Friday, March 8, 2019

Twitch is the Only Social Channel You Need

You’ve done some streams and you’ve noticed the value of interacting with people on your show. You start to realize how important community is to a Twitch channel, and think of all the different kinds of value you could bring to your growing fan base if you had a Twitter, or a Facebook fan page, a Discord, a Snapchat. So you set them all up, carefully designing their logos and descriptions. You think of the kinds of content you want to make for each, and how they'll all flow seamlessly back into your main Twitch channel, enhancing the experience of watching your streams and strengthening your community. You're definitely onto something- this is great idea!

But it's just that: an idea.

If there are tumbleweeds rolling through your
Twitter, it's time to rethink your strategy.
Cut to two months later. Your Discord is beautiful, but only three out of your 32 Twitch followers has joined, and there's no discussion happening. Your schedule for reposting memes on your Facebook fan page has lapsed, and now you're only making a few posts in short bursts whenever you have time. Your Twitter has been a ghost town for weeks, and your YouTube is comprised of three videos- all three of which are apologies for not having posted in a while, and outlining your plan for future videos. This will hit painfully close to home for a lot of you, whether you have two followers or 2,000. It happens to all of us. In that case though, I have one suggestion: make a tactical retreat.

You shouldn't have a single social channel for your brand that you can't consistently and easily populate with interesting content. Streaming on Twitch is hard enough to get the hang of- don't bite off more than you can chew just because of how you WANT your brand to look. You need to learn to do one thing extremely well, and only then think about slowly adding more.


Eagle eyed readers may notice that this is beginning to sound like the philosophy I laid out in the entry about Starting Your Twitch channel With NO MONEY, and they'd be right. There's a reason that sentiment was the first Twitch Playbook post after the introduction. I utilize that "Minimum Viable Product" philosophy in everything I do on Twitch- it's not just a great way to make content, but an important way to prevent yourself from becoming burned out.

Think about it. If your brain is pulled in five different directions, it's hard to focus on any one thing. Every time you go live, you're thinking about that YouTube video that still needs to be edited, or how your Facebook fan page has been slipping. And as we all know, there isn't just the specter of content generation that we all worry about, but the ever-present dread of follower growth. If you have a Twitch channel and four separate social channels, it's likely that at least one of those isn't growing so well. Maybe nobody is liking your Instagram posts, sharing your 'going live' tweets, or talking in your Discord. The shame you feel when thinking about all of the places you've failed in your burgeoning social media empire may even prevent you from streaming on some days, acting as that tiny straw of self-doubt that finally breaks the camel's back. This is obviously unacceptable.

If you recognize the stress that comes with having too many
things to worry about, don't worry. There's a solution.


Here's what I suggest: first, shut down every channel you have besides Twitch. (This is of course not referring to personal social channels, but ones meant to amplify your Twitch brand.) If you can deactivate the fan page like on Facebook, putting it into a state of hibernation ready to be collected at any time later, then that's perfect. If not, then strike the channel completely from your mind. Don't spend a single moment on Twitter, delete the app from your phone, declare the channel 100% dead and spend not one ounce of mental energy on that channel for the next 12 months. If you're going this route though, I'd suggest putting some serious thought into deleting. Yes this course is permanent, but for a channel that hasn't grown much yet, why not? If you've sunk dozens of hours into your Twitter or Instagram, but can't figure out how to network, haven't gained any followers, or generally don't feel that account is helping your Twitch streams, then cut your loss and get rid of it. If you're trying to be a Twitch streamer, then Twitch is the only channel you should be absolutely concrete about never giving up on.

Too many people confuse EFFORT with PROGRESS. There's a concept in poker where someone becomes "pot committed," a situation where they've put so many chips into the communal betting 'pot' that they feel forced to continue playing their hand. In this person's mind, to give up the giant stack of chips they've already put into the pot would somehow be a bigger loss than losing those and all the rest of their chips by continuing to bet. This is a classic example of pride getting in the way of good judgment. The person feels they worked so hard to get the chips they see in front of them, and can't imagine going through the process of getting them again. Therefore, they'd rather go through a self-destructive spiral or take dangerous chances instead of simply cutting their losses. It's the reason some people are bad at Dark Souls, and it's the reason you are unwilling to get rid of your dead Twitter or Instagram account.

Don't let your ego get in the way of playing a good
game of metaphorical poker. Cutting your losses
is an important part of playing the game.
The biggest irony is that deleting your Twitter account doesn't actually put you back at square one. If you've spent dozens of hours trying to understand how growth works on the platform, you're not deleting that knowledge from your brain. You'll be able to optimize the growth of a new Twitter account significantly faster the next time, should you ever decide to start one up again. Plus, you'll still have all the logos, descriptions and banner images you made for this first iteration, which you won't have to spend time creating again if you start another one later. The connections you've made on Twitter won't likely go away either. If you were making a Twitter in order to grow your Twitch, you likely are following Twitch streamers. You can still find and interact with them on Twitch, the place where it most significantly helps both of you to interact. I'm sure that streamer would appreciate you chatting in their stream more than commenting on a fleeting Tweet. The same thing applies to YouTube, Facebook, Discord, anything that involves social networking.


How many hours of streams have you done so far? Less than 1,000? Then don't worry about being a social media mogul, just focus on making your Twitch streams everything they can be. How many times have you started your show and forgotten to turn on your mic, switch to the right OBS layout, turn on your camera lights, shut the door to your room, install a necessary game patch, change the stream title info, or set up your camera the way you like it? If you're making ANY of these mistakes, or any of the thousands like them, you should know that solving them isn't out of your control. They're likely happening because you have too many other things to think about.

Focus on one channel to begin with: your Twitch.
Don't try to "Catch 'Em All."
Instead of trying to branch out on other social platforms, treat Twitch like your social platform. There are millions of users on Twitch all looking to be entertained. And the added bonus? You already know they're interested in what you're doing on some level, since it's likely you're doing a type of stream that someone is on Twitch to see. If you're streaming video games, the vast majority of Twitch users are already guaranteed to enjoy video games- not like Twitter, where the range of interests runs the entire spectrum from news reporting and celebrity gossip to Wendy's hamburger restaurant clapbacks. Even if you're not streaming games, it's likely you're doing something that has an audience on Twitch, like chatting or creating art. As a Twitch streamer, one hour of work put into your Twitch channel is likely to get you significantly higher returns than an hour spent growing any other platform.

So be as social as you can on Twitch- get to know your community more, raid and host other channels, hang out on other streams. Stick to your bread and butter, make your channel as good as it can be, then maybe you can branch out in the future. You want to focus on what's important right now: streaming, improving your streams, and cultivating your community. If you're a Twitch streamer, Twitch is the only social channel you need.

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