I’ve been active on Twitch for almost two years now, and in that time I’ve fielded multiple questions regarding how to succeed on the platform. Which is actually funny, since I am far from what many would consider to be a success. Nevertheless, new and other small streamers have asked this question in my chat, on Twitter, and on multiple other platforms over and over and over again:
“How do I succeed on Twitch?”
Look, it’s actually pretty simple. Really it is! The problem is, most people either are unable or unwilling to do what is necessary to succeed. They say they want to succeed, but in reality, what they want is to become an Instant Partner, get rich by doing no work at all.
But I digress.
If you want to succeed at Twitch, all you have to do is host a party.
Yes, you read that right.
Think of your stream as your home, and you are hosting a party there, opening your house up to all comers. As the host of said party, it’s your responsibility to make sure everyone is having a good time, right? You will want to make sure everyone is entertained, and feels like you are engaging with them, so they don’t feel ignored or get bored.
So maybe you perform for your guests. This can be by showing off your professional level gaming skills, or playing music, painting/drawing, telling stories, etc.
Or maybe you just have something showing in the background (playing a game with less-than-pro skills), while you chat everybody up? Just talking with your guests can make a huge difference with how well your ‘party’ goes. Quite often you’ll have people there who are a bunch of wallflowers, and it takes you, as the host, to get them chatting and interacting with yourself and the rest of the guests.
Lets look at this another way, though. What if you hosted a party at your house, then failed to provide any entertainment, and ignored your guests. Maybe you just had the television on in the background (you, playing some game), and that was it for entertainment. Meanwhile, the guests were left to chat among themselves, since you were too busy doing something else.
Do you think those guests would stay at your party for long?
Do you think they would come back, when you held another party?
Of course they wouldn’t.
Now then, this analogy teaches us a couple of things: All you need to do to ‘Succeed at Twitch’ is be entertaining, and be engaging. If you can’t do those things, you will never succeed at being a Livestreamer, no matter how hard you try to market yourself.
People come to your stream, looking to be entertained. So maybe you are really talented, or you are funny, or tell great stories, or whatever. It doesn’t matter how you try to entertain your guests, just do your best to be entertaining. For example, I’m a pretty mediocre gamer. But I tell stories, joke around, and make fun of myself while I play, and people seem to enjoy that.
People also come to your stream to be engaged. Even if they are just hanging out in a corner, lurking and not talking to anyone, they don’t want to sit there while you ignore everyone. They want to hear you talking, chatting up the guests even if they aren’t responding. They want to hear you telling stories, making jokes, commenting on what you’re doing, whatever. Like I said, I’m not the best gamer out there, so I try to be engaging, even if no one is seemingly around. I’ll read quest text in my game, and comment back to the non-player characters in game, when they talk to my character, if nothing else.
Of course, Twitch isn’t exactly the best at marketing their streamers, so it would be in your best interest to get set up on Twitter, and post about your streams there. You should have a YouTube channel, where you can post your Twitch videos, highlights, and clips (at least 24 hours after they came out on Twitch, of course). It wouldn’t hurt to be active on Instagram, either. Hang out in the forums for the games you like to play. Be active on the sub-reddits for those games, as well.
Of course, spend time hanging out on Twitch itself as well, visiting the livestreams for other streamers who play the same games as you. Don’t advertise your channel there, just get to know these streamers and their communities, and make some friends. That way, when you start up a stream, maybe they will come by and join your party, in return.
But that’s all marketing, which is fine, and certainly something you want to do to succeed on Twitch. But if you can’t manage to host your own parties, being entertaining and chatting people up (even if seemingly no one is there), all the marketing in the world won’t help you.
By the way, in case you’re thinking of ignoring my advice, because I’m not some superstar livestreamer, let me tell you this: I have not grown quickly, because I don’t have the time to put into Twitch that I should, if I were looking to become a Partner. I only stream on weekend nights, and haven’t really done much with my social networking, and that simply isn’t going to cut it, if you want to become a Partner. I do Twitter, but don’t have the time to hang out on other people’s streams during the week, let alone get to know people and make more friends.
In short, the advice is valid, but I’m just not following it myself.