I’m going to put this the nicest way possible, but the chances of you growing your stream without knowing anyone in the Twitch community is very, very small. The majority of broadcasters grew their stream through knowing someone that was bigger than they were.
Growing your stream requires a lot of work, luck, and being at the right place at the right time. But luckily for you it’s not impossible.
One of the best ways to network is to join a pre-existing Twitch team. What is a Twitch team you may ask? In my opinion, a Twitch team can be easily compared to a clan or guild in an MMO. It’s basically a group of broadcasters who stream under one community or network of communities. What the community consists of can vary from team to team. You’ll see some teams like SpeedRunsLive include streamers who speedrun games. There are other teams, such as Main Menu (http://www.twitch.tv/team/mainmenu) that consist of broadcasters from all types of games.
So how do you go about joining or forming a team? It’s gotta be easy right? What you as a new broadcaster in this crazy world of Twitch have to understand is, a lot of these teams were formed based on friendships that were formed through twitch. The team I’m a part of “The Collective” is full of people I’ve known for almost 3 years. We all started out small, and just hung out in each other’s streams. We’d hang out in mumble calls, talking long hours into the night about videogames, life, the future, and pretty much everything. These are relationships you can’t just force, these are relationships that formed over long periods of time.
So you’re probably saying “Well Pie, you tell me about these teams, and then you tell me I have zero chance of ever joining one, so what’s the point?” That’s where the whole networking thing happens.
So what is exactly networking? Think of networking as a way to interact with people who have similar interests as you.
To start this networking discussion, let’s do a little brain storm session. Do you have a favorite streamer? I’m sure you’re all thinking of one, (my favorite is Iateyourpie by the way, if you haven’t you should totally check that guy out, and I’m totally not be biased or anything.) Think of reasons why you like that streamer, and what makes them so enjoyable. Do they share similar gaming interests as you? Are they hilarious and some of the best story tellers on Twitch? Do they treat you like a person, and not just a random chatter? These are the types of streamers you want to start networking with as a new found broadcaster. Now when I say networking I don’t mean you go into their chat and bug them, and constantly seek attention. Don't take the focus of the stream away from them and demand that they raid you. When I say network, I mean just treat them like a normal human beings.
“WHATTTTTT???? You mean I shouldn’t go into someone’s stream and treat them like they are the greatest thing since slice bread?” Yes that’s right, just treat them like normal human beings. Say hey when you come into the stream, ask them a question here or there, and talk in chat on a semi-regular basis with other viewers that watch them. To put it simple, be a normal active stream viewer.
I’ve met a lot of really cool people over the years through my stream, some of which have become lifelong friends, and many of those relationships started from simply holding a normal conversation about life, video games, real talk, sports, or just about everything on my stream. These people never came across as if they expected something from me, they were just people that enjoyed my stream and enjoyed some of the same types of interests that I had. Through those relationships, I was able to build a really cool community of people that liked to watch my stream. Overtime, I met more cool people through those people that I met on my stream, and the circle got bigger. While some friends have come and gone, the friendships and relationships stayed true.
That’s exactly what networking is, forming relationships with friends and helping everyone grow, not just you. Most big streamers didn’t get overnight success, they grew at a solid pace through a solid connection. I talked about it in an earlier blog, but without my friend Steve (peaches), I would never had been able to be the streamer I am today. The moment I started streaming, he was there to support me. Whether that was raiding my stream, introducing me to other members of the speed running community, or just hanging out together on stream, Peaches was always willing to help.
One of the biggest problem areas I see in this whole networking spider web, is that people try exceedingly hard to fit in a group. In the day where donations, subscriptions, and money are becoming more and more prevalent in Twitch culture, so many people feel the need to throw $$$ at broadcasters in hopes that they get noticed. While this strategy does work, it’s not one I support. You have to think about networking as the foundation of growing your stream. These are the people that are going to be there in the ups and downs of your streaming life. If your foundation is based on money, and buying popularity, you will not succeed in the long run, and those people will be long gone when the dollars stop coming. That’s not to say that I don’t support donating to streamers who have made a huge difference in your life. Donating or tipping is a great way to show support for the streamer for all the hard work they’ve done to make sure you enjoy yourself on the stream. Just realize, that when you decide to send that money to the streamer, that it’s not a “You Owe Me” Receipt. Always donate with the expectation that you will get nothing in return other than a heartfelt thank you and the satisfaction you made a streamer’s day.
TL;DR: If you want to network your stream, find people with similar interests, take the time to get to know those people in a real way, and success will come. Don’t try to buy relationships, let them form on their own time.
Part 2 of Networking
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