I’m not talking about pitting the two against each other. What I am talking about is that there’s a difference between the two. I’ll also go over why the difference is important, what you can do to maximize both of them and where to start.
For the longest time the word audience and community have been interchangeable on Twitch. While there’s a sliver of truth to it (I’ll go over why in a bit) with the focus from Twitch towards communities (I’ll go over that slight as well), even if it currently has it’s issues, there’s good reason to look at the difference between the two.
To put this into a easily digestible: An audience are those that you talk to and a community are when those people are talking to each other. While it’s true that often users to talk among each other it’s also a rare instance. It’s more often someone that responds to a question that was directed towards the streamer. This isn’t really a community until you make it one.
This might however not really become apparent until you look at larger channels. There’s also a large difference with those that have started to build communities — not only around their chat — but also around their own platforms. Meanwhile in smaller channels it’s easier for user to remember each other and it can feel more like a community. The problem is as you grow those bridges will start to wilt more and more. While it might sound as an issue at first the people that are in a community are more likely recommend you not only based on your channel but also your community. The likelihood of them being even more invested to you and your content will also rise as they make more connection with other people from your audience.
Your content and your community
One thing that you have an advantage on when you build a community is that you constantly have content that can be talked about. Since — probably — stream a few days a week you have content that both can be posted, highlighted, edited, photoshopped and so on.
There’s a constant thing that happens that they, and you, can talk about from time to time. Now this dosen’t mean that it’s a set it and forget it. You, especially when you start to build a community outside of Twitch chat, are going to have to do a lot of hard lifting. You have to be approachable where ever you chose to start building the discussion. From posting videos (your own or others), clips, highlights, topics and so on.
Something that I’ve started to do is push relevant topics into the LiveSpace Discord channel and also pushing my articles there for an after discussion.
Directing the conversation
An important aspect of actually building a community, in whatever way you might do it, is that you need to centralize the discussion. The more fragmented your audience is in where to go to have discussion the less activity you’re going to see. You need to be clear in your messaging where the discussion takes place after the stream is over and that you’re going to engage in it as well. The reason for this is that you’re audience is — most likely — built on your personality (personal brand).
So while Twitter might seem like a great place to have discussion it’s, once again, a one way discussion spurred on from your tweet. They’re all isolated threads that aren’t easily accessible for everyone. Instead what we want is a place where the community can have the best experience and where you actually can “control” that experience, as so it dosen’t turn sour.
For instance I push all of my conversation towards the LiveSpace Discord channel. Both at the end of streams and soon I’m going to go over all my websites and do the same. I’m even planning a little marketing campaign around it. Since it the perfect place to have a down to earth discussion with like minded people that also want to grow, market and learn Twitch branding the right way — that’s how you sneak in an ad into content 😉
Does this matter to growth?
In a direct sense no. If you decide to start a community you’re probably only going to see a fraction of your audience there at the start. It’s something that you’re going to have to keep in mind. The most common number thrown around is that only about half will follow you there, but don’t be surprised if there’s less.
While that might sound like something you might not want to happen. You’re going to have to start somewhere eventually. There’s however a bright side to all of this. Keep in mind what I mentioned earlier, and that the people in your community will now have even more reasons to recommend not only your channel as a benefit but also your community.
The further into this we get the more we have to talk about dark social. Something that I for sure would want to talk about in length in a future article. To keep it short; dark social is apps, direct message, sms, email all that stuff that is digital that you can’t really see.
Do you need to build a community?
No you don’t. A lot of the current top streamers don’t have a set community. That however dosen’t mean that they couldn’t have built one or that they wouldn’t benefit from it.
CohhCarnage for instance have built a community that have transcended into it being a selling point or value proposition for those that want to dig deeper into his content. While he might have gone as far without it I doubt that he would say that his community building have been something bad.
Starting to building a community should NEVER feel as something that you should do or have to do. It’s something that you want to do and have a passion to build. It will take time and it will patience to build a great community. Nothing says that you can’t build an audience before you start to build towards a community. However that conversion is a much larger topic that I should eventually dedicate a article to.
Alright this ends the week for those that aren’t subscribing to the newsletter. The snow is falling like crazy outside and I’m heading over to the LiveSpace Discord channel to have a After Article™ discussion.
If you’re looking for professional Twitch branding you might want to check out my Twitch services. Anyway talk to you soon in whatever fashion you might reach out in.