How to Cultivate a Social Media Following

May 6, 2024
Jon Drake

Myth Busting: Success in gaming isn’t just skill-based

What’s the first step to building a successful career in gaming? If you said being good at games, then WRONG. That’s strike 1. Having an audience is the first step in building a successful career in gaming. There are plenty of influencers who couldn't make it out of a beginner's lobby, but they're popular nevertheless. So we’re gonna go over how to build an effective social media strategy, and you can trust I know what I’m talking about considering I’ve built a following of somewhere between 150,000 and 10,000,000 followers (it’s like 153,000).

Why Social Media Followers Are Your Best Bet

So why are social media followers so dang important? Think about how much money companies spend advertising to people they HOPE are interested in what they’re selling. It’s a crapshoot that sometimes pays off, but lots of time falls on deaf ears. But if somebody follows you on social media, it stands to reason they’re already invested in whatever you’ve got going on, and you can leverage that investment into customers. And unlike running paid ads, you can typically generate a sizable following on social media without spending a dime, as long as you go about it the right way. So what’s “the right way?” Let’s dig into it.

Choosing Your Battlefield: A Guide to Social Media Platforms

First off, “social media” is a blanket term that can refer to a ton of different apps and platforms. You need to know which ones to prioritize. Let’s go through them and run down ways to grow on the most popular platforms:

  • Twitter (Not X. Never X): Twitter kinda sucks now to be honest, but it will always hold a special place for me as the platform that jumpstarted my career. Twitter is a hellscape populated by bots and bad actors, but there’s gold in them there hills if you know how to mine it.
  • Instagram: Instagram has a lot of upside as one of the easiest platforms to monetize on, but it’s not typically a gaming-friendly platform. If you’re already making video content for TikTok/Youtube though, it makes sense to cross-post on IG.
  • TikTok: Assuming the government hasn’t shut it down by the time you’re reading this, TikTok has become a valuable resource for gaming creators. Quick tips, highlight vids, or just funny interactions all make for valuable video content that can help you build a following quickly.
  • YouTube: If you can figure out the YouTube algorithm, more power to you. I think it mostly involves clickbait titles and making a stupid face in the thumbnail.
  • Threads: Do you want to watch the person who runs the Pine Sol account joke around with whoever runs the Lucky Charms account? Then Threads is the place for you. Endlessly corporate, and as bland as a Hampton Inn conference room. Threads has not emerged as a viable competitor to Twitter yet.
  • LinkedIn:  LinkedIn can be effective for certain things, but it's definitely not the best social platform for finding an audience. It is however effective in connecting with peers and brands who may want to collaborate on a project in the future. 
  • Twitch: Streaming is always worthwhile, as it’s one of the fastest ways to build a bond and close relationship with your audience, and that’s VERY IMPORTANT.

If you couldn’t tell by the all caps in the last bullet point, building a bond with your audience is something of great importance. It means when you’re followers will stick by you. So how to build a bond with your target audience? Hope you like bullet points, cuz we’re about to be listing some more stuff.

6 Tips to Cultivate a Lasting Connection with Your Followers

  1. Reply, reply, reply: You post something. Somebody “likes” it and responds to it. You like their response and move on with your life. You did good, right? WRONG. A quick typed out response goes a long way. They’ll appreciate it, and you, a lot more than just clicking a button.
  2. Stay consistent: You might be somebody’s favorite gamer/streamer/vlogger/whatever, but if they don’t hear from you for weeks at a time, they will lose interest. Come up with a social media calendar and posting schedule and stick to it. It doesn’t have to be 5x a day, but at least a few posts a week is a good rule of thumb.
  3. Remember why they follow you: So you’re a pretty popular League of Legends/Hearthstone/Smash player. It stands to reason then that your audience wants to hear your opinion about politics, right? Kinda. I’m not saying you need to “stick to sports” to parrot a popular phrase from the last few years, but posting inflammatory or controversial things is going to alienate a large chunk of your audience.
  4. Don’t be a dick: It goes hand-in-hand with point #3, but being an asshole is a bonafide way to lose your connection with your audience. That’s not to say you should be boring, or afraid to speak your mind, but keep in mind that there’s hundreds, sometimes thousands, sometimes tens of thousands people on the other end of your internet connection reading what you write and seeing what you post.
  5. Be genuine (unless you’re genuinely a dick): Gamers are savvy, and can spot an interloper a mile away. Be yourself, and don’t feel pressured to chase trends to win over followers. It backfires more often than not.
  6. Build up that goodwill: Brand equity might sound like a lame corporate term, but it’s one of the lame corporate terms I actually use and endorse. It basically means that your followers like you enough to put up with you selling them something once in a while, whether it’s a new course, a members-only subscription, or a coaching session. The key is not always be selling, because that gets old fast. If you only post when you want something from them, your audience will turn on you.

The wrong way

We've told you about the right way to build a social media presence, so what's the wrong way? Any service that promises you can buy followers is a grift. Sure, they might provide you with the number of advertised followers, but those are typically bot accounts completely uninterested in what you're actually doing. Don't fall for the trap. Create content that people wanna see, find your brand voice, use analytics to determine which of your posts are connecting, cross promote with like-minded creators to grow both of your audiences, and stay consistent with your social media posts, and the rest will come to you.

If you’re still reading, thanks! I hope you can put some of this advice to good use and start building up your social media presence, as it’s still one of the most cost-effective and least time consuming ways to build up a captive audience. If you need more tips and tricks on running a successful business in the gaming industry, Metafy’s Handbook has what you’re looking for. Until next time.

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