Research from Chadwick Martin Bailey shows that 51 percent of Facebook users and 67 percent of Twitter users report themselves as likely to buy from a brand they follow socially more than one they do not. For brands, attracting followers to their social media pages pays off with a demonstrable return on investment when social fans buy product. Social media games can be a fun way to attract and keep your social followers engaged, so they continue to support your business.
Social media works so well with games because people go to social media when they are looking to take a little break from work. A game allows them to do just that and can provide a relief without the sort of “social envy” that can set in if users browse their social feed and see pictures of everyone else on vacation while they are stuck at work.
Games on social media platforms work by creating a “stickiness” where fans discover them, play them and keep returning to play them more. This increased engagement serves to strengthen the customer tie to the brand, broaden the brand appeal, and drive sales. Adding games within social media effectively meets users where they are. It can be more effective than creating and hosting a game on your website. Chances are, users aren’t actively visiting your website unless they are shopping or browsing your goods or services.
With over 230 million people playing games on Facebook each month, the potential audience for your branding game is huge. Facebook’s built-in potential to share games with friends make it easy for your reach to grow without additional effort on your part. Google Plus also offers games on its social network, but does not have as many users as Facebook.
As a general rule, any game you create should have a positive message and should sublimate the branding to a fun sense of gameplay. Anything that is too disruptive or obvious (say, advertising your brand within the game) will disengage users. Instead of being obvious, focus on creating a fun game that users can play that also showcases your brand and integrates with existing campaigns. A fun game that builds off of existing marketing efforts and allows for interactivity will be more successful than a one-off game that does not relate to your other marketing and branding efforts. Gain inspiration for games that work by playing online games at sites like iWin. They have different types and skill levels so you can note what would work and would not work to promote your brand and provide a fun gamer experience.
“Protect the Football” from Buffalo Wild Wings is an example of a good game that promotes the brand without being too disruptive. The game featured a buffalo character (branding) trying to collect game day items without getting distracted. The game was fun, easy to play, spoke to fan interests and could be consumed in short bursts without much time investment, making it ideal for quick work breaks. Since sharing the game with friends earned users points, Buffalo Wild Wings also built in a social promotion aspect to further increase brand awareness.