If you ask a veteran streamer about how to grow your channel, eventually the topic of social media will come up. Platforms such as Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook are all extremely powerful tools, if used properly. They allow streamers the opportunity to interact with their audience outside their broadcasts. However, many new streamers do not know how to make the most of their social media presence, and in the process, lose out on chances to connect with their audience. This article will delve into how content creators can use various social media to expand the reach of their content, increase community interaction, and make themselves an important figure withing their social spheres.
Create a profile that reflects you
Your social media accounts should reflect the brand you are trying to create for yourself and your stream. Start with a strong username that matches, or at least contains, your username on your preferred streaming platform. In my case, Googie was taken - so I went with @MaximumGoogie on all social media (my cleveridea was that if they also follow me on social media, they'll get the MAXIMUM amount of Googie possible.) However, you can go with variants such as GoogieTweets or GoogieInsta. It's best to keep them as consistent as possible, but feel free to get clever with it if it suits your brand.
Another way to improve consistency and brand recognition is to use the same profile picture and banner across your various accounts. This makes it easy to recognize you across numerous platforms. Using your streamer logo or mascot is good from a professional and branding standpoint, but if you're photogenic, there's nothing wrong with using a photo of yourself as well. So long as it gives fans a recognizeable way of identifying you, you, just about anything works!
Lastly, fill out your profile information! Blank profiles make you less likely to appear in searches (which rely on keywords to pull you up in relevant search queries). On Twitter, for example, your profile blurb shows up when someone searches for your username. You would ideally want to make a good first impression and give people an idea of what you're all about, so this would be your chance to do that! Mention what kind of streamer you are, include your twitch link, and if applicable, a business email in case sponsors want to reach out to you.
Network with the right people
They say you're only as good as the company you keep. This is true on social media - you can tell a lot about a person based on who they follow. It's important to follow other content creators, especially when you first start your account. That doesn't mean go on a follow spam spree, and definitely don't expect others to follow you back. Follow streamers and YouTubers who make content similar to yours. Follow the games, publishers, and companies that you like. Follow your most active fans. By building a network through following accounts that reflects your stream and your interests, you'll be able to retweet and share relevant social media.
Share about yourself, the right way
I have a rule for following other streamers - if I see two of their own "Going Live" tweets touching each other (in other words, no other tweets between them) they don't really use Twitter. Sharing when you go live is effective, to an extent... but if that's all you are doing with your account, you're not providing much value. Use social media to share about you and connect with your audience. How personal you want to get is a matter of individual preference, but sharing major life events or interesting day-to-day updates is a great way to engage your audience. Going camping? Share some photos! Got a new pet? Show it off!
The key thing, as touched on in the previous section, is to add variety and give people a reason to engage with your outside of the stream. Twitch already alerts your followers when you go live, so doing so on Twitter or Facebook isn't going to net you that much more visibility. It does provide your fans a way to share with their followers when you go live, but don't expect it to exponentially grow your viewer base. Instead, focus on using your tweets and status updates as a way of sharing yourself outside of the stream setting.
Share more than yourself
If you think Twitter or Instagram are all about sharing what's going on with you... sorry to burst your bubble! Effective networking goes beyond dropping an empty follow on other accounts. To make your social media presence more valuable, you have to share about things other than yourself - the world doesn't just revolve around you!
Make an effort to share other casters "going live" posts when you know they're doing something special. When another caster is doing a 12 hour marathon charity stream, or if they hit a major milestone like Twitch Affiliate or 1000 followers, it's good to share that! Celebrate the success of your peers, and surely they'll return the favor. Doing so helps both parties grow, and that's what social media is all about!
Additionally, sharing updates from your favorite game developers, such as new DLC announcements or patches, can help make you a center of information for your followers. Retweet the announcement about that Splatoon 2 patch notice and share your thoughts in the comments, or ask an open ended question about a new game coming out to gauge the interest of your viewers.
How to promote your social media
If you're starting out with new social media accounts, it can be tough getting your followers from Twitch or Mixer to hop over to your Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook (especially if they don't normally use the platforms to begin with.) To get your name out there, I recommend adding social media links to your profile page on your Twitch and YouTube channels. Additionally, you can set up your channel's bot to shout out the link once every hour or so. Be sure to give yourself a social media shout out at the end of your videos and streams as well, to give your followers a friendly reminder to follow you outside the stream as well!
If you're struggling to get your name out there, networking via social media can be just what you need to turn the tide. Remember to think of it as a compliment to your streams - use it to continue the conversation with your fans when you're done streaming for the day. Connect with and promote your fellow creators, and build up a social circle of like-minded streamers, artists, and gamers to expand your community. My last bit of advice is to consider investing time into social media as a regular part of improving your content. Don't let it be an afterthought - give it the same care and consideration that you would put into improving your channel, and you'll be sure to see the benefits.