4 Social engagement lessons from playing video games

June 21, 2016
 

We all have different ways to unwind and relax – we even made a list of Metis employees’ favorite ways. Personally, I’m a video gamer. There aren’t many game types that I won’t play, but my personal favorite genre is multiplay online battle arena (MOBA) defend-our-base, online, team-centric games. Being a fan of Blizzard Entertainment for more than 10 years, I naturally got hooked on its MOBA game, Heroes of the Storm.


After one match in particular, I was privately messaged by a former teammate who used some truly hateful language. As you may or may not know, the internet can be a cruel place, online games particularly so. While the game interface has a “report abuse” option, I felt this matter might require some elevation. I immediately screenshotted the exchange and sent it to Dustin Browder, the game director, on Twitter. (Please excuse my video game jargon.)


He responded within 24 hours of my tweet.


Did what he say have much impact on the situation? Maybe, but I’ll likely never know. What I do know is that his acknowledgement of my issue validated tweeting at him.


Why did I even think to do this at all? I learned months ago that Browder takes to Twitter almost every day to interact with his more than 30,000 followers in celebration, acknowledgement, discussion or enlightenment. This gentleman, who has dozens of critical tasks awaiting his input, takes hours every week to do this.


Most executives aren’t on social media. But their active and engaged presence can make a big difference. Here’s what I learned about leadership from this exchange:


1. Niche communities are passionate.
Most brands have die-hard subcultures and communities associated with their products or service. Find the conversations in your space and listen. See what they’re saying about you or about your industry’s trends. You’ll be a step ahead of your competitors.


2. Acknowledgement from executives is meaningful.
Ever had a delay or cancellation at the airport and tweeted at Delta or Southwest? How’d you feel when they responded? I’m sure it was nice to be acknowledged. Now imagine that feeling if a senior manager or executive had reached out. Not many companies do that, but the ones that do rock their fans’ and customers’ worlds. When this director reached out to me, I felt heard in a way that the brand couldn’t have replicated in the same interaction.

Tweet: “I always feel connected to my co-workers.” @yesseeca on #WFH at @MetisComm: http://bit.ly/1USWGVX "Find the conversations in your space and listen."

3. Commitment by executives to social media is key.
While I appreciated how Browder handled my situation, consider this: what if he just had a Twitter account and tweeted announcements about his company’s products, but never acknowledged the hundreds of mentions he received? Your brand account is perfect for retweeting and sharing news and announcements. But an executive on social media is an opportunity to bring a human’s voice into the discussion. Don’t miss that opportunity.


4. C-suite social media reach is no joke.
Ever feel like your tweets or your executive team’s tweets don’t have much impact? Wrong. I got several thousand impressions and dozens of engagements with his significant following. I had conversations with other passionate fans about features of the game. All of this came from a retweet by an executive. I even made a few friends for my next match in the game. Don’t discount the power you or your executive team has to make a difference in fans’ and customers’ lives.


Social media has changed the game for leaders in organizations. Urge yourself and the leaders around you to make a step forward in their community engagement. You won’t be disappointed.

 

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