Being someone who builds social media campaigns for a living, I tend to pay very close attention to social media in general. Being a board game fan, I pay really close attention to social media all around the board game industry and community. Many people fail to realize the power of social media and others just plain don’t care. It’s just their way to share their favorite hobby in their own way, with their own rules.

As a business, social media is critical. No, let me rephrase that. Good social media is critical. It isn’t enough to just post blindly to the platforms and hope people see it. Social media is branding and yes while the number of impressions are important, even more important is engagement and this is where most businesses drop the ball. All day long I watch board game publishers ignore the tweets, posts of people unless it’s on Board Game Geek and even then it’s hit and miss. If you as a company, want to have true fans or “raving fans” like the classic sales book, then you need to engage your audience. You have to understand how each platform works, what time of the day gets the most interaction and views, keywords to use, hash tags, which for some reason people still don’t know how to use beyond   something but never using it for it’s intended purpose of research, seeing who is talking about you and interacting with them.

Understand that each platform is different. Twitter is all about interaction. Very little gets noticed on twitter if you aren’t talking to people. Facebook is about the time of day, and getting past their ridiculous six percent rules and responding in a timely matter. Google+ is about community. If you aren’t in their communities and interacting, they ignore you. Reddit is about other people posting your stuff. If you do it, they ignore you. Every one of them is different and unique. Most people favor just one of these platforms and almost ignore the others which is a huge mistake. Really huge.

Let’s not even get started about the lack of good email campaigns or how publishers expect people to sign up for their newsletters but their social media person (if they have one, a real one that is) does nothing to generate lists on their own. Hence, they miss tons of reviewers, news sites or board game lovers who would spread the word about their latest release.

I know, it’s not easy, it’s time-consuming. Yes and no. It’s hard to set up, to build a good solid campaign that ever evolves. But once it’s done is fairly easy to maintain and can be done is 20 minutes a day for the most part. Other than random postings that aren’t purely business based or are fan interaction.

I could really go on about this for a long time. Suffice it to say, most do a poor job at this and I don’t blame them in some ways because with the internet, you will never make everyone happy. People always complain, feel slighted etc., trash your product and let’s not forget the trolls. Ah yes. the trolls. The people who live purely to hurt others and make everyone else’s life miserable because they themselves have no life to live.

On the other side of things are the board game lovers and depending on which platform they prefer have all kinds of special rules you have to abide by for them to look at your stuff. Don’t just post a link, take the time to write a good description of all 50 posts you have to make so they will maybe take the time to read it. We won’t comment on your site because we can’t be bothered with clicking the link it’s too much work. We only respond here on this post. We won’t tweet you unless there is something in it for us, like you noticing us or giving us free games. All kinds of ridiculous crap.  And god forbid if they actually ever share a link. Oh they will for things like TableTop or maybe some major publishers link and a few favorite game links, but anything else? Not likely. But that is okay too because it is their time and their social media quirks. The exception here is the forums on Board Game Geek. Plenty of interaction there.

This however does NOT lead to helping spread the hobby to its maximum potential. The hobby they so love. It lowers the amount of impressions a product will get. It keeps it completely inclusive of only other board gamers. It doesn’t help spread the word to people whom are not familiar with the game or even gaming in general. People who are still hung up that Monopoly is board gaming and it’s only for people with no life. I love it when people request reviews but then don’t even share them when they get them or take the time to thank you. In some ways, board gaming is still a very tight-knit group of people and that isn’t helpful to the hobby. Thanks to TableTop we are seeing some change in that though.

Am I exaggerating here? No, I am not. This is the response I not only get, but see in different social media platforms. To an extent I understand this. And as an example, many people love Google+ because it allows for more privacy and no spamming. It has a very healthy board game community and the nicest one I am a part of actually. But there are many people who get offended if you send a message to a circle they are a part of about a link. It is called SOCIAL MEDIA. It’s designed and created to share things, but this is somehow lost on people sometimes.

You see, social media is a very fickle beast. You have to understand it, faults and all and still invest time and money in it for to be truly effective even knowing all the bad that comes with it.

So is it worth it? Yes, of course it is. Branding is the most critical marketing any business can do. It allows you to keep growing your business, in an efficient, cost-effective way, while growing your audience and marketing ALL your products, not just your latest or the hot buzz of the week.

So I encourage you to take the time to work out a social media campaign, or hire a competent person who can. Implement it and stick with it. You won’t regret it. Above all, engage your audience. Everyone wants to feel important to the people the spend their money on.

And for the hobby lovers, I call you to action to be more proactive in spreading the word. Taking the time to post a comment on an actual site. Liking a Facebook page or sharing a link on one of your many social media accounts. Help spread the word and support your friends and remember, things only go viral if you share them.

Game on!

David Lowry

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