Creating a community of players

| By Aaron Noy
Sharon McFarlane explores how both operators and affiliates can best use social media to capitalise on one of its key strengths: the ability to create and manage highly engaged online communities
community of players

One of the key benefits of using social media channels like Facebook and Instagram for growing a brand is that they allow you to create a community. This is something that we see echoed across various industries, including igaming.

Of course, if you haven’t done the hard work that needs to go into building a community of players, you aren’t going to get the results that you hoped for. Here, we explore how igaming operators and affiliates can use their social media channels to achieve exactly that.

Getting down to basics

When it comes to building a community of players, you need to make sure that you are starting with the right channel. It is entirely possible that your target audience just isn’t using the channels that you are pushing content on and that is totally fine – you can always change your strategy.

SHARON MCFARLANE Community quote

Each social channel has its own set of demographics and this can be very useful when you are finding your voice. For example, the biggest user group on Facebook is 25-34 year-olds, which is the perfect demographic for igaming brands and affiliates. According to Sproutsocial, 44% of users on Facebook are female and 56% male. Users spend an average of 28 minutes on the platform each day.

The age group on Instagram is similar to Facebook but the gender split skews slightly differently, with 57% of users being female and 43% male. Instagram boasts around 1 billion monthly active users.

You’ll also want to consider Twitter, which has 187 million daily active users, 68% of whom are male. The largest age group on this channel is 30-49 year-olds.

Instagram and Facebook are usually the best channels for building a community but this is also possible on Twitter. If you already have a strong following on one of these channels, you’ll probably have the most luck there. Start with one channel and branch out as you succeed and learn what works for your brand.

Why build a community of players?

Some of the largest brands in the igaming industry have strong communities with whom they communicate across social channels and chat rooms. This kind of strong community encourages brand loyalty which is key to success in any business.

With a community that is active and feels as though it has a voice on social media, you can encourage players to come back for more.

Engagement should also be a key consideration for any social media marketing strategy. Simply put, the more engagement you get, the wider the reach of your posts. So, if you want to grow your igaming brand or affiliate business, you need to build on your engagement.

Likes and shares aren’t everything but they do help you to gain that all-important exposure. Growing a community is one of the most effective ways to do this.

Additionally, it should be considered that some players need support and they don’t always have someone to talk to. By building a community of players on your social media channels, you can not only offer them support but also encourage them to engage with each other.

Your posts don’t have to be simply promotional, you can also advertise responsible gambling resources and support.

How can you build a community?

Each community is different and so you’ll need to try out a few different strategies to figure out how you can connect with your target audience. There are some proven, effective strategies from which you can take inspiration.

A great example of an igaming brand that has created a community of players is Tombola, which has nearly 200,000 likes on Facebook and enjoys an excellent engagement rate.

Tombola has managed to achieve this scale of followers by creating content that resonates with players. It ask questions, features big winners and connects to users via live-chat monitors who appear on video.

Another large operator that has successfully built a community of players is Paddy Power. This brand has 1.5 million likes on Facebook and huge figures across all social channels. To build this community, Paddy Power has used a mixture of tactics but the strongest has to be posting topical, comedic content.

Football fans typically engage with jokes about their favourite teams and join the conversation. This approach works very well for Paddy Power.

Additionally, igaming operators and affiliates can try things like drive to share competitions, Q+A sessions and live quizzes. The more involved players can be in these posts, the easier it will be to build a community. Try to respond to as many comments or messages as possible as this will make a world of difference.

What to avoid?

It can be tempting to start pushing promotional content all over your social channels but this can be very problematic when it comes to building a community that is engaged. Sure, players want to hear about the latest promotions or odds but you don’t want to oversaturate their feeds with this kind of content.

We recommend avoiding posts that are too pushy if you want to get that engagement. Try to keep offers and promotions to a minimum unless they are related to your engaging content. By turning your social channels into a selling platform, you risk losing that community spirit.

Finally, you need to stick to the guidelines set out by the Gambling Commission of Great Britain and the Advertising Standards Authority when posting on social media. It might be worth reading through these guidelines before you create your content calendar to avoid any fines.

Community spirit is important

It goes without saying that having a strong community spirit is very important in the igaming industry. Affiliates and operators have the opportunity to really connect with players and encourage them to take part in new promotions, so why waste this chance?

Take note of how other big brands are making this work for them and create an effective strategy that works for you. Test out different kinds of content and measure the reaction that you get. Over time, you’ll figure out the best strategy that works for your brand.

<strong>Sharon McFarlane</strong>
Sharon McFarlane
is managing director at UK-based Digital Footprints, a digital marketing agency that specialises in content marketing, social media, UX design, website design, branding and conversion rate optimisation.

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