Deconstructing Among Us’ Twitter Strategy 🐦

A deep dive into the thoughts behind a community director’s social media work.

  • Among Us account officially launched with its first post on Nov 18 2020 (was private beforehand) — gained 1 million followers within 1 month of launch.
  • Innersloth Twitter account was originally the main one and had ~340k followers before the launch of the Among Us account.
  • Core Innersloth team consists of 4 people (including me), but with a TON of outside help for player support, porting, merch, business development, etc. Community touches upon on all of these things to varying degrees and it’d be wrong to not acknowledge these resources we’ve been lucky to have, and how that absolutely makes my job easier and contributes to growth.
  • I’m currently the sole person handling the social media accounts (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Tiktok) for both Innersloth and Among Us. That being said, I don’t want to create unrealistic expectations — Facebook and Instagram are semi-neglected (if you know me you know how I feel about Facebook), and the team and mods help run the Discord. Furthermore, my job is MORE than just social media — biz dev, strategies, campaigns, semi-marketing, semi-PR, etc. There’s a lot to get done!
  • I currently use no social media management tools like Sprout or Hootsuite (other Social Media Managers please don’t yell at meeeee I’m working on it………….?)
  • You’re interested in the strategies, problems, and thoughts behind handling a enormous community — while still being a tiny indie team
  • Hearing all the weird things I’ve learned from suddenly inheriting a community of half a billion players lol

PART 1: RESEARCH

Accurate portrayal of me trying to keep track of the good tweets I see.

PART 2: SET THE GOAL

  • Redirect attention. As a developer, getting continual questions can be tiring, and it’s worse when they’re towards your personal account. So I wanted to be able to steer as much attention as possible towards an account I could handle to alleviate the stress of possible complaints or anger hurled at them directly.
  • Community-focused. Among Us’ Twitter account should put the community at center stage, and the content we put out should be entertaining or valuable to them in some way, or focused on amazing fan works.
  • Retention over growth. Not all social media focus needs to be on “going viral” or gaining as much reach as possible. Games will naturally drop off in players overtime, and the ones that stay are incredibly important. Among Us is already gaining mass traction all by itself, so what I wanted to find was their core community.
  • Create a welcoming environment. I do my best work when I genuinely enjoy and love the space I’m in, and to do that, I need to make sure the community is one that nurtures and cares for each other. As much as the game is about accusing one another, at its core it’s about giving people a space to chat and connect with each other.

PART 3: THE STRATEGY

Bask in the chaos mortals!!!
  • Respect — I admire the abilities, qualities, and achievements of the community. I never want to talk down to them or ignore their concerns, and will remain as transparent as possible.
  • Integrity — I do not sacrifice Innersloth’s morals for clout. I focus on community sentiment, and prioritize actions over words.
  • Joy — I want to create moments and experiences that delight those that interact with us. Being able to connect with us is NOT the same as actually feeling a sense of connection. Find the humor and joy in the community to form bonds.
  • Share — Innersloth came from tiny indie studio beginnings, and Among Us’ success does not make us above anyone else. Encourage, promote, and help other small creators or indie studios whom we respect and admire, when and where we can.
  • Be a role model. How you talk and interact will inevitably attract similar behaviour. Modeling the behaviour you want is critical. (Mine: kind, encouraging, self-aware, correcting behaviour, playfully jabbing fun at things that don’t matter, etc.) Keep in mind that who you respond to also matters. If people continually see you only responding to negative comments or troll-like behaviour, some may lean towards doing that to get reactions or your attention. Responding to criticism is good, but there’s a difference between polite criticism and rude insults.
  • Respond often, post infrequently. So fair warning: this goes against most of the advice I’ve seen about using Twitter, which is that you should be posting content on your account very frequently since Twitter moves so fast. Also, this strategy might not work on smaller accounts with less engagement. However, I’m currently the only one managing any of the public-facing channels PLUS I have other tasks in the team, so I’m very low on time and resources. Instead of putting time into tons of content creation, I decided to instead invest time on getting 1 good tweet out, and supplement by responding to comments on it. It leaves me more time to get other work done, while also helping me connect with the community and encouraging engagement!

PART 3.5: THE EXECUTION

  • Being earnest > sounding trendy. You really do not need to use the hip lingo if it’s not something you would normally say. Seriously. It’s fine. Don’t force yourself: not only will it be tiresome and make you feel weirdly uncomfortable, but people can probably tell you’re faking it.
  • You will always be someone’s most hated Twitter account. Basically, there’s no one size fits all tone. Are you wholesome? Some people will hate how fake and sugary sweet you are! Are you edgy and hip? Pfft, silence brand. Do you just post normally with no voice? Well, then you’re just boring, ew, so corporate!! It’s going to happen, people will have opinions, and if you try too hard to please hundreds and thousands of mass internet strangers, you’re going to burn out real quickly.
  • Set boundaries. While I do try to respond to as many tweets as I can, I don’t want people to think I CAN actually respond to everything, especially not on the weekends or when I’m not working. So even just setting my Twitter name to a “weekend” status helps a lot in defining that.
  • Kind messages. Good mornings, asking how I’m doing, reminding me to hydrate, compliments, etc. Those are nice!! I appreciate it!! And it’s the least I could do to just reply back.
  • Fan creations. These are just super cool and I love them and I want to respond.
  • Valid criticisms. Criticism is good! It means people care enough about you to say something. We don’t need to JUST acknowledge the positives — in fact, I think the best community managers are ones that are deeply aware of the flaws of their game and studio. Responding to criticism? Good! Just remember there’s a line between valid, polite criticism and just pure vitriol and insults.
  • Questions. I mean, people are going to have endless questions. If you can respond, great! If it’s the same question you’ve answered a million times, silly answers can work too.
  • Fun comments. Having fun with the community is a perk of the job!
  • Aggressive asks. I avoid comments that goad me into replying (such as “Day X of asking Among Us to respond”) or commands (“do this OR ELSE”). It’s disrespectful and encourages people to incessantly prod at me or do what they want without consideration.
  • Troll replies. Anything involving spam (the mute button is your friend), troll behaviour (“dead game” comments), and hateful comments don’t warrant a reply. They’re looking for attention and the reaction — I don’t intend on contributing.
  • Overly familiar comments. At the end of the day, the Among Us Twitter account is still just a brand account. Keeping that fine line between having fun with the community but not diving into a parasocial relationship is something I try to maintain.

PART 4: THE RESULT

Nov 16 2020 — Dec 13 2020

PART 5: OTHER HELPFUL FACTORS

  • I’ll stress this again: I came in at a point where Among Us is popular, so the volume of people paying attention is high, so a certain amount of engagement shows up no matter what I post! So lots of love to the team for putting in all the hard work before I got here.
  • The team trusts me and gives me autonomy to do my work. Community sentiment is probably the most important thing for Among Us, so to hand over the voice of the game to me is a big honor. But even more than that, I appreciate the respect, trust, and letting me work without micromanaging or devaluing what I do. AND I gained this confidence from the fantastic working environment at my previous studio, Kitfox Games.
  • I’m generally neurotypical and it’s possible my particular experience with my immigrant parents has given me greater interpersonal sensitivity. I wrote another article about what I learned about community from my immigrant parents here. (I hope you read it! It’s something that’s very personal and close to my heart.)

PART 6: RANDOM SHIT I’M TOO LAZY TO GROUP BECAUSE THIS POST IS LONGER THAN I EXPECTED IT TO BE

  • Balancing “tweeting time” versus the other work I have to do can be hard! I create very defined “chunks” of time in which I reply to things. I’ll schedule tweeting chunks at strategic points during the day or between meetings. Since I can think of replies easily, I can get through a ton of tweets so people think I’m on all the time haha. (Don’t forget: community touches on many, MANY aspects of game development and business development that aren’t social media!)
  • Even in small communities, people will ask the same question over and over again. This is not unique to community management but WOW the extreme volume to which people will do this is staggering compared to my previous job.
  • Never assume English is someone’s first language when you see a particularly strange or harsh tweet.
  • If someone can misunderstand your tweet, they will. Try to be as clear as possible!
  • Remember there is a world outside Twitter. We tend to get caught up thinking that the majority opinion lies in whatever social media bubble we have created for ourselves… Or we can mistakenly weigh the needs of people in our bubbles higher than the others who are yelling from the rooftops.. Just not on Twitter. Honestly — remember a majority of people aren’t interacting on Twitter or even on social media at all!

FINAL THOUGHTS

Art by Hannako Lambert

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Victoria Tran

Victoria Tran

222 Followers

Community Director at Innersloth, creators of Among Us. Fascinated by compassion, ethics, and making better online communities. ✨ victoriatran.com