When running a gaming community, you always have fans creating blogs and pages about your game. It’s just another way for fans to form friendships with people who share a love of their favorite game.
There are various types of fan pages which people create. Some can be friendly, where they share and support your game, while others can be harmful, promoting the use of unconventional methods to find cheats and exploits.
I’ve seen my share of pages over the years where the primary focus is to cheat the system and even sell secrets or bots. Unfortunately, there isn’t much that can be done about these pages and players unless you get a legal team involved or know someone at Facebook that can shut down each page – they will most likely just reappear later under a new name.
Keep tabs on pages like these, but don’t waste too much energy on them. I usually keep them bookmarked and check regularly to see if new exploits have been found so they can be patched by the game developers.
The good news is that there are always positive fan pages out there that only want to do good things while promoting their favorite game. These are basically your influencers who want to build friendships with others who share the same passion for your game.
Building a Relationship
Years ago when I was working on a web game, fan pages were few and far between. I always got excited when I searched for them and found a new one with an active community. I wanted to see how I could use these pages to my advantage and help them as well.
I narrowed my search to the top 2 pages that were exclusively focused on building positive relationships and promoting the game. Best of all, they banned cheaters and had strict rules for their communities. For example, if an exploit, hack or cheat was being discussed, the perpetrator was removed from their page.
At first, I didn’t have a goal with these pages, aside from just following an external community of players of my game. After a few weeks of lurking, I reached out to the admins of both sites and started an informal conversation. The response from both pages was overwhelmingly positive, –so much so that I felt like a bit of a rockstar. They were thrilled to have access to someone in the studio and were happy to answer all of my questions.
We set up a Skype chat between each group of admins and the community team to keep communication lines open. It was all very informal, but we had opened up an invaluable new chain of information. In the beginning it was as simple as asking for basic feedback, bugs and gripes they were seeing from players, or if they’d come across any cheats that hadn’t been surfaced yet. Even though they banned cheaters, they took note on what the exploits were.
Making them “Official”
Things stayed pretty unofficial for a few months, until we decided it was time to make the relationships official. We had them sign a legal document similar to an NDA that stated they would not share secrets and would abide by rules set in place by the studio. This allowed them to call themselves “official approved fansite”, which made them stick out from the rest of the pages.
Once they became “official,” we were able to start sharing in-depth knowledge of our roadmap. We shared art assets early so they could prep their blogs and pages accordingly once the feature went live. Providing information in advance to an external source also helped our studio with early feedback on new ideas.
To thank them for the support, we promoted them every so often on our social channels. We sent swag for their giveaways. One of the admins was local to our office, so we even invited him to our studio for a tour. We let him playtest new features and gave him the VIP treatment.
If you have the bandwidth to work closely with an external fan page, I highly recommend it. The influence they have over their community is tremendous, and you may make good friends as well. Mine was such a positive experience that I will be duplicating it on the next game I work on.