On Twitch.tv, not everybody who watches your stream will be wanting the same kind of stream experience. Some want a relaxing experience passively watching a person they find interesting or knowledgable. Some want a structured stream that resembles an almost (but not quite) professional web show. On the other end there’s the people that love the over the top streams with donation games and all the effects. Even for the streamer, the definition of a successful stream is a matter of taste. Some may just hope for a few faithful followers while some want to be idolized by the masses. I hope for these streamer tips to be useful to whatever kind of streamer you may be. In trying to cover all of the general surface level advice I have, I realize there is too much to talk about, so in this article I’m skipping over any hardware/software related tips for now.
At the end of the day I believe everybody should do whatever they want with their stream, money, time and equipment. These streamer tips are based on some of my own observations about the Twitch experience, as both a past streamer and long time viewer of gaming streams.
9 Reasons Your Stream Might Be Failing
- Too little or too much self promotion. You’re either tweeting promotional ads for your stream multiple times a day, or you have never mentioned your stream to a soul outside of your mother, and she isn’t the retweeting type. You use no relevant hashtags, or even worse, you overuse and misuse meme gifs/images to bulk out your lazy thin tweets. Your only way to support other small streamers is by spamming your own followers, you assume your spam tastes good.
- No schedule consistency. You have a streaming schedule you rarely follow yet change constantly. Unless “gotta just catch me when you can” is the vibe you’re going for, posting no schedule at all is better than posting one and never following it. Warning : unreliable streamers may need to possess legendary charisma skills or be a popular pro gamer to gain momentum and amass followers. Your repeat followers will appreciate your attempts at consistency.
- Pressuring for views instead of earning them. You ask a viewer why they haven’t been to your stream recently, and you really put on the pressure. …You then lose all interest in them as a person until they haven’t been to your stream in so long you notice them missing. Out of frustration you publicly call out lurker viewers who should be doing their part to liven your channel’s chat.
- Imitating other streamers. You’re not sure what the magic formula is to having a successful stream so you’re playing a video game you’re not excited about for weeks, simply because it is popular on Twitch. Maybe you’re even writing tweets that look a lot like the other streamers that you see on Twitter, whether it fits your own unique style or not.
- Full of yourself. You’re too busy/bored to watch other people play video games in your spare time, but are surprised when people are playing their own games instead of watching you play in their spare time. You don’t know (or care) if your favorite followers stream or not, and you don’t make any real attempts to tune in to them.
- Blending in with the crowd. You assume that the fact that you are streaming yourself playing a game is more than a good enough reason for people to support/retweet/follow/subscribe/donate to you. If asked, you can’t answer what makes you different from the thousands of other streamers on Twitch.tv. I think developing an authentic answer to that question is one of the hardest but most important things you can do as a streamer.
- Lack of awareness. In your stream you’re not aware and adapting to the state of your viewers. You’re not reading chat often enough or carefully enough, even between games (natural breaks), and you’re not accurately gauging the comfort/boredom levels of your viewers. You’re taking unnecessary breaks whenever it’s convenient, without writing a BRB message, even when a new person just started watching you.
- Seeming greedy or ungrateful. You create donation ‘stream games’, and cheer on the ‘players’: “This is so much fun right guys? It’s a game-like competition I made to see who can give me the most money and the best thing is we’re all donating to meee! Wooo! FK YEA! SQUAD!!” … Just kidding, as I mentioned in the intro, many people enjoy that sort of engagement. But my advice for you if you do decide to make donations into a ‘stream game’ is to always be mindful. Never insult viewers by treating them as if they are using game points and not hard-earned money to support you.
- Read on. And most importantly, your stream may be failing because you haven’t read enough Twitch streamer tips to help your stream stand out in a positive way, like the ones I’ve listed below. *wink wink* :
7 Streamer Tips For Attracting Followers
- Be a real friend… As obvious as it sounds, genuinely engage with your followers. Know as much as they are willing to share about themselves. You don’t need to keep up with everybody’s life, just remain consistent in how much you appear to care about your viewers. It may be handy to keep notes with details about your followers you wouldn’t want to forget.
- …but be friendly to acquaintances too. Try not to play favorites to the extent that the new viewers feel like they will never be close (friends) with you while the veteran followers are your BFFs. Of course, it’s okay (and good) to make your ride or die followers feel a little special from time to time. It gives the noobs to your community something to look forward to. Besides, good mods are hard to find these days, so keep the followers close to you happy and your life as a streamer will be that much easier.
- Don’t force people to tell you no. Try to never pressure anybody to watch your streams, because it isn’t the same as self promoting. When you beg others for things that aren’t convenient for them, the negative feeling (aka guilt) that comes after telling a begging person “no” stays with them. They will probably begin to consciously (or subconsciously) avoid you.
- Let your followers into your world. Play games with your viewers if possible and if desired by both parties. It’s an easy way encourage new followers, and regardless of everyone’s skill level, playing with others helps build your stream network the ‘right’ way. Besides, you never know if you’re making your follower’s day by spending time with them, or if someone will potentially make yours. You don’t need to play co-op to be engaging, if you’re a pro why not offer live lessons?
- Know how to take a donation. Accept donations graciously, expect nothing and every bit will be a pleasant surprise. It’s also equally important to remember that there’s no reason to be embarrassed about accepting donations. It can be awkward to express this to others, but YOU know there is a lot of work that goes into streaming . Even after counting the work that goes into setting up your hardware, software settings, camera, mic, etc., it is also physically, emotionally, and mentally draining to entertain a group of strangers for hours at a time. If your finances allow it, it certainly doesn’t hurt to give back to your supportive community. Perhaps with a donation yourself, in the form of a giveaway.
- Check yourself before you get recked yourself. Every once in a while try to re-watch one of your streams in its entirety. This is one of the more difficult streamer tips to use, but if you can’t get through it without dying of boredom why do you expect others to stay? Pay attention to the exact moments when you as a viewer become bored, impatient, can hardly hear yourself, want to skip forward in the video, want to switch to another browser tab, etc. Think about what things you can do to avoid these feelings in those who watch.
- Learn from the best (or just your most favorite). Think about what affects you the most when you’re watching your number one favorite stream. If you love the outgoing personality of other streamers, but never really engage your viewers yourself, why? If your interest is piqued when a stream goes over technical tips and tricks but you never do this with a game you can play well, why is that? Be inspired, but don’t be tempted to mindlessly copy. Blending in with everyone else is the last thing you need right now as a struggling streamer.
Some streamer tips are obvious, like, just be kind to everyone. Give the benefit of the doubt to people that appear mischievous the moment they enter your channel. Never make a joke at a follower’s expense, unless you are 150% sure they will not be bothered by your humor. Just be the person you’ve always wanted to meet and you will attract admirers for that alone.
Thus concludes this list of streamer tips for Twitch gamers. I believe Twitch.tv is about having a streaming channel that you are proud to call your own, and a self made community you are proud to be apart of. That experience is so much more important than the details of your stream. So what traits do you love/hate about other streamers? Which streamer tips did you find most useful?
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Written by Puff, aka Jean