The HONEST Way To Succeed With Twitch.. And Social Media

The #1 article on Google Search for “succeeding on Twitch” is now here at http://geekyantics.net/blog – thank you all for your wonderful support and encouragement! We’re glad we can help non-partnered streamers level the playing field and find advice that isn’t your typical canned messaging and tech talk. There’s far more to streaming on Twitch than overlays, technology, and your games of choice, friends.  Stay tuned for more articles regarding Twitch, online businesses, and social media marketing!

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With the impending doom that’s sure to come with the inevitable Google (or other mega-corporation) acquisition of Twitch, a lot of us in the GeekyAntics and AllGames communities are looking to step up our game on Twitch or at least keep our options open. After all, if we can cement ourselves as Twitch partners (certainly not the best or only growth path) and featured channels, why NOT do it on the “ground level”?  Unfortunately, Twitch streamers, like many social media enthusiasts, are looking for the magic bullet.

The magic bullet does not exist.

DISCLAIMER: These are my opinions based upon my experience as a NISM-certified social media strategist (I sit on their board of advisors too) and personal observations. I do not pretend to have all the answers nor is this guide the end-all on your quest for social media success.. but it’s a darn good start! It’s also worth noting that I am not partnered on Twitch because it has not been the focus on my network BUT having the #1 Twitch marketing/growth article out there should lend some credibility. *smirk*

Sure, there are some shortcuts and tips but it all comes down to the basics. We’ll get into that but here’s what one streamer recommends after becoming a Twitch partner in about a month’s time (this is very rare, by the way):

This is solid advice. Obezianka, like many of us in #TheGANG, really believes in the value of authenticity and engagement. Sadly, there is more to this puzzle than what is mentioned here because tons of people have high production value and consistency, yet they struggle to break 100 concurrent viewers; heck, some days 10 viewers is a blessing, amirite?

Even worse, people only see value in followers and views but there’s more to success than that.  Heck, there are tons of unremarkable channels that hit high numbers consistently yet have nothing special to offer.  It all comes down to this: What is success to YOU?  What REALLY drives you?

Let’s dig deep here. We’ll go through the best practices and the tried-and-true strategies we have uncovered from analyzing top streamers and first-hand experiences alike. Let’s do this!

What Does Twitch Look For In Partners

Advertising is a roughly 40-billion-dollar business and it is projected to grow into an 80-billion-dollar industry in two to three years. Twitch makes a big chunk of their money through ads. The Twitch Partners program has a very selective yet subjective process but, to understand it, all you need to know is this:

  • They want people that can bump up ad impressions.
  • They tend to favor women because there are not enough of them.
  • They like niches if it means they can target ads better.
  • They LOVE established personalities – INSTANT street cred!

Contrary to popular belief, Twitch does not have a set criteria for who they partner, which is why there are plenty of questionable partnered channels out there while other, more deserving channels remain overlooked and unpartnered.  Twitch staff believes that “they know great content” but don’t let their lack of appreciation or vision discourage you.  You can succeed without their blessings!

This is why you might see people with subscriber buttons or featured channels even though they do not meet the minimum Twitch Partner requirements. Think of these requirements as guidelines, not hard numbers. There are a few things that are pretty much non-negotiable:

  • Stream at least three times a week, preferrably with a set schedule for consistent results.
  • Partners must illustrate a proven track record in social media and/or consistent streaming efforts.
  • Smoking on-stream is severely frowned upon (BOO).
  • You should have at least 100 Twitch followers.. Or close to it.
  • Sexual inuendos or pornographic material are a NO GO but, contrary to what Twitch says in their TOS, sex does indeed sell and is one of gimmicks (i.e. cleavage) one could employ to fast-track their growth.
  • Hacking and exploiting bugs will get you denied.. and banned (but don’t worry about others viewbotting you so long as you are not condoning such behavior).

In many ways, Twitch treats their partners like brand ambassadors and PR people. They want folks that will not create a conflict of interest with their brand or their advertisers and affiliates. It’s quite simple and less daunting when you look at it this way.

I have found that the Twitch Partners team will make exceptions if you have a great personality and a solid growth plan. How will you grow your audience? How will you stand out? Those are the sorts of questions you must answer for the Twitch team and yourself.  Just don’t take it personally if you get denied, even repeatedly, because luck is part of it.

Be realistic and honest with yourself: if you can’t commit to a schedule or put in the time, partnership may not be for you.. Yet.

Consider that the changes, risks, and administration necessary to grant someone partner status are significant. Twitch mainly wants to make sure applicants are more than hobbyists because then they will produce quality content and events that will help them expand their reach. Here are some things that you’d want to highlight on your Twitch Partner application:

  • Sites you contribute to regularly.
  • Teams or networks you are an active part of.
  • Social media and marketing skills you possess.
  • Your channel growth plan.
  • Established personalities who can vouch for you.
  • Audiences and metrics you are proud of.

You get the idea. You may not have a massive YouTube or Twitch following yet but you might have a captive audience or a highly-engaged group of followers who you could rally given the chance. If you build a strong enough case, Twitch might make the gamble.

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UCL | Unified Combat League

Getting Noticed Amidst All The Noise

The first real hurdle to face as a Twitch streamer (if you’re going to go beyond casual/hobbyist status) is getting people to your channel. All the talk about having good video quality, an engaging personality, and/or tons of skill in any given game are great but how will people know to even venture into your channel? Typically, the Twitch streamers with tons of viewers any time they stream ) have the following going for them:

  • They are women (not to be chauvanistic but it’s proven that female streamers attract more viewers naturally).
  • They are established personalities from other networks, professional gaming teams, or video platforms.
  • They have a unique gimmick or stream niche content.

As a frame of reference, those streaming Twitch casually might consider 20 viewers awesome but they’d be lucky to get 5 unless they stream often for two or more hours at a time. So we could say 100-200 viewers is solid, 500-1K is awesome, and 10-100K is uber. When you consider the massive gaps between these tiers, it can be a bit intimidating but fear not – you can do it!

I recommend experiencing Twitch as a consumer as much as possible, even if you’ve built an audience already. What draws you into a new channel? Here’s what I first notice:

  • Is the broadcast titled in a unique, descriptive, or exciting way?
  • Does their avatar or channel banner look unique, exciting, or at least well thought-out.. or is it lazy and generic?
  • Are they part of a team, group, or sub-network on Twitch?
  • Do they have a webcam? Do they look engaged or bored?
  • What information do they make available in their channel description and profile (besides excessive rules)?
  • How many viewers are in there right now?

Typically, I skip the channels that have tons of viewers. They don’t need my support and they rarely engage their audience.. Because they don’t have to. Most people in these channels are there in hopes to siphon some of their audience, find love (LOL, or collaborate somehow. Everyone wishes they could fast-track success but it’s rarely that easy, folks.

Contrary to popular, success on Twitch is much more about what you do before and after streaming. Simply staying on the grind, having the right equipment, and producing “quality” content is not enough because you will be buried amidst a lot of strong competition. Obezianka, a.k.a Ana, recommends involving your friends and family. That is good but, be warned:

Friends and family can sometimes be the most brutal or lazy when it comes to supporting unconventional methods.

People don’t get Twitch and why it’s a big deal so there will be pushback. To outsiders, it’s a silly hobby and nothing else. In general, people may react like they would to a network marketing opportunity or hard sales pitch. Self-promotion makes people uneasy a lot of the time and those close to you may think you are “using” them. I’ve heard this a lot from content marketers, community managers, and social media gurus. It’s okay if you share a lot of random crap, so long as it’s not “yours”. Errrmmm?

Here’s my advice on how to prime the pump:

  • Meet new people with similar interests.
  • Target communities where people are interested more in consumption than production (marketing to other marketers is a hard sell).
  • Promote others more than yourself.
  • Tweet, share, blog, and do all the social media promotion you can to build up anticipation.
  • Share special events and themed streams to entice potential viewers and give them something to talk about.
  • Promote for longer for bigger events, especially 24-hour marathons and giveaways.

The more serious you take your efforts, the more serious others will. By the time you get into more of a routine, your friends and family will be more receptive, no matter how lazy or skeptical they may be (bless their hearts). I see Twitch streaming like most social media initiatives: an opportunity to network and make more friends!

Towards the end we’ll talk about how to deal with trolls and toxicity. Entrepreneurs and online marketers alike will tell you that those close to us will often be our toughest critics, especially if they do not understand unconventional means of revenue generation. People tend to understand traditional jobs and career tracks but, when you say “I work from home”, they hear “I’m lazy”. Strong work ethic is the only way to combat this, especially if you intend for Twitch to be your main or only “thing”.

Talking Politics On a First Date - BAD.. Pizza Party - GOOD!

The Many First Dates

Marketers and salespeople may know the term first date. As the name implies, this term refers to the process of wining-and-dining and showing you are likeable (i.e. worth their time and attention). It’s all about attention to details and making connections that last a long time, hopefully forever.

The smaller your audience, the more important each follower and viewer is. Heck, everyone matters at any level but, naturally, one-on-one engagement and collaboration is a must when you are starting from zero. You may have a big audience but it won’t necessarily convert 100% to Twitch so assume you have to work within the ecosystem to cultivate a new following.

So, once you get people to join your channel, how do you get them to stick around?

First impressions are a tricky thing. With all the options we as consumers have, we can be picky and impatient. Twitch streamers need to understand the delicate nature of their viewer-broadcaster relationships. Here’s what you can do to keep viewers happy:

  • Acknowledge and welcome your viewers.. Provide an immediate next step to keep them engaged (i.e. request a song).
  • Involve your viewers with votes/polls, questions, giveaways, multiplayer games, and post-stream activities.
  • Make yourself vulnerable – share a bit about yourself and embrace your flaws.. Be human and approachable.
  • Provide quality levels that accomodate mobile users, high-end computer users, and everything in between.
  • Be transparent – share your contact/social media information and off-Twitch relationship building next steps.
  • Implement prestige systems to incentivize deeper engagement/collaboration – appoint moderators, do shout-outs, and feature your top supporters and favorite broadcasters.
  • Allow a little self-promotion so long as it doesn’t become spam.. HINT: Everyone likes to talk about themselves.
  • Set some rules in your channel description but don’t make them too restrictive.. No one wants a dictator.
  • Speaking of rules, it may be wise to avoid the friendship breaker topics: politics, religion, and sports.

Sadly, some viewers have unrealistic expectations so they may leave in spite of your efforts, not because of them. Do not allow this to discourage you and, hey, you can always message viewers to thank them for stopping by. This is an opportunity a lot of streamers miss – even the big ones! Keep that viewer list popped up and pay attention – more people will lurk than will engage you or make themselves known.

#SharingIsCaring - Share Your Pizza. Play Nice With Others.

 

Share A Bigger Pie (i.e. Share Your Audience)

Why do so many people desperately hold onto a tiny slice of pizza when they can share a giant pie with others? Most might think this is counter-productive BUT…

Share your audience.

The single most detrimental mindset people have is that they must do things alone (wrong) and should not share their friends, fans, and supporters. This belief will destroy you on Twitch (and any social media platform, really) because one out of every five users streams to some degree. They are paying you with attention, sometimes money and freebies, so there needs to be some reciprocation.

Embrace the Twitch culture. Understand that everyone wants to feel like they a part of something bigger. Communities thrive when there is many-to-many interaction as opposed one-to-many. Promote and follow others to encourage a spirit of collaboration.

Look at this approach as you would comment brigading. When you promote others, they will typically do the same. Twitch raids are a great way to do this: simply join another streamer’s channel and bring your audience. Make it a big event, get noticed, and feed the hype machine – in a good way! Not everyone will respond in kind but at least you will make it clear that it’s not all about you – it’s about the community!

If you want some background, I highly recommend reading Guy Kawasaki’s book Enchantment. I am not a big fan of Apple and his days as their proverbial cheerleader (hey, we all make mistakes) but Guy really understands people. He is one of the most approachable A-listers out there (hell, he has replied to me on Google+, and quite speedily too), yet there are virtual nobodies on Twitch that act like they are celebrities who should not be approached unless granted permission. Tsk tsk… Humility is one of the lessons in this book and, hey, we could all stand to have an ego check every now and then.

Guy Kawasaki says, "Enchantment. Reluctance is futile."

 

Share Your Knowledge

I find that hoarding of knowledge is even more common than hoarding of supporters and friends. It also ties into the overly-competitive attitude some take on. It’s unnecessary and self-deprecating when it all comes down to it.

Remember: there is enough pie for everyone!

Cake is still better.

We touched upon the importance of embracing the unique culture and ecosystem Twitch provides. With that, it’s important to do some homework. For starters, you may want to learn…

  • The history of Twitch starting at Kickstarter.
  • How to do Twitch emotes.
  • What BM means and what is considered bad mannered.
  • How to optimize OBS, Xsplit, or your broadcasting software of choice for your particular system and games of choice.
  • Which games represent crowded spaces and which are still ripe for newer streamers.

Every streamer has their strengths and weaknesses. Some know the technical stuff inside-out but are clueless when it comes to customer service or entertaining. Others are great with people but miss the little details on the tech and marketing sides. No one knows it all, which makes sharing of knowledge even more crucial.

 

Be Authentic – No One Likes A Fraud!

Nobody likes a fake. Just look at ZileanOP, the Twitch streamer who got banned for pretending to be disabled. He milked his audience for around 20K (USD) in donations before he slipped up and got caught. Such shameful behavior.. But he is not alone!

The disconnect between stated message and living principles is a common thing. Just think about how frivolously the word “love” is thrown around in modern society. You may go into a stream, donate to a broadcaster, and be told you are loved.. But I bet you the moment you try to self-promote or ask for a tiny favor, you’ll get the boot or a stern talking to. It’s petty but it happens.

I believe in full disclosure. If you are truly an asshat, then present that right off the bat. Some people might like the grumpy old man bit and join you in the bitterness. If you say that you care about people, then show it in your actions, not just your words. Be consistent in what you do and make sure it is sustainable. We all have our limits and can only give of ourselves so much, after all!

 

There Are No Shortcuts

When I was first proof-reading this long over-due article, I was watching Obezianka, one of my favorite little-known streamers, go from 150 viewers to 325 and then over 600 in a matter of minutes. I was happy that her 24-hour fund-raising stream was working out but, alas, someone was sending her viewbots. Fortunately, she caught the issue and addressed it right away, thanks to the speedy efforts of RapidBot.

If there are rules in place, someone is sure to game them. Twitch streamers will try just about anything to attract viewers. This includes illegal and borderline illegal type stuff. Don’t fall into this trap because, eventually, it will catch up with you.

Rage Comic Troll Face

Dealing With Haters & Trolls

Recently we discussed the challenges gamer and geek girls face, but the truth is that we all face challenges. There may be some gender disparity but, if anyhing, women have it easier. I have never seen a female streamer with less than 5 viewers; meanwhile, there are countless channels where they are pretty much streaming for themselves. That is discouraging for us dudes. Of course, that is not to be salty about it because Twitch is a visual platform so eye candy is a very good hook. The question is: what will keep people coming back?

Sure, women have to deal with ignorance and generalizations like we see in this article but there are stigmas, trolls, and biases for all types. Twitch trolls tend to target players they feel are “posers” or simply suck in their games of choice. It can be annoying to have trolls hanging out in the chat but it could be worse. Heck, if you get a lot of trolls, that’s better than having no viewers at all. In fact, trolls and haters are inevitable as you grow or succeed in anything so see that as a good sign. The more visible you are, the more people will try to knock you down!

I am a firm believer in killing people with kindness. I laugh everything off because I know that someone who genuinely needs to feed off toxicity and pick fights over the Internet probably just needs to laugh and realize how unproductive their behavior is. Sometimes you could befriend a troll and turn them around so don’t give up on anyone. Of course, don’t return the negativity because that solves nothing.. Unless maybe snarky retorts are your thang (and this can be a fun activity to include your audience in)!

Create Your Own Unfair Advantage

Being a Twitch partner and getting featured really increases the professional appeal of your content, but it’s not a magical solution (heck, in some cases it may even be better NOT to be partnered). There are so many exciting ways to engage your audience and give them something worth talking about. Here are a few:

  • Have your audience vote on follower goals/milestones, whereas you will do something upon reaching X amount of followers.
  • Display the names of your top supporters and collaborators in fun, exciting ways (scrolling text, fancy boxes, pop-up windows, thank-you pages, #FollowFriday tweets, etc).
  • Acknowledge EVERYONE – not just the biggest donators – and give everyone a chance to WIN!
  • Do giveaways that drive follower counts and comments – just make sure it’s easy to track participants! Granted, there are caveats to giveaways but they do create opportunities when done right.
  • Hold contests to have talented artists produce overlays, logos, watermarks, call-out boxes, and other goodies for you. Branding on Twitch is an awesome way to stand out – marketing, baby!
  • Consider Patreon, crowdfunding, and other fundraiser events (e.g. streaming marathons) to raise seed money and reinvest into your efforts.
  • Share your playlist.. People may not like certain games but if you give them something to look forward to, besides your winning personality, they’ll form a tighter connection.
  • Be more vulnerable and transparent. Share some little-known facts or quirks about yourself that aren’t in your obligatory FAQ. Bonds are stronger when trust is created in smaller groups or, ideally, one-on-one.

Create your own unfair advantage. Don’t expect Twitch or any third-party provider to give you all the tools you need. You are your best asset so let your creativity run wild. You are only limited by the amount of time you invest and your passion!

Of course, I must reiterate that the best advantage you have is that there is no one like you. If you are reading this all the way through, you already have the humility and thirst that most lack.. That puts you in a class of your own. I KNOW you will be hugely successful!

By the way, gimmicks are not a bad thing so long as they are followed by substance. ShannaNina (a.k.a. NinaLoL) takes song requests any time someone subscribes or donates. She sings and plays her acoustic guitar LIVE. She’s the only person I know that does this and she does it so well. What’s more is that she is really laid-back and engaging. You may want someone with high-energy and hair-burning.. Well, there is an audience and a broadcaster for everyone. That’s the beauty of it all!

Lights, Cameras, Action!

Maybe your approach might involve shiny things, pretty colors, and disco lights. It’s been done before but, hey, it definitely adds appeal. I see a lot of popular people with expensive headphones they show off on their face cam so it must work for them. This is a materialistic world, love it or hate it. Oh and be careful about wearing sheer materials and wet tees.. Just sayin.

Mind you, your thang does not need to be unique.. Just be authentic about it. Eventually, every idea has been done before anyway!

(And don’t forget us little people.)

 

Go Beyond The Stream

Realistically, you could expect $50-200 for every 10 hours you stream but the income can be inconsistent. Remember that your Twitch stream can be a home base but it should not be your only focus because, ultimately, you don’t truly own it. Twitch gets the most value out of the content we work hard to create so it’s best to give your audience some next steps beyond the stream.

Welcome them to your web site, podcast(s), a local meetup, or whatever else you have going on. The key here is to drive activity from event to event.. Never rely on Twitch or any single platform to take care of you and your audience.

One thing I would recommend is some sort of lead capture. Connect with your audience via channels that have longevity such as e-mail, Twitter, and snail mail. Notice I did not say Facebook. Well, I think Facebook has a limited shelf life but, for now, groups and fan pages are worth it since that’s still where people eventually end up during their busy days.

Do you have any Twitch tips to share? Maybe some favorite streamers? Share the love in the comments!

STAY TUNED!  We’re assembling an official stream team for weekly pseudo-shows and podcasts over at the Geeky Antics Twitch Channel – and YouTube, too!  This article is not by any means the final and most complete Twitch how-to resource so there will be more to come for sure!

COMING SOON:  The tech you need (and don’t need) to start streaming..  And the economics of gaming.  Are gaming PCs or consoles the better deal?

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Comments

  1. Hey all!

    This is the new home for the article found at https://geekyantics.wordpress.com/2014/05/28/get-more-viewers-and-followers-on-twitch/comment-page-1/#comment-2248 – let’s keep the conversation going! Super excited that we hit the TOP 3 in GOOGLE SEARCH for Twitch guides and HOW-TOs. AWESOME!

    More Twitch guides and discussion coming. Here’s to the little guys. The struggle is REAL!

    • You should set up a redirect for everyone who’s coming here from the wordpress.com domain.

      Either way there is some really great information in here, I am doing research for my brother right now to help him improve his stream and I found a lot of great tips in here!

      If you guys could take a quick look at his profile and give some constructive criticism on how he could improve it would be greatly appreciated: http://twitch.tv/xwater

      Also is it a good idea to apply for partnership early?

    • Sorry I forgot to include the plugin for redirecting if you want to use it:

      https://wordpress.org/plugins/quick-pagepost-redirect-plugin/

      • Thanks! I try not to use redirects too much as they’re not effective for SEO. This is a good plugin though. 8)

        • Oh I didn’t know that, I thought redirects were fine. Do you have any articles on good seo practices?

          Also did you get a chance to check out my brothers stream? http://twitch.tv/xwater Let me know if you have any advice!

          • Redirects won’t penalize you but I find inheriting authority from a page is more effective than trying to leverage domain authority alone. I have some articles out there on SEO and Inbound Marketing. One of them is on Unbounce.com.. Search “adaptive SEO”. =o)

            … And no not yet. I will check it I out. Kinda have to give us more than just a few hours, yanno! LOL

  2. I just wanted to let you know that I found this article on your WordPress site and I am very impressed with all of aspects of streaming that you touched upon. I’ve recently started streaming myself and I find myself struggling to obtain “repeat offenders” (for lack of a better phrase). It seems to fluctuate on a nightly basis with maybe 2 or 3 of the same coming to watch. It’s been just about a week now, and I thoroughly enjoy the company of others on my stream, but my influx of viewers seems to come primarily when “giveaway” is in the title of my stream. I’m okay with this if it makes followers out of them, but I often reiterate to them that “I want you to be here to have fun with me, not just for giveaways, so please let me know what I can do to improve.” I understand we will always get those “giveaway seekers”, but it can be discouraging for first time streamers putting in their hard earned money to enjoy the company of others on their Twitch. I want to give back to the community – I think that’s what all streamers should strive to do.

    Yyour article has provided me with knowledge and a great basis for how every streamer should conduct themselves. I regretfully admit that haven’t been an avid supporter of other streams. The excuses come out now, but the issue is primarily that I work long days and when I arrive home, I can either play something myself (without streaming), stream my own content, or watch others stream. Usually this turns into one of the first two. It also makes it more difficult for me to watch others now that have solidified my own schedule (and it’s literally all of my free time except for when I am at work). However, I think you are absolutely right and I think that is something I need to start doing. Something I was more curious about, though, was who to support? The “big players” certainly wouldn’t even notice me there, nor would they give me the time of day. It also seems like some of the streamers with 200+ viewers couldn’t care less about other streamers. I’m at a loss on how to go about this one!

    Either way, I’m usually pretty driven when it comes to doing something I an motivated about. I am certainly ready (and an hoping) for a great following so that I can give back to those in the community. I would also very much appreciate if you viewed my Twitch (twitch.tv/xyeLz) and let me know what I can do better to improve myself. You don’t need to follow – just any advice would be helpful. 🙂

    Thank you very much for the well written article! Let’s see if it helps. 😉 I’m sure it will!

    Thank you for this article. I truly hope that it will help!

    • Yeah, creating that dedicated core is the toughest part of building your audience. Most streamers focus on getting big numbers but that’s worthless without highly engaged return visitors. I mean, for some the revolving door effect may be cool but it’s nice when you have familiar faces to catch up with every time you stream, you know? Plus, if you can retain your viewers then you know you are doing something right!

      Giveaways and other keywords definitely lure folks in. It’s not necessarily a bad thing but keeping those types of folks around is usually very challenging unless you rely on gimmicks solely. Those types of viewers go from channel to channel looking for freebies, trolling opportunities, and/or eye candy (i.e. boobs and pretty faces). If you get followers out of it, it’s not a complete loss but don’t get caught up in the follower count. It’ll drive you batty!

      I hear ya with the supporting of others. If you only have one to three hours to stream, it’s hard to support others. Sometimes it’s all about the little things like joining a stream and saying a hello just before you call it a night.. Or doing a raid or hosting a channel.. The right way.

      I’d support small to medium-sized channels that will actually appreciate the raid. I find that supporting channels where you have already created some sort of relationship ahead of time is best. Raiding random channels can sometimes be awkward because you might land in a channel where the streamer ignores the chat completely.. Which is sadly more the rule than the exception. Twitch streamers are also surprisingly self-absorbed and anti-social, which is ironic because Twitch is supposed to be a social media platform. This is why team players will have the edge in the long-run because, collectively, you can build bigger communities and greater trust than you possibly can on your own.. ESPECIALLY if you don’t have tons of time to commit.

      I gave you a follow. I can already tell you’ll be successful because you put great effort into how you communicate, a skill that is very rare online, to be quite honest. For example, many streamers know that you should greet people every so often or as they come in.. But they tend to do it in a very inauthentic, boring manner. It’s very mechanical, you know?

      For these reasons and so much more, I will say that the key differentiators on social media will always be personality, which feeds into branding and the overall experience. People will focus on overlays, tech, sound quality, and blah blah blah.. But that’s stuff money can buy. You can’t buy personality. ;o)

  3. Yeah, getting the dedicated core is also I think one of the most important aspects since they keep the chat lively, keep coming back, and bring others back. Well, hopefully that’s the case at least. I’ve already got a few returning which is awesome, though these are a few that started watching right from the beginning (last Monday). Seems like that’s the hardest part to get dedicated people to stick around. Then again, it’s hard to cater to one’s individual tastes when they pop in for a second and don’t say anything in chat.

    I think I need to tone back on giveaways. It brought in some good League following but I do more than League. This I also find difficult since I don’t play one game consistently so my following has no clue. One night might be H1Z1, the other might be League. I don’t know what I will play and I don’t know if I should make a schedule for that too…but usually I go based on how I feel that night. What do you think?

    Everything you have said about other streamers is true. This weekend I tried to spend some time visiting others who also needed the help. What bothers me is that one guy had about 40 viewers and just wasn’t very friendly, nor was he any good at what he was doing. He had a massive (compared to me) following of like 8,000 followers but I couldn’t imagine what brought people to him, other than time.

    Thank you so much for the follow! That means a ton to me! I also followed you and will keep an eye on when you stream to hang out in there with you and your viewers. I’m trying hard (feels like a little too hard) so hopefully it will pay off. The only thing I don’t have is time – so I’m trying to move things along at a quicker pace (I was hoping giveaways would do that).

    How do you feel about TwitchAlerts and TNotifier and the like? Some of the streams I saw were using this (including some of the very popular ones) and while I see it as a tool to draw in viewers as it makes the stream more interactive and “cool” for them (seeing their name on the screen), it also clutters up the screen which, in essence, is the point of the stream.

    • Don’t be afraid to rotate games. Ultimately people connect with the person, not the games. I would say it’s just a minority of viewers that want high skill play and a dedicated game rotation. It’s all about managing expectations on that end.

      As for clutter, that’s a topic of debate. There are plenty of steamers that dedicate more reality to non-gaming content. Whether you have a news ticker, alerts, shout-outs, or/and a playlist, just think about your core audience, your target viewer, and what you want to be known for. What is the value you deliver and what is the heart of the your experience?

      New viewers will always be fickle so don’t take it personally if they leave before you can form a connection. There’s tons of content out there but there are also all sorts of geeks out there. There’s a market for everything so do what you have the most fun with. Stay true to yourself and have fun because you can’t please everyone.

      I also stress that Twitch is a lot less about the games than people think. If it was just about the games, they’d go to YouTube, Steam, or some other platform for their fix. Think about it. People ultimately are looking to meet people. Some may want to model your skills at games or streaming but this is a dwindling minority.

      As for the guy with lots of viewers but no effort put into their social media, they will grow a different type of audience. I doubt you want what they have. I can almost guarantee he doesn’t have any regulars so it’ll be a constant grind. That’s fine if you have time to spare but you and I are not in that boat. So let’s make the most of the little free time we do have. 8)

      • Alfapatito says:

        Hello Yog and thanks for such an amazing guide, I started streaming exactly 1 week ago, in a few hours we are doing the 1 week special, I have around 200 followers (Im intending to do a hearthstone tournament between followers and give the winners a prize)

        Though I’m very happy with the growth we had over 7 days I have to ask you something. No one talks about foreign language streams (meaning not English). I think that I could try to stream in English but it wouldn’t show me as I am, so I went for the Spanish stream (Argentinian guy here) and the lack of people that watches streams in Spanish is very small.

        Would you know any metrics about how many successful Spanish streamers are out there? I cannot find this information anywhere, whether there are non, a few or more than I suspect.

        I’m very happy that my viewers are coming back to my stream every day, heck I got people watching me 6 days in a row, from Argentina to Peru and Spain, and I found that beautiful and nurturing; that said though, I want to pursue this as a career of a sort, everything is still being figured out by me on this end, but I don’t want to spend so many hours on something that is going to result futile.

        I don’t mind streaming 7 days a week for 3 4 months without getting paid I saved enough money to provide for myself for a period of time in order to allow myself to stream. But if the decision I made about going Spanish mode on this is destined to fail, I would like to see that now than 3 months down the road.

        Sorry for my English, I do hope you understood everything.

        • Hola que tal! As someone that would love to do more content in Spanish (my first language), I’d have to say that it is tougher. I notice lots of people that can’t speak English are streaming as English channels so they can get more eyeballs. I don’t know the exact numbers by country or language. I doubt Twitch would share such data either. Still, Spanish is one of the most spoken language in the world after English. I think you use made a smart and brave move. Give it time. Remember you can always switch the language of your channel or videos pretty much any time. =oD

          Also Hearthstone YAY!

  4. Thought I’d add my two cents here into the conversation.

    I gained most of my followers through Star Trek Online, but then I decided to switch up games, and they stayed. If you devote your time to just one game and ONLY one game, you are going to get bored and that does not translate well to new viewers. If they like you, they will stick around. 🙂

    I have a follower alert, as well as my own little theme song…I call my group “The Brandy Bunch” because that’s what I wanted to emphasize: that we’re all just a fun bunch of people. And no, I don’t necessarily play the popular games, but I have fun, and if people tell me that they’re having fun, that’s all that matters. 🙂

  5. Nice guide. I just want to add that there are websites out there that can help like 1ShotGG, Topstreamers, or FollowTrain. They can help quite a bit, but to be truthful, it all goes down to you. Only you can make yourself a better streamer. Just my 2 cents.

    • Yeah those sites work but the #1 mistake people make is focusing on their channel too much and doing it alone. Twitch is a self contained ecosystem much like Facebook so your audience will consist mostly of other streamers. You have to support others if you want to grow. Promote and engage beyond your channel. Anything else is a grind, in my experience. 8)

  6. i like the concept of video for growing audience and it seems that streaming services make it easier to do so consistently. i wonder however if the effort is worthwhile in terms of returns. i stick to the basics for my internet use and business needs so much of what i find is via searches, facebook and google. i wonder if there will be more opportunities in the near future for businesses to take advantage of streaming, perhaps by allowing them to partner up with streamers in their local markets? now that would be exciting!

    even so do yall think that online video platforms will take the place of traditional media outlets such as radio and TV? maybe the approach and results are different so it would depend on the brand? from what i gather here, streaming seems to be a sort of game changer that levels the playing field.

    by the way, thanks to everyone promoting us throughout your network. it really helps us get added exposure without having to break the bank!

    • I think traditional media will always have a place but online/new media certainly levels the playing field. I agree that Twitch would have a huge advantage if they give content creators more incentives for using their platform. Local markets and retargeting seem to lack as a whole. I often get frustrated by the amount of advertising that does not apply to me at all. Like when they offer adult diapers. I mean, I’m not quite there yet.. Do they know something I don’t? LOL

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