Patreon Pick: Quick Content Ideas
Creating content for social media is a daunting task. Every community behaves differently, and content that worked for one brand can completely flop when applied to another. The only real solution is to take an educated guess and create content that you think will resonate. From there it’s a process of throwing things at the proverbial wall, measuring success, and seeing what sticks. Getting started can be a struggle, so here are some quick content ideas that I’ve used in the past to help kick off brainstorming!
Quick Content Ideas
It’s hard to go wrong with showing off something pretty or otherwise interesting. Visual content receives consistently higher engagement, and is an easy win from a content creation standpoint. Remember, you can create your content before you intend to use it. Plan out a few weeks at a time, create your social assets, and schedule in a week or two in advance. If you create a solid library of visual assets to pull from, you’ve made your life a heck of a lot easier.
- Weekly Concept Art – Have great concept art? Pick one day each week in which you share a piece of concept art. Even if it’s from past projects, or ideas that never quite made it out the door.
- Screenshot | Progress Shots – Show your progress in incremental shots. Just make sure you set expectations correctly, and acknowledge that things may change over time.
- Characters – If your game has a good character (or preferably several) make sure to use this to your advantage. You can extend the experience of your game through social media, and people naturally respond to fun or interesting characters.
- Misc – Have a cupcake that’s sheer perfection? Don’t be afraid to take a moment away from being ‘on-brand’, and share a peek at what happens behind the scenes. This is particularly useful on Instagram, where brand-heavy content tends to underperform against real-world visuals.
- Fan Art – If you’re fortunate enough to have a community that creates fan art, make a point to show it off! Get permission from the artist, attach proper attribution, and encourage your community to send you more! If you have a ton of it, consider doing a regular post, ala ‘Fan Art Friday’.
Some communities are incredibly creative (and not always the ones you’d expect, for that matter). If you give them an outlet to express that creativity, you may find yourself with a flood of great engagement and fun interaction. Just make sure to keep the requirements for participation quick and easy. You have just seconds to capture someone’s attention on social media. If participating seems like it’s going to take too much time or effort, you’ll see a huge fall off in participation. Try to keep things to the ‘minute or less’ rule. If a person can see your content and throw in their response in around a minute, you’ve hit a good target.
- Fan Art – As mentioned up above! Keep in mind, fan art doesn’t have to be visual. Someone’s written an awesome piece of fan fic for your game? A poem about one of your characters? If it’s a positive addition to your content line-up, consider getting permission to use it!
- Fill-in-the-Blank – “The secret to great content is to ____ with your users!” (Note: Please don’t actually ever use that one, it will end poorly…). This is an easy one to build a template around. Try to keep content tangentially related to your game, but don’t feel the need to shill too hard or you’ll get little to no response. ex. “The one fictional character I’d really like to get coffee with is ____”
- Finish the Poem – Similar to fill-in-the-blank, but with a really short poem intro. For some reason this one either works really well, or not at all. Your mileage may vary. One example from the folks at PikPok Games: Into the Dead Poem
- Multiple Choice – Give players three choices, ask them which they’d choose in a given scenario. ex. “A monster blocks your path. Do you A) Find another route B) Charge at it w/weapon drawn C) Ask for a hug?”. This is another one that’s easy to make into a visual template.
- Name The… – If you have a lot of characters, animals, etc in your game, or just some really interesting visual assets, you can always ask your community to post their suggestions for names. You don’t actually have to do anything with them, but it’s great when you’re able to do a little follow-up. ex. “I asked you to name this goat. You have spoken! Henceforth, his name is Timothy, Destroyer of Worlds! Big thanks to kahuna227 for the suggestion!”
If your game focuses on competitive elements, make sure to use some of those in your community strategy. You don’t need to sell constant competition, but leaving it out isn’t playing to your strengths.
- Leaderboard Position – If you have a regular leaderboard reset (and you should, if you have leaderboards), make it a regular part of your community content strategy. Give players a chance to boast, and to help encourage one another. ex. “Where’d you end up on the leaderboard this week?”
- Top Players – Showcase the top players of the week. This can be a basic template. Just make sure to double-check any dubious looking scores, and never showcase obvious cheats.
- Friendly Competition – Encourage friendly competition if you think your community will respond well to it. Just make sure to keep an eye on it, in case the comments get ugly or abusive. ex. “Who’s your top competition this week?”
Contests & Giveaways
Contests are almost always a way to rally engagement from your community. However, I have to caution against doing them too often. It’s really easy to get your community hooked on contests and give-aways. If you create an expectation that there will be free stuff, you’ll quickly find yourself with a community that is only there for free stuff and resents all other content. This is toxic long-term, and will actively drive out your more genuinely engaged community members.
- New Feature Freebie – Launch a cool new consumable item in the game? Consider giving your community one for free.
- Like/Comment FB Contests – Give away tee-shirts, swag, etc. Just make sure to follow the rules of FB promotions.
Getting feedback from your players is one of the core reasons to build an engaged community. A healthy community will supply you with a steady feedback stream of praise and constructive criticism. If you’re looking for feedback, generally you just have to ask!
Just remember that your active community represents a small subsection of your larger player base, and may not accurately represent the bigger picture. While soliciting community feedback is great, make sure to pair it with real data and further investigation before making any huge changes.
In addition, don’t ask for feedback too often or about things you’re not willing to change. The player might think everything in the shop should be free, but that doesn’t mean you’ll ever do it. Don’t ask questions you’re unwilling to action against, and make sure that you’re taking the feedback to heart when you do ask. If you never show any sign that you’re listening, your community will become increasingly more frustrated at your solicitations.
Some feedback request examples:
- “New level: Love it? Hate it? Have a request for the future? Let me know!”
- “Bunnies vs. Corgis – Choose one! No reason… not working on anything silly for the next update or anything…”
- “If you could change just ONE thing about the game, what you change?”
Sharing the Love
To succeed in social media, you want to remember that it’s just that: Social. As with any real world social interaction,the best interactions are give and take. Remember to share the love and give back on a regular basis. This can be directly to your community, or to the larger industry. You don’t want your social channels to be all you all the time. Make sure to give back once in a while as part of your larger strategy.
- Community Spotlight – Showcase an awesome community member. This could be one of your top players, someone who does great fan art, or someone who’s just generally a great member of the community. Make sure to get their permission first, and include them in the process. Fair warning, these can take up a bit of a time, but they can be really magical if they go over well.
- Recommendations – Show off other great creators, projects, etc that you think your community might be interested in. Enthusiastically recommend people who do great work, even if you’ll get no direct benefit for doing so. This is most commonly and easily done via Twitter, but don’t be afraid to use your other channels if you feel strongly about the recommendation.
- RT Fun Fest – Ask your Twitter audience to share something awesome they’ve done recently. RT awesome examples and/or respond directly!
Educational | Informational
There’s always information to be shared, and your community channels are a great way to circulate information. By keeping an eye on your frequently asked questions, you can help address some of the more common issues through your social channels. If you have a customer support system, even better! By looking at your top tickets, you can create social content that will help address concerns or confusion until a more long-term solution is in place. This will help reduce your ticket load, and mitigate player frustration.
- Quick Tip – Great for addressing common first-time player questions, or for tackling UX frustrations until an in-game solution can be applied. ex. “Quick Tip! Double-clicking on Blue Jellies makes them explode!”
- Did You Know? – Provide additional context to a game feature, or background story. ex. “Did You Know: Bluebella’s design was originally based on a sperm whale? It’s true! Here’s some early concept art:”
- Trivia or Related Links – If your game is based at all on real world concepts, animals, etc, bringing related trivia or links into the mix can be a great way to extend the experience. ex. “Can’t get enough of Lemurs? Check out this great piece by NatGeo!”
The people who are really invested in what you’re doing are those that are going to get the most out of this sort of content. While not everyone is interested in the behind-the-scenes look, it’s an important part of showing the real, human element of your story. In a market filled with choice, being the likeable, real person or team can go a long way to building and retaining a supportive community.
- Instagram – Instagram is great for this sort of content. Sharing regular, real-world pics of your team and what you’re doing on a regular basic can go a long way to humanizing your project. And when your community sees you as real world people they’re more likely to empathize when things go wrong, and cheer you on when you succeed. Also cupcakes, or other desserts. People can’t get enough of office treats.
- The People – If you’re part of a team, show off the people who make up your company! A nice photo and a brief bio goes a long way.
- Developer Diaries – Pretty straight-forward, just make sure to plan these out in advance. These are a larger chunk of work, and for a smaller audience, but can be hugely useful not just to that subset of your community, but in cataloging your progress as a team. Old school blog format is pretty standard, but if you’re able to pull it off, I highly suggest doing some (if not all) of these as video segments.
- Video Streaming – This can be a lot of effort, but it’s really worth it if you can pull it off. A mix of serious content and more silly, spur of the moment content will help build a better picture of you and your team as real world people.
Every community is going to respond differently, and what works for one might not work for the next. Don’t feel too down if something you posted flops. Learn from it, adapt your strategy, and find the things that do work for your community. The above ideas are by no means a comprehensive list, and there’s always something new to try out. Brainstorm around what you think will work with your community, try out some varied content, and scrap whatever doesn’t resonate. Don’t be afraid to try something new, as long as you’re not outright antagonizing your community the worst that can happen is it doesn’t work. And hell, you might just find something magical in the process!
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Questions? Comments? A content idea you’d love to share? Drop me a line in the comments or @boopsocial!