The gaming community continues to grow every single year. By the end of 2020, the online games segment is expected to generate more than $18 million in revenue.
Experts put the annual growth rate at 0.9%. User penetration could hit the 13.8% mark by 2025. From the statistics, it is clear to see that online games are here to stay.
But, who are some of the parties involved behind the scenes? We will look at community managers, and understand the roles they play.
We will also look at the difficulties they experience, and how to overcome them.
What Is a Community Manager?
A community manager is that crucial link between developers and players. They handle a plethora of roles within a gaming studio, which includes handling all communication between the two parties.
They are also in charge of marketing and organizing any events and must have an in-depth understanding of the community. The ability to research and carry out analysis is also a key attribute.
Difficulties Faced by Community Managers
Managing diverse groups consisting of different personalities can be tough. Community Managers are the go-to person for both players and developers.
One minute they are required to empathize and sympathize with a player who has encountered a bad experience, and the next they are working with developers in order to meet deadlines.
Handling social media, product launches and marketing on top of being the bridge between the studio and the fan base makes it easy to imagine how full a community manager’s plate can be.
5 Challenges Community Managers Need To Overcome
Community managers face a number of challenges every single day. The job description has many different aspects to it.
1. Building Audiences
It may sound easy, but building audiences with similar interests can be difficult. You must first find them and then fight for them. There are many other community managers looking for the same groups.
You have to put strategies in place to show them that your community is worth being a part of. Some of the critical steps you need to take in building an audience are:
- Understanding your target audience and how they will enjoy your product
- Using the right tools and strategies in your marketing activities
- Attracting audiences with promotions or discounts to get their attention and buy-in
- Having a presence on all social media platforms. You want to reach your target audiences right where they are. Link social platforms to your website. You will get relevant analytical insights into your target audience
- Your product offering needs to be attractive and above what the competition has to offer
2. Attracting New Gamer
The strength of a video gaming community lies in its numbers. Even if it starts with few members, the end goal is to grow the base. The community manager needs to find ways to attract new members.
The most critical step is to understand the behavior of new users. This can made more simple through the use of excellent tools to collect relevant data and track metrics.
See who posts, what they post, how often they post and what attracts the most attention. Now use the information to:
- Create networking opportunities and encourage new members to take part
- Build on the benefits of recommendations through the use of community ambassadors
- Build personal networks by joining groups that have like-minded individuals and interests.
3. On-boarding Newcomers
On-boarding new games can be very challenging while dealing with individuals who are new to the community. It is imperative to understand each new member as thoroughly as possible.
Ensure that they feel welcome, and part of the larger group. Think about tackling the task much like any other on-boarding experience. Some of the strategies to employ include:
- Sending personalized welcome messages. Remember to include relevant calls-to-action so that the on-boarding experience can expedited.
- Advice on community guidelines early on. This allows newcomers to understand what is required of them. They also learn how to best interact with the rest of the community.
- Keep interactions lively by connecting with newcomers.
- Share relevant material with them such as videos, updates or webinars. It shows them that they are always top of mind and always have someone to communicate with whenever they have an issue.
4. Tracking Gamer Sentiments and Analysis
Tracking gamer sentiment will reveal how they interact with your products. You then look at their behavior, reactions and opinions towards your offering. A good understanding will lead to better retention rates within your community.
You can also use the relevant information to improve your products and services. With technology, it has become easier to gather the data you need. There is software available to help with such tasks.
It is an important component of managing a gaming community. Player sentiments offer fantastic insights and information developers will use in product development.
5. Building Relationships with Users
Communication through online platforms is very flexible and dynamic. There is a lot of choice for most users within online platforms. However, any member who feels neglected will most likely leave.
The best way to ensure high retention rates is to have a fantastic relationship with the users. So what are some of the employable strategies?
- Respond to player questions/comments on time
- Provide updates constantly
- Preempt and deal with any situations that could lead to problems
- Understand your customers and deal with them on an individual basis
- Aim to be the voice of reason at all times. Learn to listen and give advice that adds value
- Give players experiences beyond what they were expecting
- Encourage interaction and open communication with the gamer.
Tim works as the VP of Sales and Marketing at NetServ Applications and oversees the development and client relationships for NetServs’ proprietary product Tatvam. Tatvam is a Customer Feedback Analytics product that leverages technologies like Machine Learning and AI to help companies monitor and improve their customer experience. Tim both manages the product log and the development teams to ensure they are consistently innovating and delivering a true value-add product, as well as continuously works with Tatvam customers to help them improve their data strategies and customer experiences.