Kickstarter Lesson #246: Proactive Social Media Presence

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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10 Comments on “Kickstarter Lesson #246: Proactive Social Media Presence

  1. Honestly I think it’s a very smart and a very genuine thing to see you actively responding on social media, and not just when you’re promoting a game. For me, I’ve always found it hard to remember names of prominent people within the hobbies I enjoy, because even I can’t guess how my brain categorizes things.

    What I do notice is that when I have a personal moment- a memory to attach to that person, I remember them. It might be years later and I never spoke to them again, but I’ll have a strong attachment to that memory and the feeling that interaction invoked.

    I don’t have to be an intense fan of that person for them to leave an impact on me. I think that, in the vast existence of the internet, and with the severe lack of the commodity of time, it is very precious when someone goes out of their way to acknowledge me, when I have done very little to directly impact them. It makes me want to give more to that person, whether it is my attention, my promotion, my money, or my talents (if there is some way I could help).

    As for me, I’m only a month or two into building my social following. I created a blog, as well as a BGG blog, have been posting on BGG for the past 7 months, made a FB page, and Instagram, and a Twitter. I don’t have any special notification apps. I just go to each one and see if there’s new activity. Hopefully, as it grows, I will need to look into more efficient notification.

    Until then, I’ll just promote through people I meet at cons, and through word of mouth. If anyone gives me feedback, or a comment, then I want to answer just to let them know every fan,all support, and any interest is appreciated. Also, since I’m such an introverted person, I actually thrive when socializing online, so I think that would be an easier way for me to reach out to others.

    1. Fertessa: I really like–and can relate to–this: “What I do notice is that when I have a personal moment- a memory to attach to that person, I remember them.” I absolutely agree, and I think social media proactivity is just one of many ways to do this. I can also understand what you said about introversion and social media, as I’m the exact same way.

  2. So for your next game will you think about the searchability of the name and the hashtag so you don’t have a viticulture problem?

    1. Re: garth bushell. Searchability is very important. I have a great example: https://www.boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/173090/game

      I tried searching for reviews and for availability on online stores for “The Game”. It was a terrible experience. I had difficulty finding anything, because it was always one search result in a hundreds that included things like “Lord of the Rings, the Card Game” and “Arkham Horror: the Card Game” or any other “…the Game”.

      I eventually did by “The Game” and I really enjoy it. But, it’s the worst named game ever.

  3. You can subscribe to yourself too, on BGG. So if someone call you (not your game), you get notified too. I use it for contests, but a mention in the FAQ section for example makes sense.

    You don’t get a different notification if it triggers game+designer, just the same notification but for 2 reasons (I had 5 reasons from time to time, so it looks more important)

  4. I’ve tried half a dozen Hootsuite kinds of tools but I still mainly rely on the alerts provided by each individual platform. I usually run into the problem that the features I would use cost money but I’m not sure the value I would get from them are worth it so I smack into the pay wall and start walking the other direction.

    I do use the free service of mention.com, which sends me a list of social media mentions for Overworld Games over the last 24 hours and I usually invest 10 seconds of each day checking that. If I jump in on a conversation, it’s usually just to say thanks in some way or maybe to add some thematic humor to the conversation, like referencing witches if they’re talking about New Salem, carnies if it’s Barker’s Row, or oppressors if it’s Leaders of Euphoria. :)

    1. Brian: I really like the idea of adding thematic humor to a conversation, especially as the designer/creator–it shows that the fun is as important to you as it is to the players. :)

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