This is probably on of the most asked questions, how do I get more viewers? I’ve seen all the answers already and while a few are true they’re mostly based on personal experience and comments from those that was there a long time ago. The starting out phase dissipates after awhile and our memory isn’t the best so it’s not like they’re trying to deceive you into not getting viewers. I would argue that all competition is good competition and that announcing something ahead of time even if that would mean that someone else could do the same is still a very good thing to do. Another topic for another day.
Quality over quantity?
Both! At the same time! There’s no such thing as quality over quantity when it comes to Twitch. This translate of the the boilerplate answer “Get a schedule”, repeated by everyone and everyone’s grandmother. While yes it’s very true that you should have a schedule but it shouldn’t be used as a blanket answer with no follow up. It’s not the schedule that will set you apart it’s the consistency and having that consistent output with quality while building expectation that will set you apart. It all comes back to your personal brand, and this consistency will be and should be, part of your personal brand. What you are building is trust.
If no one can see that you can deliver quality and deliver on a consistent basis, according to a schedule, then why should they follow your stream? And even further, why would they consider even donate or subscribe? You want to build a expectation, and people want to see what they’re going to get. A schedule is a promise to the viewers not only that you will be there at that time on that day(s) but if they look back at your history that you have content to offer.
If your mentality is “I turn on my stream whenever I want” you will be loosing out on dedicated followers. When I talk about followers I’m not talking about the number of followers on your Twitch channel, that really means nothing, it’s only a number that indicates how many people clicked follow and not an indication of how many will return to your channel. While yes it’s a small investment it’s now your job to convert that number to dedicated followers, and if you’re not partnered that number is hidden, not that it magically shows up when you become a partner but monthly subscribers is a better indication of dedicated users than anything else.
“But Daniel I can’t do it every day!” Then how often can you do it? Can you do it twice every week? Once every week? Once every month? It doesn’t matter, as long as you have a scheduled consistent flow people will come eventually. Actually doing it once every month would be better than having a sporadic “I do it when I want!” attitude. The reason being that when they miss that stream it’s a disappointment for them YOU let them down. “But I sent out a tweet!” Everyone don’t follow your twitter and not everyone will be there at that moment, but if they know that you will always show up the first Monday of every month then they will be there waiting on that day. If you try to over commit you will burn yourself out when you see no return on your investment of time.
Make a promise and keep to it
When you make these promises you’re giving a reason to come back at a specific time to enjoy the entertainment value you’re putting out. Look at a TV show, they didn’t get known for putting out a TV show whenever they felt like it, they have a specific time and specific date that each episode has it’s showing. Then being able to see that a TV show have so and so many seasons or episodes before it will show that your can deliver both quantity and quality.
Don’t be afraid you’ve made the wrong choice. If you feel it’s the right passion for you, after all this is about building something that will last and not something that’s built around the hype of a game or random influx of viewers. You want a lasting relationship with your core fanbase and you want that relationship to be shown to the uninvested so they can see that it’s the right decision to become invested.
“But Daniel I don’t have any followers, what do I do?”
The quote “You miss 100% of the shots you never take – Wayne Gretzky” by Michael Scott is extremely true when it comes to streaming. You should start now, there’s no let’s wait until have this or that many followers etc. Start now and you start to build a library, and as long as your passionate about it and you have a accountability (a schedule) you will keep putting things out, even when you don’t feel like it. You are the one that needs to set you up for success and make the right investment at the right time (I’ll write a article about investing in your stream and yourself at the right time later)
Instead set a personal goal. Are you doing the right thing? Did you full fill what you set out to do? Did you follow your schedule? Did you appreciate the people that follow you? If you’re not taking time out of your life to engage and interact with the people, that didn’t have to but did, take time out of their lives to follow, comment or write in your chat. At that point your doing it right! Ignore the view counter (it means nothing), ignore the exposure (crazy right?), even to some degree ignore the follower count. Instead no matter what show that you care about you community. Build the community around you, and the games you play set yourself apart from other streamers. Become a big fish in a small pond instead of a small fish in the ocean that Twitch is. Your goal isn’t to be seen by as many as possible or get as many follows as possible, we’re building audience, a core fanbase, that will be invested in what you do, in your story and the entertainment that you are providing.
Being hosted, re-tweeted or hype numbers and “going viral”
If you worry about your exposure, what to post on Twitter, hashtags etc. you are losing out on actually creating content and being consistent with that content. Don’t chase whales or try to go viral. Focus on personal brand, content and consistency. Who knows one of those things might make you go viral, but don’t aim for the exception to the rule. I’m not saying not to use hashtags or Reddit but don’t let that be your focus. You know what works? Word of mouth. If you don’t engage or respond to comments and interaction in your chat and give even that one follower your full attention (if they want that attention).
See it like this; 5000 views of non-quality viewers will result in maybe 10 undedicated followers and that maybe in 1 dedicated follow. What I mean with non-quality views are all of the “get rich” schemes out there. Twitter accounts that re-tweets, websites that showcase you or boosts you etc. All of that is non quality views. Mainly because the only ones watching are other streamers but also it contains no value and content is empty air. You want to locate, depending on your personal brand and goals, where your target audience is and target that market.
The same can almost be said for being re-tweeted or hosted. Unless it’s something that’s very close to your personal brand or something that would cross pollinate with your personal brand the one hosting or re-tweeting you. Then that’s also non-quality views and only a fraction of these will stay, most of the time. To get the most out of a host or a re-tweet is to follow the things I’ve mentioned, Quality AND Quantity. It will have the biggest impact on your core following.
Two questions you should ask yourself: What makes you stand out from other streams? Why should anyone remember you over another streamer?
Marketing your content
Remember that quantity and quality are both equal to attract viewers? The same goes if you want to attract attention on any social media platform. If you have good content on the different platforms you will attract more attention. If all you do is throw a bunch of hashtags without any attention to the content you will fail. You will sit there and wonder why your marketing don’t work. It’s because it was ignored, and was rightfully ignored, it had no value to anyone. You’re a person, with a personality, use that! People want to interact with someone that is real, a friend, an expert etc.It’s not about being seen by as many as possible but to steer your content towards the people that will find it the best interesting and most relateable to them. You might need to learn each social medias language, what works on Twitter don’t work on Reddit and what works on Reddit don’t work on Instagram etc. Yes you can use Instagram to get viewers on Twitch IF you do it the right way, hell you can even use Snapchat if you’re able to speak that language.
The amount of times I’ve gone into a stream and it have taken only a few minutes to identify a personal brand and something that would grow their channel hare countless. However it’s seldom something that they’re aware of or have implemented into their stream. There’s those that have great visual branding but no personal branding, then again personal branding is a lot harder to understand unless you’re constantly thinking about it. If you can’t do it yourself then maybe it’s time to invest in someone that can find your personal brand, work with you to strengthen it, work on the visual and take your stream to the next level.
You want someone to pay attention to you in a @reply? Be interesting, informative, helpful etc. I can’t count the amount of times I’ve clicked on someone name and checked their stream due to their interaction with someone else. Are you starting to see that the formula isn’t much harder than having a personal brand?
It will probably won’t come as a surprise that people hate commercials. With ad-blockers, HBO GO, DVR etc. it’s pretty clear that that route should never be taken, yet people think that ads are a only things you see on TV, banners and pop-ups. A Tweet like “Come watch me do X thing on #twitch #that #this #etc” will only attract your core fanbase, and you don’t have a core fanbase you won’t attract anyone. As you can see you shouldn’t be a interruption in peoples stream but rather a part of it. You come of the same way as a online ad at that point. Good information when you have a big following (still it won’t get them more viewers) but bad when you’re trying to build something since it’s only noise in already noisy environment. I actually have TweetDeck setup so I can see anything with #Twitch. For every good tweet with #Twitch there’s about 10.000 bad ones. Want to stand out from that? It’s not hard to standout from that noise at that point.
Be informative, be memorable, be funny, be generous, be open, make it your for audience, be the person that I (or anyone else) want to interact with. If you come at someone with “Come watch me do X thing on #twitch” you’re trying to sell something, your being an ad and trying to be a salesman. What you want to do is share a moment with all or any of the above characteristics. Take a look at the more famous streamers Twitter feed for instance and you will start to see this pattern. They might not be aware of it themselves but they’re doing exactly those things. Yes they might have a aduince already but they’re also doing (even if it’s unintentional) to keep the audience and keep building it.
Don’t feel as if you have to be locked down by your personal brand, after all that is still you. As I said each social media has it’s own language, and all you need to do is tell your story in all of those languages. This will let someone feel, and you want them to feel your story. That is what will make them take a look or share you content. It’s what engages someone on a personal level that get’s a reaction and that reaction is what leads to that share, subscription, donation or follow. Make someone think or smile or any other positive emotion, I rather check someone out that tells the story of starting out streaming on Twitch, that’s the beginning of a story, than someone who screams “LIVE NOW COME WATCH ME!”, there’s no story there nothing that can connect with anyone. I love the Wrestling Isn’t Wrestling video because it highlights why story and storytelling is such a powerful thing that it makes us overlook certain things for the sake of great entertainment. You should think the same when it comes to your stream.
The farmers market
Imagine you’re standing at the farmers market on any random day and you’re a painter, musician or any other type of content creator and entertainer (a streamer on Twitch is after all a content creator and entertainer). You stand there you have a sign with a bunch of exclamation marks and you’re screaming at the top of your lungs that you’re about to start. And you keep doing this, again and again. Sure people will stop and look but if all you’re doing is standing there screaming about what you’re going to do and adding more and more signs. People will leave. There’s nothing there, there’s no previous content to look at, there’s nothing of value going on and all you’re doing is building hype around nothing. Would you stop? Would you stay? Would you donate or buy anything from this crazy person?
Now let’s say the same person comes to the farmers market every time at a set time. You bring your sign but you start to create on the stop, there’s no screaming no extra signs, you’re providing free entertainment on the stop. You keep doing this, you put up your previous paintings, music or whatever you’re selling. Now there’s content that people walking by can see, they also see you creating and engaging the audience. Would you stop? Would you donate or buy anything from this person? I would, maybe not right away but that’s what this is about. It’s about building a strong viewer base and a following that will always be there.
There’s of course a lot more than these points and paragraphs. However I know that if you take some of this, or all of this, to heart and find what you can apply , you will grow. Yes if everyone was ding this then it would be even more difficult to stand out but that’s an adjustment that has to be done no matter what stage the Twitch community is in. How, where and when to position yourself in social medias comes and goes in waves and much like languages they evolve and change over time. Oh an by the way Twitch is also a social media… I’ll leave you with that nugget for now.
If you have any questions regarding this article, have something you want me to write about or if you have questions in general you can find me on Twitter @visiblespeech. If you have business inquires you can e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org