Twitter Circle Jerks and Social Marketing in RPGs

This is going to be relatively short and sweet.

I don’t pay a lot of attention to social media marketing or what’s expected to be “best practice.” But from some forays on Twitter and whatnot I’ve gathered the pattern for guaranteed success is:

1) Follow/retweet/like people.
2) Ask them to reciprocate.
3) ???
4) Profit!

It’s the ??? part in these cases that kind of stumps me. For resharing of blog posts, news, Kickstarter announcements, that kind of thing I can see the value. The more eyes you get on something like that, the more people might find it interesting or useful. I can see that to a degree when marketing a product – but from I’ve seen, the follows/refollows/likes/relikes might be in the same general area of interest (say, science fiction) but aren’t targeted toward gamers. I’m having trouble seeing how it could lead to meaningful conversion to sales used in this manner.

For example, say you’ve gotten a few thousand people to follow you on Twitter. But it’s only because you’ve followed them back. None of the them are actually interested in the game – only getting a follow or like back in order to boost their own numbers. There’s no way in hell even a small fraction of them are going to give anything more than moral support to it – there’s just not enough time in the day or money (for most people).And for something like Twitter or Facebook, a few thousand somewhat disinterested followers doesn’t seem much better than having 50 actual fans.

Maybe it’s just me being a crotchety old man – I’m sure that all of this social media marketing wouldn’t exist if it didn’t have any effect at all. I just can’t help thinking that in the case of rpgs, it’s just a big social media circle jerk/communal back-patting. Apparently, I’m not the only person who feels this way:

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