How Successful Creators Use Social Media To Promote Their Streams
There are numerous tips and tricks for increasing engagement and building a community on Twitch, YouTube, and Facebook Gaming but arguably one of the most important strategies is to engage with your viewers off-site via social media.
Recently, I spoke with a rather diverse group of video game streamers to learn their thoughts on the importance of social networks, community-building, and livestreaming. Here’s what they had to say on the matter along with some personal tips on what apps to use and how to use them for optimum engagement.
The Best Social Networks for Streamers
While there are a growing number of new social media platforms such as Parlor, Vero, and Minds that have recently sprung up and are getting a lot of buzz, it’s generally better to focus your energies on the proven platforms that have a large number of users and communities that are interested in livestreaming and geek culture related topics.
- Facebook: With around 2.5 billion monthly active users, Facebook is the most-used social network and thus is one you should be on whether you stream via Facebook Gaming or elsewhere. Make sure to set up a business page for your brand to connect with your subscribers. Don’t use your personal profile.
- Twitter: Twitter is a great platform for connecting with followers, other streamers, and industry insiders. Twitter is smaller than Facebook (with 326 million active users) but many find it much more rewarding and easier to be discovered on.
- Instagram: Instagram is still king when it comes to visual branding with over 1 billion monthly active users posting and viewing images, videos, and livestreams on the social network. The best social network for expressing your stream’s aesthetic and general vibe.
- TikTok: Is TikTok social media? Absolutely. This short form video social network has exploded since its launch in 2018 and already has over 500 million users. Read more about how to use TikTok to promote your streams here.
- YouTube: YouTube may seem a bit boring due to its age but it’s still one of the best places to post video content due to its absolutely massive 2 billion active monthly users. YouTube is great for streaming and for experimenting with shorter videos made up of stream clips or exclusive content made just for your YouTube subscribers.
How Many Social Networks Should Streamers Use?
It’s important to have a presence on each of the above social networks as the audiences you can connect with can actually vary quite a bit. It’s also a good idea to diversify the platforms you use in case of a major social media shutdown. The closure of Vine and Mixer left many of their major users out in the cold but those who had also been building followings on Twitter, Instagram, and other sites weren’t nearly as hard hit as those who used one social network exclusively.
“I like to spread my resources across as many relevant platforms to my audience as I can,” says Sanka who managed to move his audience from Mixer to Twitch after the former shut down. “I feel as though I have a younger median age in viewership so I find that TikTok, YouTube, and Instagram are great.”
Be Open to Learning New Skills
If you’ve been streaming on Twitch, YouTube, or Facebook Gaming, you’ve likely already taken the initiative to teach yourself about broadcasting software like OBS Studio, overlays, and alerts but there’s no reason to stop there. There’s a number of additional tech skills that can really take your streaming to the next level and boost your viewership such as video editing, social media scheduling, and even search engine optimization (SEO).
“I think having recorded content and learning how to edit it and post it on Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, and TikTok are very helpful in growing [an audience] and just as much time should be spent building that skillset as time spent streaming,” StormBreaker explained when I asked him what advice he would give other streamers.
Staying up-to-date on the latest streaming software and hardware is important but make sure that you’re aware of what’s happening with social media too.
Post for Different Demographics on Different Platforms
It can be tempting to just post the same text, images, and videos on all of your different social accounts. After all, doing so is faster. Unfortunately, it’s not necessarily the most effective use of your time.
“My best advice for using social media outside of streaming is to make each one unique,” OfficerStealth shared. “Give a reason to have your community follow each one by posting consistent, but different types of content on the platforms.”
Basically, what works on Twitter may not work on Facebook and your followers on YouTube could be in completely different demographics than your TikTok audience.
“I like to use Twitter for my older audience,” Sanka told me while explaining how deliberate his different approaches to his numerous accounts are and how even varying the time posts are published can be effective. “I try to be as open as I can by creating a positive message for peers and fans. If I can make daily posts that people can engage with whilst I am not live, it will give my community and new followers an easy way to engage with me which can result in increased viewership when I hit that Go Live button.”
Personalize Your Social Media, Don’t Automate
Twitch, and most other streaming platforms, provide streamers with a setting for automatically posting to Twitter when you go live. While this can seem convenient at first glance, it can make your social media seem, well, anti-social and even a bit spammy.
Holmes, a popular Australian video game Twitch streamer, stresses the importance of being human even when creating quick notifications for your followers. “Make your Twitter more than just a place to announce that you’re going live. When you do post going live tweets, include more than text. Share funny/interesting stream clips, images of the game you’re playing, a photo of yourself, or your setup.”
In short, be genuine and you’ll be rewarded with a better connection to your followers and potentially more engagement on your posts.
Give Your Social Media Followers and Subscribers Value
Sure, you can use Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram to announce when your stream is going live, and you can upload recordings of your streams to YouTube and Facebook, but there’s so much more that can be done to engage with your audience on social networks and get discovered by new users.
“I think your recorded content that you post on other social media should be highlights of what they can expect from your livestream,” StormBreaker shared, emphasizing that you should be selective about what stream footage you choose to highlight.
“Another method I’ve seen work well is How-To videos. They give something of value to the viewer by sharing knowledge and, in return, the viewer wants to learn more and usually comes to the streamers channel not feeling like they are doing the streamer a favor but instead to gain more from the streamer.”
Don’t use social media as an archive tool for old content. Think of it as a way to diversify the type of content that you make and broaden your brand’s appeal.
Your Social Media is Your Resume
Anyone can slap a generic “The thoughts and opinions on this social media account do not represent those of (insert company name here)” message in their profile but the reality is that people and companies do form an opinion of you when they see what kind of posts you write and the type of accounts that you follow.
“I think too often, we as creators, forget the importance of how we conduct ourselves on social media,” Twitch streamer, MissZee, told me when I asked for her opinion on the topic. “In this day and age, those are our business portfolios — The first place potential sponsors and otherwise look, is these pages.
“We all need to vent, a place to voice our frustrations or opinions, but I tend to keep those in a more private forum like DMs and other private messaging services. Find a nice balance between sharing content clips from livestreams, some personal achievements/moments, sharing other industry friends’ achievements, and focusing on current gaming/geek cultural news.”
How to Use Social Media to Get Sponsorships and Deals
If you’re interested in making a full-time income by broadcasting on Twitch and other video game streaming services (and, let’s face it who isn’t) then you’re likely going to need to impress some companies and land some sponsorship deals.
Companies and talent agencies don’t just look at how many viewers watch your streams though. Your social media engagement can also play a factor in what type of campaigns or sponsorships you can get offered.
“Social media, particularly for a streamer who is engaging with their community live multiple times a week, allows for the creator to share more; either curated or raw content,” Click Management’s Nate Bramley reveals. “This establishes more of an engaged community, especially for people who sit and respond to comments instead of just posting.”
There doesn’t seem to set number of social media followers that brands look for though so don’t even think about buying any fake followers from dodgy individuals organizations online. Instead, aim for high quality engagement with your followers and try to create a consistent vibe on your social channels to make it easier for agencies to match you with a specific product promotion or campaign.
“The number that we look for varies when considering talent for a campaign; it’s a balance between size, engagement percentage, demographic and platform with a greater focus on engagement. There is no golden rule currently so all variables are considered. Best tip, carve a spot for yourself on each platform and make content that you genuinely enjoy that shows off who you are.”
Add Your Social Accounts to Your Stream Overlay and Profile
The first thing you should do after setting up your social media accounts is to tell your audience all about them and get them to follow you on each new platform.
You should absolutely mention your accounts verbally during streams but you should also add links to each platform on your channel’s About or Profile section and include your Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, and TikTok usernames within your stream overlay itself.
“Streaming is just one part of the larger ecosystem of a content creator’s brand and community,” Attack on Geek’s Dhayana shared when I asked how she promoted her socials during her streams on Twitch and Facebook Gaming. “Including social media links on your overlay let’s viewers know where they can engage with you off stream and this in turn allows you to expand your reach beyond going live, giving your community a better insight into who you are as a content creator.”
Nick Dahlink, group editor at the Middle East branches of Tech Radar and IGN and frequent Twitch streamer, agrees. “It’s important that people know where they can find you when you’re not streaming, so putting your social links on your overlay is a great way to keep people updated.”
StreamElement’s numerous free theme overlays feature ready-made social media icons that can be fully customized within seconds to promote your latest social media accounts. They’re definitely worth a look, especially if you’re having trouble tracking down the right social network icons to use.
Get Follows With a Free Stream Chatbot
Another effective way to promote your socials to your followers is to get your chatbot to automatically drop links to them directly within your stream’s chat. There are various chatbot services for streamers to choose from online but both Dhayana and Nick prefer the free StreamElements one due to its ease-of-use and impressive functionality.
“Using a chatbot, such as StreamElements’, takes the hassle away from having to manually plug your social media links while engaged in gameplay, streaming and interacting with chat,” Dhayana explains. “It also works on a timer or command which lets viewers know where else to find you without having to go searching for it”
Nick agrees. “Make your bot work for you when you’re live — have it post your social links in chat at regular intervals so your viewers are always in the loop. Why paste things in chat when you can get a bot to do it for you? All it takes is a few clicks to have your bot do all the hard work of promoting you in chat.”
Interested in using the chatbot, free themes, or any other of StreamElements free services designed for streamers? Make sure to check them all out here.
How Successful Creators Use Social Media to Promote Their Streams was originally published in StreamElements – Legendary Live Streaming on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.