Post#7 How social media helps promote your video games?

It is said that social media can not only promote or revive an industry but also boost the ratings of a fan favorite. Nowadays, with the high pace of communication and the advent of social media, the once-dead video game industry has been greatly impacted. From the hardcore to the casual, gamers are social and they are creating and sharing content now more than ever. Gamers look to and trust each other for gaming reviews, opinions, information, and shared experiences. They are influencers and decision makers who ultimately determine the success of a game release.

Gone are the days when you need to be executing expansive online campaigns in the old ways of marketing. New media technology has brought prosperity to video game industry with over 1 billion active users on Facebook and Twitter alone. And we have the ability to pick the most helpful technology. As a fan of video games, it’s obvious to me that social media is the new crux of the video game marketing campaigns promote brand awareness. And I think the most effective way to attract loyal customers is to build the enthusiast communities and advocacy programs.

Square Enix, a leading developer, publisher and distributor of entertainment content has ever confronted with a challenge. The company was looking to launch their first PlayStation 2 title in the Dragon Quest series, a legendary franchise that had sold more than 40 million copies worldwide. While the series had been wildly popular in Japan, the brand had a diminished presence in North America. After realizing the challenge, Square Enix decided to create a community called Slime Knights that could serve as way to educate RPG enthusiasts about the series and harness the word of mouth potential of the devoted fan base. In the initial education phase of the campaign, game assets were slowly released to the rapidly growing community, and members participated in a series of creative activities that allowed them to show off their passion and generate anticipation for the game’s release. As a result, Dragon Quest VIII was widely regarded as one of the top 10 games of the year by most of the gaming media and even more highly regarded in the fan community. In fact, enthusiasm was so strong within the community that some members started a campaign to persuade Square Enix to bring other titles in the series to North America.

From this case, we see what a heavy emphasis was put on word of mouth activities, and the community’s member-generated content was leveraged to give the game a presence wherever RPGs were discussed. In promoting one’s brand awareness, it is important to focus on influencer outreach and publicity. That means the company should evolve its traditional product websites into fully managed and integrated fan community marketing programs that generate enthusiasm and sustain buzz.

There are also three other ways to promote the brand awareness of video games.

First, pick a social media platform. Decide on which platform you are going to run the core of your social media campaign, major contests, and develop your content. For example, it is necessary to establish your Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, and Google+ as the go-to authority for all the information your fans need and develop and release creative content on a regular basis. Updating the content is also crucial because the information of certain products and events serves to determine public opinion. Therfore, the decision-makers will have a better idea of what their target audience will like.

Second, engage customers with insider information. Appoint a social media manager or specialist in place that is engaging and replying to users’ questions, comments and responses in real time. And the social media manager or specialist should know the game inside and out. For instance, if your game is The Mario Brothers, then they should know when Mario brushes his teeth and what color underwear he prefers. Use that inside information to interact then watch your users engage more, share more, and come back every day.In this way, your customers will feel that they are involved and become more loyal to the brand.

Finally, develop new fan bases. Given the fact that you’ve already captured some loyalty customers, you need more new ones. A good way is to launch advertisement campaigns on Facebook and YouTube, reaching out to relevant blogs and publications, and encouraging your existing fan base to share your content with friends. Also, use the different social media platforms with each other and within all online and TV ad campaigns to increase traffic and awareness.

The video game industry has benefited from millions of people engaging in social media websites and the number of people using those sites makes for an attractive target for online marketers. Anyone who is looking to promote his or her personal brand, no matter it is video game, film or music, needs to introduce their work and let it spread like a virus across social sites. We’re not sure whether the resulting buzz will be positive or negative, but it will always be useful in promoting the brand awareness.

–References:

http://blogs.imediaconnection.com/blog/2012/01/11/tips-social-media-video-games/

http://www.ignitesocialmedia.com/facebook-marketing/how-video-game-companies-are-using-facebook/

http://www.beaffinitive.com/solutions/video-games/

http://www.good.is/posts/social-media-helps-laid-off-video-game-makers-survive-a-reckoning

Post#6 Social media: A double-edged sword during a disaster

With the high speed development of social media, it seems that we are now entering an era of 2.0. We have Web 2.0, PR 2.0, Enterprise2.0 and so on. Now there’s one more—the Disaster 2.0. With Hurricane Sandy bearing down on the East Coast, people are paying close attention to the situation and exchanging their views online. What’s more, federal authorities and other emergency management organizations are also using a variety of social media platforms to reach their citizens with preparedness information before and during Hurricane Sandy.

Among people, #Sandy was one of the top trending Twitter topics in cities and areas on the predicted pathway of the storm. Nervous residents looked for the latest news and posted links to useful websites on how to stay safe. Google set up an interactive map that tracks the path of the storm, providing real-time precipitation figures and locating the user’s nearest active emergency shelter. On Facebook, a community page set up for the hurricane, which includes graphics illustrating Sandy’s wind speed or “threat index”, had already garnered thousands of ‘likes.’ There are also videos posted on YouTube, showing the situation in various locations, including images of choppy seas or flooding.

Neil was formerly the Program Director of the Community Emergency Preparedness Information Network (CEPIN) project. He created a hurricane preparedness video in American Sign Language (ASL) specifically for this event.

Government also use social media to prepare for the disaster. First and foremost, agencies on both federal level and local level have developed plans through social media to help prepare their residents to SMS/email alert system and other possible applications including smartphone-friendly mobile versions of FEMA websites allow users to access information and request assistance. Moreover, they also use social media to increase the public’s ability to communicate as well as facilitate communication between citizens and all levels of government by giving links to pages on the County Web site with detailed information. Finally, agencies are able to make prompt response to help by monitoring what people are saying on Twitter, Facebook and blogs.

However, s in spite of the vital role of social media in times of calamities cited, it could also be the source of massive rumors during the disaster. Have you ever imagined the situation when someone creates a very lifelike but bogus series of news purposely? They spread misinformation and even place the video on YouTube, which will go viral even faster than the mainstream news and won’t be able to stop for a relatively long period of time. As a result, People are simply unprepared to analyze, process and respond to all that information. false shootouts will do no good to help the public but cause even more panic.

Many in Sandy’s destruction path have taken to Twitter or Facebook to express their distress. Besides, 10 photos a second were being uploaded of the storm to the popular photo sharing site, Instagram. However, while some of the images were real, a number of the ones circulating the web were fake images that also swirled around social networks.

For example, The first picture below was a fake one which was actually from a 2009 film called “Flooded McDonald’s.” And the shark in the second picture was made by Photoshop.

Here’s a video showing some other fake pictures during the disaster.

http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/video/superstorm-hurricane-sandy-2012-fake-photos-circulate-online-17605761

With technology letting misinformation and myths spread so quickly, being skeptical is good advice every day. But more importantly, as social media professionals, we should have a social media plan in place to handle such situations with a comprehensive approach to share 24/7updates.

Social media should be used as a tool to communicate with others during a crisis, but make sure that we share accurate information. Don’t create a panic by sharing inaccurate details or positioning posts that do not appear confident and informed. Stay calm, and help our social community do the same.

What do you think of the role that social media played before, during and after this disaster and what else do you want to say about Sandy? I’m looking forward to your comment.

–References:

http://www.businessinsider.com/hurricane-sandy-frankenstorm-tweets-2012-10?op=1#ixzz2Ai4OBbNp

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204789304578089074047403516.html

http://www.dailydot.com/news/hurricane-sandy-social-media/

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-205_162-57542474/social-media-a-news-source-and-tool-during-superstorm-sandy/

Post#5 Hold fast to your blog—A huge wave of social tools is approaching

Yesterday I logged in my Facebook to see what people were doing and noticed that my friend Amy just published a new post. She became a fan of Facebook one year ago and has shown great passion to write posts on it since then. However, when I clicked the hyperlink on her profile page and paid a visit to her original blog, I was surprised to find that her latest post was published in June—she hasn’t updated it for more than four months, which was in stark contrast with the fact that she published posts every week on Facebook.

Nowadays, given the fast pace of change in the internets, more and more users were choosing other blog-like things in other online spaces as they post updates about their lives, jokes, and links on social networking sites like twitter and Facebook. The latter is the social media giant that was launched in 2004 and soon developed into a multi-media rich social networking portal. It was so easy to publish and share posts on Facebook because it didn’t require any plugins or widgets. Today with more and more people using Facebook to write posts instead of blogs, some even say “blogs will no longer be here to stay. “Is that true and are blogs redundant in an age of status updates?

That’s not true. But what we have to admit first is that blogs are losing their status as social platforms for people to share. Although a lot of young people wrote blogs when it first became a tool, the blog would not be a sticky choice for them. Why? That’s mainly because Facebook posts are more relaxing and fashionable. Firstly, writing blogs can be fun but the discipline can also sometimes be a drag because the attention span of young people today would never remain on one item. What’s more, creating, maintaining and developing a blog takes a lot of research, time and effort with determining what plugins to use, what widgets to embed or what email and RSS subscription platforms to use. As for Facebook, it is much more interactive than a blog to encourage trivial and fun posts. It does not exactly give weight to the information posted on it and most users are able to take any information from it.

Nevertheless, although social media tools have made our work easier, it doesn’t mean that they have eroded blogs to the point of being useless. Here I’d like to take Facebook as an example and make a comparison to show the irreplaceable role that blogs play.

First of all, Facebook is under censorship while blogs are self-owned. Facebook is a business owned by a set of investors, which makes content posted on it legally theirs to do what they want with it. Though Facebook doesn’t actually own your content, they own access to it. If you place your content on someone else’s platform, you are giving them control over who sees it and when. Privacy issues and hacking are also increasingly making Facebook less reliable as a means of disseminating information.

Second, people will continue to use blogs to go for expert opinions. As today’s young people grow up, they get jobs, open businesses, and will increasingly turn to professional blogs for advice, information and also as a tool for sales and marketing. Facebook is more of a huge community for people to make friends and share interests, without much professional or technological information. Therefore, leaders in all fields will continue to rely on blogs to spread their views and messages. And their audience will also use blogs to find authorized resources.

Finally, when blogs emerged in the 1990′s, they were mainly text based, but they quickly gained popularity by gradually evolving into multimedia platforms where people could insert videos, images and other widgets to make their posts more colorful. That means some attractive features of Facebook will also be applied soon to blogs to make them more interesting and easy to use.

In conclusion, although blogs will no longer remain in the casual use, they are not dead and will be here to stay in the future. Hold fast to your blog. It’s easy to see the appeal since it is free, instantaneous, open to all and has a global reach for information.

–References:

http://www.jeffbullas.com/2010/08/06/the-top-5-facebook-posts/#T2z4c5mCsyb9YRSL.99

http://blog.karlribas.com/2011/06/has-blogging-been-replaced-by-twitter.html

http://www.networkworld.com/news/2010/020410-teen-blogging-facebook.html

Post#4 Who won the debate?—Twitter did

The first one-on-one presidential debate took place Wednesday night. While lots of expert analysis were made through different channels, even more posts were there on Facebook and Twitter reacting to the debate. Just take twitter as an example, 24 hours prior to the event, it had already destroyed all four 2008 debates in terms of tweet numbers. And in the last 24 hours, we saw twice as many Tweets as that of four years ago—what we say the most tweeted one throughout the U.S. political history.

That wasn’t so surprising to me. I started to use twitter only one month ago, but now I’m  a dedicated user of it. Not only because twitter’s short 140-character format is conducive to quick and frequent updates, but it also allows me to tweet information to the world in real time with simplicity. All you need is a good headline, a shortened link and some hashtags.

Image

The spread of social media, especially the advent of twitter, really makes a difference. Now more and more people choose to talk about the debate online instead of watching TV and listening to what an anchor is commenting. When it comes to the reason why twitter has such a great impact on people’s behavior in the debate, I think that can be summarized as follows.

First of all, twitter is now fully integrated into  news coverage of the debate with real-time updates and viewer sentiment reports before, during and after the event. It helps people save their time. By tracking the words, body language and tone of each candidate, people can just message short and simple enough tweets during the lengthy debate. It also empowers audience to ridicule and expose political candidates with ruthless efficiency further polarizing voter positions, sharing with their closest family, and friends.

What’s more, twitter makes people feel free during the debate. Unlike the debates in the past that full of policy and fact checkers, the 2012 one turned out to be more light-hearted. For example, in this debate, one of the big topics was Big Bird. After Romney saying “I like Big Bird” and his promise to remove PBS subsidies, there were some great tweets.

“47 percent of Chic-Fil-A chickens think they’re victims. I will never convince them to take personal responsibility.”

“Every child who grew up with me is going to bed tonight with their middle finger pointing towards Cayman Islands.”

I call them “twitter-version humor”, is it appropriate?

Image

To sum up, twitter has become the indispensable tool for following current events. It gives potential voters more information in a condensed time frame than ever before. And more importantly, it allows every one to share their opinions, choice and even parodies with others using their own social media channels.

What do you think of the impact of twitter on this debate? And what’s your favorite social media channel to follow news and to share? Please leave any comments if you want.

-References:

http://www.ibtimes.com/presidential-debate-2012-sets-twitter-record-romney-big-bird-comment-and-jim-lehrer-inspire-spoof

http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2410567,00.asp

http://www.theatlanticwire.com/politics/2012/10/twitter-won-presidential-debate/57593/

Post#3 Interpersonal or internet personal?

“Which is more real, Your online persona or your real life self?” After reading through the latest blog of my friend, this question came to my mind. In her blog she talks about the reason why her relationship with social media has become a love/hate one. “It is so easy for me to be wrapped up with my social media relationship and forget about my real-liferelationships. There have been times when I hang out with a group of friends and we’re all on our phones checking Facebook, texting, or tweeting. ”

That reminds me of an article I read before with a thought-provoking title “In the Death of Distance, what is dead in reality?” With the speed of communications, while we have accepted the social platforms as useful tools both in our personal and professional lives, we have to admit that social media seems to be a silo separating us from our more intimate communications.

Life has become ubiquitous. And what once could only be imagined is now done with greater ease than picking up the phone and making a call, or we just need to hit the internet because all of the information can be found right there. People update their profiles, blogs, and twitter that keep us up to date without ever really speaking. What we cannot deny is that technology has become more advanced but we are lonelier than ever before.

Nevertheless, just like what I commented on another friend’s blog last week, when it comes to people’s isolation from the rest, social media is not really the one to blame. What should blame is the trend that we expect more from technology and less from each other.

Q: Why there’s such a trend?

A: We feel like gaining more sense of safety online.

To be more specific, just imagine when you text, email or post to a social networking site, are you just going ahead to say what you’re thinking or instead projecting yourself as you want to be seen? There are quite a few people who pay even much more attention to their images online than that in real life. Every time they want to say something online through different platforms, they get to edit, to delete, and to retouch, trying hard to make themselves perfect ones. In a face-to-face conversation, improper words or behaviors will do harm to one’s image, but in online talking you never have to worry about such things because you’ve well prepared for all of them.

In a word, we just rely too much on our “online avatars” which may finally result in virtual companionship without the demands of friendship. What we ought to do is to move our eyes off the computer and go for outdoor events. Moreover, it’s also important to share ideas or experience with others to increase face-to-face interactions. Gone are the days when we had to write letters or walk a long way visiting each other. But while enjoying the diversity and convenience of social media, we should never forget relationship building, which is treated as the real value of communications.

-References:

http://thebusyprgirl.wordpress.com/2012/09/23/my-relationship-with-social-media-lets-get-real

http://socialnetworkbuzz.wordpress.com/2009/02/24/test-whether-you-are-social-networking-addict/

Post#2 Does your company have the right social media culture?

Over the recent years, with the speed of communication, intranets have developed from a channel for some people to publish news to places where any employee can collaborate and share knowledge with other employees. And thus new ways to communicate is always in need. After reading chapter 2 The Internal Collaboration, I found that in spite of the importance of new communications, moving from a traditional infrastructure to an internal collaborative platform is not that easy. Why? When it comes to this question, most people see the lack of a cohesive and focused community as the primary barrier. As is mentioned in the book, employees are afraid of changes and treat them as threat that may destroy the traditional communications. That’s true, but another reason of the same importance is often ignored.

Usually, after making clear of the barrier, some companies get start to solve the problem by “developing [their] corporate culture” to transform the company into an employee-centered one with all the staffs willing to use up-dated social tools.

However, does that always work to be beneficial to a company’s operation? For example, it is common for a company with a collaborate platform to have an mandatory Wiki or a blog, but do these tools really bring some clearly stated benefit and improvement to the workplace or to a specific project? My friend Eileen once had an internship at a social media company. There’s a social tool called “mapping your schedule” which is designed to share resources within the company. Nevertheless, she and  most of the staff  felt that the tool turned out to be relatively useless, because it had no clearly defined use. Staffs were not sure how to use the tool for collaboration and there appeared to be little consequence for not using it. The purpose of the collaboration is unclear, and therefore the technology is ineffectual.

That’s what the problem is. Developing a social media culture is not enough for collaboration tools to improve internal communications. A lack of purpose for collaborative structures is potentially the greatest barrier to such collaboration. There is a sense of technology which is just technology without some more targeted purpose in mind. If this sense is treated as the corporate culture, then there will be as many challenges in the collaborative platform as if there was no such platform at all.

Organizations are doomed to fail if they try to employ collaborative technologies without the underlying sense of purpose and community. Therefore, the corporate culture should not only be compatible with previous workflows and ways of communicating, but also under the guidance of how employees should behave online. Proper policies are also necessary to support employees’engagement in case that they have trouble using social tools.

-References:

Chapter 2 New Practice#2:The Internal Collaboration Generator, Social Media and Public Relations, Deirdre k. breakenridge.

http://hiring.monster.com/hr/hr-best-practices/workforce-management/employee-retention-strategies/social-media-company-culture.aspx

http://blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/33130/How-to-Cultivate-a-Company-Wide-Social-Media-Culture.aspx

http://theartofsocialmedia.blogspot.com/2010/03/changing-corporate-culture-is-like.html