’s proactive social media presence.
The night before, I had posted my daily personal blog entry about ice cream spoons. The next day, while checking my Twitter feed, I noticed the following response:
Clementine’s Creamery, a local ice cream parlor, had proactively seen my tweet via a localized search alert and replied in a timely manner. I looked up their location and found that they’re a short drive away, so after lunch I dropped by with a few friends and enjoyed two delicious scoops of ice cream (their spoons were just fine, but their flavors, service, and ambiance were excellent).
I LOVE this type of proactive social media interaction. Clementine’s went out of their way to identify and contact me, opposed to waiting for me to identify and contact them. As a result of a tiny tweet reply, I had a unique, memorable, and actionable experience. And ice cream.
I’ve been the beneficiary of a few other proactive interactions like this. For example, few designers have added their thoughts when I’ve discussed my favorite mechanism in their games on my YouTube channel (the highlight of which was one of my favorite designers, Alexander Pfister, chiming in on my Mombasa video).
Because I’ve experienced the joy of being a recipient of these interactions, I’ve tried to emulate them. Here’s how I do it:
- Facebook: Facebook makes it easy to see who is talking about you, as anyone can @ tag you. However, not everyone does that. So I encourage Stonemaier Ambassadors to tag me in remote conversations they think I might be interested in. Also, I subscribe to notifications on various Facebook groups so I can enter conversations that are tangentially related to Stonemaier Games.
- Twitter (via Hootsuite): 99% of my Twitter interactions are on Hootsuite. Similar to Facebook, I see on Twitter when someone mentions @jameystegmaier or @stonemaier games. But Hootsuite also allows me to see an ongoing stream of tweets using specific hastags. Some are more effective than others; #scythe is generally effective, but most tweets about #viticulture are focused on actual winemaking, not the game.
- Instagram: Like on Twitter, I subscribe to hashtags for my games and company on Instagram, and Instagram notifies me if someone tags me in a post.
- Reddit: I’m still somewhat old-fashioned on reddit. My alert system is literally just friends telling me there’s a conversation happening there about Stonemaier Games. I’ve seen good things about a notification service called Track Reddit, though.
- BoardGameGeek: I subscribe to all of our games on BoardGameGeek, and I frequently check my notification feed.
- Mention and Google Alerts: Even with all of those alerts and notifications, some still slip through the cracks (and I’m sure plenty still do, especially if people misspell my name or the name of a game). So I bolster those efforts with two web apps, Mention and Google Alerts, which send you e-mail alerts for specific search terms.
Of course, those alerts and notifications are just half of the proactive puzzle. The other half is actually acting on them via a response. I try to keep in mind that the response will come as a surprise to someone who didn’t specifically tag me–it’s like jumping into a random conversation at a party if I randomly overhear someone say “Euphoria.”
There are lots of different ways to interact in these situations. For me, my goal in responding is to either add joy, insight, clarity, and/or availability. I’m not there to defend my product or opinion, and I’m not there to sell.
The wonderful thing about being proactive on social media is that it’s effective for creators of all shapes and sizes. Sure, you might be considerably more delighted to have The Rock reply to your tweet than Jamey Stegmaier, but the delight is in being noticed and recognized, so it works for anyone. I’ve noticed this when popping in on Twitch play-throughs of my games. Most of the people there have no idea who I am, but just the fact that “the designer is here” has a positive impact on the stream.
I’m sure there are many methods for proactivity that I haven’t mentioned here. Have you been the beneficiary of any such methods? If you’re a creator, what types of alert systems do you use, and what are your goals in responding to those alerts?
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