This is the ultimate question, alongside how to grow your channel. How exactly do you go from zero to regular viewers and income when you have no friends and zero visibility.
The short answer is hard work, dedication and ensuring you are producing a wide of content alongside a stream to maximise your visibility. The long answer is below:
Getting twitch followers when starting from nothing
In the early days when you have no friends in the twitch scene or in the niche you want to get into (more on that later). Networking in the early days is much more important to get off the ground than just streaming straight away.
On the road to becoming a streamer, it starts with being a viewer, then an active member of the community, and then a streamer within that community.
But how do you network and how will this lead to friends?
All of the above should be done at the same time as each other.
Discord is a good place to start, join relevant channels to the games you want to stream and join general streaming communities such as Small Streamer Community. Once you’re in you should really try to get involved as much as you can and learn from others. You can even stream on discord.
Making connections could lead to the odd friend and a follow on twitch and you could also help other people in the exact same situation as you.
Make sure to take your time to fill out your discord profile and always include your stream address. You never know who takes a look and then proceeds to follow.
Build a relationship with streamers and their communities
If you know what niche you are to get into (variety, speedrunning, competitive play, just chatting etc) then start following other streamers and become active in their communities and live chats. This will help get you introduced into like minded people and may even get the odd follower, too.
Don’t go into the biggest channels and expect huge results, people can often get ‘lost’ in communities which are too big – aim for other small streamers where it is easier for you to get noticed.
Above all, don’t be insincere about your way, be active because you like it not because you just want to get followers. And finally, never self-promote your stream unless it was in a natural way such as ‘I was struggling with this on my stream” and so on.
Forums relating to streaming or your stream niche can further improve your visibility, it’s important to make sure to be a positive part of the forum and not self-promote. But, there’s nothing wrong with having your channel URL in your signature.
Forums related to specific games are best as you can really let your knowledge and helpfulness shine though, particularly if you’re good at the games or well versed in the lore.
Clever ideas on forums is if there’s a topic about a certain level or a boss or something like that then you’re free to casually say things along the lines of “I was streaming that last night and noticed this” and so on.
Social media is another form of community for gaining followers when you’ve got no friends. Like and comment on those in your target niche, be kind and helpful and try to keep the plugs for your own stream to a minimum.
Interacting with others will have to be manual but it is worth it, it’s a habit that you’d need to keep up after you’ve gained followers as well.
Tweet/post interesting things and links to your video clips (more later) whenever they’re ready.
It’s good practice to really express your personality on social media so that viewers can get a flavour of what they’d get from a stream.
Sign up for the major platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and perhaps TikTok as well.
Lastly, be active and consistent, this can be touch manually so consider using tools such as Buffer and Hootsuite to manage your posts.
Twitch teams are a way to unite streamers and leverage each others popularity to help all members out. This has been placed last as the above steps are required (in our opinion) to even find a team to join.
Being in the same team as other like minded and hard working streamers can accelerate your growth, provide new ways to create content (races, reaction videos) and the opportunity to be raided when someone else has finished their stream.
Team members are also likely to drop by and give your stream a viewer and of course a follow.
You will need to make sure you have something to offer a twitch team, and that starts with a good brand for yourself and above all else – great content.
You should aim to join one as soon as you can once you’ve got the basics right. Now all of a sudden you’ve gone from having no friends, to a community.
The number two rule if you want to make it big as a streamer is to simply stream, stream as much as you can and even better when you have a clear schedule that you stick to.
By having set days and hours to stream you can always be there to pick up people interested in the game you are playing. Sometimes you might be the only one streaming a particular game and anyone looking for that game may pop by (that’s where the good hosting comes in to play).
Some days and times are better than others to stream, and you yourself may only stream part time so be prepared to stream when the demand is high rather than when you’re up for it.
Streaming also gives way to the chance of having raids, more so if you’ve made an effort to integrate with the community and a member of a Twitch team.
It is easy to give in the early days if nothing seems to be happen – don’t give up!
Be a good streamer personality
No streamers become popular (and by popular we mean big live numbers and a healthy revenue) by sitting quietly in their room, no matter how good they are. Arguably, being a good host is perhaps one of the most important aspects – we’ve seem the best and most talented gamers being out-viewed by lesser skilled, more charismatic people.
But, charisma and confidence doesn’t come naturally to everyone, for many it’s a skill in itself which needs to be worked on.
Our top tips when you’re just starting out is to join the community and when you’re streaming to make sure to interact with the viewers, make them feel welcome and build some rapport. Some pointers:
- Make your viewers feel welcome, ask them how they are, how’s their day going
- Ensure you have maximum visibility of the chat and you don’t miss a message
- Fill quite space with your observations on the game – a good pointer here is to learn the lore of the game
- Talk on the stream as if you have viewers, this clip could go to YouTube which will give viewers a taste of what a live stream is like
- Be open about yourself – open up about your real life
- Try not get to get political in your discussions or share opinions which could be seen as controversial
You don’t need to be good to make it big but it helps. However, unless you have an existing fanbase (celebrities turned streamers, influencers, already big on another platform) then you will need to find something that sets you apart from day 1. One of those ways is to be a good player of whatever game or niche you’re going down.
If you look at the top 50 biggest twitch streamers then it’s pretty obvious that skill plays apart unless they’re boobie streamers or celebs.
Getting good is a matter of learning and absorbing all of the information that exists and practice. You can, of course, practice live on stream but to become the best it’s likely you’ll need to put more than that.
To get to a high level it’s likely you’ll need to pick a small handful of games and master them before moving on to the next. Many streamers stick to a very small selection and take part in speed running in a competitive manner.
Upload clips to YouTube/Twitch
Uploading your streams to YouTube can significantly help your brand awareness online which could lead them to seek you out on Twitch itself. But, you’ll want to make sure that the clips themselves are worth viewing – a fantastic boss kill, a speed run personal best or guides to get in game achievements are top choices.
When uploading and optimising, ensure the video quality is great but also that your livestream layout is there, including your cam feed and voice. This is to give them a taste of what the livestream was like.
We’ve put this right down the list because if you don’t work on the other points first then the clips are unlikely to gain momentum.
There are other places to upload of course, Twitch itself should be done as standard, but if you are speedrunning then uploading clips to there can also gain awareness – but you’ll need to be pretty fast to get it into a place where it’s going to clicks, the top 3 for example. However, we’ve already covered the fact that ‘getting good’ is an important task.
Keep Levelling Up
The last point is short and sweet – keep improving yourself, your streams and your equipment. Regularly ask your viewers for feedback and act on it wherever possible. Try not to stand still – evolve as your experience does and keep up with those around you.