Starting on Twitch – or on any other streaming platform, for the matter – isn’t always the easiest thing to do. Many people find themselves with dreams of making it big and becoming the next Shroud or Ninja, while others are content with building their little community, no matter what size it gets. One thing is for certain, though: when starting, one thing that most streamers wonder about is how to grow their viewer count.
In this article, we’ll be talking about a few tips that can help streamers looking to grow from 0 to 20 viewers in 3 to 6 months. These tips work regardless of whether they’re just starting out or if they feel like their progress has stalled over time.
It’s worth noting that although these tips may work for some, they may not work for everyone. Your mileage may vary. We won’t go into the technical side of streaming in this article.
Mental Prep and Management
Some streamers get started without knowing what their motivation is for the endeavor. However, figuring this out is paramount as it can guide the whole journey from the very beginning. For example: if a streamer is just looking to have fun, make friends, and record their gameplay, then there is no rush for growth, and metrics won’t matter quite as much. But for someone looking to make streaming their side hustle or their eventual full-time job, it’s much more likely that they’ll be checking out their metrics every time they stream. Figuring out what the end goal is can help with setting and managing expectations through every stream.
Hiding The Viewer Count
Regardless of what the motivation for streaming might be, it’s a good idea to hide the viewer count while streaming. There are several reasons for this, but the most important one is that streamers should always stream like someone is watching. Regardless of whether there are zero viewers or twenty viewers, it’s important to always act like somebody is watching. This way, when someone comes by, potential followers and viewers won’t get turned off by a streamer staring blankly at their game as they play it. Streamers can fill the silence with (non-copyright) music and narration or reaction to gameplay. It’s unnecessary to be putting on a show or making jokes constantly, so the burden is lessened.
What Sets a Streamer Apart?
When starting a stream, one thing that some content creators don’t think of is finding something to set them apart from others. What would make a viewer want to watch one streamer more than the other? Many factors can come into play in terms of what might attract a viewer’s attention, which is why streamers need to figure out what would work for them in their particular case.
Here are some examples of what might make a streamer stand out:
- Being extremely good (and in the top echelon of players) in the game(s) they stream
- Good stream production value in terms of graphics, audio, emotes, etc.
- A great, magnetic personality
- A sense of humor that resonates with many
- A positive attitude that attracts viewers
Content creators don’t need all of these factors combined. Most of the time, having one or two from the list is enough to help a streamer’s case. Sometimes, viewers may also just click with a content creator. Either way, it’s a good idea to find what might work and find a way to capitalize on it.
Preparing For The Grind
There’s a lot of luck involved in streaming, regardless of platform. Some content creators get fortunate with a big host or two that sets them up with a few more followers and viewers, which can also be just the right push to get them away from that zero viewer count. Unfortunately, not everyone gets lucky. Instead, what most streamers end up having to do is grind, grind…and, well, grind some more. It’s true – streaming is largely a grind, and it’s important to have the consistency and endurance to keep going for real growth. Consistency and endurance are some of the most important things a streamer could have.
Many people get really discouraged when it looks or feels like they aren’t making any progress. The truth is, having strong ‘mental’ is so important as a streamer trying to make a go of things. It’s easy to get anxious, lose motivation, and want to quit during the low points. But it’s important to set goals (breaking them down into small goals is also a great idea) and be patient.
Some streamers set goals for the current year. For example, some content creators set their 2021 goals to be hitting 1000 followers, getting 50 subs, etc. Incentivizing these goals is also a great idea – for example, some may do 12 or 24-hour streams for hitting a major goal.
It’s not just enough to be setting and reaching goals. It’s also important to manage expectations – and never, ever compare progress with others’. Comparison is the thief of joy, and it certainly applies in streaming, too. Many compare their progress to others’ and end up feeling a lot of anxiety in the process. As a streamer, focusing on oneself is important. Just like in any other aspect of life, the only competition should be yourself.
Setting Up a Schedule
We’ve mentioned that consistency is important when it comes to streaming, which is exactly why a schedule is rather important to have and keep. Schedules allow viewers to know when they can expect to watch a particular streamer so they can tune in on time on any given day. Schedules also help provide structure to content creators, especially if they’re trying to make it full-time. Try setting a schedule that’s reasonable and doable, and remember to set some time off aside every week. Finding the rhythm and what works can truly help in terms of growth.
There are a few things to remember when setting up a stream schedule:
- Keeping as consistent as possible is important, but so is health. Breaks and time off are important to keep a streamer physically and mentally healthy.
- It’s okay to deviate from the schedule once in a while. For example, a break to play a different game for a few days will be more beneficial if a streamer’s main game is burning them out.
- Mental health is important, and it’s never wise to push to the limit until it takes a mental toll.
Announcing any changes in schedule through social media or Discord is a great way to keep viewers aware of what’s happening and when they can expect to come by next.
Audience and Community Interaction & Growth
When viewers look for a streamer to follow, chances are they want someone they can vibe with. Aside from looking for someone entertaining or good at the game, viewers will usually want to hang out in a stream that resonates with them. Content creators need to work on their personality and their views while also figuring out what they will and will not tolerate on their channels. This sets up what type of streamer they are and shows viewers what they can expect when they hang out at a certain channel. By doing this, a content creator can attract the right kind of viewers and regulars to their channel. This is also why a lot of advice for streamers is “stay true to yourself” – there really is no point in putting on a show and pretending to be someone else.
When it comes to community interaction, a streamer can do a lot to win a viewer over.
Interacting with Viewers
It’s crucial for content creators to make new viewers feel welcome because this can mean the difference between someone coming back and not. Knowing how to make a viewer feel welcome, accepted, and part of the crew is a great way to grow a list of regulars slowly. It’s good to read chat regularly, and respond to people when possible. This is also why content creators should always talk and stream like someone is watching. It’s good to thank viewers who follow, subscribe, or donate. However, streamers should never call out lurkers. Many viewers lurk because they’re doing something else in the background or aren’t comfortable with talking. Lurkers are the backbone of any stream, and calling them out can turn them off from coming back.
Keeping Things Interesting When Chat is Quiet
There will always be times where chat can be quiet for a streamer, and when that happens, knowing how to keep things going can make a big difference. Content creators can ask hypothetical questions (but never expect answers) to chat – sometimes, this can be enough to get someone to respond and start a conversation. Streamers can narrate what’s happening in their games or talk about why they like a certain game or how they feel about what’s happening. This is a good way to spark a conversation somehow.
Handling Trolls and Bots
It’s inevitable to have some bots and trolls coming in eventually, and when this happens, having trusted moderators can be helpful. But those who may just be starting might not have mods yet – so in that case, it’s a good idea to get familiar with how to silence, purge, and ban bots and trolls. It’s also possible to set up an automatic chat filter within Twitch itself or through chatbots.
Making It Fun
Part of streaming is making things fun and entertaining for viewers. Back then, it was a little difficult to find ways to make things interesting. But nowadays, it’s much easier to – thanks to improvements on Twitch, on chat bots, and various other methods and services available to content creators. So, here are some ideas to help keep viewers coming back for more.
- Channel Points – These are available to Twitch affiliates and partners and are a great way to get viewers and lurkers coming in. Redemptions for points can be set by the content creators and are limited only by creativity (and Twitch Terms of Service).
- Predictions – Predictions aren’t always available everywhere, but they are a great way to also get people to use their earned channel points. Predictions can be made by the streamers or their mods and allow viewers to make “bets” on any outcomes. Winners accumulate more channel points to spend on channel point redemptions.
- Emotes, Bit Emotes, VIP Badges, Sub Badges – These are great bonuses and incentives to offer to viewers when they subscribe or support the channel in any way.
- Dixper/Streamloots – These services allow streamers to earn while making things fun and entertaining for their viewers. Dixper ties into a streamer’s game, allowing viewers to take control of a streamer’s system, messing with their game. Streamloots is similar but doesn’t take control of a streamer’s computer or game.
- Establishing a gimmick – Some streamers have their own gimmicks such as Vtubing, cosplaying, wearing costumes, putting on a certain personality, and whatnot. However, this can get tiring, so it might be something to do once or twice a week instead of every stream.
Streaming is a grind, and it is for sure can be a lot of work. For some streamers, just going live during their schedule is enough. Others may want to do more to get their name out there faster. It’s true – outside exposure is a good way to bring more viewers into a channel. It’s also a great way for content creators to connect more with their community and keep them updated on what’s going on. Here are some ways for streamers to get more outside exposure:
- Social media – It can be the streamer’s personal social media accounts or accounts created specifically for streaming.
- Discord or Guilded Servers – Almost every content creator has a Discord server where they stay connected with their viewers. It’s also where they post memes and clips and do voice comms for games. Guilded is a newer yet similar service.
- Youtube/Tiktok – Even if it’s just uploading clips or highlights, streamers can benefit from having a Youtube or Tiktok channel, especially if they use tags and categories properly.
- Networking – This is advice that many throw around – when you’re a streamer, you need to network, network, network. And this is true – but it’s important to do the right kind of networking. It should not be follow4follow or sub4sub, as these methods are never the right way to truly build a community. It’s also a bad idea to ask to be shouted out, hosted, or raided. Instead, go to people’s streams, watch them, interact with them, come by enough to be remembered, maybe even befriend them. The hosts, raids, shoutouts, and new viewers will come along the way. An added benefit of networking is learning from others and seeing what ideas might work.
Growing a stream is tough work, but it is extremely fulfilling, especially if done well. We hope that these tips can help newer streamers build their communities and increase their viewer counts from zero to twenty – and beyond!
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