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12 Jun 2014

Beginning Steps to Effective, Paid Social Media Campaigns

In the past, we have discussed many ways to promote your indie studio for free using a handful of tools, tips, and tactics that will generate attention to your brand like never before. But what about those that want to actually pay for a social media campaign? Is there a great way to approach this? Absolutely! One of our readers suggested that we write an outline on how to properly tackle paid social media campaigns (thanks for the idea Sevil Axiom!), so without further ado, here is the best approach for creating an awesome paid social media campaign.


Define, define, define

Before you begin your paid social media campaign, you need to define two things:

  • Your objective
  • Your target audience

It’s the baby steps of your paid social media campaign. What is the actual purpose of running your social media campaign in the first place? The obvious answer is to sell more games, but how do you achieve that? By getting people to actually know about your indie studio, introduce them to your games, explain to them why they will enjoy your games, etc. It’s common sense really, but by properly identifying why you are starting a paid campaign (i.e. your objective), you are setting your campaign up for success.

Next, you must define the target audience. If you develop specific indie games in a genre (such as turn-based strategy games, for instance), then your target audience is simple: primarily players that enjoy turn-based games and those that enjoy strategy games altogether. Pretty simple stuff.


Choose the ad product that’s right for you

This is where things can get a little tricky. You need to choose the best ad product for the social media platform of your choice, and these are the two best paid social media campaigns for indie developers on Facebook:


  • Sidebar advertising
    • Advertising that appears on the right-hand side of the home/profile page.
    • Gear this advertisement toward solving a problem that is common to your audience or presents an offer to help your audience.
    • Example: “Want to play more games like Civilization V? Try [insert game name] today!”
    • Set the budget, and you’re ready to go!


  • Promoted posts
    • One of the most common paid advertising campaigns. This campaign will get more people looking at your post and hopefully, your brand as a whole. Keep in mind that you are not paying for interaction, but rather, impressions. Thus, it’s up to you to entice people to learn more about your indie studio via your paid posts.
    • Your content must be relevant and helpful to your audience.
    • Example: “Top Five Reasons Why People Love Turn-Based Strategy Games,” would be a great post to promote on an indie studio’s blog that primarily developed turn-based strategy games. From there, including a link and a mention of one of the studio’s strategy games would improve the chances of gaining new followers considerably.
    • Set your budget, and you’re good to go!


As for paid social media campaigns on Twitter


  • Promoted Tweets
    • The same mindset behind Facebook’s promoted posts with a different twist. Selecting the link above, go through the self-explanatory steps to set up a promoted Tweet. Answer a set of questions about your campaign, then fill out targeting options.
    • Choose various keywords and interests that are aligned with your target audience. Once your targeting is complete, you can opt to manually select Tweets you want to promote or allow Twitter to choose the five top engaging, recent Tweets. If you have a specific goal in mind though, you will want to write a custom Tweet simply for the campaign.
    • Set your appropriate budget, and you are ready to promote your Tweets properly!


  • Increase followers via promoted accounts
    • Nearly the exact same concept as promoting your tweets, except you are paying for Twitter to display your brand in the ‘Who to Follow’ box on the home page. Essentially, you are paying for followers.
    • Be aware: the amount it costs to gain followers can range from as much as $2-$3 per follower. Thus, you need to ensure that you have a strong target audience in mind to make every follower count!


  • Lead Gen Cards
    • Lead generation cards will allow your indie studio to collect names and email addresses of various potential leads for your business/mailing list subscriber directly from Twitter! It’s a great way to build a database and start the beginning phase of an email marketing campaign, so use this approach to future proof your marketing efforts!


Test to see what works

It is suggested that you conduct a few different ad campaigns and monitor them to see what works and what does not. This is going to be a trial-and-error exercise in how to properly pay for social media interaction. Modify a few things here, make a few tweaks there, and learn along the way so you can get the most out of your paid campaigns.


We will talk more in-depth about paid social media campaigns later on, but for now, treat this post as an introduction. It’s the great place to start when creating awesome paid social media campaigns. Have any comments or questions? Let us know in the comments below!

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