Unless you’ve been living under the Fruit Chute barriers for the past few months, you know what Fall Guys is. It’s a battle royale party game by Mediatonic, where you and tens of other cute little beans flop all over each other throughout various levels. (The cute little beans are also six feet tall which calls into terrifying question how big everything else is, but let’s not think about it.)
Fall Guys released on August 4th this year to server-breaking success, topping both the Steam best-selling charts and Twitch’s games category constantly. So what is it that catapulted Fall Guys to such popularity? It’s an adorable game that hits the cute factor across different age groups, it's versatile and it had a shit hot social media launch strategy. The whole team did an insane job with it, and as Oliver told us, “Mediatonic has made 130 games over 15 years before releasing their big hit with Fall Guys. The lessons learned on those games all helped Fall Guys become the incredible success that it is.”
The Fall Guys Twitter account, run by @OliverAge24, has been incredibly successful and met with high praise. In light of this, Oliver released a thread on parts of the game’s social media strategy. We reached out to Oliver to dive a little bit deeper & answer a few questions of ours to expand upon his strategy. If you take his advice, YOU TOO COULD START A FEUD WITH TIMTHETATMAN! (Or just have a good game release, whatever.)#
"I spend a lot of time on Twitter and Discord in my own time. I see and absorb best practices all of the time by just being a part of that world. I think the best way to learn about a platform is to spend a lot of time on it."
Oliver’s first point in the thread is to speak in a similar language and tone to your audience, in a way that resonates best on that platform. On social media, relatability and shared dialect is power. People are far more likely to engage with your tweets if they can almost forget they’re coming from a company. Many accounts are already catching onto this. Xbox, Devolver Digital and Elgato are some of the Twitter accounts in the scene right now that juggle official businessy announcements with a comedic side. And they’re made more endearing to their purchasers for that. Elgato makes streaming memes, Xbox responded to the Xbox Series S leak iconically, and Devolver Digital blesses us with daily sass. They’re always making the jokes their demographic are making too.
Oliver told us “when I first joined Mediatonic, there wasn’t anyone dedicated to running the Twitter account specifically. So, one of the big adjustments I wanted to make early-on was switching to a much more personal, 1st person voice. It wasn’t that the current strategy wasn’t working - it was just based on what I’d seen work successfully for some popular fast food Twitter accounts. There has been a shift towards these brands adopting a more personal tone of voice, and it generally seems to resonate really well. I made a case for it and everyone was happy for me to try it out. Fortunately, it has worked really well.”
Don’t put somebody with a specialisation in print marketing in charge of your socials. Get a dedicated social media manager who understands both the analytical data side of things as well as having an insight into your demographic. You don’t want to be going “hello, fellow kids” with cat memes from 2011. Match your audience’s energy, always. And don't be shy, try different things, tweak your content & stick to what works best for your audience.
"Do things that don't scale. Growing a community or social platform gets easier as you grow. We can build momentum by going the extra mile and doing things that will become impossible as we grow."
Oliver’s next point is to “build momentum by going the extra mile and doing things that aren't physically possible as you get bigger”. For example, responding to every tweet reply that you get. It’s something that builds relationship value initially, but it will be impossible when your account reaches millions of followers. Interact with as many of your replies as you can, don’t leave anybody neglected. This increases engagement significantly. If your audience knows that you are responsive, they will in return engage with you much more so it is a win win all around as you want that sweet engagement to grow. It's a reward feeling when a brand or game account replies to us.
And when there’s something you can only do once, give it your all. Fall Guys’ beta keys were infamous. They released beta keys to influencers via a third-party request form - but they also released beta keys to the public via their Twitter account, using different comedic formats to do so. By doing so Fall Guys created a FOMO effect for influencers & players alike. Nobody wanted to miss out, everyone wanted to give this new quirky game a go!
Building up hype for the beta builds up hype for the game, and it’s something they can only do once. The way they announced keys was eye-catching, it started a stir, there were tweets people were incentivised to reply to once they redeemed their code or just missed it. It was the very beginning of launch, and it was already a way they were setting themselves apart. For many people, the jokes about beta keys were their first introduction to the account & therefore to the game itself.
If you run a beta, or announce a trailer, or the launch itself, give it 110%. This can be tough to do when you are a small indie studio but don’t waste your pushes. A lot of betas we come across are a standalone marketing feature either to create hype or to actually stress test the game. However very few build their Beta’s into their social media strategy simply tweeting once that the beta is live just isn’t going to cut it. Especially not if you are still growing your community. Build anticipation for it in a unique way. Make sure the event itself is fire, and don’t be afraid to say that it is.
"Mediatonic in particular has always been awesome at collaborating with other studios. They've been making games for years with some huge IPs. I wanted to try extending that collaboration out to the players and community around Fall Guys."
Collaborating with your community makes them feel seen and appreciated. Fall Guys posted/retweeted clips of streamers playing the game, and also jumped onto a community meme with Timthetatman. When people make memes about the game, Fall Guys often quote-retweets it to appreciate it. They also make sure they collaborate with all players as well as content creators - a few meme contests have been hosted, where the winners received beta keys.
Usually gaming can be quite elite. You need to have the right amount of followership and be a larger creator in order to be retweeted or talked to by the majority of large gaming accounts. Fall Guys changed that. Everyone has the same chance to get their comment liked, retweeted or engaged with. This is super powerful and drives engagement because people believe that you’ll actually see and appreciate their work!
So if your community makes content for your game, boost it. Fanart, clips, memes, whatever! Quote retweet it, so that when it comes up on people’s feeds they know it’s because you’re acknowledging a fanwork (as opposed to a simple retweet, which is just the original post by itself). And of course, make sure you’re balancing your own content and that of your fans. This has been absolutely vital to the Fall Guys Social Media strategy. Oliver explains that championing fans content, get the content out to more people & grows the community overall. We are 100% behind this strategy & are all for championing the audiences we manage!
"Monitor and measure what's working using analytics. Use this to inform future posts and creative."
For anyone trying to make a start on social media, you definitely have to trip before you can run. Does posting a photo by itself with no caption work well? You’ve done that three times and it always flopped? Right, try it with a caption now. Better? Cool. Now we always use captions. Never be afraid to fail, you’re going to make hundreds of tweets, not all of them are going to slap, and you need to feel out what your community wants. This is both in relation to algorithmic finagling business like captions/post timings, and general game attitude. If your community loves a certain character or location, post more of them! Tweaking your content constantly is what will set you apart.
"Learn from influencers. Influencers are generally way better at growing communities and audiences on social media than companies. Watch them and see what [you] can learn and steal."
Brands often struggle to appear human. Corporate businesses are still trying to find their feet on social media & in 2020 the bosses that have put trust behind their social media managers are the ones that are seeing great results. We preach this all the time. Talk to your audience, not at them. Within gaming this is particularly important. If your audience is 15 to 30 years old you want to keep it simple. Stop with the overcomplicating & the boomer slang. Spend time on the forums that they are on. Live on Reddit, Discord & Twitter. Really get down with the audience you are targeting. Influencers have long cracked the code on this. They speak to their audiences day to day & they are pretty much a part of that audience.
Oliver says: "In general, I think the games industry is a little behind other industries when it comes to social media. The fact that there are fast food restaurants with more loved Twitter accounts than video games still really entertains me!”
I mean Wendy's is goals. Considering gaming accounts have an abundance of content there is still so much more that can be done within the space.
"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 Game Devs seem more personal and relatable."
As mentioned earlier, the Fall Guys’ servers were under TREMENDOUS pressure at launch, because it was impossible to anticipate just how many players they were going to get. The team stayed completely open about this, retaining their light-hearted tone while also taking players’ issues seriously. They even released a bonus costume for everyone as an apology! The servers needed to be posted about so much that they made a spin-off account, @FallGuysOwl, who posts updates in a charming way.
Another issue Fall Guys faced was cheaters. Again, their Twitter retained the cheery tone while also taking cheating seriously because it was ruining the experience for players. They also posted an extensive thread on exactly how they worked on their cheat detection and “Cheater Island”.
Your game isn’t going to be perfect. There’s going to be road bumps and there will be endless bugs. And that’s totally okay! What matters is how you deal with those issues & how you communicate them to your audience. Transparency is key. Oliver told us “With Fall Guys, we made a point of sharing the development process as much as possible, so that people could feel a part of our journey.”
"Listen and acknowledge. 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 [concerns]."
Oliver’s point with this is more of a customer service based approach. However, looking at Fall Guys’ Twitter, they also do this with community jokes. He’s an expert at reading the room.
For example, the yellow team debacle. Oliver noticed that players were making the joke that the Yellow Team never wins, and he recognised it, elevated it, and let the joke run it's course. He didn’t beat it like a dead horse. It was the joke of the week, and then he moved on.
Oliver’s thread on Fall Guys’ social media strategy has more points than the ones we’ve highlighted in this article - we just wanted to shine a light on our favourites, and expand upon those. We highly recommend checking out his original thread as well as his own personal Twitter where he discusses his job & best practices. For more excerpts of our exclusive interview with Oliver, check out our Instagram!
That wraps up our Fall Guys Blog! We hope this was useful & you didn't snooze off half way through. If you have any topics you want us to dive into make sure to tweet at @Disobey with your blog suggestions or questions <3