We went live in our last article in the How to Stream on Twitch and Succeed series. Now let’s figure out how to get viewers and how to increase your view count on Twitch.
How Twitch Viewers Find Content
If you don’t understand how viewers find content, you will not be able to market yourself. You might as well shout your Twitch channel into a void.
But where do they come from?
There are 3 main avenues for viewers to find a channel on Twitch and begin watching it.
- They are a regular viewer who saw an alert that your stream went live.
- They are a new viewer who was browsing interesting categories or social media.
- They are a new viewer who is taking part in a raid or a host from another channel.
As a content creator, you’ll have the most control over the second one, so we will focus on that for now. I’ll focus on networking with other creators in the next article in the How to Stream on Twitch and Succeed series.
Gaining Twitch Viewers from Social Media
Your first viewers are going to come from your personal network of friends and family. Give an announcement about an hour or so before that you are going to go live. Say you’ll be streaming for a specific period of time and what you’ll be doing. Ask that they join and hang out, but also ask that they share the link.
In marketing terms, this is a call to action and is an effective tool to spread a message. That’s why you should buy my Meow book right now.
I’m positive that at least 10% of readers who click that link will convert to purchases.
A call to action is an effective tool for conversion.
Don’t forget that.
The “I’m going live!” Post
Don’t forget to actually make a followup post when you do go live with the link to your channel. Your call to action for this post should be simple.
“Click to hang out with me as I playthrough Final Fantasy X on the PlayStation 2!”– Me circa 2018 during my first play through of FFX.
If you are posting content on your social media outlets already, then it won’t hurt to make these posts.
Follow the 10 to 1 Rule.
You should allow yourself to self-promote on social media 1 time for every 10 posts of non-promotional content. This will keep your social media page from pissing off your friends, family, and followers. You won’t spam everyone with “Going Live!” every day and nothing else.
The “Friends and Family” Benefit
These first viewers to your stream have a side benefit:
You get to stream on easy mode for the start of your streaming career. They are less likely to be trolls and complete bags of human shit. They are more likely to be your family and friends.
But, unless you are their favorite, they are unlikely to become regular viewers.
Keep this in mind:
Your target audience is likely not your friends and family.
If you are streaming a playthrough of Parasite Eve a year from now, then your 100 viewers aren’t going to include your Great Aunt Hilda. You’ll have developed a community of fans who like watching your stream.
At a certain point:
You won’t receive benefits from time spent promoting yourself to friends and family. You will have moved over to your brand’s social media accounts.
How do you get viewers if you don’t already know them?
Gaining New Viewers from Category Browsers
Have you ever pulled up Twitch only to find your favorite streamer isn’t online? Or you want to watch a speedrun, but you’re tired of seeing the same Ducktales speedrun done for 8 hours a day?
If you are like me, you started browsing stream categories.
Many of the streams I regular watch and even subscribe to I found from the browse page.
Lots of Twitch viewers feel this way and will seek out content if they don’t have anyone they know live.
What’s a Category?
I go into this in far more detail in my Choosing Your Twitch Category article, but when Twitch says “category” they mean a few things:
- A particular game title. Think League of Legends or Fortnite.
- A particular type of streaming, such as Art or IRL.
- There are categories that Twitch creates due to community use, such as Retro.
That’s a descending order of how you should categorize your stream before you go live.
Think of your potential viewer and how they would find you. Are you a retro streamer that only speedruns Big Bird’s Hide & Speak?
You could set your category to the game title, and Twitch would actually advise this!
Absolutely nobody is a big enough fan of that game to every seek out streams by searching its title.
Your stream is better served by using a broader category, such as Retro.
Who Are These Viewers?
These viewers are going to be more interested in the game or thing you are doing more than you. At first at least.
Think of these viewers, and yourself, as interviewers for a job.
They are interviewing you to see if you can join their company as a regular streamer. At the same time, you are interviewing them to see if they are a good fit for your company as a regular viewer.
Don’t get too caught up in that metaphor. The gist is you shouldn’t let a viewer never returning upset you.
Don’t feel the need to bend over backward for a viewer either. You want to develop a positive community of viewers. Everyone wants to be there and you want them around.
Should I Moderate My Own Twitch Viewers?
I would recommend spending the time to moderate your own channel for a while. At least until you get enough viewers that it becomes a hassle to stop and ban or time someone out.
I’ve outlined an entire article dedicated to moderation of Twitch channels and bots. I’m not going to spend much time on this here since the article is already pretty long.
/ban [username] /unban [username]
This will ban the user from chat. This will not prevent them from viewing your stream. That is a very important thing to keep in mind. Especially when the issue is stalkers or violent trolls that may be threatening you.
There is no method to prevent a person from ever seeing your stream, and it’s likely impossible to ever have a method. They could always watch on another device, or through a VPN.
This is not to scare you, but to tell you to avoid showing or discussing any personally identifiable information to Twitch viewers.
Stalkers are real and real weird. Truly horrifying stuff.
If it comes to it, contact the police and hope they take it seriously.
What About a Warning Shot?
/timeout [username] [seconds]
This will temporarily ban a user for a number of seconds, which defaults to 10 minutes if you leave the seconds part blank. This is best used for warning someone that they are crossing a line.
To be honest, I don’t fire warning shots and I like banning people outright. Don’t have to worry about a viewer toeing the line if there is the immediate threat of a permanent ban hammer that you don’t hesitate to drop.
How to get to 100 Twitch viewers
Continue what I’ve listed above and slowly and surely you will find that your viewer count climbs to 100, but here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Be yourself. They are here for you and not anyone else.
- Don’t let the community spin out of control with trolls, nurture it like a fickle plant.
- Be welcoming and friendly. I guess unless that’s not you. At that point, yeah, be someone else until you are a better person.
- Maintain a positive atmosphere. You can become popular but harboring a community of toxic trolls that ruin the lives of others, but why would you? What does that add to the world? Is that what you want to be known for?
- For the love of Contrapoints, do not go into other live channels on Twitch and tell people you are going live and spam your link. It’s the largest social faux pas in the community of content creators.
- Follow the 10 to 1 rule on your social media outlets, including your discord.
At any rate, you’ll have twitch viewers by the dozen in no time following these steps. In the next part of the How to Stream on Twitch and Succeed series, I’m going to talk about the importance of networking within the greater community of Twitch content creators. You’ll learn not only how to get involved, but how to improve everyone streams. Be sure to sign-up for the How to Stream on Twitch Newsletter to get the article in your mailbox as soon as it’s ready.
How have you been obtaining new viewers? Do you have a particular social media strategy or template you use? Let everyone know in the comments below!