According to Statista, in 2018 Twitter has had on average 335 million active monthly users. That’s a lot of potential consumers, but that’s also a lot of potential competitors, all vying for the same attention. Marketing nowadays is essential to get your game out there, and Twitter offers an easy and mobile platform for sharing your creations- yet, many people don’t fully utilize this in the right ways. So, let’s go over some basics on how to best utilize Twitter for marketing your games.
1. Use Tweetdeck
Tweetdeck is sort of an official extension of Twitter which gives users more content feeds to shift through, the ability to manage multiple accounts at once, and the ability to schedule tweets. The last two are the most important parts of this, as it allows you to schedule tweets for any time in the future for multiple accounts. This comes extremely in handy when weekly date-based events on Twitter happen so that you never forget to post. Let’s look at some of those below.
2. Tweet During Weekly Game Dev “Events”
As some of you might already know, Twitter has many small, weekly game dev events such as #screenshotsaturday and #wipwednesday where you post a tweet with relevant content on a specific day and use the specific tag. Any exposure you can get is vital, so try to post during these. Here’s a small list of events to schedule tweets for, and what’s best to post:
- #screenshotsaturday – Post an ingame screenshot on Saturday. Gifs that show ingame playing tend to do better.
- #wipwednesday – Post a WIP on Wednesday.
- #indiedevhour – The most specific of all the tags, indie dev hour is on Wednesdays from 1PM CST to 2PM CST. Post anything about your game or ask game dev questions during this time.
- #cutiesaturday – A newer tag not fully related to game dev, Cutie Saturday is an event run by Arin Hanson (Egoraptor from the Game Grumps) where you post your drawings of cute girls on Saturday. If you have art of cute girls from your game, this tag can help exponentially.
3. Posting Eye-Catching Content
When on Twitter, you only have a second or two of people’s attention- sometimes, not even that. In order to keep their attention, you need to have something that they want to see. The best way to do this is to post something visually stunning, or at the very least, interesting. We don’t all have AAA budgets- if we did, nobody would be reading this. So, what counts as “good”, eye-catching content?
- Concept art – People like to see the origins, where it all began.
- Progression shots – Show how the game has evolved over time. Artists do this all the time with redraws and such, and it’s a part of game dev I wish more people would show off, how the game’s first prototypes looked versus how they have ended up being. Again, people like to see the origins of things.
- Key visuals – Show off those stunning cover arts or key visuals. If you’re fairly though development, you should have at least one done- if not, show the sketches for it.
- Screenshots – Be ready to show people what they’re supporting. It’s hard to maintain a fanbase that doesn’t know what they’re fans of, so try to get good screenshots out as early as you can.
- Gifs – Last but certainly not least, gifs are one of the best and easiest eye-catchers to post on Twitter. We like seeing things move. It’s a lot more interesting than still drawings. The easiest thing to gif is naturally ingame play- this not only shows people what they’re supporting but also draws their attention because, hey, stuffs moving!
This list is not all you can post though to count as content- really, it’s only limited to your imagination. Things such as writing snippets, sketches, mock screenshots, devlogs, polls, logos, previews, programming snippets, talking about the game itself, and more. However, gifs/videos almost always do better.
4. Use Tags Rite (Part 1)
A lot of times I’ll see people tag their tweets but use extremely out there tags that nobody would look up. The idea behind tagging something is that you want to use the tags people most look up and would search for- using tags of random words that somewhat relate to your game does not help you. So, how can you find tags people are searching?
By using RiteTag, you can easily find what tags are most popular and which ones people are actually using. At the time of writing this, this is what it shows me are the stats for when I searched “gamedev”:
The first column on the right with the numbers is the amount of tweets in the past hour using each tag; the second column shows how many RTs have occurred in the past hour with each tag; and the last column shows how many views tweets with each tag got in the past hour. Using this site you can easily find out which tags are worth using and which are a waste of your time.
5. Using Tags Right (Part 2)
Alright, so now you have a good amount of tags that are relevant to your tweet that has a gif, a screenshot, just something nice in it. How many tags are you going to use?
It’s a fact that tweets that use upwards of 13+ tags look bad. I don’t even have to site that. Just look at them. It’s also a fact that some bots will not RT tweets that have more than a certain amount of tags- some give you 10 tags before they won’t RT you, some give you 7. Now, when I say “bots retweeting you”, don’t take this a bad way. You want some bots to RT your content, as there are a fair amount of game dev bots out there that push your content out to more people, they just happen to be automatized. So, let’s pick out about 7 tags to use at first. Here’s a good list of general game dev tags:
Some bots only RT certain tags or a combination of certain tags- for instance, this site’s bot Lemon-chan retweets visual novel tweets that have a combination of #visualnovel + #gamedev (along with many other combinations that include #visualnovel) or by simply using #vndev . Basically, don’t use more than 7 tags in your tweets. Less is ideal, but any more than 7 and you’re losing a lot of potential impressions.
6. Posting at Peak Times
There are times when more users are on than others, and there are dead times when much fewer people are on. Posting in these peak times is a great way to get your tweet noticed much easier.
Different sites say different things, but the median time seems to be around lunch time to 3PM for the US, so around 11AM-3PM CST. If you noticed, that’s also right in the middle of #indiedevhour . Make sure to schedule your tweets for during these times.
7. Bringing it All Together
Marketing is an art. Like with any art, we can learn through practice and through others, but sometimes things just work and we can’t really figure out why they work versus something very similar. You will find that some of the tweets you’ve painstakingly crafted for maximum exposure only get some attention while others that don’t look as nice will get 3x as much. Just keep trying, and figure out what works best for you. For me, these steps above have worked best, so use them as a guild line and tweak as necessary.