If you ever happen to be in any kind of Twitch forum or comment section, they always have one thing in common: there are always new streamers asking the same question. How do I get more followers/views on my channel? And even though there are numerous articles (ex: first impressions), forums, and YouTube videos out there that answer this very question, one thing is for certain…there really is no exact formula for obtaining more views and followers. And here’s an even bigger news flash: views and followers are not as important as Regulars. Boom! Soak that in for a second. I know it may come as a shock and you may not believe me, but if you’re interested in why, then continue reading on.
DEFINING A REGULAR:
Before we go any further, let’s define a Regular. A Regular (or Sub for larger channels) is someone that turns up in your stream more than once. Simple, right? Wrong. Regulars are much more complicated and important than you know. Regulars are your Internet friends. These friends are the kindest, most passionate people on the planet, and you should treat them as such. Why? Easy. Because we all have something called limited time in our daily lives. Everyone always has important stuff to do. For instance: walking the dog, making dinner, cleaning the house, doing homework, paying the bills, working, taking a crap, watching TV…spending time with family. These are very important things in life. But instead of doing these things or numerous other real life things, a friend/Regular is in YOUR chat, spending their very valuable time with you. YOU. Let that soak in for a while. No one is obligated to sit in your channel and hang out with you. Yet there are gracious people that will do so daily. They’ll do it no matter what game you’re playing, because they aren’t there for the game, they are there for you. So always be thankful and grateful that people return to your channel to say hello. (Recently, I’ve had the luck to have a higher viewer count in a couple of streams than normal, and when it’s happened, I’ve stayed much longer than my scheduled time…even doubled it. Why? Because if people are willing to take valuable time out of their daily life to stay and chat with me while I make a fool of myself, then I’m willing to do the same for them.) So now that you know who Regulars are, let’s get back on track. Math and numbers incoming…
WHY REGULARS ARE IMPORTANT:
When you’re a small channel just starting out, sure you want to look at your views and followers and see those numbers climb higher and higher. And that is important. But having a ton of followers means nothing if those followers don’t come back to your channel. There are a lot of new streamers that trade a follow for a follow, and there’s nothing wrong with networking when you’re a small fish swimming in a humongous ocean. But if you’re trading a follow for a follow and you’re not going to take the time to show up in that person’s stream for support (and they’re not going to either) then what’s the sense? See, you could have hundreds of followers, but if none of them come to your channel and hang out, then it’ll be hard to grow into a successful streamer.
If you pay attention to Twitch and watch some of the bigger channels, you’ll come to realize that on an average, a streamer pulls in about 5% or less of their follower count daily. When you’re dealing with channels that have 300,000 followers with around 5000 watching at any given moment…losing or gaining a Regular is hard to notice. But when you’re a small channel with 500 followers, Regulars become crucial to growth. To grow you need as many people watching as possible (allowing your channel to sit higher in the list of people streaming the same game), because the higher the number that is watching, the higher the chance for new viewers and new followers. So you can be excited about your follower count all you want, but if no one is returning to your channel, you’re going to have a bad time.
Now you’re probably thinking, “Well just how do I get people to return to my channel?” Well that’s exactly what we’re here to discuss. But just remember, like anything else in the streaming community, nothing has an exact formula to success. But there are some things you can do to improve your chances of returning viewers.
I’ll mention this briefly, since it’s been said everywhere already, but this may actually be the first time you’re reading it. If you’re looking to build and grow as a channel, you have to talk. It’s possible to build a channel on gaming expertise alone, but you better be one of the greatest gamers in the world for it to work. If not, then you’ll have to use what Twitch was made for…and that’s interaction. So never just sit there dead quiet and play a game. If people wanted a walkthrough, they’d go to YouTube for that. Twitch is here for live gaming with a focus on building communities. So take advantage of this and make some friends/Regulars.
A schedule is a huge factor when you’re a small channel just starting out. And if you’ve read any other articles dealing with how to gain more followers, then you’ve already seen this numerous times. Well this also has a lot to do with gaining Regulars. If you stream whenever and depend on the Twitch email system to notify your followers that you’re live, your chances of anyone returning have already dropped. But if you have a set schedule and people can depend on you streaming the same time every week, your chances have instantly improved. Think about it. If you have a favorite TV show, you probably know exactly when that sucker comes on, right? There’s no need for someone to notify you when it starts. But what if a Network decided to air your favorite TV show whenever? Chances are you’ll miss a few episodes here and there, because you just can’t keep up with all the changes, or you may have more pressing matters to attend to. But with a set schedule, a viewer has the opportunity to change other obligations around that timetable. It’s the same for streaming. You want to become someone’s favorite TV show, so find a schedule that works for you, and stick to it. Become reliable.
On top of a set schedule, you should also get used to some type of social media outlet (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.). If you don’t have any, Twitter seems to be the easiest and simplest way to notify your viewers of what is happening with your schedule. If you’re going to be late one day, just don’t let yourself be late. Tell your followers on Twitter, so they know. It’ll show them that you’re thinking about them and how important they are to you. The best way to go about this is to treat streaming like a job. If you’re going to be late one morning, you just don’t stumble into work late, do you? No. You notify your boss that something has come up, but you’ll be there. Same principle with streaming. On another note, having a social media outlet also allows you to talk to your new internet friends when you’re not streaming. So if someone has a question like what game you’re streaming next, you can answer them right away.
Streaming to viewers is just like making friends in real life. You want to act like yourself at all times. Never be a fake. People can smell a fake a mile away. Unless you have some other feature they really enjoy about you (looks, gaming expertise, voice, etc.) they will leave your channel and never come back. So be yourself while gaming and streaming. Talk about what you like and enjoy. Sure, you may lose a few viewers due to how you act, but you can’t please everyone. Here’s a secret: the people that do enjoy your personality will become closer friends/Regulars than anyone else you meet. Why? Because they’ll like you…for just being you. Not for trying to be someone else. So if you’re naturally goofy in real life, show that goofiness on stream. You’ll attract like-minded individuals and build a strong base of friends/Regulars. In the end, your channel won’t just become a game streaming service. It’ll become a small community…a small family of friends where everyone enjoys each other’s company.
So a viewer/follower count is important to any small streaming channel, but the heart of Twitch is building a community where like-minded people can come together and share experiences. If you want to grow your streaming family, focus on the individual, not the number. Share laughs, cries, scares, confusion, and just plain old goofiness together. Because you’re not just gaining followers or viewers, you’re gaining Regulars…you’re gaining friends. Any questions or comments feel free to drop them below or contact me via Twitter. Until next time, good luck streaming.
twitch.tv/hankbananas Gaming with a hint of sarcasm.