It’s-Not-Quite-Spring-Yet Social Media Special

5 02 2014

ImageLooking to brush up your business’ social media presence for spring? Let me help.

Here is what is included – for a limited time only.
· Publishing of a minimum of 2 positive and engagement focused Facebook posts a day (with community management around the posts)
· Publishing of a minimum of 2 Twitter postings per day (1 article, 1 discussion point)
· Content creation built around brand values and mission statement
· Customer Support on Facebook and Twitter
· Online brand reputation management – using social media search tools, CertainlySocial will ensure your brand is well known as a leader and thus greatly increase positive brand awareness, as well as engaging in conversations/customer support in results of search.
· Positive and focused content creation
· Contests on social media as well as contest support for any contests on your website
· Growth analytics
· A monthly call on Skype/phone/email to talk about community issues.
· A monthly social community report – highlights, goals, and any other items that come up    


For sign-up or to ask questions, please send an email at ryan (at) certainlysocial (dot) com

Talk to you soon!

Let your light shine :)

14 11 2012

The best thing to be online (and offline!)?

Let your light shine :)

HOW-TO: Social Media Community Management For Indie Game Developers

21 02 2012

Being a small business owner is not easy. Doing it in a creative field like game development doesn’t make it easier. Time is the most precious resource that an indie game developer has, and spending it wisely is key. As you develop your next awesome game, remember to build an audience for the game as you do dev.

Know Your Market

You can’t get word out about yourgame without knowing about where your market meets. And there are lots of players, and building a strong community will help attract them to your game.

Consider the following:

  • Facebook – nearly 1 billion people
  • Twitter – researching hashtags
  • Google+ – not solid enough for a small business to jump on to at this point, in my humble opinion.
  • Forums – search for forums around the games you work on – word games? check other word game sites
  • Other national social networks (like Orkut in Brazil or RenRen in China)

It’s ok to be a noob

Yoda was wrong, there is absolutely a “try” in social media. Social media is very much about trial and error and testing what your community likes and engages with. It will take time. Here is where you begin:

  • Invite people in your network
  • Share meaningful content, share it out from your new twitter/facebook to your own networks
  • Go beyond people you know and build new relationships via commenting and sharing around other people’s content (this part is labour intensive)
  • Invite people to get involved with some decisions – (post pictures of your office and ask them if its how they would arrange it, for example)
  • Share rich media – photos/video
  • Ask questions to the growing community and keep them engaged.

Create Your Strategy

Once you know where to connect with your players you need to develop a communications strategy. This need not be elaborate or ornate. An example of a simple, yet effective strategy should include the following elements:

  • Facebook – one post a day minimum. Do it at lunch time for your market
  • Twitter – share information about the daily life of your company – check for #hashtags around keywords relating to your game and get involved in conversations/follow people using the hashtags. “Twitter is the grout of your day”
  • Create/share engaging, rich content (photos, videos)
  • Create content around the values your company supports (mission statement).
  • Social media is made for mobile – please embrace it.

Learn from others who have gone before you

Just like in game development and other disciplines, there are best practices in social media. By learning from what other people do, you can avoid some mistakes. You can also learn some of their signature social media moves like:

    • Creating a developer diary – blog/tweet about your experience creating the game
    • Sharing the struggles and successes you have
    • Using videos/photos to showcase the people in your studio and the great things they are doing.
    • Focuing on engaging content built around what your game brand “feels” like. What do you want you brand experience to be?

Important things to remember

    • Social media is multi-directional and conversational
    • Creating a “news-feed” that is all about you, will not bring people in (Ask yourself, what would you interact with?)
    • IF a newsfeed style is created, people will block your updates, and they will be lost. Better to NOT post than to do a newsfeed.
    • Do not cross-post from one-network to another – Twitter is a different tool than Facebook.
    • For every 10 posts on social media – 2 can be directly about your brand, 4 around values/ideas in that area, 3 that are fun/innovative, 1 that is a test case for what your community likes
    • Have fun and don’t be afraid to share the cool things you are doing, because you are doing cool things!

Social media is a cheap, effective and powerful tool for any game developer to use to grow their brand. Jump in and as is said on Star Trek, “Engage!”

7 Ways To Put the LOVE Into Your Community Management

12 02 2012

This Valentine’s Day, I am struck by the similarities between having a good relationship and strong community management. The 7 tips below will help you build stronger connections both online and offline in your personal life.

1) Look For Solutions Together

Sometimes in communities problems will come up, just as they do in any healthy relationship. The strength of a community and a relationship is not measured in the problems that arise, but rather how a solution is arrived at. With good communication, openness and transparency communities can work to find solutions together.

A great example of this can be found in opensource communities as they work through creating the software they need.

2) Think Before Reacting

Diverse ideas and opinions can be found in any community and in most relationships. We all have different thoughts and ideas as to how things should be done. We are all entitled to our own opinions and will be triggered by different issues. Think before your write or speak. If there is tightness in your chest, it is probably not the time to react.

If you need to, sleep on it – as time passes you will be able to respond rather than react.

3) Be Grateful and Say Thank You

Everyone loves to feel appreciated. When we are grateful, we have more to be thankful for. A little appreciation can go along way in community management and in a relationship. It fosters both goodwill and creates a greater willingness on the part of people to engage and be present. Have you recently thanked your community?

4) Humanity is Reality

In community management as in a relationship, it is important to share your humanity. This is what makes you a real person. When people can share the vulnerable side and be authentic with one another it builds trust and increases the connection shared. This change will be palpable in your community. (For more on authenticity, see this post)

5) Forgive

We can all make mistakes, both in an intimate relationship or in a community. It takes courage for one to admit they are wrong, particularly in a public forum like an online community. Bring people in with a hug, and trust people to be good from the beginning.

6) Remember to Laugh

Laughter is the best medicine. Even when serious issues come up laughter can help with conflict resolution and diffuse tensions. This is essential for both relationships and in community management. Life should be fun most of the time and being able to laugh at each other and play are great ways to keep both a relationship and community vital.

7) Celebrate Success

In both communities and in love it is important to celebrate your achievements. When people united together by a common idea, goal (or love) reach a milestone or achieve something great, celebration is essential. It keeps everyone motivated and happy and fosters more success.

This Valentine’s Day, remember these areas in your own personal relationships and in your online communities, and you will surely find that you are setting yourself up for greater success in the months to come. May your community continue to shine!  Happy Valentine’s Day!

I believe in a thing called LOOOOOVE!

Authenticity Is Essential in Social Media [AKA How Being Yourself Online Will Change The World :D]

5 02 2012

After encountering folks and companies online that are not necessarily what they may say they are, I started to think of what it was that bothered me about the inconsistency. It comes down to one of my core values: authenticity. I strongly believe in being who one is wherever you are, perhaps this is due to coming out at age 17, and generally being a “weird kid” growing up, but authenticity was an area I wanted to explore further. Especially with regard to who it fits into our modern social media world.

The internet allows for anonymity.   That can be a very great thing when revolutions or political persecution are involved. Otherwise, I 100% support using one’s real name online.

A real name alone is not enough. One can use their real name and not be honest about who they are. I believe inauthenticity is not only harmful to our online interactions, but to our communities, businesses, and over all, our world.

Be yourself. Period.

How authenticity affects a person’s online identity

If you are going to be present online, then you need to be yourself. Social media success requires content creation in one’s own voice, be it as an individual or a company. The internet is, somewhat ironically, based on trust. When people are disingenuous with who they are online, it can affect their offline life.  Act as “another person” online and your interactions will be suspect. Trust will be lost.

How authenticity affects businesses

Businesses used to think it crucial to control and manage their identity both on and offline.  Conventional marketing wisdom would stress the importance of companies ‘controlling’ or managing their brand and image.  The internet is causing a revolution in this area.  Customers are keen to interact with their favourite brands.  They also want to share their impressions and expect to be able to do so.  Companies can choose to harness this power with their greatest asset – their human resources.  Allow your employees to interact with your customers on social media in an authentic and heartfelt way and your business will boom.  Try to control and manage your customer’s speech and employees interactions and get ready for a backlash.

It is necessary to have a social media policy that provides clarity to your employees as to your business goals, and objectives. This will allow you to create a culture of brand ambassadors.  Without such a policy, confusion and hesitation will lead to a lack of employee participation and inconsistent messaging.  Provide your employees with guidance and encourage them to shine.

When a company or brand lies or misleads people in social media, they are often punished by their customers.  If your company makes an error, please be honest, transparent and real in your handling of the situation.

How authenticity affects our world

Authenticity refers to the truthfulness of origins, attributions, commitments, sincerity, devotion, and intentions. Could you imagine a world where everyone lived like that?  I sure could.  Life would be much easier for all of us if we could find the courage to practice authenticity.  Let’s face it, we all look for this and crave it in our relationships with people. Being authentic allows and encourages others to do the same.

Consistent authenticity has the power to change a world in which even the smallest voice can be heard.

In Summary

Authenticity is essential in online community. If you engage your community as your authentic self you never have to worry about being called out on inconsistency. Your community members can easily find out if there is something up, and can call you out on it. Just be yourself and avoid the mess.

An authentic voice means that your community members can trust you. Once that trust has been built (it will take time, and careful consideration) you will have community members who are devoted to your brand. The creation of a positive community around your brand will be far more rewarding in word of mouth than any quick one-off email campaign.

An authentic social media presence:

  • is easier
  • more engaging
  • more interactive
  • creates greater brand affinity
  • increased trust
  • encourages others to interact authentically
  • helps create a better world for everyone, one interaction at a time.

Your authenticity WILL inspire others.  Now go be yourself, increase your social media credit, and shine your light brightly!

8 Tips for Finding Work Using Social Media

12 01 2012

These tips were taken from a talk I gave at the Vancouver Film School on December 6th, 2011

Thirty years ago, networking was a defined art. It was a known quantity, and when you learned how to network, you were also learning social graces and how to present yourself professionally. Back then, being sure you were communicating exactly what you meant to was the most important idea, and it was done through body language, clothes, and speech.

Today, while those skills are still important, a new challenger has entered the ring.  By comparison to the long history of in-person networking, social media sites like Twitter, Facebook and Google Plus have shown up practically yesterday. It’s no surprise that the internet is full of tips articles that seem vague or unsure – compared to the networking of a generation ago, it can be hard to see the social aspects in social media.

I’ve made a career out of using this new technology’s strengths to attract large communities to sites I’ve worked for. The International Game Developers’ Association, gamification expert Jane McGonigal, and have all benefited from my expertise, and now I’m sharing it with you – so you know what to share on Facebook.

1. Be yourself – but present yourself at your best.

Passion, Humility, Openness, and Authenticity – these are my social media core concepts. It might seem strange to use such personalized ideas when metrics and measurement are so trendy – but that’s exactly the point. If you’re passionate, humble, open, and authentic, then anyone who follows you knows they’re getting more than numbers: they’re getting to know someone.

Part of self-promotion is helping colleagues out when you can. Of course, you deserve compensation for your skills and connections – but there’s a difference between a client and a friend. One gets billed, the other is grateful. Each relationship is useful in different ways. If you help friends when they need you, they will be there for you in the same way. It’s less about debts than it is about goodwill. Despite what they say, it’s the nice guys who finish first in networking.

Naturally, you want to present yourself in the best possible light to build any relationship. If you were having photos taken, you wouldn’t show up in sweatpants and yell about your recent breakup. In the same way, when you’re at the keyboard it can be tempting to vent – but when you’re feeling negative, it’s best to step away from the internet. If nobody replies, that doesn’t mean that nobody saw the post. And Google never forgets.

2. Everything in moderation.

One of the wonderful things about social media is how accessible it is. It’s very tempting to think “Well, I’ll be open! All the way open!” and start posting hourly copies of your resume on your potential employer’s Facebook wall, because fortune favors the bold and persistent!

Good start, but let’s examine it closely. The worst thing the company rep can say is not “No,” but “Hey, everyone I know privately? This guy won’t leave me alone, and he won’t take a hint.” When you’re looking at a Facebook page, it’s easy to think of the company as just one entity when, instead, it’s many people behind a united front. Any employee could be reading their company’s Facebook page – including the CEO. You never know who could be reading, and just as importantly, who their friends and coworkers are. Persistence and boldness is fantastic; just make sure that you’re not overdoing it.

3. Better safe than unemployed.

Let’s say you make an insightful comment on a site like the Escapist, which has Facebook sign-in, and an HR manager decides to click on your name and see what you’re all about… only to see a picture of you shirtless, kneeling on your ironing board, with two forties of malt liquor in each hand.

That sounds exaggerated, but it’s true to life. Potential employers can track your statements back to you even if you don’t post them with Facebook. Have a screenname? Chances are you’re not as protected as you think. It’s better to be careful than assume you’re safe and regret it. By the same token, make sure that your online identity is you and only you – if you have a common name, claim it in as many places as you can. The last thing you want is to be burned by mistaken identity.

4. Be interesting, because it attracts interesting people.

That said, social media is a two-way street. Companies post media for their communities, but so can you. Think about what gets you to click ‘Like’ – projects and content that appeals to your passions, right? The best way to generate word of mouth is to make something that you’re passionate about… because odds are good you’re not the only one. Share your interesting work – because if you don’t share it, how is anyone else supposed to?

Start a Conversation

5. Interact, don’t broadcast.

Again, sharing content is a balancing act. On the one hand, it’s easy to undershare. On the other, it’s easy to overshare <em>the wrong thing</em>. In other words, if you share every minute detail of a project, you will be tuned out. It’s nothing personal – you’ve done the same to spam. However, if you take the time to find something interesting within each detail and introduce it, then people will take the time to comment. To get them to stick around – the most important part – you have to listen to what they say, take it seriously when replying, and make them feel like a part of something bigger.

6. Write for your medium.

These strategies are all generally applicable, because they’re about being interesting and engaging online using the tools of social media. But every tool needs to be treated uniquely: a wrench isn’t good at the same things as a hammer. Similarly, Twitter is great at making short links and text go viral; Facebook is great at sharing photos, videos, and short paragraphs; LinkedIn is frequently recruiters’ first stop; and YouTube has many advantages: Google now puts videos at the top of search results, there’s more opportunity for creativity, and most usefully, there are far fewer job hunters using video than websites. It’s a great opportunity for someone with a fresh approach.

7. Go where the people are.

It’s a good idea to keep in mind your intended audience: What would be the easiest way to get what they need to do done? Where would they go to answer questions? Most people use Facebook socially, you probably know the Google+ holdouts who refuse to join Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr are both used to spread content as far as possible, and smaller networks like reddit and message boards are usually niche-specific. It’s easiest to engage people when you know what they expect. Here’s a great example: in 2010, Alec Brownstein created the Google Job Experiment, where he took out Google Ads that triggered when CEOs Googled themselves. Now, that was last year, so it’s not as unique now – but it’s also far from common.

8. Think Big – and don’t be afraid to try!

Now you know to be careful – it’s important to control how you come across when someone Googles your name, because you won’t be standing next to them to explain everything that looks bad out of context. Like anything worth doing, it’s important to take social media seriously, because you don’t only have to worry about saying what you mean to say. You also have to make sure that you aren’t saying things that you don’t intend.

On the other hand, social media is exciting! Your heroes and inspirations are only a click away. They’re people just like you and, chances are, they got that successful by loving the same things about the job that you do. So if you think of an idea that you are sure will get the right people’s attention, go for it! Take chances, make mistakes – just make sure you consider them carefully first.

Social media is fun in the same way as talking shop at a convention is: you get to talk to people who share your interests, nerd out, and find new contacts. As long as you make sure that you’re professional when you need to be professional, you’ll have a blast when you want to have fun.

Now get out there and make some friends!

Written by Karl Parakenings, covering a talk by Ryan Arndt at Vancouver Film School

How (not) To Get A Job Using Social Media

15 12 2011
View more presentations from Ryan Arndt

Full Video of the Presentation at Vancouver Film School