Nintendo of America – SMS Usage
Profile for gaming news.
When making the decision to follow Nintendo on Twitter, checking out their Facebook page and YouTube accounts, I assumed that, like any company wanting to make a profit, their feeds and videos would be comprised mainly of product advertisements. But with Nintendo I had the expectation that because they are such a big name in the gaming world and world in general, that their feeds would be targeted at a variety of different consumers, fans, etc. I have always seen Nintendo as a very friendly entity that is relatable and fun. Nintendo of America was literally the first profile that came up when I searched Twitter for Nintendo. But when I began to observe what Nintendo tweeted and posted I was somewhat angry: all they tweeted about, multiple times a day (3-5 on average), was the 3DS and the Wii-U. Not only that but when they actually tweeted about games, the were about the ones that I had no interest in whatsoever nor would I be interested in learning about them, seeing pictures of people playing them and so on. But that’s what they were giving me. What I realized afterwards was that I came onto this Twitter page with set expectations of what I would be reading and seeing: contests, people talking about lots of new/old games and why they loved them, shout-outs to Nintendo by people who were playing their games or have been playing their games for years, and so on. But the major mistake I made was not looking at how their identified themselves as, which is a profile for gaming news. Because Nintendo of America came up first on my search, I assumed my expectations would be filled. Later I discovered that I should have followed Club Nintendo which does involve more of that fan discussion and interaction rather than product advertisements. Okay, all the continuous posts about the 3DS and the upcoming system makes a lot more sense now. But what really disappointed me even after that revelation was the fact that Nintendo of America really did not utilize the large fan base that they had amassed. With over 202,000 followers, all of who will have played a Nintendo game (I am assuming) either now or at some point in their lives, the sheer lack of quality of participatory events was rather disappointing. Nintendo tweets and tweets often, but I don’t believe that they tweet very effectively.
The tweet writer for Nintendo tends to tweet challenges concerning a certain game and whether you can do a certain part of it (i.e. puzzle, maze), images of fans playing up and coming games for the 3DS, shout-outs to other Nintendo affiliated Twitter profiles, en masse tweets that promote those upcoming games and now and then a congratulatory tweet to a fan who won one of their little “challenges”. They post these positive, upbeat posts about how fans love the new games they are putting out, how they are interacting with the game and their advertising ploys.
As a consumer who does not own a 3DS or Wii-U, these kinds of things are not interesting whatsoever. But I feel that they are simply trying to get people who DO already own those systems and those games to speak their minds about said games and systems, hopefully in a positive light, in turn encouraging and interesting other people who do not have them to actually obtain them/it. The real problems I noticed with these kinds of posts are the lack of complex or really intriguing challenges. Completing a puzzle or beating a boss and then posting about it and seeing other people posting relatively the same thing is not intriguing or exciting! If you really want people to be attracted to a particular game and get people getting everyone else excited, do extensive, interactive challenges like described in Fisher’s article ‘5 successful Twitter marketing campaigns you should know about’. Make people want to play! Give them a plausible promise like Shirky talked about in “Here Comes Everybody”, give them a problem or test, tell them how they can help and give them a satisfying end product. Whether that be encouraging people to fight a boss or find certain objects at a convention, bringing them together and pitting them against other players, ultimately leading to a final prize for the winner, or having phrase contests where the winner is the one who posts the most unique 140 story of why they love a certain game or Nintendo. If we’ve learned anything from Clay Shirky, it’s that there are people out there willing to spend their time, interacting with a business or group of interest. Nintendo needs to utilize their fan base! They are there and willing, they just need some structure and encouragement! I’m not going to buy a 3DS to play one game that one person said was cool. That’s great but not a deal maker.
Coming off of my rant on some of the major issues, they do do some things fairly well. Going off of Toliver’s “7 Ways to Create a Memorable Customer Experience with Social Media”, they do give their customers “a place to talk” (to an extent) by posting questions that encourage people to talk a little, even if it’s all going to result in general the same responses. They make the attempt! Customer service and sales are their main goal and that’s what they do best. They advertise, they put their products out there and glorify them in a flood of images, videos, and positive posts. I did not notice a lot of complaints on their feed but if people did respond to a challenge, NoA responds often. They do seem to be listening.
This is where they seem to end in quality in relation to Toliver’s lists of 7. They listen and instigate, but the reward is lacking. I saw no chances to win prizes, systems, games, etc. That’s what I really hope for on a gaming company site. Again, no main final product with a plausible promise. I would not say the content is extremely compelling, it’s really rather dull and similar to an infomercial. They advertise to an audience that they assume has up to date Nintendo products, so a good amount of money/check seeing as their products aren’t exactly cheap. They do not stand out. As a profile piggybacking on several other similar Nintendo profiles that focus on different areas of the world, Club Nintendo, and many others, they don’t seem unique.
Coming off of that: audience and NoA’s understanding of that audience. Again, Nintendo products don’t tend to be cheap, as most gaming consoles and games tend to be. Their positive, happy posts tend to be written in a way that reminds me of how you would speak to a 8 year old if you were trying to get them interested in a game. Their vocabulary seems push more towards ages 8-early to mid teens. They are very friendly, very happy, and upbeat (in some cases, this can be described as rather cheesy and somewhat ridiculous). A recent tweet: “New scares await… How long will you watch?”. I am not a 6 year old, a Nintendo game is not going to scare me… It is tweets like that that annoy me. Where are the posts for us “older” gamers? Yes the 3DS’s are awesome, but there is a wider age group who actually use these systems. They do not seem to cater to that age group, which is very disappointing. They, like most social medias, initialize a “context collapse” in an audience (Boyds 122). They are all flattened into a single mass, individuals almost indistinguishable. The wording, the “challenges”, the tone, the ads, all of them do not interest me. I’m not going to buy these products, I’m not going to play them. They failed to suck me in and get me interacting.
Nintendo of America needs to realize that there are a lot of people who like Nintendo and their games. Many people use Twitter and they want to follow Nintendo. Make your site more interactive and interesting, interact with your fans more, be a friend, not a corporate CEO trying to sell you something. If they connect with people, they will get more sales. Don’t be as robotic and mechanical as your products, be human, and inspire people.
Boyd, Dana; Alice Marwick. New Media Society 2011 13: 114 originally published online 7 July 2010
Fisher, Lauren. 5 successful Twitter marketing campaigns you should know about. 15th May 2011. The Next Web. Web.
Shirky, Clay. Here Comes Everybody. Penguin Press. 2008.
Toliver, Dave. 7 Ways to Create a Memorable Customer Experience with Social Media.