The live streaming landscape is forever changing, so if you want to grow on Twitch you’ll have to keep adapting. By viewing your channel through the lens of a business rather than a hobby, you can begin to spot opportunities to market your stream rather than just winging it. In this guide, I’m going to introduce you to a range of methods on how to get viewers on Twitch and grow your channel. If you are starting from zero read this guide.
Invest In Yourself
If you’re curious about how to grow on Twitch, chances you’ll have come across Ashnichrist and her YouTube channel during your search.
Ashni is well known within the streaming community for her honest advice and thought provoking content, encouraging new and newly established streamers alike to think about what content their audience is going to dig, along with how to actually create it.
Spend some time reading Ashni’s E-Book, and you’ll start to realize why you haven’t achieved as much growth as you initially thought, along with how you can bridge the gap and kick-start your growth.
Investing in yourself doesn’t just mean learning, it can also mean leveling up your setup. For instance, one of the most important pieces of equipment in your streaming setup is your microphone.
By investing in a good streaming microphone, not only will your first impression to new viewers appear more professional, but you’ll also be able to make commentary over YouTube videos, allowing you to get started on growing a YouTube following, with the goal being to convert them into Twitch viewers.
Think about which areas of your setup you think could improve the viewer experience. Is your lighting bad, making your webcam appear unnecessarily grainy? Does your gaming headset distort audio when things get loud? All of these little pain points are crucial to creating a lasting first impression.
Stream On A Schedule
Almost every piece of advice you’ll hear about growing your stream on Twitch will mention consistency. That’s because it’s the same advice given to entrepreneurs or bodybuilders, you have to stick at it if you want to get results.
At some point in your streaming career you’ll have to have some form of stream schedule. It’s best to start this as early as you can in order to build streaming into your routine.
If you want to reach the goal of becoming a Twitch Affiliate, a part of the eligibility criteria (at the time of writing this guide) is broadcasting at least 500 total minutes on 7 unique broadcast days within a 30-day window.
“Twitch is like the new generation of radio, and everyone knows when their favorite show is on.”Streamer Tactics
What Is A Stream Schedule?
A stream schedule is essentially a short list of the days and times you will be streaming. Be sure to put in your timezone, otherwise viewers may get confused and be waiting on you to go live at the completely wrong time.
Why Should You Have A Stream Schedule?
There are so many positives to streaming on a set schedule. Aside from adding an element of professionalism to your stream, here are some of the other benefits:
1. Spotting Analytical Trends
Knowing your audience is one of the most important elements to any marketing strategy. When you’re putting the work in, you’ll be connecting more with your viewers and chatting to them, but when the stream is over and you’re looking at your dashboard, you might begin to notice new attributes of your audience, such as their age or country.
Let’s say you’re a UK based broadcaster who streams between 10 am until 4 pm. With this schedule, you’ll have the opportunity to attract both Australian and UK based viewers, however if you find in your analytics that most of your viewers are Australian, you could consider changing your stream schedule to begin two hours earlier. That gives you an extra 2 hours of prime Australian viewing hours, as it’ll be 7 pm in Australian time viewers will have just come home from work and starting to chill out for the evening.
2. Attract Category Browsers
Everyone has their favorite streamers, but when they aren’t streaming, people just want to watch one of their favorite games. This is mostly how new streamers are discovered and benefits those who are known for streaming one specific game. When potential viewers are browsing by category frequently enough, they may pop in to your stream every now and then. They may not follow the first time, but with enough impressions they may come back and follow your stream the next time they visit.
3. Creating Habit
When I get home at 7 pm, I know that B0aty is streaming. Not because I keep up with his streaming schedule, but that most of the time when I come home and load up Twitch, he’s there. That’s precisely the feeling you want to replicate with your audience, when you stream consistently enough your viewers will just know that they can watch your stream if they load up Twitch.
4. Building Viewer Loyalty
You have to be live in order to attract returning viewers. Just like advertising, when you visit a website then see ads over and over again, you might end up making the purchase or at least feeling more inclined. By sticking to a set schedule, you are being loyal to your viewership.
How To Make A Stream Schedule
There’s a variety of different extensions you can use to insert a stream schedule in to your stream panels. One of the best twitch extensions to use for this is StreamElements Leaderboards.
If you don’t yet have a set schedule, consider putting together a loose idea based on one four hour streaming slot per day. Nobody can write a schedule for you as everyone has a different lifestyle, some have part-time jobs whereas others work full time, which is usually reflected in the time slot in which they stream.
For those with the luxury of free time, you have a choice of either basing your schedule around the timezone of your current viewership to maximize concurrent views, or setting your schedule however you like.
So, that gives us two options to explore.
A. Scheduling Around Your Viewership
There are lots of gains to be made by streaming around your current audience. You want to maximize the opportunity for your followers to see you streaming, in order for them to come and visit you. The more often you stream, the quicker your viewers will develop a routine of seeing you. You’ll also build momentum with your recently acquired followers, instead of them forgetting about you.
B. Streaming Whenever You Like
If you stream whenever you like, your audience will be built around you and your lifestyle, rather than you catering to a specific (but potentially easier to acquire) audience. The viewers you pick up will begin to expect you to be live around this time though, so make sure you’re happy with sticking to the schedule.
Regardless of your choice, it’s wise to keep your stream start time consistent, otherwise your viewers won’t pick up the habit of watching you unless they’re really keen to watch your content. It’s also incredibly important to stream regularly if you’re serious about growing, at the minimum I’d recommend once every off-day.
Join A Community / Stream Team
There are hundreds of different communities available for networking, promoting your stream and finding a mentor. Avoid groups which offer the likes of Follow 4 Follow (F4F) as this won’t net you any return and serves only to falsely inflate your stats. Facebook or Discord is the place to look for this type of thing.
Usually groups will allow members to post about going live, some even go as far as to have a weekly event to highlight group members and support their stream by stopping by.
This is going to help you out by taking your viewer count from 0 to perhaps 2 – 5 for a short while, which will give you a moderate position boost in your particular game’s category on Twitch, not to mention the networking potential and advice from like-minded people it will bring.
Stream teams are different to communities, they usually have a particular theme. Some relate to specific games, whereas others are attributes such as Positivity or the type of content they stream, for example Creative.
Only a small portion of viewers will actually click through to view who’s streaming on the team, so really you should be networking with others on your team instead; however, there are still viewers to be gained.
If you have an established streamer in your team, there’s a higher chance of some viewers clicking on their stream team, where they’ll find you. Keep in mind that you would have to be streaming at the same time to benefit from this, otherwise the viewers checking out your team will click on one of the other live channels.
There was once a time when all a DJ had to do was spin records. These days, they also have to make their own music to stand out. It’s the same with Twitch streaming. Streaming and content creation go hand-in-hand; making YouTube videos is one of the most powerful strategies to grow on Twitch, especially if you only stream one game.
If your YouTube content is good enough you’ll passively acquire followers as they want to watch more of you. You’ll have to promote your channel by either linking to it in your video descriptions or giving viewers a call to action within the video itself.
A secondary goal of having an established YouTube channel is to promote your voice within the community of the game you stream. Old School Runescape is an excellent example to use here – most of the content creators in the Runescape section either started their journey on YouTube and progressed into streaming, or vise-versa.
What Videos Should You Make?
I’m not going to tell you exactly what video content to make, as this is a guide about how to grow on Twitch – not YouTube. However, here’s some surface level knowledge you can use to get some inspiration as these suggestions are the most intertwined with Twitch streaming.
1. Clip Compilations
Compilations of your best moments is the type of content that your current following will enjoy, but you won’t necessarily get views from people searching on YouTube. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it, but this sort of video should essentially create itself naturally as you stream over time.
For those who only stream one game, you could consider starting a compilation series based around your chosen game’s community. Keep in mind that these videos won’t be eligible for monetization and you’ll have to reach out to the content creators within your community to ask their permission to use their footage. It’s heavily frowned upon to upload other people’s content without their permission and will likely lead to your channel being reported.
Alternatively, you could also give permission and submit your clips to other channels within your community. Old School Runescape streamer Flutten had a spike in popularity after her reaction to a rare boss drop was included in a ‘best moments’ compilation. It’s frequent appearances like this which will help you get your name known within your game’s community.
Note: If you don’t want to spend time re-watching your previous broadcasts to find clips, you can use a Twitch bot with a !clip command to clip moments as you broadcast to save yourself the time.
If you’re the type of streamer who only streams one game, speedrunning is a great way to attract some YouTube views. If you happen to be a speedrunner who likes to try a variety of different games, I’ve got a bit of insight for you – check out the screenshot below. It’s a list of the most searched for speed run games from users searching within YouTube:
3. Guides / Tutorials
Trophies, achievements, boss guides – you name it. There’s a colossal amount of potential guides to be made due to the constant demand. New DLC gets released for your favorite game? Perhaps a glitch? The possibilities are endless.
Have a think about what sort of content you searched for on YouTube when you were new to a particular game. To my shame, I didn’t realize you could shoot the eye of a Hinox on Zelda Breath of the Wild until I had a browse on YouTube.
If you want a shortcut on how to find the type of content people are searching for on YouTube, there are plenty of keyword research tools out there. The one I use is Ahrefs, which has a 7-day trial for $7. Even though it’s a paid trial, you may not need to continue your subscription if you do your research in one big batch.
Whether you’re making videos or live streaming, a good microphone will improve your production quality massively. Check out our guide to the best headsets for streaming before you invest in a separate microphone in case you could save money by using a good headset instead.
If done correctly, TikTok is an effective way to get your best content in front of new viewers.
Streamers like Kruzadar are absolutely killing it by editing videos with the intention of uploading to TikTok, rather than creating trend based videos the app is known for.
Kruzadar uses a unique video format consisting of a face cam at the top and video clips at the bottom, which makes effective use of the 9:16 aspect ratio of smartphone screens.
If you’ve got some videos already uploaded to YouTube, create a short 15 – 45 second snippet to upload to TikTok and direct users in the caption to check out your YouTube or Twitch channel in your bio.
Equally, if you don’t want to spend time editing videos, if you have some great clips – just upload them anyway. Throw in a few of the usual hashtags (if you’re struggling, use this generator) as well as any trending ones if they’re relevant.
Everyone has their own style when it comes to social media. Your profile should reflect your brand well, both in terms of graphic design and how you conduct yourself online.
While you should make sure to create a page on each of the major social media platforms, Twitter and Instagram are the most prominent amongst live streamers and the wider gaming community, so I’d recommend focusing your time and effort there, as that’s where your target audience hangs out.
Don’t shy away from using social media whilst you’re streaming. Take a quick bathroom break and have a brief browse. People are usually only going to click through to your profile when you’ve tweeted recently, so you want them to visit when you’re actually streaming, on the off chance they want to check out your stream.
You can promote your social media handles on autopilot to viewers already in your chat by using a chatbot. I’ve written an entire guide on some of the Twitch bots worth adding to your stream to save you the time and effort of searching for yourself.
Follow a mixed bag of large streamers, streamers that you follow and streamers in your niche, even if you don’t like them. You want to pick up on things that are important or trending so that you can get involved in the conversation yourself or just like and retweet them. Streamers within your niche will usually appreciate being retweeted by you and could even stretch to visit your stream if they’ve never encountered you before.
Tip: Tweet your stream schedule and pin the tweet to the top of your feed.
When you’re tweeting, try to include an image to accompany your tweet as it’s an easy way to grab people’s attention. If you’re struggling for ideas, either a GIF, Meme or Selfie will suffice.
I’m not suggesting you should use the likes of #twitchstreaming #gaming, they’re way too over saturated. You should be getting involved in whatever’s trending within both the Twitch community and the community of the games you stream. By doing this, people actively browsing a trending topic will see your tweet.
Equally, if you’re tweeting about going live include a hashtag of the game you’re about to play. You could even go a step further and @tag the game’s official Twitter account in the hopes of getting retweeted. Game developers love seeing people enjoy their work and it’s not unheard-of for them to drop by your stream.
Don’t cram loads of hashtags in your tweet either, you’ve got a character count to think about, after all. Try to stick to one or two, with varying categories. Here’s an example:
You’ve got the main hashtag, which is #leagueoflegends followed by #elohell which adds a sprinkle of light heartedness.
Now, nobody will be browsing the hashtag #elohell, it serves only to make your tweet stand out more, but people will be browsing #leagueoflegends, therefore your tweet will be relatable and relevant to them.
Just like Twitter, you should follow lots of other Twitch streamers. Make sure to scroll through your feed throughout the day, looking for new posts where you can like and comment on them. Comments will get you considerable more exposure than a mere like, but if the original poster replies to one of your comments, it has the chance to be highlighted right before the view all comments button.
Use the Story feature whenever you’re going live and include a swipe up to your Twitch channel. It helps to have some interesting content on your story before people reach the “Going Live” story to get people in the mood to watch your content. For example, HeyImBee will usually post an Ask Me Anything or something funny beforehand.
If you’re going to be posting lots of selfies, it might be worth picking up a ring light as they also serve a double purpose of extra lighting for your stream. You can read more on the best ring lights for streaming here. Lighting in general is a very important element of any streaming setup, which is why we’ve spent a lot of time narrowing down the best streaming lights to use in yours.
Instagram hashtags are less conversational than Twitter, they’re treated more as a method of categorization. You can mention some of the generic hashtags like #gaming but don’t focus on them, try to include some hashtags related to the games you play.
Tip: You can use hashtags on your Instagram stories, which you can include in your “Going Live” post.
Discord is a hub which you can use to grow your off-stream presence. It’s so popular because it’s a free voice chat platform which gamers take advantage of to talk to their friends without having to pay for a TeamSpeak server. It can be accessed on both PC and mobile, meaning you can interact with your community while you’re on the go.
“Promoting your Discord is the streaming equivalent of a website prompting you to join their mailing list.”Streamer Tactics
Discord is useful because of its Twitch stream integration features. Viewers can link their Discord account with Twitch, which you can create different roles based on how many months a viewer has been subscribed to your channel. Moderators can also have their own separate role within your Discord.
Another benefit of Discord is that you can sync your Twitch emotes to be used within the chat.
When you’re about to go live or have an announcement to make, use the @everyone command to notify your entire Discord following.
As your Discord grows, you’ll want to engage with your audience in order to make friends and encourage viewer loyalty. The whole thing doesn’t have to be about your stream, be sure to include some separate channels for interesting topics your Discord members can get involved in, it can be something as simple as Cool Socks or Memes.
Your stream will directly benefit from managing a Discord as you’ll have access to a list of people to notify of your stream which will give you a spike in concurrent viewers. You’ll also have an area in which you can center your community around.
Normal Reddit usage won’t directly grow your stream, but being active in your chosen communities will help. Try to be active within subreddits relevant to the content you stream, for example lots of the Old School Runescape streamers get involved in the 2007scape subreddit and in turn they can get away with posting their newly uploaded videos there.
It’s no secret that some of the previously unheard-of Twitch streamers can directly attribute their growth to exposure from /r/LivestreamFail.
You too can benefit from your clips being posted there, but the audience you attract will likely be far from what you actually want, which is why I’m hesitant to recommend it.
If you’re going to go down this route, don’t post clips from your own account, you’re best getting a moderator or friend to do it for you, as self promotion is typically frowned upon. Redditors can spot shills from a mile away, but some manage to slip through the gaps.
Choose Your Games Wisely
This is one of the most important things to consider if you want to grow on Twitch and fortunately you get to pick your battles. Games like League of Legends, CS:GO and Fortnite are simply too over saturated to stand out in, unless you already have an established reputation within the community.
If you stream a less saturated game, once you finally start to get concurrent viewers, you will be much more visible to people browsing the game category, which is realistically where most of your new viewers are going to discover you from.
If you’re a one-trick-pony and only stream the same game, you can get away with streaming new games, as long as you don’t make it the focal point of your stream. For example, of an 8-hour stream session, try the new game for the last two hours.
The reason for this is because your current following won’t like the new game, at least not right away. You can’t blame them for that, either. If they don’t play the game, then they’ll have absolutely no idea what’s going on and lose interest. They won’t unfollow you because of it, they just won’t stop by your stream for as long as usual.
If you are desperate to stream something new towards the end of your broadcast, you could consider streaming a game which has Twitch integration, that way you can get your current viewers directly involved in the stream, and they’ll stick around instead of dropping off.
Related Content: Best Games To Stream For New Streamers
Ask any established streamer about how much time they’ve spent networking. It’s one of the most time-consuming elements of being a broadcaster and you’ll spend as much time networking as you do actually streaming. There are a few different areas of networking:
Events / Conventions
When you go to events like Twitchcon, you’ll have the opportunity to chat with both peers and brand ambassadors. The aim here (aside from making friends) is to make a great first impression which makes it easier to open a dialogue about collaborating together. If you want to go the extra mile, you can have some streamer business cards made to offer out to them.
Visiting Other Streams
Get involved in other broadcasters chats, but don’t promote your own channel as this is a huge faux pas. How would you feel if another streamer came in to your chat and told everyone to check out their channel?
The goal here is to make your name as recognizable as possible to people for the next time they’re browsing the category. At a stretch, you could invite the broadcaster to have a chat with you on Discord or DM them on Twitter if you’d like to offer a collaboration. Plus, it’s important to be seen supporting the community in which you’re trying to be more involved in. How can you expect others to support you, if you aren’t doing the same?
Collaboration is a two-way street, if you’re going to work with a broadcaster then it should be mutually beneficial. If you’re planning on a duo stream, then this could mean financially, in the form of going halves on all of the revenue earned from the stream, or it could be in the form of support, like raiding or hosting.
In an ideal world, you want to collaborate with people that have a larger following than you. It’s highly unlikely that you’ll be able to achieve this with some of the top dogs within your category, so try to get in the good books of those who only have a marginally bigger following than you.
Raiding & Hosting
If you haven’t yet introduced yourself to a broadcaster, you can raid or host them at the end of your stream. This will A) break the ice and B) they’ll usually want to thank you afterwards, where you can talk further.
Moderating For A Larger Streamer
OK, you can’t exactly click your fingers and become a mod, but this will hopefully be a by-product of you supporting some of the streamers within your category. Moderator status will make you stand out more in chat, and most mods are very well known by the regular viewers. If you’re well-received in the community, they’ll be more inclined to come and watch you whilst the other broadcaster is offline. You may even be as lucky as to get a host!
Have A Solid Bio
Most bios Include a bit about yourself, what viewers can expect to see on the channel, an FAQ and some of your sponsors or social medias.
Your bio is a way to showcase your channels branding. Whilst it won’t help you grow directly, a professionally laid out bio will give off a strong first impression and introduce people to what you’re all about.
By strong branding, I mean having a clear and consistent theme across all of your graphical assets, namely your social media profiles and twitch panels.
For your panels, you can use extensions like OWN3D Design Panels to tide you over for free until you decide to get some professionally made.
If you’re feeling lost on how to brand yourself, it can be as simple as two colors. If you’re a one trick pony on League of Legends, perhaps you could incorporate your chosen champion into your branding, like Gross Gore did with Twisted Fate.
Naming your audience is also an effective way of building branding, it’ll also increase the sense of community amongst your followers. Plenty of the larger streamers do this, such as DrDisrespect with his Champions Club or Greek’s GGX Gang.
Running giveaways can net you a few extra followers on both Twitch and social media or at the very least, a few extra viewers to your stream.
Some example giveaway prizes are:
- A copy of a new game release
- Steam gift card
- PC accessories
- Game skins
Make sure to include your giveaway in your stream title, as this is going to entice clicks. If you’re giving away a more expensive prize such as a gaming keyboard, you can look at using platforms like Gleam.io or Playr.gg to control the giveaway.
Giveaway platforms offer competitors the incentive of performing more actions in exchange for a higher chance of winning the giveaway prize, such as following your stream and social media channels, retweeting your post and even subscribing on YouTube. The more your giveaway is promoted, the more exposure you’ll get off the back of it!
I’d leave the higher ticket prizes until you’re an established streamer, as companies will probably sponsor you with products to give away.
Look Past The Viewer Count
Kevin Kelly of Wired Magazine once had a theory, that all you need is 1000 true fans to maintain a successful career as a creator.
These are the people that will come to your meet-ups, hang out in your Discord, get your autograph at TwitchCon. The regulars of your stream.
True fans will still watch you regardless of any controversy. They’ll buy your merchandise not only to support you, but because they’re invested in you.
While Kevin’s theory was more catered towards musicians, we can still apply this to Twitch streaming and achieve 1000 true fans in smaller increments.
You can’t just click your fingers and get your true fans, but you can begin to identify some to nurture. Try interacting more with your long term subs both during your stream and when you’re offline.