February 14, 2017

Social Media

Tags: General

I have to admit to being a little confused about social media like Facebook, Twitter and the rest. As a small business owner, it is commonly advised that I MUST be active on various social media platforms - and to a certain extent that is true. However, I’ll becoming a little disillusioned and not sure there is much value in putting in more than the minimum effort.

Firstly, it should be said that I have found social media a good method of contact. Some people just prefer to communicate through these platforms, so it is definitely useful for me to have a presence, just in case such a message is sent. For that reason I’m happy to maintain accounts on the larger social media sites. Although, it should be noted that the vast majority of people contact me through either email or Steam forums. Interaction with fans through social media is minimal.

Discovery is the main reason I use social media. As a small gamedev in an extremely crowded market, my main problem is letting people know about my game. I need to get out the word and reaching as many people as possible. In this regard I have found both Facebook and Twitter quite useless. Of course some people are hugely successful on social media, but that is the same on other marketing channels (like YouTube let’s plays and websites reviews). A few do well, the majority do not. Most people do not seem to get their message very far.

The problem seems to be that the people I want to reach are not the sort of people likely to follow me. A person can realistically only follow a couple of hundred social media accounts before some of the messages are dropped (based on me being able to just about follow 100 and see everything). So most people will quickly fill their timelines with existing or popular favourites and have little space for extras.

So far that is fine, and to be expected. What causes the disillusionment is looking at my followers. Many have many hundreds of accounts they follow, some have thousands. It seems impossible to comprehend that they can actually see what is being said by all of them. The majority must be muted or ignored. It seems most accounts are just broadcasting to other accounts that are not listening. Each week I get several new followers, but most stop following after a few days… unless I follow them back. There appears to be a strong gift exchange culture with reciprocal following. Now I have started noticing a bunch of firms exploiting this - automatically following and unfollowing to maximise subscriber gain. Again this just lessens the value of each follower.

Just following my friends and a few groups on Facebook produces enough content to mean I miss many posts, which I find disappointing. I read every tweet in my timeline - if I follow you, I read what you publish. To me that seems to be the point of the system, but apparently not to a large number of people. Instead it is about greater number of followers or friend’s even if the result is effectively zero actual communication.

Am I missing something?