There needs to be something that separates your channel from the majority of the channels next to you on your game’s index. This is a long-term goal but something that you should start working on immediately and the sooner the better.
If you could put three “tags” on your channel, what would they be? For example, right now I’d probably tag my channel with “CONVERSATION, SUPPORTIVE, and CAT” and I constantly remind myself while I’m live that these are the things I need to focus on.
In my opinion, providing a supportive environment for deep conversation is a really good way to connect to your viewers but it does have upper limits. If at some point you’ve got forty ACTIVE chatters throughout your stream, you’ll be hopelessly overwhelmed trying to engage in deep conversation with each of them.
One thing I’ve tried to do is come into my stream with either a Question of the Day or two or three discussion topics. This gives me something to fall back on when I recognize that chat is slowing down, and something to engage new viewers with when they say hello or when I’m raided.
What is your brand? What is your channel about? What are you brand colors, logos, etc.? Are you a positive stream or do you like to “rage”? Are you energetic or laid-back? Sit down and define characteristics of your brand and stick to them. This does not mean you need play only one game, in fact, avoid that. At the end of the day, viewers are following and staying for you, not the game you're streaming. Really nail down what your channel is about and run with it. While watching other streams to get ideas is great and encouraged, straight copying another streamer’s brand does not work. Be you.
Along the same line, don’t be afraid of losing viewers who don’t fit your brand/ideals. It’s quality over quantity. One outspoken toxic viewer can drive away many potential good ones. As a viewer, I’ve left many a stream/unfollowed after seeing unchecked toxicity in the chat.
Your chatbot is a great way to get your mission statement out there and let people know what your stream is about. It can also be used to driver chat interaction with votes, puzzles, challenges, questions, etc. As tempting as it may be, do not flood your chat with bot messages. At most, your chatbot should make up about 5% of your chat messages. Any more and it becomes annoying and very obvious that you are just trying to fill your own chat.
Make a schedule and stick to it. Start with 3 days, 4-5 hours each stream, and tweak according to what you’re comfortable with and able to stick to long-term. If you start off streaming too much, you run the risk of burning out.
DO NOT BE LATE. If IRL stuff happens, tweet about it and otherwise let your viewers know. Related, do not leave your “starting soon” screen on for more than 5-10 minutes. Any longer than that is not only rude, but viewers will leave and look for someone that’s ready to go.
Some games and categories are terrible for discoverability. If you're buried beneath hundreds of other streams then no matter how good your hook is it'll be difficult to attract new viewers.
One great tool for exploring your options is https://twitchstrike.com/ but you need to really look at the data critically and try to interpret it effectively. On this site you can look at data for any one of your games to see, at any time during the week, how many channels are broadcasting versus how many viewers are available. This can be a really good way to find opportunities to capture some of those viewers and decide what timeslots to occupy, but there are a few things to consider.
When you’re using twitchstrike to evaluate a game, you also need to look at the twitch index for that game, check out some of the top streams, and figure out what’s really going on. If a game APPEARS to have a massive number of viewers and not many channels streaming, it’s often because a large channel with a dedicated viewerbase is playing at that particular time. It may be difficult for you to capture any of those viewers, and they will move around with that large streamer.
If you’re ever trying to evaluate your options using twitchstrike definitely don’t hesitate to reach out to the division for opinions. It’s a great tool but it can also be really misleading.
Another helpful site is https://twitchtracker.com .
Watch your own VODs and write down notes on where you can improve, whether it be audio, video, eye-contact, movement, energy, etc.
It’s easy to look at some quickly partnered streamers who have based their streams on self-promo and be tempted to follow that route. I don’t think it’s sustainable unless growing other streamer’s channels is your top passion and calling above everything else (including gaming). Most of the “viewers” you’re getting are not interested in you and are only coming in to spam their link--nothing else. If you ever decide to switch gears from a self-promo stream into what gaming or whatever you’re actually passionate about, your “viewers” will leave. Thus, using turning your channel/brand into a place for others to self-promo as a means of beefing up your numbers and/or hitting partner isn’t sustainable for the long-term. Remember, even partners have to work to maintain their numbers. Partnership isn’t a guarantee of viewership.
Look outside of the Synergy community for streamers playing your games before/during/after your scheduled stream times. Take a look at their content and make sure they’re the sort of streamer you’re comfortable putting your name behind.
For each person that looks like a good fit, try to spend a bit of time in their chat and throw them a follow. Try to be the type of chatter that you want to have in your channel - supportive and engaging, not self-promotional. Don’t even mention that you stream, because the next steps will make that obvious.
You’re specifically looking to network with streamers that might mention/raid/host/visit you at the end of their streams and streamers that you can mention/raid/host/visit after your streams. It’s absolutely fine to look at channels significantly larger or smaller than your own, but from my experience you’re best off not reaching out to the absolute top streamer in your category.
Take opportunities throughout each week to seek out new contacts on Twitter. If you want to grow your Twitter profile into an effective tool to promote your stream and support your colleagues, you need to spend a few months building it up.
You can easily tie this into the TWITCH OUTREACH & SUPPORT section above. For each streamer you identify as someone you’d like to network with, follow them on Twitter and look for the opportunity to like/retweet a bit of their content. You don’t need to go crazy with retweets, people will notice you Liking their content as well.
Also, you need to take several opportunities each stream to ask your viewers to follow you on social media. These are the people you REALLY want to reach with your posts, but they’re not likely to look for you there unless you ask them to. Let them know that your Twitter is the best place to keep up to date on what’s happening with the channel and to get in touch with you directly. Mention it when you’re raided, mention it at the end of your stream before you say goodbye to everyone, mention it when it seems appropriate.
Use 2-3 relevant hashtags per tweet.
Charity streams will help you reach out to a larger community with shoutouts from the event itself and people looking to support those who are taking the time out of their day to support a charity. Do them as much as you can, and help out. Things take work, and this will help you along your path and give you the exposure that you need.
Once you’ve built up a solid, genuine relationship with a fellow streamer, check what games you have in common and ask them if they’re interested in doing a dual-stream. Make sure that you both link the multi-twitch url in your respective titles/descriptions/chatbots, so that there is successful “cross-pollination” of viewers. Dual streams will help you reach out to a similar community with shoutouts from the other streamer. Make sure the other streamer has a similar stream-style as you to ensure that your/their viewers will enjoy watching the other streamer and likely follow them and otherwise make for more permanent growth. It’s probably best if you dual-stream with someone of the same size/viewership, but also don’t shy away from asking larger/smaller streamers. You never know until you ask!
Tip: USE PUSH-TO-TALK if on comms/Discord. The side mouse button is very convenient for this. It can get very confusing when both of you are simultaneously interacting with chat -- lots of overlapping voices nobody’s viewers want to hear!
As social as streaming may seem, it can be isolating if you constantly prioritize it over IRL friends and family. Remember to maintain your physical and mental health. A little bit of exercise can go a long way in lifting your mood and keeping your energized for your next stream.
Streaming is supposed to be fun! If you find that you’re dreading it or losing steam, maybe it’s time to take a breather and figure out why you’re feeling this way. Are you streaming too many hours? Are you constantly staring at your viewer number while you stream? Are you comparing yourself to others?
At the end of the day, we are very fortunate to have the time and resources to stream. We have access to very good technology and internet that the majority of people worldwide could only dream of. Appreciate each follower, viewer, lurker, subscriber, etc. Each individual took time out of their day to support you.
Sometimes success can be found outside of Twitch. Perhaps your content would work better on YouTube and you can build a bigger audience there and bring them over to Twitch later on. Don’t be afraid to experiment. There isn’t some crazy race to Partner that you absolutely have to run. Again, streaming is supposed to be fun.
If you are feeling down, feel free to talk it out with us in Discord! Most likely, other members have experienced the same thing and may have some tips on how to get out of that funk. Sometimes, only a professional can help but we will be rooting for you every step of the way.