For the most part, Twitter will NOT be a major source of wishlists for your game. (see footnote #1). It’s actually more valuable as a Business to Business tool among your fellow indies. It’s LinkedIn for cool-kids. It really is a great place to collaborate with other studios, find out important news about the industry, share career tips, and locate a new job.
So, if your primary audience is fellow game devs, who should you follow?
Developers making games similar to yours
I know it seems like they should be your enemy but due to the economic principle of agglomeration they are actually your best business opportunity. Everyone who plays games made by your “competition” will probably also play yours too once they beat it. So team up with them. Bundle your games together. Coordinate marketing plans so that when their game launches, you tell your audience about it and when you launch, they in turn tell their audience about it. You can also warn each other about upcoming festivals and sales they would otherwise miss.
Focus on following games that are similar in team size to yours and have been released or updated within the last 3 years.
How to find them:
- Go to your game’s steam page, scroll to the bottom where “More Like This” is and click “View More”
- Then start exploring games made by indies that are in your game’s same genre.
- Then google for the studio that makes that game, then click the “About Us” page and follow everyone there.
- You should follow the official studio account but also all the individuals making the game.
- Introduce yourself and say you are making a game similar to theirs and you are really impressed with their <shaders/art/networking tech/etc>. Ask them if they need anything and how it is going.
- Keep up a friendly conversation. Give them a lot of compliments.
- When they need help, give them a RT or a boost.
Same as above, it benefits all us small indies to connect with other developers. You should connect with anyone who is within a 3 hour drive. Sure they might be releasing on a different platform or a different genre but you never know when you might need a recommendation for a local Unity Developer or to share booth space at a local show. Cities and states with many indie developers have organized to get Steam featuring. Just look at these Steam features put together by Games From Quebec and Swiss Games. Appearing in one of these can bring in thousands of sales and wishlists.
Also watch this great GDC talk where local in-person conventions helped developer Davionne Gooden work his way up to landing an Gamespass deal.
How to find them:
- It is a bit old (And out of date) but you can use GameDev Map
- Search for “<city name> IGDA” or “<city name> game dev meetup” and look for your city or the bigger city that is at least a 3 hour drive from you.
- Search twitter for “#gamedev” or “indie games” or any other relevant term only game developers would use and on the results page, click this box to limit results to those near you
Journalists and Influencers who wrote about the games in #1
Once you locate all the games in step #1 and do some advanced google research to find all the websites or streamers that reviewed and played their game. Figure out what journalist wrote the review and follow them. Search youtube for the Streamers that played it. Journalists and streamers have genre preferences and if they reviewed your “sister studio” game they are more likely to review yours if you show it to them.
Journalists are always looking for recommendations on what to play next and often ask their followers. See some examples here:
BTW the HTMAG discord has a channel dedicated to finding and sharing tweets from journalists asking for recommendations. You can join the discord here and then look for the channel named #twitter-hype-tweets.
Organizers of online festivals
Festivals are the #1 way to earn wishlists. As long as Steam continues to feature them in 2022, festivals should be your top marketing priority.
Therefore, it makes sense to follow organizers for updates about the next festival. Some big ones like DevGAMM have official twitter accounts. EGX Rezzed was actually organized by a smaller organization called Feralvector that has its own twitter account. So do some extensive detective work.
How to find them:
- To get a list of festivals check out this excellent spreadsheet created by Artur of Jupiter Moons Mecha.
- Do some basic google searches to see if each event has an official twitter account.
- Do some deep google searching and about-page browsing to figure out who the individual organizers of the event are. They are worth a follow too because you can usually eavesdrop on their unofficial twitter accounts chattering about the event before it’s official.
The developers who make the tools you use
The marketing teams behind Unity, Unreal, Gamemaker, Nvidia, are always looking form games that use their technology in new, beautiful, and creative ways. You can get featuring and promotions from them if they know you and your game (and the game is impressive).
How to find them:
- Look up the twitter accounts for your entire software and hardware pipeline.
- Also search to see if they have a “community manager” account or a “developer relations” account.
- Be sure to use the official hashtags (they usually recommend them in the bio) so they can find you when you are sharing content about your game.
Hi, I am Chris. Follow me here.
Think of Twitter is a 24-hour convention for professionals
If you tweet and tweet and you never seem to get any visibility or wishlists out of it, that is actually completely normal. Very few “normal” gamers are actually on Twitter looking for games. Twitter isn’t for them. Instead, twitter is for us creators to meet with each other.
Twitter is where you can network, meet other devs, hear about shows, and make introductions to businesses that you can eventually partner with.
Twitter is more useful as a two-part marketing platform. You meet people on Twitter who can help you get promotions on platforms that are more likely to be used by front line consumers.
#1 – This excludes cute games starring cute animals with big eyes. You can get tons of wishlists through Twitter.