How I have been using Facebook to advertise Ongoing Worlds
So I’ve created this website called Ongoing Worlds. I think it’s pretty cool but I got to the point after I’ve put it live to the internet where I realised it’s missing something. Members! So I had to go about getting people to use the thing, quite nervously biting my nails because I’ve put so much effort into building that site that I really don’t want it all to be wasted if nobody likes it.
With Facebook dominating the news lately as the most popular social network in the world, I had to at least consider it as a way to promote the website. I’m a keen user of Facebook anyway to chat to my friends, but I didn’t really have a lot of friends on there that were roleplayers.
SEE ALSO: If you build it they won’t come, unless you tell them to
Using Facebook to promote things
I’ve read a lot about how companies are using Facebook to engage with their target audience and get people to spread the word virally about their product. This is called Social Media marketing and has also been part of my full time job for a few months.
Create a Facebook page
Facebook have these things called Fan Pages which are really great for advertising a product, company or “thing”. Think of the page like a user profile that you control. If you’re an Admin of the page, you can post as the “thing”, rather than as some random nobody. For most companies that’s really great because lots of people have probably heard of the company, but not many will have heard of “Bob the social marketing person” who does their Facebook stuff.
So I created the page which you can see here and started posting some information about OngoingWorlds and things that I think my audience (roleplayers) are interested in.
The way the Fan Page works is that people have to “like” it, which means they have to find it somehow and click “like”. When they do this, it’s brilliant, the page acts like any of their friends and anything I write will appear in their news feed. That’s what I want, I want to update people that are interested in Ongoing Worlds about it’s progress and let them know when there’s cool updates.
But the problem I had was how to get people to “like” the page. I wasn’t even sure how I could get people to see the page. So what I had to do was to start finding the right people and introducing them to the Facebook page.
Make friends with the right people
I started to “like” other pages which were relevant to roleplaying. Some people have created Facebook Fan Pages for their own roleplaying games, and there’s plenty of Star Trek ones. I started by liking some of those, and chatting with the members and becoming their friends.
Once I had a few friends that were roleplayers, they also had friends who were roleplayers. I could tell this because Facebook lists your interests on your profile so it’s quite easy to spot. I soon realised to my pleasant surprise that there was a massive community of people here who were roleplayers too. I’ve always been worried that since graphical games like World Of Warcraft became popular, the text-based roleplayers had given up, but they haven’t – there’s loads on Facebook!
There’s a great community on Facebook where people assume the roles of TV characters, the most popular seem to be Star Trek and Stargate, with people assuming all the roles of existing characters, plus their own characters who live in the same world. These characters update their Facebook profiles just the same as any actual person which is quite cool.
So I befriended these people, as they were all interested in roleplaying, so they’re the ideal people to use Ongoing Worlds. As soon as you’ve made friends with a few people, more are recommended to you based on who’s friends with whom, and I’m shown by Facebook a long list of roleplayers whom it thinks I should be friends with.
Be careful with your privacy settings
Obviously when you make friends with strangers you have to think about what they can see on your profile. I’ve made a lot of really great contacts on Facebook and have chatted with many people who are great, but remember these people are still probably strangers and be careful with what you show to them.
I created a new list for all the friends I’ve made in the roleplaying community and have some special settings on that list that mean they can only see what I want them to see. This is handy for if you’re posting a status update containing something personal and you only want actual friends to see it, and also the reverse, it’s also handy if you’re posting something roleplaying related that you don’t want to share with your actual friends.
Invite friends to the Facebook page
This is the bit which probably sounds the most like spam. After collecting up a big list of roleplaying friends, I go to my Facebook Fan Page and I suggest that they all see the page. I know this seems like I’m sending them spam, but I feel like I’ve picked these people so carefully that I’m absolutely definitely sure that they’re going to be interested in OngoingWorlds. If they’re not, then it’s easy for them to ignore the request, like I do so many times with endless Farmville requests.
I put a personal description on the invite, telling them what they’ll get when they click “like”, and give them some incentive which is that I’ll be posting some regular tips about roleplaying including character development and world building.
The users that are interested will click “like” and be subscribed to the Facebook Fan Page, which means anything I post from now on will appear on their news feed (unless they decide to hide it from their news feed).
This gives me an audience to talk to! And this audience is made up of roleplayers who might be interested in signing up for OngoingWorlds.
I’m still making new friends on Facebook and discovering more people who enjoy roleplaying. This means there’s more people to invite to the Ongoing Worlds page.
Communicate with the audience
So now that the fan page has people to talk to, I post regular information on there about Ongoing Worlds, including website updates and news about games that are being played. It’s important to post regularly, but not to flood members with information or I know they’ll just unsubscribe. I try and post only what they’ll find interesting, which includes encouragement and tips about roleplaying that might not directly advertise Ongoing Worlds.
I also use it as a place to post ideas about new changes to the website, which allows people to comment on them and I can discuss ideas with people. Being able to directly talk with members who use Ongoing Worlds is really helpful.
I’ve stumbled my way through this using trial and error. Using Facebook is a great way to promote your game or website, but it’s not a place to just spam people. If you don’t give people an incentive to join your page then they simply won’t, so the success of using Facebook also depends on how much time you’re willing to get stuck in and chat to people, talk through new ideas and listen to people, so that they’re more willing to respond to you.
You can create your own Facebook Fan Page for your game, which is a great way to advertise your game to people on Facebook and also create discussions about your game.