Would you follow Mario on Twitter?

April 23, 2010

In the first edition of this blog, I discussed how the Wii, despite being the best selling console of this generation, has the lowest attach rate.  In other words, people who buy the Wii purchase fewer pieces of software for it in comparison to the amount of software people buy for their Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.  What this implies is that once people buy their Wii, they really are not getting that much use out of it.  Therefore, for this edition of the blog, I would like to discuss some ways Nintendo could use social media to better connect with Wii owners and to cultivate a relationship that encourages a higher attach rate.

As of right now, Nintendo’s social media presence is startlingly sparse.   Here are a few ways Nintendo could take advantage of some of these sites.

Facebook

With the way Facebook has exploded in popularity over the past few years, a Nintendo page is a “no brainer” at this point.  As the photo to the right demonstrates, an unofficial fan page for the Wii on Facebook has over a million fans, so clearly there is an interest.  Facebook status updates would be an easy way to post news and create awareness of new Wii games and products.

Twitter

Like with Facebook, Nintendo does not have strong presence on Twitter.  There is actually an account that claims to be official; however, Nintendo’s website, curiously and tellingly, does not link to it or even mention it. You can view it here and decide for yourself whether you think it is real.  Regardless, one creative way Nintendo could use Twitter would be to set up accounts for their most famous characters and mascots.

Would you follow Mario's adventures on Twitter?

Nintendo has some of the most famous and recognizable gaming icons, including Mario, Donkey Kong, and Zelda, and I am sure they would have no problem collecting followers on Twitter.  For comparison, a Super Mario page on Facebook has over 200,000 fans.  A new Super Mario game is coming out this June, and it would be amusing to have “Mario” tweet his thoughts and actions as the release date approaches.  This would be an easy tool to promote the game and build excitement.  Moreover, if the famous fictional Star Wars character Darth Vader has over 145,000 followers, surely Mario would have no problem building a Twitter following.

Flickr

Flickr is another site that practically begs Nintendo to take advantage of it.  Posting screen shots of popular and upcoming games and allowing users to comment would be a simple community-building (and free advertising!) tool.  It would also require minimal effort to manage and moderate.

In summary, for a company that is so innovative in how it uses technology, Nintendo’s social media presence is lacking at best, and there are definitely ways the organization could use it to improve the Wii’s attach rate.

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Nintendo offers me a free game, and I complain about it

March 25, 2010

I received an interesting e-mail from Nintendo this week. In this email, which I’ve inserted below, Nintendo asks me if I have used my Wii to access the Wii Shop Channel and offers me a free game to download from the Virtual Console. What a silly question, Nintendo! Of course, I have been to the Wii Shop Channel.


For an explanation of what the Virtual Console is, see my previous blog posting.

The fact that Nintendo needs to implement an e-mail promotion like this indicates two things. First, it demonstrates that blogs like the Wii Blog For You are necessary. If four and a half years after its release, Nintendo still needs to promote basic online features, consumers clearly are not aware the Wii is capable of doing more than just playing disc-based games. Does Apple need to send out e-mails to people that purchased the iPhone to let them know that it does more than make telephone calls? No.

Second, the email I received demonstrates Nintendo needs to make some changes in how they use social media and how they promote the Wii’s lesser known features. Therefore, this week’s blog will recommend three things Nintendo can do that will more effectively make consumers aware of what their Wii can do.

1. Provide more support for the online community

Nintendo has a rabid, loyal fan base, but they rarely embrace these people in any meaningful way. To receive the above email from Nintendo, I had to take the time to sign up to be on their mailing list. So, that e-mail campaign, more or less, does little more than preach to the choir. The Wii Blog For You is just one of hundreds of blogs about the Wii and videogames. These bloggers are clearly more than willing to spread the word about the Wii. To reach more casual Wii fans who may not be as knowledgeable, Nintendo needs to embrace this online community by integrating it with their own website and using it as a promotional tool.

2. Update the Wii interface to encourage more online interaction

When you turn on the Nintendo Wii, it is a fairly tame experience. For comparison, when you turn on the PlayStation 3 or the Xbox 360, you can quickly see which of your friends are online and what they are playing. These other consoles are also much more flashy in how they promote their online content. The Wii interface, on the other hand, is bland, and there is no way to easily connect with other Wii players. As the screen shot below shows, the Wii dashboard is rather sterile.

Both the PlayStation and the Xbox have had the social elements of their online interfaces improved through free firmware system updates. It is time for Nintendo to follow suit and make similar changes.

3. Take better advantage of social networking

The PlayStation 3 has interconnectivity with facebook while the Xbox 360 interconnects with both Twitter and facebook. As of yet, the Wii has no such feature. Nintendo could very easily pique consumers’ curiosity about the Wii’s online features by integrating social networking into their marketing strategy. For example, when a person connects their XBox account with their facebook account, that person’s facebook status updates then include activities a person does while playing their Xbox, such as playing a specific game. Every time an XBox user does this, it is free advertising that reaches all the people that read that person’s status update. If Nintendo were to do something similar, it would literally make hundreds of thousands of more people aware of the Wii’s online features.

This week’s blog isn’t meant to sound whiny or overly negative toward Nintendo or the Wii. However, there are clearly things that Nintendo could do better to promote the lesser known features of the Wii.

Until that happens, there is a Wii Blog For You!*

*Sorry, I know that was lame, but I could not resist!