Welcome to the third installment of Creator’s Corner!
This is where we let another small RPG publisher or freelancer let loose on the blog in the spirit of supporting each other and spreading the word. The RPG scene is filled with amazing creatives and products and this is me doing my part by trying to help ‘raise the tide to lift all boats’.
Please support these folks if you can, check out what they do, and if you can’t support directly, please help share this post.
If you want to post in Creator’s Corner and let the good RPG folks in my feeds know about you and your products, then drop a message to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject: Creator’s Corner submission.
Thank you for stopping by and supporting the creatives in the scene, Glynn
Without further ado, over to Levi Combs with some great advice on social media usage for those wanting to navigate the realms of publishing.
Some Very Good Social Advice…
Find Levi at…
by Levi Combs
Hello! Levi Combs from Planet X Games here.
When I started my little “indie label that could”, I was not an industry guy or an insider in any way. Aside from having one friend who worked in the hobby, I didn’t know anyone else who made or designed games, much less anyone who had any actual useful information on the things that make this hobby of ours go. All I knew was that I liked telling stories and that writing games had swiftly risen to the top of my creative outlets.
So, if I was really going to start a company and make games, how could I find my audience? Where were my weird little tribe that were all into the same kinds of strange and cool stuff I was into? The answer was pretty obvious from the get-go – social media!
Social media can be a treacherous ground for lots of folks to navigate… and with good reason. On some platforms it is literally the wild west out there and anything goes. It truly is the good, the bad and the ugly when it comes right down to it. With that in mind, I put together a quick list of guidelines that I use for myself when it comes to interacting on social media that can be potentially useful regardless of your experience using social media to promote your creative projects.
None of this is really a secret. These guidelines are just that – guidelines. They’re not absolute and I don’t always stick to them 100% of the time, but I do give it the ole college try.
Consistency is key. Be consistent in your social media posts. Even if you aren’t promoting your own projects or company, post about things that you like or find interesting. Do it every day, without fail. Oftentimes, a Facebook or Instagram page starts out strong but their posts quickly decline because they don’t see immediate results or they get busy doing other things. Though you may start small, be consistent and reliably “on brand”. You’ll have a much better chance of growing your audience.
Familiarity breeds a better chance at success. If you decide to spread your brand across multiple social media platforms, become familiar with what is allowed on each, and more importantly, what is frowned upon. Algorithms and shadow bans can silence your presence without you ever even realizing it. Keeping up to date on the basic rules for a platform can help you dodge these kinds of basic pitfalls.
The BS-O-Meter. Be authentic to who you are and what your brand is. RPGs are a niche community and gamers love their favorite roleplaying games like nothing else. People can sniff out if you’re being fake pretty quickly. I find its just best to just be up front and authentic as to what you’re about, because nobody likes a faker.
Don’t be greedy. I know that it initially seems counter-intuitive in a competitive market, but I promise you – there really is enough for everyone. We’re in a renaissance of role playing games right now and table-top RPGs are more popular than ever before. There’s plenty of room at the table for your Kickstarter or IndieGoGo… and everyone else’s too! Unless you’re one of the big boys, you’re not helping yourself or your brand new Kickstarter at all by being greedy and going it alone. Reach out to your fellow indie creators and help spread the word on each other’s projects. Every eye helps and you never know when that one share, retweet or forwarded post is going to catch the eye of someone who wants to support your project.
Don’t be a tool. This should go without saying but, when you can, try and be pleasant. Rarely is a jerk universally beloved.
Steer clear of SPAM. This is actually one of the most crucial pieces of advice I got early on – don’t be THAT guy. We all know at least one person who will post about their Kickstarter every single day. We also know that we skip by those posts and tweets pretty damn fast and after a cursory glance, we keep right on truckin’.
To be fair, you obviously want to get the word out on social media about your Kickstarter and that is completely warranted. What’s not good is spamming all of the various Facebook groups you are in every single day with the same post as the day before. In most groups, that will get you ousted pretty quick and will just reinforce a negative reaction whenever people see your name or posts.
After a little trial and error (and some good advice from a few pros), I have found that once a week is the most you should be posting your crowdfunding campaign on other pages to avoid becoming the annoying guy. That’s not counting the retweets or shares your initial post hopes to get – I’m specifically just talking about you posting your Kickstarter to other pages.
Finally, this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t post interviews, previews or snippets of your material, because you absolutely should. Those are all great things to fill the gaps in between your benchmark posts and help to get potential backers more immersed in your project. I often find that art samples, creator interviews and chapter previews help to draw me in to other people’s visions for their projects, so naturally I use them myself.
Remember why you’re here. I gathered a few crucial pieces of advice during multiple conversations at NTRPGCon earlier this year. One of the best bits of unintentional advice when interacting online came from Skeeter Green and that was “I’m just here for the games man.” No politics, personal or otherwise. No edition snobbery. No being a jerk without just cause. People play RPGs for a variety of reasons, but having a good time and getting a bit of an escape from the day to day is a big part of that. We all get enough of the other stuff in every other facet of our lives, which makes gaming a reliable place of refuge from the constant dirge of politics and online vitriol. I like to keep it that way when I can.
We’re all just different versions of the same guy. In short, don’t be afraid to approach someone in the hobby and ask questions or advice. I’m not saying they don’t exist (because they do) but rare is the stone cold jerk in our hobby who will brush you off or just belittle you for no reason. Now, this doesn’t mean that you should cold call every OG in the book and lay out your ten-course plan to dominate the hobby. Definitely DON’T do that. However, politely approaching folks you admire or are a fan of at conventions rarely ends terribly and you begin to see that these people who you’ve spent years admiring have a lot of the same interests and stories that you do. One thing is for sure – you will absolutely never know unless you put yourself out there and say hello. Overwhelmingly, I’ve found that this is far more positive experience than a negative one.
The old adage of “A rising tide raises all ships” rings true. For us little guys behind indie labels, this really does seem to be a hard line truth. When the hobby is doing well and the market is healthy, all of us will benefit from it. If we do everything we can to support each other’s projects and get the word out, everyone benefits. The more people who are out there playing and enjoying games, the more there is for everyone. Help support your favorite creators and friends in the hobby. Nine times out of ten, they’ll support you too. After all, what does it actually cost you aside from being nice?
Again, these are all just things that I have found that personally worked for me. I’m sure there are plenty of folks who have a different approach, so take them or leave them as you will. Regardless, I hope this ends up helping someone.
Remember – don’t be reluctant to reach out to your fellow creators. They are often your best resource!