Nowadays, it’s very important for a company to be on social media. Especially board game companies, it seems.
I’ve had the pleasure of interacting with Phoebe Wild, social media manager for Bezier Games, a couple of times regarding certain issues. She’s always been incredibly kind and helpful, so I thought it would be neat to get a bit of a “behind the curtain” peek into what being social media manager of a major game company is like.
Phoebe graciously agreed to answer my questions, and those answers are below (with pictures of my experiences with Bezier games interspersed, because hey…this is a boardgame blog so you need pictures of boardgames!)
But first, I’ll allow her to introduce herself.
(Phoebe cosplaying as a 1950s Harley Quinn at PAX)
Me in 10 words or less: An Aussie gamer, sci-fi geek, Netflix addict, and occasional cosplayer.
I fell in love with board gaming when I was 9 years old, with the fateful discovery of Settlers of Catan, and I’ve been playing ever since. Even though I’ve loved gaming for so long, I never dreamed of working in the hobby until a few years ago when I started my own board game review website, Cardboard Vault. Since then I’ve worked to be as involved in the industry as possible, attended as many conventions as I could afford, and am thrilled to now be working for a publisher.
I love the social aspect of board games, trying designs that are unique or innovative, and puzzling out complex game systems. Unsurprisingly, my Quantic Foundry test result showed I’m 99% motivated by strategy and basically nothing else! (If you haven’t done that test, it gives you a very interesting look at what you enjoy about playing games)
I’m also learning to sew (and made my first cosplay last year), love salsa dancing, adore musicals, and can rap Eminem’s “Not Afraid” flawlessly. For other random facts about me you can head over to my Geek of the Week page on BGG, or just ask!
- How did you get the job as social media manager for Bezier Games, especially since you are in Australia and they are in the US? Does living half a world away make the job more difficult?
It was definitely a case of being in the right place at the right time, with the right skills. I was working at a FLGS last year, and as much as I loved it I knew I wanted to be more involved with the publishing side of the industry. I didn’t know Ted Alspach of Bézier Games at the time, but a couple of designers I know in the industry pointed out that he was looking to hire a social media manager and recommended me for the position. It worked out perfectly – I didn’t need to move to the US (getting a work visa is a major hurdle), and I had the experience with content creation and social media from managing my own website.
Surprisingly, being in Australia doesn’t make my work much more difficult. As long as I have my laptop and an Internet connection, I can do my job anywhere. I use scheduler tools to make sure posts go up at the appropriate times without having to stay awake until 5am, and it’s extremely easy to communicate with the rest of the team via email or Slack whenever I need to. The trickiest part is probably posting about US conventions when I’m in Australia, because I can’t schedule posts or retweets from those events in advance. I’m naturally a night owl though, so I don’t mind having to stay up late for those!
(Suburbia with Suburbia Inc expansion)
- What do you do as social media manager? Are you the one posting all of the pictures on Instagram, tweeting all of the tweets, etc? What all does your job entail?
Everything you see on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram is done by me! My day to day work includes monitoring all of those, searching for fun images and interesting articles to repost, scheduling content to post on our feed, and of course responding to any questions or comments. One of my favourite parts of the job is finding fan-created content inspired by our games and being able to share it with our followers – recent highlights include these excellent “One Bite Ultimate Werewolf” cookies from Sugar High Score, and an impressive Doppelgänger cosplay from Masterson Body Art!
My next project is to start creating regular video content featuring strategy tips and behind-the-scenes tidbits about our games, so keep an eye out for those starting up on our YouTube channel in the next few weeks.
I’ll also be working for Bézier at some of the major conventions this year, so stop by the booth and say hi if you’ll be at Gen Con, Essen or BGG.Con!
(The criminally-underrated Subdivision)
- How important is a social media presence to a boardgame company? What does it do for the company, and do you see any differences between social media for a boardgame company and for any other type of company?
I think having a presence on social media is vital for any company now, including board game companies. The most obvious reason is it gives us a platform to tell people about our games, but what I think is more important is that it makes us more accessible to our customers. Our social media channels let me answer rules questions and offer customer support in a way that wouldn’t be possible otherwise, and they make it much easier for customers to reach us.
Social media also lets us engage with people, and offer them a range of interesting content. One of my main goals with managing Bézier Games’ feeds is to showcase interesting images and articles that gamers will like, whether or not they’re already a fan of our games.
I think board game companies use social media differently than other brands. They feel more personal and friendly in general, and I think one reason for that is board games are fundamentally social. They’re about interacting with other people, enjoying time with friends and family, or getting to know someone you just met. They’re about fun, and the companies who make those games genuinely care about players experiencing that joy, and engaging with them as people instead of simply customers.
(Castles of Mad King Ludwig)
- On Boardgame Geek, there was a thread with a rules question about Castles of Mad King Ludwig: Secrets where the original poster doubted the answer you gave on Twitter because it wasn’t “from the designer of the game.” Ted Alspach came onto the thread and clarified that you know their games in and out and that any rules answers from the Bezier Games Twitter are correct.
This is where I first discovered that you were the social media manager. But it made me think: When you get a rules question on Twitter, do you generally answer it? Or is it better for somebody to post the question to BGG? Do you monitor the BGG forums for rules questions as well? (I’ve noticed that you do respond to some of them there)
I’m always keeping an eye out for rules questions, and answer them whenever I see them! We most commonly get them on BGG and Twitter, but I monitor Instagram, Facebook and Reddit as well.
(Castles of Mad King Ludwig with the Secrets expansion. Look at that moat!)
- Finally, and the most important questions I think: What’s your favourite Bezier game? And what’s your favourite non-Bezier game?
I honestly can’t decide between Suburbia and Castles of Mad King Ludwig as my favourite Bézier game. I adore the whimsy of Castles, and the spatial puzzle of fitting your rooms together perfectly, but the challenge of balancing everything in Suburbia always keeps me coming back for more. I also love the subtle humour in Suburbia – for example, the Office of Bureaucracy that thrives off more and more bureaucracy – and I think Ted did an amazing job of working the theme into every tile in the game.
My favourite non-Bézier game is a difficult choice, but I have to say Pandemic: Legacy. It was the best board gaming experience I’ve had, ever, period, full stop. I enjoyed it so much I’ve played through two full campaigns with different groups, have a third one in progress, and I’m still not sick of it. Pandemic: Legacy does an amazing job of creating a world that you’re emotionally invested in, of creating suspense and excitement and devastation and joy, and I love that it constantly challenges you to solve problems creatively as the game develops. If you haven’t played it and you’re wondering if it truly lives up to the hype, my answer is an enthusiastic “YES” shouted into a megaphone.
And that’s it! Thank you so much, Phoebe, for taking the time to answer questions and to be so approachable.