Last week, I mentioned Fall Guys’ Community Director, @OliverAge24, and his role in making Fall Guys go viral. While the discussion started in relation to using Twitch as a marketing platform, more can be said about Oliver’s role in promoting Fall Guys across multiple social media platforms and the results of that strategy.
Fortunately for us, Oliver outlined the core points of the strategy through a series of tweets. While this presents me with an opportunity to outline what made the strategy unique and effective, it’s also important that the conversation begins with a disclaimer:
I didn’t write this strategy. I think it’s an amazing look at how to market products into the 2020’s, but the genius behind it is really Oliver’s. I’d go as far as to say that I feel bad for reusing this much content towards my own writing. On the other hand, the brilliance of the whole thing ought to be outlined further than it has been to date. I’ll be linking each tweet I’m using as the source of the discussion and I’ll try and keep quotes to a minimum. I’ll state again that this strategy isn’t mine, and I’m just hoping to promote it as a great strategy for its own sake. My contribution will be in breaking it down and highlighting parts of it.
I can’t break down each slide of the strategy, so I’ll be focusing on the ones that were most relevant and are the most original. The focus on community building is at the centre of that, but I’ll also be speaking to winning tactics given the size of the team that worked on Fall Guys and the overall feel that the strategy went for.
Scaling Small Teams
Small teams are becoming more commonplace as developers and entrepreneurs find new sources of funding. Crowdsourcing development has become more common in the gaming industry, as has early access for fundraising during development. This is a similar environment to many startups, and this tactic is transferrable across industries.
Oliver focused on taking a personal approach to the marketing of Fall Guys. This meant treating the entire marketing strategy as if only one person was promoting the game. The result was a personable approach; folks that saw Fall Guys’ marketing felt like they were being spoken to personally because all the marketing efforts were coming from a single voice.
Further to this, Oliver was doing things that larger marketing strategy can’t do. Actively interacting with fans that asked questions, engaging with the content that was posted to Twitter, and promoting a tight-knit community would only be viable for a time. As the community grew, those tactics would have to be abandoned in favour of focusing on larger marketing goals.
This allowed Fall Guys to come across in an authentic way. The small studio would reach out to people personally to talk about the game they were passionate about. Community content came pouring in, and the marketing team supported it by creating channels that would promote interconnectivity with other players.
This slide is the one I used in my last article. The basic premise is simple enough and is widely understood in marketing circles. But what Oliver emphasized was more than just the voice of each platform; his strategy focused on understanding user trends on those platforms.
The voice you use on Twitter should be different than the one you use on Instagram; this is essentially back to speech genres. But to go the extra mile, you have to understand how your audience uses those platforms. This is different than how many companies approach social media marketing. By empathising with the user and supporting them in how they want to use the platform, you validate their point of view. You enable them to continue taking part in the conversation in a way that’s accessible to them. You’re no longer framing the conversation to control it; you’re letting the fans create a community.
What Oliver did is look at the content that Fall Guys players put out and validate it by centring the strategy around it. This established Oliver and Fall Guys as valuable members of that platform’s community. Trust could be built up from there, and folks felt enabled to take part in a conversation that’s usually driven by the marketing team instead of by the fans.
The result was an authentic voice that drew people in. Fall Guys as a brand seemed to actively listen to its fans and responded in a way that made sense for each platform. They met their fans where they already were but did so in an honest way.
Trust the Experts
Referring to my previous article about Twitch, I mentioned that content creators are great at engaging with their communities. While Oliver framed this slide around the lessons that can learned by watching content creators go to work, I think the strategy also emphasized letting content creators promote Fall Guys in a way that worked best for their community.
When it came to influencer relations, Oliver took a backseat to let the experts promote in a way that would work with their community. Because Oliver didn’t have a complete understanding of how each content creator community operated, he let influencers take charge.
That’s not to say that Oliver wasn’t there at all though. An important part of engaging with content creators and their community is taking part in those communities. Instead of giving out beta access codes to influencers and watching the player base grow, Oliver joined the communities where codes were being given.
He was active on Twitter and on Twitch talking with creators and establishing a connection with communities. He talked in Twitch chat when he could and showed a very human side of Fall Guys’ marketing. At the same time, he was never overbearing, and never told content creators what to say about the game or how to distribute beta access codes.
One thing that I can’t stress enough, and it’s bled into all my other talking points so far, is the importance of building and maintaining a community around your product. In the case of Fall Guys, the community was set up and given various platforms on which fans could get in touch and connect with each other.
This multiplication of platforms is important in community building because it enables fans to define sub-communities around each platform. In the same thread as the slides, Oliver breaks down the strategy behind each platform used. By allowing fans to have defined communities for new players, for asking questions, for hanging out, or for posting memes, Oliver ensured that the wider Fall Guys’ community would stay tight-knit.
A product’s community is what determines its appeal in the long run. Other games from similar-sized developers have managed to stay relevant by relying on their community for support. A community can support your product by helping with marketing and outreach, but also by welcoming new community members.
Creating a cycle where your community can actively contribute to the growth of itself is an excellent strategy to increase user retention. It also promotes your organization as community-driven, authentic, and friendly. Oliver actively engaged and promoted the Fall Guys community, and the game’s popularity increased as a result.
W H O L E S O M E
One thing that not enough organizations figure out is what they’re bringing to social media. Are you bringing positivity? Laughs? Are you just another corporate voice? What value does your social media presence bring to your fans and to all the users of the platform?
Oliver made the decision that Fall Guys would bring positivity to social media. This blended well with the game’s vibe, but also helped support the concept of Fall Guys’ community. In fact, I’d say that bringing positivity to social media (and especially Twitter!) is a great strategy regardless of your brand’s usual voice.
By focusing on positivity, Oliver emphasized everything that Fall Guys stood for while supporting every other aspect of the marketing strategy. No criticism can be made against being too nice, and this helped grow Fall Guys as a game that actively fights toxicity.
There are five lessons that can be found in Oliver and Fall Guys’ marketing strategy:
- A strategy can be focused around the resources at your disposal. Oliver managed to create hype for the game by interacting with players and taking part in their discussions. The campaign was honest in portraying just how small the studio is, and fans answered with support.
- Ironically, Fall Guys didn’t game the system. Oliver just had a good grasp of how gamers would respond to social media marketing and didn’t try to steer things in a direction that was counter to that. He met players on their terms.
- Oliver trusted content creators to engage their own communities about Fall Guys. All he had to do was get influencers involved, and then the Fall Guys community would speak for itself. This lesson plays into the first lesson in that this could all be done by one person.
- Oliver ensured that there was more to Fall Guys than just fun gameplay. He worked to set up an active community of players that would support each other. This acted as value added to the game itself and helped keep Fall Guys relevant well after its release.
- Oliver looked at what Fall Guys could bring to social media as a whole. Given the game’s emphasis on friendly competition and a fun environment, the decision was made to keep Fall Guys social media presence as friendly and wholesome as possible. It’s important to figure out what you’re bringing to social media; ask yourself how your brand can bring added positivity to platform users.
NOTES & Links
Without overdoing it with the praise, I hope the above helped break down why Fall Guys was so successful at launch. I also need to stress Oliver’s role in that success, because it’s clear that a lot of effort went into thinking up this marketing strategy.
It might be too self-congratulatory, but I think that hiring folks who actively engage in emerging trends is the best way for brands to stay relevant.