Here’s a cool way we have described the project to those who don’t understand what it’s all about:
TinyWars is the story of a kingdom that is literally tiny, we’re talking about small people of course. Naturally, like the rest of normal sized humanity, war and conflict rages on.
The story follows a girl named Mary (girl pictured above) as she crosses vast oceans (ponds) and great mountains (ant hills), in order to save the tiny kingdom from utter destruction. Along the way she meets all sorts of new friends and people, and becomes ever more powerful and mature as she continues her long journey (about 10 feet) towards the tiny kingdom.
Social Media Marketing Campaign
We have really done a lot to promote the project on social media, a lot of people love to participate in our social media posts and give us feedback on the development. Some of our best ways of promoting the project have been to just reach out and ask the fans what they preferred!
It’s hard to tell how well a post like this performed since 18 Likes is not really so powerful, but these posts performed exceptionally well when shared to relevant groups and pages!
Thankfully, facebook page manager shows us how many people were “reached” for this post, counting the total versions of this post that was shared.
Now you can see same post in the context of the group it was shared in, a generic anime group, and the feedback is phenomenal! Of course more people are being exposed to the project this way, the translation from these likes to new LIKES on our official fan page is, as expected, about 1 in 100. (8,000 post views, 100 new likes that day.)
Lessons about Target Audience
Another thing that is really important to note, is that sharing these kinds of updates to other types of groups that don’t land in our target audience, i.e. indie game development groups, has proven to be rather unsuccessful, even receiving harsh criticism or hate because some members are not interested in seeing “anime garbage” in the group. It is natural to feel discouraged, disappointed, and saddened by such feedback, however we can not let that influence or disrupt our activities. Having spent many years in the web development industry, I’ve come to learn that other programmers can be a highly opinionated group of people. Not all advice given is actually worth considering, and I mean that with all due respect.
Either way, we’re happy that our target audience has received the project well and we hope to do whatever we can to make sure our hard work is not gone unappreciated!
That’s the whole point of being an indie game developer right? To produce games that make people happy! How can we do that if nobody even knows about our project? Social media marketing has proven very useful! Whether people actually LIKE the page or not, more eyes are being exposed to the game, characters, and logo, if this project ever became “big”, I’m sure something might “click” inside someone’s head who has seen our posts before, and they might be interested in our game!
A post like this has performed exceptionally well! We get a lot of great feedback from the fans and best of all, we get deeper insights into what people really want to see in this project! We’re almost at our first milestone goal of 1000 facebook LIKES, and we hope to continue growing the project and interacting with the community!
Facebook Analytics Rankings?
Ranking from: http://likealyzer.com/
It’s also really cool to see something like our social media ranking pretty high on the list with some other big titles! <3
As of right now, we are NOT opting into facebook ads, or any paid advertising. Having experience marketing for other types of industries, we’ve learned to shy away from paid advertising until we got our organic traffic settled first. Once we have that figured out, the paid advertising and really enhance that traffic even more, but we would not opt in to use paid advertising as our sole source of promotion. (Because that would suggest that something is lacking in terms of our own strategy or content is just not engaging enough!)
Social Media Ideas!
Thank you guys so much for supporting us!
We have even experimented with social media “games” postings like this. (might not display properly unless viewed within facebook!)
We will continue to work the social media campaign, as building a fan base and followers is really important to any game development! We want to have a community of fans who really want to see this project succeed! It would be quite lonely developing this project and releasing it when no fans, it’s not a very good marketing strategy to be honest, and it’s part of the reason many games (and other projects) fail!
A lot of people still do not know what the TinyWars project is all about, i.e. the story. And this became evident when we released this poster! (pictured above.) We received a lot of interest and people really liked it yet, at the same time, a lot of fans who had been following us for a long time mentioned that, “it didn’t fit the game” or “it doesn’t look like TinyWars.”
Quickly, we realized that the TinyWars we (the development team) are seeing and envisioning, is not the same TinyWars that our fans have been seeing. Since obviously, our game is not released yet, and the only thing we have been releasing is character updates and small updates. None of those updates really represent the core of the project!
Posters are a great way to really capture those essential elements of the project and present story elements of the game in a single picture, that would otherwise require a player to play hours of the game to understand. It’s also a great way to build interest, as you can see, the poster above does not look like a “loli defense” game, but shows the darker, more serious side of this project!
Posters also capture a lot more interest in the project than just generic screenshots of the game. I have noticed, even a lot of big AAA titles show off more posters, concept art, and cinematic than actual in-game footage to promote their project. I’m guessing there is a good reason for that, and it probably has to do with the “excitement” and “interest” factor. Likewise, we want to adopt a similar marketing strategy, by presenting posters and imagery that really embodies the true meaning of our project without being misleading or “advertisey.”
Shouldn’t You Be Programming Instead of Promoting?
Ideally, we should be doing both simultaneously. There are some road blocks that are preventing the demo from progressing, but we can cover that in a later post.
What is important is that, for us, the core and true motivation of this project does not come from the video game itself, but rather what TinyWars represents. It is much larger than a tower defense game, to us, it is a beautiful cast of characters, a cute and sinister story line, and a whole lot of twists and surprises that can be really effective if executed well!
Building the fan base is an essential part of any project development, and if we don’t start now, we will be missing out on a lot of ways to interact with our fans or keep the community updated as we progress from a tiny project to something that could be very big!