Continuing on the topic of improving your indie studio’s brand awareness (a topic we went into great detail with yesterday), you need to seriously consider creating an Instagram profile as soon as possible. It’s one of the fastest growing communities out there, and with 75 million people using the popular social network on a daily basis, the opportunity to reel in new fans is here.
For those unfamiliar with Instagram, it’s essentially a social network where users snap pictures, share them with their followers, allowing their followers to engage with them and vice-versa. It’s a powerful community full of marketing potential (there’s a reason Facebook purchased them, after all), and it’s another social network you need to be using. Below are a few tips for using Instagram to improve your indie studio’s brand awareness, which will hopefully result in future sales.
Use only high-res images
Instagram is all about sharing images with your followers, so it seems like a no-brainer that you should only share high-quality images. Post quality game art, images of your monitor as you create new assets for your game, and so on. Consider purchasing a digital camera capable of taking high-resolution photographs.
High-resolution images are eye catching. Not only that, but they tell followers that you’re a professional and not just some schmuck posting low-quality photos just because you’re bored. Have the same pride in the content you post on Instagram just as you do with the content you post on your other social networks.
Make it super simple for followers to buy your games
One click. Your followers need to be able to view your game’s page with only one single click. If you want to drive traffic to a particular page (your latest game’s App Store page, for instance), post a relevant image and change your website in your profile to the URL of the game’s page. In the image description, invite them to learn more about the game via the link in your profile. From there, your followers can click your name, select the link, and learn more about your game. It’s a pain in the neck that you can’t add links directly into your image’s descriptions yet, but currently it’s better than nothing.
Alternatively, if you want to merely link to your official website and the URL is fairly straightforward (i.e. awesomemobilegames.com), add the URL name to your location. This will show up right above your images, making it simple for followers to notice your URL and go to it to learn more.
See what is happening here? Your content on Instagram acts as a gateway to earning new business. By making it a cinch for followers to learn more and buy your games, you’re positioning your studio to earn more sales than ever before!
Don’t make it apparent that you want a ‘sale’
Here’s the problem with social media: it’s too easy to come across as ‘salesy.’ Sure, the reason why you are sharing content on Instagram in the first place is because you want more people to buy your games. However, your content needs to be unique in such a way that when people view it, they are not instantly taken aback with a bad taste in their mouth. Again, your content cannot appear as if you are only trying to get a sale.
So how do you use your content to drive sales without appearing as if you are selling anything? Therein lies the challenge, but I can help you out. Use Instagram to show an inside look at your studio, the work you are doing to develop games, and so on. For example, if you are developing an indie game that takes place in nature, you are probably going to walk around outside among nature, document how blades of grass move, how trees sway in the wind, and so on. In other words, you’re going to do research, right?
Document this! Take photographs of those blades of grass, those trees, and let the world know that you are researching for this upcoming indie game and they can view the link in the description below to learn more. Take pictures of your pets, yourself, behind the scenes at your studio, your significant other hanging out with you – just put a personal touch on your studio, as your followers will respond to that.
People respond to brands that seem human. Always remember this as you use other social networks as well, because…
This creates a bond
When checking out at your local supermarket, you probably prefer a few cashiers to other cashiers. Some of them may be grumpy and hate their job, while others seem to love every second of their shift, tend to talk to everyone and be cheerful, etc. Which cashier are you going to choose if you have the opportunity?
Get the idea? We are attracted to those that are pleasant to be around – essentially, those we have a bond with. Even when it comes to something as mundane as choosing a cashier over another, we are attracted to cashiers we have a bond with – even if it’s a bond that only lasts for a minute at a time. If someone lightens up your day via small talk and a small, we want to be around them don’t we? Not the crabby cashier that’s constantly looking at the clock waiting to get off work!
The same can be said about your indie studio. If your content brings a smile to people’s faces via beautiful photography, witty images and descriptions, or a picture of your dog, your followers are going to flock to this and comment on your content.
And from there? You can comment back and engage with your followers. Engaging with followers is huge, in that it acts as a reminder that your studio is human. Although your Instagram account exists to ultimately drive more sales for your studio, in the end, by engaging and posting quality content, your followers will see you as more than a mere brand. Again, you will seem human, and people are much more willing to support brands that take the time to appear human.
Final tip: Use SnapWidget to stream your Instagram photos directly onto your website. This acts as a cool linkback to your Instagram account for those visiting your website via your additional posts on other social networking sites. It’s a great way to top off your Instagram strategy.
Do you have advice for using Instagram to promote your games and increase your studio’s brand awareness? Have any questions/comments? Let us know in the comments below!