I was at the iGaming Supershow in Dublin a couple of weeks ago where I was speaking on a panel about social media and how the online gaming industry can use it more as part of their marketing mix.
Alongside me on the panel were Paul Reilly of Media Skunk Works, and Jesper Soegaard of Betting Expert. The chair was Nichola Stott of The Media Flow. Nick Garner of Unibet was also supposed to be there, but due to the whole Ash Cloud 2.0 threat of being stuck in Ireland, he was forced to miss the event.
The session was structured as a three way conversation with questions that had been submitted being asked, and then the panel offering their viewpoint and response – essentially how affiliates, agencies and in house marketing teams see the social media opportunity.
I’ve attached my slides from the session below:
I began my part by talking about the distinction between social and media – how the social part is the conversation, and that where it happens is immaterial, the value is in the words and interaction. It is important to remember though that conversations that take place online are indexable, and at the point where they become “content”, they have longer term value beyond just the initial exchange.
Of course, there is a certain unease between social media and gaming. Gaming is an inherently unsocial activity – you essentially compete on your own, and become immersed in the activity. The point is that people don’t talk as they game, but they do talk about gaming. Extensively.
The next point was about how people want to win, and as such, the richest seam of customers for a gaming company will be found in communities that provide guides to help them win. When you want to find losers, they will always be in the same place as the perceived winners.
A lot of discussion around Social Media concentrates on the channels – ordinarily Twitter and Facebook, and why not, they’re both hugely popular. Also, both are everywhere, being used to augment search results in both Google and Bing, which adds legitimacy to certain results based on agreement.
From an SEO perspective however, (and ignoring the link value), Twitter and Facebook don’t offer much. The stream of content is transient, and passes quickly. Forums on the other hand are long term, and frequently appear in the search results for longer tail terms.
When you overlay social media onto search, the point where they meet is peer validation. It adds authority to existing content when other people approve of it, and increases the propensity of a user to convert given that people within their community already agree with it.
I finished by suggesting that certain aspects of social media are a layer that can add value to other activities, and that it is important to recognise the difference between social media as an end in itself – the process of building an engaged and active community – and social media as a means to an end – the process of leveraging the content and relationships from within the community for other purposes.