How Fall Guys Used Social Media & Community Planning as a Catalyst to Success
Every now and then you have a game that explodes on social media. Mediatonic’s latest, Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout did exactly that. Following its release in early August, it has become an instant hit, selling over 7 million copies on Steam and becoming the most downloaded PS Plus game ever. With over 1,5 million followers on the game’s official Twitter account at the time of writing, and a fast-growing Discord server, Fall Guys is bound to leave an impression.
So, how did Mediatonic Games grow their Fall Guys’ community from 3k followers on Twitter at the end of last year, to a massive 1,5 million followers? @OliverAge24 recently shared the Community/Social Media Plan behind Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout on Twitter, and how it acted as a catalyst to the success of the game.
I wanted to highlight some of the quotes that struck a chord with me, and explain how they contributed to the success of Fall Guys.
Of the platform, not just on it
“Speak in a similar language and tone to our audience, in a way that resonates best on that platform.”
Understanding how your audience behaves, how your players communicate and understanding the platform they reside on (including its very own culture and etiquette) is paramount for genuine and approachable experiences. It is important to create trust with your audience, which is rather hard without understanding how to communicate efficiently and effectively.
“Make sure posts always have obvious value. This can be informative, entertainment, educational, relatable, or technical. Never post for the sake of it.”
Oliver raises the point that things like irreverence have its value too, despite not commonly being associated with it, and is very much a part of community building. By challenging existing values you provoke criticism, which in turn leads to dialogue and engagement. He warns to be specifically careful with the dry and boring posts, not the community memes. Remember, you want to draw people’s attention and evoke emotions.
Learn from Influencers
It’s an interesting and not all that unfathomable point. Influencers are generally speaking in the business of growing an audience and evoking emotions. Social media is an influencer’s natural habitat and content creation is their lifeblood.
Notice the pronged strategy to attract influencers. Fall Guys used multiple paths to collaborate with Influencers: organic attraction and outreach. In this particular case of organic attraction we see an interesting split of the strategy. While hype around the game was created early on and brought in its fair share of influencers, Fall Guys managed to attract even more by engaging them with their content; be it themselves or by the influencers’ fans. Brilliant!
Every tweet, every single post, requires a purpose or goal and a measurement for success. What is the desired outcome of your action? How do you measure its success? Plan, execute, measure and iterate. Often underestimated, well-planned Social Media and Community strategies can be a defining factor, uplifting a game from moderate success to a hit.
Honest, authentic and open + Listen and Acknowledge
“Players love seeing devs talk candidly about why things were difficult, how things work, and sharing things that aren’t finished or perfect. It makes GameDev seem more personal and relatable.”
“Players mostly just want to feel like they’re valued and are being listened to. We don’t always need to action their feedback, but we should always be listening to their concerns and acknowledging their feedback.”
I had to take both quotes together as there’s a similar underlying truth here. As I mentioned before, players crave genuine and approachable experiences. They don’t want to talk to a faceless brand, they want honest human interaction. They want to feel valued and expect to be understood by the other party. When communication starts becoming fuzzy or no longer relatable, it creates distance between the community and developers - which has all sorts of side-effects.
Empower the community + Strength in numbers
“Encourage in-jokes, memes, and community created content. Promote this content and use it to attract new players, while rewarding community members with a platform to share their creations and amplify their voice.”
“Find creative ways for the community to help us with marketing the game. Whether its asking for retweets on twitter, getting them to invite their friends into the Discord, or tagging their friends in our posts.”
If there’s one thing that creates a community, it has got to be a shared sense of belonging. By encouraging your community to engage and be creative, and actively promoting the outcome of that process, you not only empower its members, but you instil an even deeper sense of belonging and appreciation. This results in a Social Growth Loop, where championed user-generated content attracts more players, as shown below.
Twitter and Growth Hacking
Oliver understood early on that Twitter would be the platform best suited for reaching new players with ease. He states the following strategies have been crucial to the successful growth of the audience.
- Asking for retweets
- Retweet competitions
- Celebrating Milestones
- Tastefully jumping on trending hashtags and memes
- Breaking the 4th wall by tweeting in person
- Gifts of the game
- News & updates
- Call-To-Actions & Shout outs
- Sharing community created content
- Sharing concept art, dev shots, gifs & videos
There’s a clear strategy here on both growing the audience and retaining the existing following. While Twitter can be seen as the billboard of the Fall Guys’ community and acts as the acquisition funnel, Discord provides the audience with a sense of belonging and adds value to both, the community and the developers.
Fall Guys is a hilarious and super appealing game but Marketing and Community Management elevated its visibility and reach far beyond expectations.
If you want to read up on the original Twitter thread, you can do so here.