Last December it was a landmark birthday for my wife. So in the hope of easing the pain I booked a secret family break to stay in an old hunting lodge – that looked very much like a castle from the old world – near Carlisle. On the way we decided to stop off at Kendal and have a look around and like most people who paint plastic miniatures we (myself, wifey and the tiny man) ended up in Kendal’s Games Workshop store.
I have to admit that ending up in the store didn’t happen totally by mistake as I really wanted to meet the man who was behind the stores Twitter and Instagram account. GW at the moment are in the middle of a social media awakening with the creation of Warhammer TV, the community site and the use of platforms like Instagram. Even the staff at Warhammer world have their own personal Twitter accounts and are engaging with the community. If I’m honest this level of engagement is excellent and as a member of the community the impression I get is that GW it’s filled with passionate people that love their job and their hobby.
However, there is a problem and that’s the social media engagement from the local stores which, if I’m honest, is pretty poor. It feels like the memo was only received by the staff at Warhammer World that they can use a social media platform, other than Facebook, to promote the hobby, their store and engage with the wider community.
This has led to a situation where the local stores are languishing in the chaos realms of Facebook only using Twitter to push their Facebook posts to, which isn’t engagement, it’s just annoying. Now this may be just me being over sensitive to the issue as I don’t use Facebook but as the hobby is very visual I don’t understand why Twitter and Instagram aren’t used as both platforms have a massive community that would willingly engage. I can understand the argument that a lot of GW stores struggle for time but engaging with a new generation on the platforms that they use would surely be more beneficial in the long term for both the store and the hobby as whole.
Social media certainly brought me back into the hobby, after a long hiatus I discovered the #warmongers community along with some stunning model pictures which meant I popped into a GW store and picked up a few paints and a model, several years later I’m still painting and buying! I probably never would have gotten back into the hobby without the online community and I certainly wouldn’t have improved as a painter without ther guidance. So if social media can bring back an old warhorse like me then I’m sure it can entice a new generation that are on several social media platforms into this creative and fun hobby.
In closing and getting back to my visit to GW Kendal I met Adam the store manager and I have to say he gets it. He engages directly with the community through, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, he posts pictures of the models the guys who visit his store paint, he retweets tweets from other community members – many I assume who have never been to his store – and he engages and responds to comments, in short he promotes the hobby and his store. Because of his presence and use of Twitter and Instagram I visited his store as I was passing through the town, purchased a copy of White Dwarf and we had a chat. I will never be a regular visitor to Kendal but I can guarantee that the next time I’m there I’ll pop in, say ‘hello’ and buy something.
So GW stores I don’t expect the level of engagement that is coming from Warhammer World but it would be nice if the hobby at the local store level was engaging with the online community. It can be done as Adam at GW Kendal has shown, treat him as your primarch and mould your chapters in his image.
I’d be interested to hear what the community thinks. Are there any GW Stores that use a few social media platforms to promote their store and hobby. If there is please mention them in the comments below.