When you first start looking into marketing your indie game, one of the things you’ll hear time and time again is to post often on social media.
Everyone and their dog is using social media, so social media platforms move quickly with lots of new content being shared all the time. That’s why it’s recommended to post daily in order to stay ahead of your competitors and reach a wider audience.
However, this is easier said than done.
Coming up with content ideas can be time-consuming. This can be frustrating, especially when you’re still working on your game at the same time (and you really should start working on your marketing months before your game is due to come out).
Fortunately, we’re here to make your job a little easier by sharing some simple social media content ideas for marketing your indie game. These can be used across all social media platforms, but we recommend focusing on Twitter, Reddit and TikTok:
1. Concept Art
Remember how we said you should start marketing your game before it’s finished? This is the perfect time to show potential players what to expect from your game.
Concept art helps to convey the look, feel and mood of your game, as well as highlighting future features that they can expect. It also adds a personal touch by allowing fans to see behind the scenes, which makes them feel like they’re a part of the game’s journey. This is perfect for raising public awareness and hype for your game, even before it’s released.
Take a look at this post from SoundFall Game on Twitter.
It’s a relatively simple post displaying content art for one of the enemies. But, it outperformed all of their recent posts and received 10x as many likes and 4x as many retweets.
Sharing a side by side post is another fantastic way to share concept art and showcase your game, especially when it’s as captivating as this art by Wishfully Games:
2. Game Features
Ultimately, the features of your game are going to be the main reason why someone purchases it, so shout about them on your social media!
Games are a visually driven media, but mechanics can be hard to communicate through screenshots. Screenshots can only describe so much, while trailers risk losing the viewer’s interest in a constantly refreshing feed.
Using short animated gifs is a great way to showcase key gameplay features like farming, crafting, and fishing.
3. Game Updates
The chances are that if someone is following your game account then they want to play your game, which means they’re eagerly awaiting updates on the game progress.
Generally most game developers provide updates in the form of video dev logs and written updates. This is a personal way of sharing updates that lets you talk through the process and show portions of your game in its current state. However, this is not optimised for social media, where the content is usually shared as a link to wherever your dev log is located.
Take a look at these 2 ways of sharing updates. They’re both from Hokko Life’s Twitter account.
Can you guess which one was more successful?
Similar to Game Features, showing actual Gameplay of your game is a great idea for engaging your followers (and perhaps reaching more given how many retweets this got).
By showcasing the actual gameplay, you can instil a sense of excitement in your fans that trailers and screenshots can’t really recreate – this is real game footage for the game they want to play, and it looks fantastic.
5. Introducing Characters and NPCs
A game will have a hard time without memorable characters to guide the player along their journey, be they good or bad. So, creating time in your social schedules to introduce players to NPC’s can go a long way to building their excitement for the game’s release.
The NPC in question could be a charming minor character, a party member who’s going to be with you the whole journey, a romanceable character, or even a suave villain who has a strong argument justifying his motive. For their hit game Boyfriend Dungeon, Kitfox Games for example, utilised social media to show off their romanceable weapons and were even able to add two additional romance options through Kickstarter stretch goals.
Within game development there can be a natural instinct to feel embarrassed about sharing bugs publicly, but this actually isn’t something you need to worry about.
Sharing the bugs you encounter in development, especially funny ones like a character inexplicably flying off screen or growing three times their size, has a great chance of connecting with your audience. It lends itself to the audience feeling like they’re part of the development cycle, and it can be quite funny to watch.
7. Emotive Content
Creating emotion is one guaranteed way to create invested fans. Games with strong NPCs, for example, do incredibly well because fans can relate to them and form emotion for them, which keeps them coming back.
Using humour in your content is another way to keep fans interested. If they laugh, they’ll probably interact with your post and even share it. Sharing bugs is one easy way to create funny content. Sharing memes and hilarious in-game content is another way to do it. Coral Island jumped on the giant chicken bandwagon, started by Sims 4 Cottage Living, and shared this hilarious tweet. Look at the engagement!
Cute or cosy content is also finding its niche on social media and games that capitalise on that are finding success. Games who share this sort of ‘wholesome’ content, where appropriate, may find success in this niche that’s popular with games, such as Story of Seasons, Spiritfarer, and Lake.
8. Popular Trends
Participating in popular trends can be another fantastic way to reach a wider audience, who may not have seen your content previously.
This is one of the most difficult pieces of content to create, because it requires quick reactions. Trends usually come and go in a matter of days, sometimes even hours, so creating content for a trend while it’s hot is hard.
To keep up with popular trends, it’s important to check social media daily to see if there’s anything happening that you could participate in. Pay attention to what your competitors are doing – this is the easiest way to spot trends for your industry.
9. National Holidays
Posting on holidays is a common recommendation when it comes to creating content calendars. They’re timely and relevant, plus followers may be willing to share it if it’s a holiday that they’re also celebrating.
Holiday posts can also invoke an emotional response, especially if they’re accompanied with relevant, attractive visuals, which can result in more engagement than usual.
While we don’t recommend posting for every social media holiday (National Donut Day is probably not relevant), there are some key holidays you should be sharing content on, such as Christmas and Halloween, if you can.
Look at this great gif from Emberlab and, more importantly, look at the number of engagements:
Competitions are a great way to drive engagement around your game, and they’re a format that you can have fun and get creative with. Don’t be afraid to be imaginative when designing your competition, as well as incentives/prizes, and be careful not to use competitions as a way to get free work from your community.
You can encourage the use of a hashtag or retweets to enter followers into a raffle for a free key, or get creative and create something in-game to recognize the competition winner(s) and forever immortalise them (or something close to them)!
The Fall Guys Twitter is fantastic at this and they host a whole range of competitions for free keys, free costumes or even to get your design in the game.
11. Brand Challenges
Creating challenges is a brilliant way to encourage your players to engage with your brand and get your game in front of a wider audience. It also encourages your fan base to create content for your game that you can share on your account, which makes your job easier.
There are a lot of challenges in the gaming sector, which usually involve making a game more difficult for loyal fans. Challenges such as the Sims 4 100 Baby Challenge and Sid Meier’s Civilization Impossible Save Challenge are two that come to mind straight away.
The fans of Civ have actually gone as far as to create a subreddit titled the Civ 6 Challenge League, which posts weekly challenges to “sharpen skills through friendly competition.”
Polls are fantastic for finding out your audience’s interests, and can be used at all stages of public outreach, during development, and even after launch to provide valuable data into how your audience tends to think.
This is useful in future projects, and also encourages discussion via comments with people justifying and arguing for their decisions.
In the development stage, polls can be used to let future players have their own input in the game. It can be also useful for determining what they would like to see. If the results are close you might even consider including all poll options if feasible.
The best thing about sharing polls is that people are more likely to engage with them than anything else. Users just have to click one button to participate in a poll, compared to writing out a whole response for a reply.
13. Press/Influencer Coverage
As you continue to market your game, you’ll start pitching your news to the press. Whether this is for the announcement or launch of your game, it’s recommended to reach out for a wider audience. When you are reviewing your coverage and seeing who has picked you up, it is a good idea to see if these articles have made it to their socials via a linked tweet.
Retweeting this coverage helps to make your game appear more credible, especially if the press coverage is from a well known outlet, such as PC Gamer or Rock, Paper, Shotgun. This self-promotion is highly encouraged as it benefits both you and the press outlet, and boosts the overall awareness the general gaming public has about your game.
Similarly, sharing influencer reviews of your game, whether that’s a gif of the actual video or a retweet, will earn you the influencers respect. Additionally, seeing that a content creator is passionate about your game may strongly influence a follower’s purchase intention.
Q&A’s are activities best left for engaging with your highly engaged audience, who you should have a Discord server for.
Q&A’s don’t need to be done very often, and in fact can be one-off events, or as part of large development milestones. They’re an opportunity to engage with your community and show that you are actively listening to them, driving higher engagement from the audience, and boosting the chances of them organically sharing your content.
Q&A sessions provide a space for your following to ask questions about the game, whether it be the development process, what’s next for the studio, or even learning more about the individuals that came together to make the game.
15. Third Party Content
Third party content is content relating to your game that was created by someone else. Generally this alludes to fan art, but can point to other things such as YouTube videos, live streams, fan fiction, and even cosplays of your characters.
Your fanbase being creative is a fantastic opportunity to showcase their skills on your Twitter page, which serves the additional benefit of promoting your game indirectly, as well as showing you to be a developer that cares for and supports its community’s creative efforts.
A direct call for fanart carries risk, so it is generally recommended to respond to content as it organically appears. Try searching for your game’s name on Twitter or YouTube to see if any content worth sharing appears in the feed.
BONUS: Share your Kickstarter Content
If you’re running a Kickstarter, then sharing your Kickstarter goals early provides potential backers (and players) with a clear idea of what could potentially be added to the game.
Constant social media engagement on the progression of the kickstarter serves as a consistent ‘call to action’ for fans to either up their pledges, or to make an initial pledge if they have not yet done so.
Additionally, sharing your reward tiers is a great way to market your Kickstarter and can incentivise higher pledges to help reach specific targets.
It can be difficult and time-consuming to promote your indie game on social media, but hopefully these 15 content ideas will help you to get started.
However, if you start right at the beginning of your game production, you can share your entire process with your fans and build a meaningful community that will help drive your game’s success.