Social media isn’t just all about memes.
An esports ecosystem is filled with many contributing pieces. This includes teams, players, coaches, managers, and many more. They merge to create this vigorous and active industry. But often, there are many other roles that people tend to overlook. One of them is the person behind every social media presence.
Inga "Braunbaerin" Hinz is the current social media director for Entity, responsible for many things such as the team's marketing and branding. Before her time with Entity, she worked with The International (TI) winning organization, Tundra Esports.
We sat down with Inga, who shared a glimpse of work in the social media field. What are the steps to grow a social media account? What are the big DONTS of being a social media manager? And which team accounts are killing their social media game right now? She answered all of them and more below!
The social media hustle
When talking about social media, one may expect it to be sunshine and rainbows. Make memes, get likes, job done. But the truth is, of course, far from that. Maintaining an active and organic social media is a continuous hustle that requires consistent effort and ideas.
Literally everything that you try and get out of socials is somehow branded and I’m the person that makes sure that people recognize it’s something from the organization.
As a social media director, Inga oversees a team of graphic designers, social media managers, videographers, and sometimes freelancers on the side. She runs concepts about what kind of content the organization wants to drop on the social platforms. This includes creating all sorts of ideas for new posts, memes, videos, shorts, and more.
"I’m also doing the marketing side for Entity, at least for Dota 2 - this is about ‘How do we want to look on socials?’, 'What’s our color?', 'Is there anything specific we want to do?', 'What’s our tone of voice?' - that kind of thing," she stated.
She added that her job increases multifold during events. When she's on site, she either makes vlogs or finds a videographer to collaborate with.
She also needs to figure out a way to engage with fans. At TI12, she opted to bring a bunch of Entity wallpapers, pins, photo cards, stickers, and jerseys for giveaways.
"Oh, and the most exciting part is doing analytics. At the end of each month, I just have to do it," Braunbaerin sprinkled in a little sarcasm.
Flexibility in doing social media
Office hours.. - what's that?
In her field of work, Inga has full flexibility on when she wants to log in and do her work. As social media is completely online, she is free to go anywhere at all times. But this perk could also feel like a curse.
Social media relies on her being present almost all the time. This becomes one of the biggest challenges when working in the social media field, according to Braunbaerin. Though she emphasized that this isn't truly an issue if you thoroughly enjoy what you do.
"I’m like constantly working. I could be out with my friends, partying. And suddenly, 'oh I got to check Twitter if there's a new like or post that we dropped like 10 minutes ago.' I’m constantly thinking about what could be done. Even when I’m on YouTube, Tik Tok - just watching fun videos. I could be like, 'Man, this could be a new reel for us. This is a good idea. This is a trend we can pick up. You’re never really off of work."
A quick social media post checklist
Before creating and publishing a post, there's a long thought process that goes in Inga's head. She would first think of an idea that's not repetitive and take a look at current trends. She'll also check the tone of voice and see if there's anything important to add to the post.
"I try not to have everything be around one player. Did I just post a meme? Then I can post something team related. I’ll see which type of post works. Should it be a video, a picture, or just a text? What do I want to go for? What's the timeline looking like? Or is there a trend I can use? What's going on in the scene? Is there anything special? Let's look at my recent games. I'm 2000 MMR, like everyone can relate with what's going on in my pubs and so many of the memes that I put out have been related to my pubs. Then I just check the tone of voice, does it fit with Entity? Is there any sponsor I need to put, does it have to be branded? Then I write a copy and I post it."
What NOT to do as a social media manager
Although social media work may seem simple, there are many unwritten rules when it comes to publishing posts. You can make embarrassing typos, use the wrong emojis, misspell names, and such. These are all humanly mistakes and are mostly harmless.
But in certain cases, mistakes can be incredibly damaging to the account's image. And the thing about social media is you can't completely take things back once it's out on the internet.
Inga highlights that having the wrong tone of voice, wording, and generally toxic content, is the epitome of a bad social media manager. To her, there are many social media accounts that attempt humor but ends up being toxic instead.
"(Q: What's the difference between a good and a bad social media manager?) Knowing when you can meme about stuff and when you should not. Knowing what kind of words you can use when you poke or trashtalk someone. To know the line between being toxic and funny because there’s a super thin line that many people overstep," she stated.
How to efficiently grow social media
A major part of social media is engagement. It is the tool to measure an account's success - how many followers, how many likes, how many impressions, etc. Every account's usual goal is to reach the highest possible number for all these metrics. But how would Inga do it?
Be there but don't be there too much. Post a lot, don't post too much. Have good quality. And memes. If you can Photoshop, Photoshop is good.
She shared her recipe for successful growth on social media. "Being everywhere is one of the steps you have to do. Check on other orgs, check on a lot of things and where your comment can be seen."
She also added that being everywhere can be annoying if it's not done right. Don't just insert yourself and comment when you don't have anything to say. She also warned against spamming content just for the sake of being active and encourages more quality posts.
"Quantity isn't everything. Always care about your quality. Social media knows about it if this person is just spamming so don't put it in the feed of people," she continued.
The best social media team accounts
As the Dota 2 and esports industry continue to expand, more and more teams and organizations participate in this social media marathon. But only a few have caught Inga's eyes as the best social media accounts. And this one is not particularly a surprise.
I have not seen a team that can compete with OG on Twitter. For me, OG is just S-tier. They are not even on the scale. OG is even better than S-tier.
OG's social media game is indeed phenomenal. The two-time TI-winning organization holds some of the most passionate fanbases in not only Dota 2 but esports in general. This could partly be because of its epic history with N0tail and Ceb as the staples of the org. But the social media game by the team has no doubt levitated it to new heights.
"I have not seen a team that can compete with OG on Twitter. I know some will say Team Secret, (I love midormeepo, nothing against him) but for me, OG is just S tier. They are not even on the scale, OG is even better than S tier," Braunbaerin stated.
OG's social media has indeed provided more than great memes and punchy copies. OG goes far down the content spectrum, delivering high-quality documentaries, consistent podcasts, free LAN watch parties, and more.
Inga also reminisced how she first started in social media and how OG's active Discord community had inspired her to pursue this path. "I was in the OG Discord community. This is fun. This is cool. I kind of want to make esports a better place and get every team to have something like this."
“Every time I see a good VALORANT TikTok, I immediately know it's TSM."
Inga also consumes content outside of Dota 2. And when it comes to great social media content, she highlighted two organizations - TSM and Sentinels.
"Every time I open TikTok and I see a good VALORANT TikTok, I immediately know it is TSM. Another is Sentinels - also about the VALORANT team. They have very fun and good content. I love the game and the memes. I don't know anything about the players, but the content is good."
Every account is like a human and I think you as a human shouldnt change when you take feedback.
Putting yourself out on the internet makes you an easy target for all sorts of criticism. Some may be harsh or toxic comments and some may be actual, genuine feedback. However, Inga feels like feedback doesn't necessarily mean that you need to change. It depends on what type of feedback it is.
"Improve as much as possible but also stick to your brand. Just because someone said 'I don't like this color, whatever, you know? Also, stick to what you like because if you change everything, then it’s not you anymore."
Something fans should know about social media work
Inga highlighted what she wants fans to know about her scope of work. She calls for communities to not flame the social media or the social media manager directly when it comes to things out of their control. This includes a lot of things like sponsorship deals, team decisions, and roster changes.
In early 2022, Tundra Esports removed one of its staple players , Fata, from the organization. There were heated discussions surrounding the move, and some professional players even backed Fata following the kick. Inga, who was handling Tundra's socials at that time, was targeted by a mob of angry fans.
"My first big challenge was when I was with Tundra. We announced that Fata got kicked from the team. We then got... I don't know how many messages. People started messaging me on Instagram, Twitter, Discord, and even Twitch. I kind of took it personally - although I did not do anything."
Inga also gave a word of advice to aspiring social media managers. "If you want to work in esports and social media, you don't need experience. I know many teams say they want experienced people, but just shoot your shot."
Inga's three-year long experience in handling social media has seen her experience many highs. She met her now-partner who is also a professional player, Daniel "Stormstormer" Schoetzau, during her time with Tundra Esports. She also experienced incredible LAN events, namely the Lima Major and the recent TI12 together with Entity.
But underneath all the beautiful moments is also the relentless effort to keep fans and followers content. Perhaps one day, the hard-working community behind every social media will get a good share of the esports limelight.