The whole point of gaming via a streaming service is so people can watch you, obviously. What do you do when nobody stops by and you’re basically entertaining yourself? It’s disheartening, it’s demoralising and could be the reason you stop streaming altogether. Before you do that, take a couple of minutes to read through this post, or our previous 5 Tips For New Twitch Streamers, to check to see if there is something really simple you’re not doing.
Firstly let me say, and I hate to say it, that not everyone is suited to streaming games live. Not everyone will make it to affiliate or partner and not everyone will average more than 1-2 viewers per stream. It’s a sad fact, I know, but just because you’re good at a game or enjoy gaming does not mean that you are also entertaining, good at marketing yourself or good at networking.
With that in mind, your goal on Twitch should always be to have fun and not for the monetary side of things.
But before you throw in the towel, check out these tips that you’re possibly not doing which might just help you.
Watch Your VODs
Make sure your settings are switched on to keep your streams once you’ve finished so not only do visitors to your channel have access to your previous streams but also so you can watch them back. A lot of the time you’ll be able to spot something wrong with your stream that might have stopped people from staying with you, then correct it.
Sound and video issues tend to be the common problems, maybe your gameplay or music is louder than your mic so people can’t hear you. Most people won’t tell you about your issues and unless you have a mod or regular visitor with you, then you’ll spend the whole stream with this issue and probably the next.
Watching your own streams will also give you an indication as to whether you’re actually as entertaining as you think. You can time silent periods which at the time might have felt like they were only 30 seconds long but in fact, you didn’t say anything for over five minutes.
Engage With Other Streamers
This is some people’s biggest source of growth. Popping into other streams, chatting with the streamer and their viewers, and getting your name seen is a great way to help your channel grow. I don’t mean for you to break Twitch Etiquette and announce you’re a streamer as soon as you enter the channel; this will more than likely just get you banned from that channel. General conversation with the chat is what you need;
“How’s the stream?”
“How has your day been?”
“Would you recommend this game?”
Joining in with Discord communities and getting to know other streamers is an absolute must. Many streamer-friendly communities, such as Gaming Guide To The Galaxy, are happy to help and support their community members if they’re active, engaging and supportive of their fellow streamers.
Getting your name out there is a great way to get noticed. Befriending other streamers means they’re more likely to send their viewers your way as well checking you out themselves, and telling their friends about you. A shout out during a stream because you’ve taken the time to engage with them can do wonders for your follower count but bear in mind…
Follower Count Means Nothing
The sad fact is that the average Twitch channel should only expect around 1-2% of its followers to watch them live. So if you have 100 followers, you can only expect 1 person from that following to actually tune in to you. Your followers will more than likely follow more people than just you. This is why it’s important to do more than rely on those who follow your channel.
Networking and marketing yourself is the best way to grow your channel because the chances of being seen randomly are slim.
Utilise Social Media & Discord
Being part of communities, both on Facebook and Discord is a great way to introduce more people to your stream when you’re live. Depending on the rules of the community, most will allow you to announce when you’re live or have a “Live” role (on Discord). This shows new faces that you stream, gives them a link to your channel and encourages them to check you out.
Using social media such as Instagram and Twitter (and using them properly) can give your channel a huge boost. Posting to both that you’re live, with an image to grab their attention, will encourage people to come and see you. Save yourself time by posting to Instagram and using IFTTT to post the same image and text to Twitter, without having to do it twice.
Use hashtags, and use them well. You DON’T need to use them on Facebook as Facebook is clever enough to not need them. Use four in every post on Twitter and 30 on Instagram but a clever trick is to use four or five in the actual post then 30 in the first comment on the image.
I tend to add a game hashtag and then community tags to the post because that is what is also tweeted out (the communities then retweet them). Then add every hashtag you can think of that relates to the game you’re playing and you as a streamer. Another tip: Save your hashtag lists in a notepad on your phone so all you have to do is copy and paste.
Switch It Up A Bit
I’m a firm believer that you should play what you enjoy because ultimately that is what shines through during your stream but sometimes you might need to switch things up.
There is a mixed opinion about “Popular” or “Saturated” games and whether they’re good or bad for channel growth. Ultimately if there is nothing special about you playing a popular game then you’re not going to get the views. The reason Ninja does so well with Fortnite is that he’s a good player, the reason SodaPoppin gets the views playing World of Warcraft is that he’s entertaining and both are known within their game’s communities.
If you’re seeing zero growth then maybe look at mixing your gameplay up a little. Retro tends to do well as does games that get the viewers involved such as Jackbox Party – though, be wary of the trolls and always activate Twitch Log In.
Incentivise Your Stream
Ok, when I say incentivise I don’t necessarily mean a giveaway. I mean a way to reward viewers for being there, for hanging out and chatting. In-stream currency and perks that can be bought with that currency is a great and free way to keep people engaged. Sound effects, song requests, on-screen graphics or “paying” for you to do things, like dance, lick your dog, improvise a rap etc, keeps it fun, lighthearted and gives you an edge.
Then obviously there are giveaways you can do. Streamlabs’ Stream Boss is one way of encouraging people to interact as the boss can be taken down by people following, subscribing, donating and/or using bits. *subs and bits obviously for those who are affiliated. A random Steam key costs a pittance and makes a great incentive for interaction. If you’re more established as a streamer then consider merch or gift vouchers as prizes.
As I’ve previously said, your followers alone tend to only give you 1-2% of your stream views so you need to be doing more outside of your channel if you want to see any growth. If you’re doing everything I’ve covered and are still getting nowhere then it might be that your streams aren’t going to grow. If you want to make a career out of it then maybe it’s just not going to work.
If you are truly streaming for the pure enjoyment of streaming then numbers shouldn’t matter so switch that viewer count off, ignore the post stream summaries and just enjoy the game.