You’ve heard time and time again, the secret to growth is Networking. “Go out and network!” This has been staple advice from any streamer that has built a community themselves.
But how do you do it? It’s easy to go to another person’s stream, but how does a streamer grow through other channels?
In this guide we’ll be covering the basics. We’ll lead into ways you can network, and even cover ways to grow with your newly built community.
The Basics of Networking
Networking, at its core, is the leading factor of growth on Twitch, which will ultimately help you get that coveted verified status on Twitch. There are many ways to grow, from being a content creator on YouTube, to being a pro esports player for a specific game.
With Twitch having over 54,000 live streams going at any given time, having a community can definitely look like a daunting task, but that is where networking comes in.
Hearing the word “Network” makes most think of a way a business grows. Just like in a business, you will need collaborations with other streamers to grow.
Unlike businesses however, networking is extremely simple, and if done properly, can increase your viewership and skyrocket your growth.
So how do you start? I’m sure you’ve seen the occasional viewer come in and say, “Hey! I’m live too. You should come follow me at ttv/Don’tBeThisGuy!!!”
That is a form of networking, but at its lowest form. Don’t be that person. If you want to grow your stream and create a community of supporters, it starts with how people view you outside of your stream.
The first step is to let people know who you are, not where you stream. This part is very easy. Figure out what community you like and start looking for streamers around your viewership level.
It can be intimidating at first, but this is the first step to growing. If you play a lot of Stardew Valley, find yourself a streamer that looks interesting. Don’t shoot for the people with hundreds of viewers at first. You’ll be washed away in chat, and it’ll be harder to form a relationship with the streamer.
Once you’ve found a streamer you like, be the viewer you want in your chat. Engage with the streamer, engage with the other people in chat. The key is making a friend.
It’s already hard enough on Twitch by yourself, so reaching out a friendly hand to other streamers will be your best tool for growth. Talk to the streamer about the game but stay away from mentioning that you stream yourself.
As a streamer, almost everyone I know is a streamer. You don’t want to just straight out say you are a streamer in someone else’s channel. This will most likely get you banned straight away.
Turning Networking into Growth
So how is that going to bring people back to your channel? It’s not about the instant growth of having people sent over, it’s about the relationship you are forming with communities outside of your own.
You have a reputation that you need to build. You don’t want that shut down at the beginning by talking about your stream.
There are ways to link them back to you. Usually streamers will ask if you stream, and then it’s okay to talk about it. Try not to stay on the topic for a while, the idea is just to stand out. If the streamer remembers you, they might host you later on down the road. Better yet, build a relationship with them over time, and host them yourself. The Secret to Networking is working together.
Building a relationship doesn’t just mean to chat while they are streaming. Play to your strengths as well! Reach out and try and help them, whether it’s an in-game interaction, or helping them with a stream problem. Work together to solve problems.
This will build your reputation not just with the streamer, but will get you recognition within that community, and in all the right ways.
If you’ve been following so far, you should have a few relationships with several other streamers. While building relationships is vital to your growth, this is just the starting point on all the ways you can help your community grow and succeed.
From here, you have many options, but the most important out of them is Collaborating.
At first, that can sound like you are just helping each other out by streaming together. It is so much more. Collaborations are extremely helpful and can be a lot of fun depending on the relationship you have with the other streamer or streamers.
It isn’t just streaming together either. As a viewer, it can mean seeing action within a game from different perspectives, adding to the interaction in your community. Viewers love to interact with the stream, and having different perspectives give them so much more.
So how do you collaborate? Build relationships! Even with other streamers that stream a variety of games, everyone wants to play new games with friends.
Whether it’s for a holiday event like a Halloween Spooky Game Event, or something just as simple as playing games together for fun, collaborating with others can be very easy.
For example, one collaboration I was a part of was just a simple showdown match on the game Gang Beast with a few friends of mine.
Growing with Others
Start by looking at upcoming events that you can plan. Is there an event or patch coming up in a game that you and another streamer friend play? Reach out and ask! Don’t be afraid.
This is even easier if you have made friends with people in the community. Setup rewards or competitive events between each other to increase interaction. At the end of the day, you are not only helping grow your community, you are helping the streamer you are working with.
Step out of your boundaries and find likeminded streamers. They might already be a part of your community, waiting to play with others in your chat!
Something as simple as playing the same game can be all it takes, so reach out and start playing with others! While you are there, host each other and spread the word of your newfound friends.
You can also create multi-stream links if you aren’t partnered so your viewers can watch both of you at the same time!
This creates your own value in a community. You aren’t stealing viewers, you are building each other. Your value to a community is important, and it is an idea that you have to keep in your mind as you network.
Try not to look at the values of other streamers as much, as this can create an unhealthy mentality of only wanting people who are “of value” to you.
The goal is to build your reputation to others in the community, and over time, the best Twitch communities will come together and grow will come.
Types of Networking Relationships
Speaking on the value of streamers, you’ll run into plenty of types of relationships, and it is easy to let these affect you as a streamer. Making friends can be fun, but you should always have your eyes open to those around you.
After streaming for over a year, I’ve run into plenty of relationship types. Some people will come in from other communities and become your friend for life, and others will be there only for the glory. It’s easy to wrap yourself up in any kind of relationship.
Just know that not everyone is out there to build friends. People will be looking out for themselves above all.
This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Ultimately, we all want to grow and succeed. In that path, we all find different people and experience different events in our lives. Don’t let this change your goals or how you treat others! There are plenty of selfish people everywhere, but this shouldn’t change how you treat new opportunities on Twitch.
The best part of Twitch is the relationships that you grow over time. I have a handful of friends that I’ve met and collaborated with that are always around when I need them.
It will be the same for you. Some will disappear in the blink of an eye, and some will be around forever. You have to ready yourself for whatever comes. You choose who you are to people, and this can definitely stunt your growth over time.
Don’t get wrapped up in people leaving. It is merely a fact of life. Keep your nose to the grindstone!
Building Your Brand
We’ve talked about creating your own value and reputation, and these are key to building your brand. When you show up in someone’s chat, you want people to easily recognize who you are, even if you are new to the community. This comes with building your brand.
To do this, you need to play to your strengths. It is easy to get wrapped up being someone you aren’t. A lot of streamers talk about this after streaming for a while.
Whether it’s being “Too Hyped” for stream, or spreading yourself too thin, you have to identify who you are as a streamer. For some, this will be easy. If you are good at a game, try and help others!
Don’t spoil anything for other gamers but reach out a helping hand in the community. If you are tech savvy, people will love you. Everyone has issues with their computers or stream, and people are more likely to go to people they trust.
Over time, your reputation will grow. The people who you’ve collaborated with as well as their communities will remember you for what you’ve done. This is the key to building your brand. You can also build this outside of stream.
Being an active member of any community will help people remember your name. Spend time in the forums of your favorite game. Chat with other members in communities about lore or potential updates to games.
People will gravitate towards you when you become a driving force in your passion.
Expanding Growth from Networking
Networking is great for starting a community, but it also has a great benefit that a lot of streamers miss out on, and that’s momentum.
At the beginning of the process, you start with a few people. Your name slowly spreads out into different communities, and people start to pick up on who you are. This will bring in new people to your community, and it is your job to keep that growth moving.
Twitch is a wonderful place to find new people, but to get the max potential for growth from networking, it requires a lot of maintenance within your community.
A lot of streamers fall short at this point. Once you’ve made friends and created growth into your community, it is time to start thinking about ways to keep people and network within.
There are many ways to do this, but the first part is establishing a home for your community. Most streamers reach out to Discord for this. If you haven’t already created a personal server, now is the time to do this!
Not only is this a place for your viewers to come and share their thoughts, it will become a home for some to discuss multiple topics and make friends within the community.
This is a very simple step as a streamer to do. Create several channels for different outlets for your community. Some viewers can be great artists and want to share their creations with you and the community. You can build great friendships this way, and let your viewers feel welcomed.
This is also a great place to establish even more collaborations. Creating a channel for other streamers to promote themselves can lead into more co-op streams.
It’s 2019, and it feels like everyone is a streamer at this point. Creating an outlet for growth for others will allow you to grow together, and who doesn’t want that?
Setting up a Discord Server is easy, but this isn’t the hard part. Your community will come there for announcements for your stream, to share their selfies, or even to just find people to play with.
With all of the communities mixing together from networking, this is where you can shine and continue your growth.
Use your Discord as a tool to continue your growth. Other streamers and viewers use discord religiously, and this in itself is a tool for networking. Reach out to your community and create events. The key is to interact as much as possible with the people that choose you. All the hard work in bringing people in through networking will pay off when you establish interaction with new viewers.
There are many ways to do this, like community events or movie nights with your viewers. You can check out our streaming tips if you haven’t for more ways to interact and reward your viewers.
Most streamers will put in the work to make friends but fall short when it comes to building within their own community. Networking takes a tremendous amount of work, and those who work hard will reap all the rewards.
Make sure to take the time within your community as well. You want to cover every step of the way, and soon enough, you will have your own busy community!
If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment below!