Tips for Streaming on Twitch
#1. Stop Focusing On Your Numbers!
Its easier said than done because you have it in your head that "more numbers means more success." I'm here to tell you that that's not true though. Yes, higher numbers can lead to more success... but lower numbers doesn't mean you are not already successful. Besides, the more you stress on your numbers, the less passion you'll have for your stream because it will begin to get overwhelming if you aren't getting the numbers you want. This is actually something most streamers will tell you when asked for tips on streaming. Keep an eye on your numbers... but don't get depressed or stressed if you aren't growing fast enough. It takes time to build a community; focus on making quality streams, and the numbers will come eventually.
#2. A Name Change Will Hurt You.
Sadly the changing of your stream name comes with many complications not just for you but for your viewers. Anywhere online that had your link has now become invalid. People who have you saved in their favorites can no longer use that link to find you. And no... not all users will find you again. Your numbers will drop, any articles linking you are now broken, and your viewers will have a harder time finding you again. Sure, if you had a really bad name you started to hate over time or your stream identity has evolved... its likely necessary and in the long run better to have the new name. If you choose to do that though, just keep the "side-effects" in mind. This may change in the future perhaps with redirect scripts or something... but who knows.
This is a tricky one. It raises the quality of your stream to have an overlay. Its easy to go overboard however and clutter up your stream with too busy of an overlay. Sure, there are a lot of great features lately to add to your stream... but your viewers have come to see YOU, and what YOU are doing. If you are hidden behind things, or your game can't be focused on because there are too many animated things on the stream distracting from it... it can get frustrating for a viewer. So try to find a balance and remember that less is more most of the time.
#4. Network, Don't Compete!
"Other streamers are your co-workers, not your competition." (Said by Banlish and other streamers.) In the years I've been on Twitch, I have found that streamers who embrace other streamers find more growth and success than streamers who forbid any sort of advertising of other streams. Yes... its rude for anyone to just pop into your chat and advertise themselves; that's not what I'm saying should be allowed. If you however have a regular viewer for example who you know well, you should consider giving them a shout out. If you have Discord, make a channel that lets people advertise themselves. It doesn't disrupt your live stream, but allows your community to network.
You should also host other streams when yours is over, and if you have a willing community... raid as well! A lot of people will remember that you did them the favor of a host or raid, and eventually return the favor. Sure... maybe some of your streamers might leave to go watch that other streamer instead. But when they return that favor, maybe some of their viewers come to watch you. You aren't losing people... you are networking with your co-workers. There are also programs out there that let people watch multiple streams at a time to support all their favorites at the same time.
#5. Be Honest, But Limit Negativity
You are human, and you are going to have good and bad days. You are going to have problems in your life, or not feel well. Its perfectly okay to admit this to your viewers. Most often they'll sympathize and want what is best for you, because they care and want you at your best so you can stream more. However... don't make negativity a constant thing. If you are complaining about things every time you stream, eventually that negativity is going to wear on your viewers who mainly come to Twitch for entertainment, fun, or distraction from their own problems. So while loyal viewers will still support you through your hard times... too much constant negativity will likely scare off newer viewers who might choose to go to a streamer with a more positive atmosphere. On the reverse... always pretending to be okay and that nothing ever bothers you comes off as 'fake' to some. They think you are disingenuous and putting on more of an act than being a real person. Viewers... just remember too that a streamer who is positive most of the time might just be fortunate enough to not be going through things in their life that are necessary to share with you. So just because they never mention their problems doesn't automatically mean they are being fake.
#6. Stream For Fun, Not Income
We are well aware that successful Twitch streamers can make a solid income. However, there are MANY factors that lead up to that with the main one being time. It takes time to grow, and it takes time to get some regular financial support from your viewers. There is even the chance you might never make money from it. However, its important that your reason for streaming should be about fun, information, or a social atmosphere. If you are going into it expecting money right away, you will get disappointed fast. I've seen streamers who have streamed for YEARS, who don't make a single bit or dollar on their stream. Its not because they're necessarily doing anything wrong either. Sometimes... it just doesn't happen. It doesn't mean you're a bad streamer. It just means you haven't found that right "formula" that works for you yet. Each streamer is different, as is each community. So many factors need to be considered regarding your growth and "success"; Your personality, your appearance (sad but true), what games you play, what days and times you stream (consider school hours, holidays, and real world news), the support or lack of from your mods, the quality of your equipment, do your viewers prefer a green screen or no green screen, do you use a cam, what atmosphere you encourage, how strict your rules are (or how lax), and so much more. You don't have to think about all this... but you should at least be aware that these things DO affect you, and some will be out of your control.
#7. Be a Viewer
Don't just stream and leave Twitch. Go watch other streamers... talk in their chats, get to know people, maybe take up a mod position if you have that extra time. Let other communities get to know you and who you are, and don't do it just to steal viewers or advertise yourself. If you are not genuine, people will see that. I truly mean it when I say go become part of other communities too. I'm not streaming yet, and I have more followers than some streamers I know. Why? Because I've become known in several communities, and sometimes people will follow you just so they don't lose track of you on Twitch. Then, if you stream one day, those people will notice and come to say hi or celebrate with you. You became part of their community, and in turn, they'll also become part of yours.
#8. A Great Mod Team
Last but certain not least... have great mods. If your staff support you, it will greatly impact the success or detriment of your stream. Your mods not only started off as loyal viewers who enjoyed your entertainment, but they become your eyes for chat. They will likely speak to people you might not get the chance to. They'll welcome new viewers and help them learn the rules and the atmosphere of the community, encouraging them to stay and enjoy themselves. Your mods will talk about you to others, and share your social media much more than a lot of your viewers would. They will help catch and remove toxic people from your chat before they can do too much damage... leaving you to keep providing that entertainment without interruption. In a lot of cases, those people might even become your friends. You might meet them in person, or have long conversations off stream, or enjoy some games together. Great mods will also tell you when you're being an idiot, or when something is wrong with the stream. Not because they want to be mean, but because they want to help you and see the stream succeed. Heck, some of the best community of mods I've seen are the ones where the mods are more "troll" toward the streamer than anything else... poking fun at the streamer and able to take a few jabs back at them for a good laugh. If you see a streamer and their mods picking on each other, you know that they've gotten a quality bond. So don't be afraid to add in a few mods, and get to know them over time. You'll weed out the ones who aren't doing it to support you, and one day you wont even have to worry about it because you'll have a team of mods who will remove another mod who they feel is hurting you instead of helping you.
Thank you for taking the time to read these tips. If you enjoyed them and I see the views on this increase... I may consider doing another one in the future. There are no shortages of tips and advice out there on how to improve your stream; all you have to do is look.