How to Grow?
This guide gathers together knowledge from the streamers in our community. We have seen what works and doesn’t through our own experiences.
Our goal with this guide, and other guides on the website, is to help you get past early stumbling blocks and avoid burn-out & frustration. Or, if you’ve been streaming awhile and aren’t growing, we want to help you get back on track.
Streaming is now a saturated activity, with thousands of people starting a new stream every day. It is no longer enough to simply play your game and expect growth. You must go above and beyond. Therefore, “growing” takes time and effort. Lots of time and effort.
The expectations of viewers continue to rise. How will you meet their expectations?
What Does it Mean to “Grow”?
It’s not increasing your number of followers. You can easily have 1,000 followers with zero viewers. You can also have 1,000 followers and 100 active viewers. Which channel has seen more growth?
Therefore, what it means to “grow” is to have an increasingly active community of viewers and streamers. Note that we say community and not just your channel. Growing on your own is slow and painful. You need help to grow, but others need your help too.
Examine your motive for wanting to grow. Why do you want to grow? What is your goal?
If your answer is to “get big”, or to “make a living” from streaming, those reasons lead to a lot of disappointment. Streaming is more about the journey than about the destination. When streaming is only about the money (“the destination”), your channel will not grow as quickly as you want. Any frustration about that will come out in your stream, which will drive people away. Wanting to make money streaming is not a bad goal in of itself, but is important to be realistic about it.
This guide is broken down into three parts:
- Methods for getting more exposure.
- Methods for keeping new arrivals in your channel.
- Methods for encouraging people to return next time, and every time after that.
Each time you successfully complete these steps for one of your viewers, you have gained a regular. Regular viewers are the backbone of your community.
Part 1: Getting More Exposure
Getting the Right Kind of Viewers
In order to grow, we know that it is important to increase our regular viewers. However, what if those viewers are:
- Trolls that harass you and the chat?
- Lurkers who never type anything?
- Fair-weather viewers that only show up for giveaways?
- Fake viewers that are really bots?
There are many “get big fast!” avenues you can take in an attempt to grow your channel, but those will get you viewers of the type listed above. With that in mind, here are the things you should avoid doing.
Do Not Use Viewbots
“Viewbotting” means paying a third party to fill your channel with lots of viewers that are not real people. They may be dummy accounts or “anonymous” viewers that artificially increase your viewer count. Some people use these services to push themselves higher up the list in the hopes of attracting the interest of real viewers.
There are multiple problems with this. First problem: Websites will ban you for viewbotting. Second problem: viewers aren’t idiots. Viewers will report your channel to staff if something seems fishy.
Do Not Pay Websites to “Grow” Your Channel
There are many websites that pitch helping you “grow your channel”. Some of them require you to log in with your account, then force you to follow everyone they say. In exchange, they force everyone else to follow you back.
Your number of followers is irrelevant. Follows mean nothing when none of those people show up or come back after their first visit.
Neither should you ever pay to be featured anyone’s website. When was the last time you visited a website that showed streamers who paid $ to be featured? It is not effective, and is therefore a waste of your money.
Now let’s move on to things you should think about doing.
Share the Love
Some of your regular viewers are undoubtedly also streamers. Ask them about their stream and support them back!
- Raids: Send your viewers to them when you’re done streaming.
- /Host people you know when you’re not streaming. Goes hand-in-hand with a raid.
- Do dual streams where you both play the same game, either cooperatively or competitively.
- Let people you know link their stream in your chat.
- Join a streaming community / stream team. Do your research and pick one that has a community that supports its members.
All of these ideas are great ways to grow your network, little by little.
You can do giveaways to bring new people in to your channel. However, be aware that there are many people who take advantage of giveaways. They will follow for the giveaway, but you won’t see them again after it is over (except maybe at the next giveaway).
During a giveaway, you may find that lots of new faces suddenly show up, when in reality they’re all accounts owned by the same person. How do you reward your supporters and not self-serving viewers?
Many people use a “points system” to do giveaways. A bot in your chat keeps track of how long each person has been watching your stream and awards points accordingly. Viewers can use these points to enter your giveaway. It’s not a perfect system, but it’s better than keywords. There are other methods are that beyond the scope of this article, but a quick search will find them.
The Games You Play
When you are starting out, the games you play will determine your audience. You could be the best streamer in the world, but if you only play niche/unknown games while you’re small, it will be very hard for people to find you. If you only play extremely popular games, you run the risk of being lost in the crowd.
What to do?
Ultimately, you should play the games you like since you will enjoy them, and that will come out through your stream. Just be aware of the pro/cons of your choices and how that will impact the visibility of your channel and the influx of new faces.
Using Twitter to grow your community is extremely important. All successful streamers utilize Twitter for communication and networking.
See our Twitter tips page dedicated to this topic for more info!
You can utilize YouTube to help you grow as well. Link your YouTube account to your Twitch account in your Twitch account options.
In addition to exporting highlights, you can also do “vlogs” and announcements about your stream (upcoming events, hitting milestones, etc).
When people watch your YouTube videos, they can receive a notification that you’re live on Twitch. This is called “Live Annotation”. Be sure to enable this option in your settings!
Don’t forget to post your YouTube videos on your other social networks too.
Post on Websites
Many larger game communities have forums where you are allowed post about your stream. If you play any very popular games, look in those games’ communities for places where you are allowed describe your stream, post updates, etc. Reddit has many such communities.
However, do not hit-and-run. If you write just one post and never visit again, no one is going to care about you or your stream. Be part of the website’s community. Visit other streamers’ channels. Support them and they will support you.
Your Stream Title
Give some thought to your stream title. Instead of “Playing game X with viewers”, how can you phrase something catchy or unique to pull people in?
Note that while putting [Giveaway] in your title all the time will bring people in, most of them will be single-serving friends.
- Continue reading >> How to Grow – Part 2