Transitioning off a forum platform onto Facebook

(Sarah Hawk) #1

Continuing the discussion from Introduce yourself (or at least just say hi):

(Sarah Hawk) #2

I’m fascinated by this. We often talk about the pros and cons of moving OFF Facebook onto a dedicated platform, but this is the first time I’ve heard of someone going the other way.

@Mjbill What drove the decision and what benefits have you seen?

(Rob Hudson) #3

“Stupid question alert”- what are the pros and cons of moving off Facebook and/or other social media platforms? Or for that matter as per this post the pros and cons of moving the other way?

(Sarah Hawk) #4

No such thing as a stupid question here @Rob_Hudson :slight_smile:
You should see the kinds of things that I ask in @edfryed’s marketing community!
I figure you have to learn somehow!

Facebook has a lot of advantages going for it (e.g. people are already there and don’t need another habit) but it also has shortfalls (e.g. you don’t own your data). This article that I wrote last year goes into a lot more depth. If you have more questions once you’ve read it, I’m happy to answer them.

I have never considered making the move back TO Facebook, so I’m interested to hear Mark’s take on this.

(Mark Baldwin) #5

Right, let’s start at the beginning. New Star Games was for a long time a 1 man operation, a bedroom coder who had limited success with PC games. He had a hands on approach with his customers and had a nice insular community. He had a simple forum on his website. Then he moved into mobile gaming and things exploded, he had a monster hit and thousands of new fans and customers, he tried for a while to keep on top of things but eventually he was overwhelmed with the success of his business and his community got neglected.

1 year later, I am approached by a mutual friend to help out. Too long had passed without forum activity and the place had become a mess, spam, adverts and a breeding ground for a lot of nasty things. The loyal customers had left a long time ago. I made the choice to get rid of the forum completely as I didn’t have the time to do a Lazarus. I’ve worked with traditional forums for a good number of years before this and with gamers, found them to be very hard to manage as gamers can be notoriously difficult to please and they are not loyal to your company, but more to a particular game and when they are finished with that they move on. So it’s not even a brand loyalty, as gamers can hate what you do with a sequel and can devote a lot of their online life to making your life hell for changing things that they loved. Let’s just say that it’s my experience that managing gaming forums is not a happy experience.

Plus, we were now dealing with a different set of people. The business had moved away from PC games to mobile games and the best way to engage with this particular audience was through social media. So we put social media hooks into the game and built up a very large following on Facebook. I post regular content and I am constantly asking for feedback on what we do in the game, this feeds into our development cycle and the fans can sometimes see almost instant feedback on their suggestions and preferences. This is extremely rewarding for both myself and the development team and has the added bonus of fans feeling involved in the whole process.

The immediacy of Facebook and Twitter is one of the massive plus points for a games developer as we can react quickly to news stories that our fans are interested in. I am not sure that there is much to be gained by going back to a typical forum in the mobile gaming community. Do gamers really want to deeply engage in forum conversations while on their mobile device or do they want to react to something that pops up on their social media feeds? I also find that you still have evangelists and people who you can rely on for comments/conversation.

Now we all know that having 1 million fans on Facebook does not mean that I reach 1 million fans with posts, but with careful timing, reacting to current news and by sometimes targeting certain posts, we can reach an excellent amount of people with key information and this will become more important for us as this year progresses and we have new titles coming out. A really good post can reach about 80,000 people and have a few hundred engagements. Because we are a very small company, we don’t spend much money on advertising, so cross promotion is going to be key for us.

Because I handle customer support and pr work, using social media also feeds into that too. I see my role more like a “handler” than a manager.

Sorry for the long post, but hopefully that goes some way to explaining the reasons behind the move. Happy to answer any questions.

(Jeffrey Otterspoor) #6

Same here. We killed the forums a couple of years ago. It was visited by a very small percentage of our user base, but it became such a demanding job that we had to call it quits.

Instead we opened a news page with a comment section and went on to various social networks. Still happy we made that decision. Most of our feedback is gathered through in game events anyways.

The only forums we have left are meant for our volunteers. No moderation required.