One of the best ways to market anything these days is with a social media campaign. It's easy, often free, and it's a direct connection to real people. Indie game publishers are in a good position to leverage free social media to draw attention to their games, ramp up interest, and drive engagement directly.
1. Get in the Game!
You cannot start a social media campaign without signing up to some social media platforms. You should start choosing sites and picking names. You will want a website for the game itself, even if you already have a site under your own name or publishing company's name.
Keep in mind that you can start using many social media platforms for business purposes without it costing you a dime. You can pay for additional features, targeting, or exposure later if you so choose. You should at least start checking out your social media options now.
This also a good time to check out how other indie game publishers are leveraging social media. There's no shame in looking in on your competition and fellow game producers. If you see they're using a technique that works for them, you can consider how such a technique might work for you as well.
In fact, there's nothing wrong with reaching out to other indie publishers to discuss business. Maybe you can gain some help and allies for your own marketing campaign.
2. Start Posting Early
You don't have to start marketing your game at the moment of conception. However, it's important that you give people some time to get excited about your game. You also need time to build an audience. No matter what stage of development you're in, if there's something concrete you can show, then show it.
- Create videos illustrating gameplay mechanics
- Create video or graphics that outline the story of your game
- Talk about the development or publishing process
You can engage an audience far ahead of a game's release date. You will also BUILD an audience. In addition, you will also have something out there that can attract potential investors and other interested parties. This is especially beneficial if you're crowdsourcing.
Don't start your social media posts too early though. People are leery of something that's too early in development. They may assume it's vaporware, or that you're angling for money rather than working on something you plan to finish.
3. Use the Tools the Social Media Services Give You
Not all social media platforms are the same. But, all of them offer unique tools you can use to your advantage. For example, if the platform allows you to hashtag terms, then take advantage of it. If you can insert links, then go for it. If there's a "follow" mechanism, than you should start following others in the industry.
Engagement also plays a role. You shouldn't just stay silent. The "social" part of social media means that you should participate. Otherwise, potential leads will assume you're not even a real person or group. You don't have to do it on all your social media sites, just one or two.
Bonus Tip: If in Doubt, Hire Professionals
It's possible that you or your team just don't have the time to participate on social media. Equally, you may feel that you don't know what to say or do. You can always seek professional services to drive your social media campaign.
Even if you start such a campaign on your own, you don't want it to interfere with the development process. Indie game publishers and developers have a lot on their plate. In addition, marketing doesn't always come easy to those that have no real experience with it.
Give free social media marketing a try. If it's too much for you, or if it starts eating too much of your resources, then speak to a professional marketing service about your options.