Do you think that Twitch was a platform just for gamers? Think again! The super popular live-streaming platform saw a huge increase of creators join during 2020, with the largest growing sector being in the music category. And now, into 2021, we’re not seeing that slow down.
I’ve written about how to use Twitch as a musician before, but I wanted to give you some extra insights and hands-on tips on how you can actually start to build a community on the platform.
Twitch is nothing without it’s community. It’s the core center of the platform! Gamers, artists and live-streamers are able to make a living doing what they love to do – purely because of the community aspect of it.
So, how do you start a twitch channel and build a community? Easier said than done right?
In this blog post, we’re going to break down some steps and use my client, G Fresh, as an example.
The Wrong Platform
G Fresh is one of the hottest producers in ATL. He has produced for artists like Young Thug & Lil Durk, just to name a couple. What’s great about G Fresh is that, whenever he is in the studio, he jumps on to Instagram live. But he can’t get his followers to stay on and watch.
The issue with Instagram live, however, is that people don’t tend to tune in for a long time. Unless you’re speaking directly to your audience and constantly interacting, followers tend to check in and then check out after a short while.
Why is this happening? It’s because he’s streaming on the wrong platform.
Instagram has been proven to work better in short bursts and quick scroll-throughs. That’s why Instagram reels are working so well right now.
G Fresh’s followers won’t give him the time required to connect with his music creation on the ‘gram. However, they will be willing to give the time on Twitch.
Twitch is a platform where people spend hours on end tuning into gamers’ live-streaming sessions, or watching creators curating their art or music. DJ’s can stream live sets where their followers can interact with them directly. It’s a platform built purely for long-form entertainment.
And as G Fresh is a producer and wants to embrace the live stream format, I wanted to take a closer look at how he can thrive on Twitch as a music producer and not as a gamer.
PS: If you are both a musician and a gamer I really recommend streaming both sides on you on the platform. Your followers and fans can connect with you through gaming as well – as it makes you very relatable.
How To Get Started on Twitch
1. Join the community
I’ve seen it before. Musicians embark on their Twitch journey and immediately open an empty room with no viewers in it. That number stays on zero and they’re basically hanging out with themselves. What’s the point?
Do you think that your fans (or potential fans) are going to be able to magically find you? Twitch doesn’t work like that.
I said before that Twitch is all about community. So what better way is there to build your community than by joining others? I suggest finding some top streamers who are similar to you both musically and in the gaming world (if you’re into that). Create a list of 10-20 that you are strategically going to network with. Remember, if you have friends or family on the platform then that’s always a great place to start.
- Follow your list of 10-20 on Twitch and check out how they have set up their channel. Study what their Twitch schedule looks like, and look at who they’re following. Jot down what you like and what you don’t like about their channel, and implement the things that you do. Remember to make it your own – your channel has to represent you.
- Be active on Twitch and spend time online when the people on your list are live streaming. Being active isn’t just watching. Communicate, comment and build a connection with them. Follow them on any other channels that they have after you’ve interacted with them, as you’re more likely to get a reciprocal follow if they remember you.
Following the strategy above is going to do several positive things for you and your channel. Once you start communicating with a streamer, they will usually carry on the conversation with you. Other watchers of the room will see this, and will head over to your profile to check you out.
Interacting consistently with your targeted streamers will mean that your profile picture and username will appear in the same channels each time. You’ll also start to notice other users that are popping up in the same rooms as well. This is your target audience. Follow these patterns and make sure to be visible where they hang out regularly.
Building Rapport on Twitch
By being online, being vocal and interacting positively with people – you will start to build a rapport with the live-streamers. Building rapport is basically building a friendship online, and once you’ve done that, you can soon slide into their DM’s with a message like this:
“Great session today! I especially enjoyed XYZ (insert something specific here). I’ve been on Twitch for a few weeks now and I feel I’m getting ready to start streaming myself. I feel like you’re already nailing the format and I’d love to get some tips from you if you have the time?”.
This opens up the doors of opportunity, and if they like you and are willing to help, they might suggest doing a raid. This means that when they finish up one of their live streams, they can direct their traffic over to your stream. So, work together on your scheduling and easily capture their audience.
2. Create a theme
What will your world on twitch look like? Who will your community be and what is going to happen when you stream?
Live-streaming on Twitch is different for gamers as it is for musicians, as they can focus on different games and niches within games. On Twitch you can see full game reviews, people working through different levels or simply watch someone playing before you decide to purchase it yourself.
But let’s go back to G Fresh. As he is not a gamer, we can’t use this element of the platform. However he is a music producer spending hours at a time in the studio, creating music. So, what do we do?
A producer creating music is too general. People will not be interested in joining the stream. That’s why we need to create a theme.
Let’s get specific. G Fresh is a producer in Atlanta, producing for the greatest rappers of this time. How do we create a theme around this? We already know that a lot of his fans and followers are interested in what happens in a studio. And we already know that ATL studios are famous for being a bit ‘extra’. The crew is hanging out, there’s hot women everywhere – welcome to Atlanta, right?! So, why don’t we focus on the lifestyle, as well as the hits that are being made.
We can build a community and give them the ATL studio feeling. Let them feel like they’re a part of what’s happening. That’s not to say that every single time G Fresh goes live on Twitch he needs to have an entourage around him, but it just sets the general theme, and followers will know what they’re coming for.
As a creator, when it’s time to go to work and produce music, your fans and followers will want to be a part of each hit that’s made. ‘Who’s G Fresh producing for this week? I wonder if anything sick is happening in the studio. Let me watch the stream to see’
Whatever type of artist you are, Twitch allows you to show the creation process and embrace the live stream format, without having to actually sit and talk to a camera.
3. Build a schedule
The key to success on any social media channel (and basically anything in life) is to be consistent. The same goes for Twitch. But, you need your followers to know when to tune in to your channel, so it’s very important to create a visual schedule so that you can present your streams to your followers.
It could be a weekly calendar where you show when you’re going to be live, or you can get creative and design something that ties in with your brand.
Whatever your schedule looks like it needs to show your fans (and potential fans) what’s coming. People entering your stream will take a look and make the decision on whether to continue following, or tune into your next live-stream.
It gives them a reason to click subscribe and come back to your channel.
I’ve seen musicians set up a mammoth stream on Twitch, but because there was no information on what was coming next and why anyone should continue to subscribe, the momentum died off. There was no incentive to subscribe, or even come back to their channel.
It’s proven that the best streamers out there go live at least 2-3 times a week, for around 2-3 hours at a time. For a producer is their element this isn’t a problem, as 3 hours goes by pretty quickly. However, you need to commit to the number you set per week, create a schedule and start communicating so people start remembering. Invest the time in this and you will reap the rewards.
4. Promote, promote, promote!
You’ve already got Instagram, right? And various other social media profiles on top of that. Now you’ve chosen the theme for your channel and created your schedule – it’s time to cross promote!
Chances are that a lot of people who have already followed you on Twitch are following your other channels as well, so make a point of putting your Twitch schedule on your posts and stories consistently, so it can’t be forgotten.
Variation & Awareness
Make sure to vary your posts. Use some to promote your schedule, but then use others to show a snippet of the stream that you’ve done afterwards so people know what to expect if they haven’t joined and followed you already.
Utilise your Instagram stories to tell your followers that you’re going live, and use the ‘swipe up’ feature if you can to send people straight over to your stream. The more consistent you are at showing your community across all platforms that you’re simply on Twitch, the more people will eventually come your way. Awareness is key.
Posting your schedule once isn’t going to cut it unfortunately. It’s going to take 7-14 interactions for it to sink in and for your followers to start to remember. So, get creative and start to think of different ways to show the world that you’re on Twitch.
Remember, the great thing about going live is that you have new content every single time that you can cut down and use to cross-promote.
5. Grow your community
I’ve noticed that the very best Twitch streamers are the ones who make the viewers feel included. There’s open conversation, they include them in the creative process and interact with them throughout whatever they’re doing – and it’s all live!
What you want from your channel is for people to feel like they belong and have a place in your community and on your channel.
When it comes the time to for your to create your own community, follow my guidelines below:
- Continue networking with other streamers so you can raid each other and direct traffic to each other’s channels.
- When people enter your live stream, make sure to interact with them. Keep them engaged by welcoming them to the room and chatting with them. Ask them questions and keep them interested.
It’s easy – hang out with your viewers like you would with your friends. This is how you get them to come back.
G Fresh, for example, can hang out with his viewers on a Friday night creating a song for XYZ. He can interact with the audience and make them feel like they are a part of the creation process. Imagine when the song goes live – he’s immediately got 300 die hard fans that were there when it was created. They have an immediate emotional connection to the song, and are automatic advocates right there!
From one live stream, G Fresh has now got hundreds of new social media shares, playlist ads and Tik Tok’s created to his song straight off the bat. A simple online connection through a live stream on Twitch can turn a fan into a superfan.
As you can see, Twitch is all about building a community and being consistent. It’s about reaching out to and hanging out with people who have similar interests to you.
The better understanding you have of your audience, the easier it will be to create your theme and build your community.
So, start thinking. What will you talk about with your audience? What things do you have in common?
But, the first step is to start. Start by joining the community first and use your research and knowledge to create your own. Twitch is a powerful platform to join that can open up a lot of monetisation opportunities in the future. So get started now.