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Being a professional streamer may seem like it’s all fun and games, but ask any of the top Twitch streamers and they’ll tell you that it actually takes a lot of blood, sweat and energy drinks to make it happen. It’s not just about being good at the game you’re streaming; you also need to be a skilled entertainer, competent technician and passionate promoter.
In this blog, we’ll break down everything you need to know about how to get viewers on Twitch. From choosing the best games to stream and building the perfect streaming setup to engaging your audience and networking with other streamers, this is the ultimate guide to growing your Twitch channel.
One of the first things that will draw viewers to your channel is the game you’re streaming. It may be tempting to stream the newest, most popular title in hopes of attracting more viewers. However, without a sizable following, your channel will get lost among hundreds of other, more popular channels.
Instead, check out the list of top Twitch games and scroll down until you find a title with around 100 current viewers. By streaming lesser-viewed titles like this, your channel will be much more visible—you may even crack the top 10 streamers for that game!
Unlike on-demand streaming sites, Twitch is live—and that means that in order for people to tune into your livestream, they need to know when you’re streaming. That’s why it’s crucial to create a streaming schedule.
Even more important than creating a schedule is actually sticking to it. Look at it this way: if you promise your viewers that you’ll stream five days and miss a day, you're the villain. But if you promise them that you’ll stream three days a week and surprise them with an extra day, you’re the hero. It’s more important to stream consistently than it is to stream constantly.
Livestreaming is all about connecting with other people who share your interests. Your profile can be a great way to tell people more about yourself. Twitch lets you create text and image panels below your video stream, so use this space to display useful information like your bio, streaming schedule, social media accounts and more.
You can even use free template-based graphic design software like Canva or Crello to create images for each panel. This is a great way to create branded imagery for your channel, which increases the overall production value and professionalism of your Twitch stream. It’s also a slick way to add links to your profile without making things look messy.
Twitch also offers an array of panel extensions for animated panels, interactive polls, playlist support, follower updates and more. Spending a little time making your profile more engaging is an easy way to increase average view time.
Yeti X pairs well with Logitech G gaming gear for a pro streaming setup.
The production quality of your Twitch stream has a huge impact on how seriously people take you. With a grainy webcam and a lo-fi laptop microphone, it’s going to be hard to draw people in.
Thankfully, it doesn’t cost a fortune or require a technical degree in engineering to create a killer streaming setup. With an HD webcam like the Logitech StreamCam, a USB microphone like Yeti X or Yeti Nano and some simple lighting, you can significantly improve the production value of your streams.
For more information on how to level up your equipment, check out our in-depth guide to the best microphones for Twitch streaming.
Two more powerful ways to improve the production value of your stream are to use the full potential of streaming software like Streamlabs OBS and integrate Twitch extensions to make your stream more interactive and engaging.
Streamlabs OBS lets you set up multiple “scenes,” then use hotkeys to switch between them and cue cool transition effects. For example, you could have one scene that displays just your webcam feed for when you’re chatting with your audience, then use a screen wipe effect to switch to a picture-in-picture scene that combines your gameplay and webcam footage.
It can be tricky to keep an eye on the chat window, thank people for donations and give shoutouts to your subscribers, all while trying to focus on a game—and that’s where Twitch extensions come in. Browse the Extensions page of your Twitch Dashboard to find useful extensions like overlays, notifications, interactive widgets, social media integration and more.
When browsing for something to stream on Twitch, there are literally millions of options to choose from. Do yourself a favor and make it easy for potential fans to find you. When creating a stream, make sure your title is engaging and descriptive to help draw people in.
You can also add tags to your stream, which help viewers find streams they’re interested in watching. Tags like “blind playthrough” and “speedrun” help give viewers a better idea of what kind of streamer you are—not just the game you’re playing.
Actively engaging with your streaming audience will keep them coming back for more.
If you’re already attracting viewers to your stream but still wondering how to get followers on Twitch, one of the most important elements of building a fan base is interacting with your fans. After all, the whole point of Twitch is live interaction, which is what sets it apart from simply watching “let’s play” videos on YouTube.
Silence is the enemy of a successful stream, and that’s why it’s crucial to always be talking. Even if you use notifications and automated widgets, make sure you’re still answering questions and shouting out those who show you support.
However, at a certain point, it becomes impossible to keep up with the chat window. That’s when moderators become helpful. You can recruit your friends or even enlist a bot to help you moderate your chat window, so you can spend more time chatting with your viewers.
You could host the most epic and entertaining stream of all time, but if no one is around to watch, it doesn’t really matter.
One of the easiest ways to earn the support of a community is to support that community yourself. Spend time watching your favorite streamers, interact with their social media channels and be active in forums. Make yourself a valuable member of the community and people will be glad to support you. It may take a lot of time, effort and energy, but it will all pay off.
Streamers are looking for viewers that contribute positively to their stream and the community. Becoming one of those viewers to another streamer is a simple and mutually beneficial way to network and form relationships. The best way to kick-start your streaming career is to help others with theirs.
Self-promotion can be tricky. You don’t want to be too pushy, but you need to get your name out there. Start by increasing your activity on social media. Create new accounts on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube with the same name as your Twitch channel and invite friends and family to follow you. Use hashtags and groups to find relevant communities and make yourself an active contributor.
Promoting yourself IRL can also be a really effective way to get your name out there and grow your Twitch channel. Attend conventions like TwitchCon, BlizzCon, PAX and more to meet streamers and participate in new events. You can also attend or even set up meet-ups in your area.
Twitch streamer JdotB streaming World of Warcraft with a Blue Blackout Spark SL microphone.
After you’ve made a few friends in the streaming community, work with other streamers to co-promote your channels by hosting each other’s broadcasts at the end of your streams. By hosting a friend or team member who is playing the same game, you can continue to provide value and entertainment to your audience even after you log off for the day. It also supports the other streamer, which is good for the community and can lead to future collaborations.
Another effective and mutually beneficial way to show and gain support within your circle is by “stream raiding,” or sending your viewers to another streamer’s channel to show support. It’s common for streamers to set up a raid at the end of a stream by asking viewers to join a fellow streamer’s channel and announce themselves with a specific hashtag. Essentially, you have your fans flood another stream while simultaneously promoting your channel. It’s a win-win!
It’s usually a good idea to check with other streamers before raiding, as it can be extremely distracting for your chat window to explode with hundreds or even thousands of comments. If all goes well, the streamer should shout you out during the raid, and many of their followers will also check out your channel. After doing a few stream raids, you may even get raided yourself.
There is no template or secret formula for how to get more viewers on Twitch. Like any worthwhile effort, it will take a lot of practice, experimentation, hard work and dedication. But if you can find a way to consistently provide value and entertainment to your viewers in your own unique way, you’ll be well on your way to creating a full-time career as a streamer.
For more information on how to stream on Twitch, including our favorite streaming equipment, the best Twitch extensions and how to make money on Twitch, check out our step by-step guide to streaming on Twitch.