Marketing your own game can be very hard and hell, it can be frustrating. You spend so long developing a game from scratch, pouring your heart and soul into it and of course after all that hard work, you want people to play and experience it.
In my own humble opinion I think the days of the press being the only way of marketing your game are behind us. Now don't get me wrong, the press is still a great way to market your game. There's noting better than seeing a great feature or article about your game up on some of the greats like Develop, IGN, EDGE, GamesTM and many more but social networks have become the best tool to a developer with no marketing budget for getting news out there.
So what I hope to do is give a little breakdown on my experience using some of the most popular social networks for marketing games.
Although not a social network site I guess the Eyesodic Games site has always been ground zero for news on the games I've been working on. At first the site didn't get much traffic and that's to be expected when you're new. Blog posts are great for getting traffic up. Don't just write blog posts about what news you have on your game. Write W.I.P. blogs and developer diaries, things that are fun for people to read and are not just a typical press release.
Facebook was the first social network I started using for Eyesodic Games and although it was slow at first, it soon became one of the largest sources of traffic and also how a lot of people found out about Eyesodic Games was through likes and shares on Facebook. At fist Facebook was just another way of sharing the content found on our site but it soon became a way of communicating with fans and getting better feedback. People are more interested in communicating with developers and feeling they have a voice. So it's always great when you're developing something and you can ask fans what they think and get real time feedback. Try to avoid sounding official and boring, talk to fans like real people and ask them questions. Make them feel part of it. Encourage discussion among fans, it's a great way to find out what they think about the game and helps you in development.
Twitter is the social network I like the best for getting news out even though I was against setting up an account at first. At fist I was against it because I felt it was a very spam like way of marketing a game but once I set up the account I found it the best for communicating with fans and sharing news. Twitter is great when you tweet information on how development is coming along and posting screenshots. Using hashtags is a great way of getting people to see your tweets and get followers but my advice is don't make the tweets annoying by having noting but hashtagged words.
Link to your own personal account too. If you're like me you post a lot about what you are working on. People like to follow and read the personal opinions and experiences on game developers. It shows that you are in fact a real person and that this is your passion. Twitter is also a great way to make new contacts. Conversations can gain you some new followers and maybe even some contacts that can help you out. Speaking your mind is something you should do more of because people respect the fact that you are honest and not being boring and professional.
I hope this has been of some help to folks out there and if you want to get in touch with me feel free to on Twitter or just mail me!