Friday, February 19, 2021

Repurposing Your Streams for Social Media

Creating a social media presence for your Twitch brand is a big undertaking for any streamer. Usually, the stream itself is more than enough to keep you busy, and the work involved in making social media content is so different from going live that it can distract you from making the actual shows. I’ve spoken before about the downsides of getting sucked into long Twitter discussions, endlessly scrolling on Instagram, and wasting too much time coming up with the perfect description for a new video. I’ve also spoken about certain social media strategies which I think are misguided. Self-promoting posts, follow-for-follow programs and other sketchy ‘game the system’ style ideas will typically not get the results you’re looking for. So what’s a good beginner strategy for social media that can be kept up consistently?

Of course, I will begin this entry the same way I do with all the ones dealing with endeavors only remotely related to streaming. If you haven’t done at least a dozen full broadcasts on your channel already, this advice is not for you. Do not let the process of making social content become another way for you to procrastinate from streaming. 


There are two main types of content which I’ve found most useful when posting on my Twitch channel’s social media. I call them Platform Content and Stream Content. The first, Platform Content, is a post which you’ve created specifically for each platform itself, taking advantage of the tools, techniques and paradigms available through that platform’s toolset. This might involve a TikTok video which natively uses the sounds, camera effects and graphics which TikTok provides, or an IGTV video made specifically to fit the video and thumbnail style of that Instagram format. These typically take longer to conceive and execute, but have a higher chance of gaining attention because they’re more likely to be favored by the app’s algorithm. The other option is to create content which comes directly from your streams. Whether it’s a short clip, an edited montage, or a complete episode, this typically has a lower chance of being seen, but also tends to require less effort. I call this Stream Content

Don't get distracted from what's important.

Both options can bring you fulfillment and both are valid ways to create content, but despite its seeming disadvantage, I personally believe Stream Content to be more valuable than Platform Content. And to avoid explaining a concept I’ve outlined in multiple entries before, suffice it to say that it’s better to attract the kind of audience you want, instead of an audience of just anyone. While Platform Content may show off your personality or humor, Stream Content will more accurately convey the tone of your actual broadcasts. You’re more likely to see reactions from people who like the same games you do, or who may even be interested in watching your shows on Twitch. And of course, there’s that other major advantage of making Stream Content: most of the work has been done already. The footage was created when you did the stream. Why not use it? As I’ve outlined in many entries before, the paramount concern when making social media channels, or doing any support task outside your streams, is to not let it get in the way of streaming. The easier you can make the process of posting, the more time and energy you can put into your true passion. This makes Stream Content a great way for beginners and experts alike to post consistently and easily on social media platforms. 


Of course, it’s not just the ease that makes Stream Content a valuable tool. Think of the massive amount of people out there who haven’t yet been introduced to your streams. Even among those who enjoy video games, not everyone watches Twitch. And out of those who do watch Twitch, only a small fraction have been exposed to your specific channel. But most people today have an Instagram, or TikTok, or YouTube account in addition to their Twitch account. You might be able to expose that person to your streams outside of the Twitch platform, simply by repurposing the content you already created on your broadcasts. 

Don't panic.

A good example of this concept outside of streaming is The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. When I mention this franchise, most of you will think of the massively popular Douglas Adams novel, which spawned a movie and TV series, and has inspired generations of ensuing science fiction franchises. But did you know that the novel ‘The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’ is actually not the original version of this story? It was first written and released by Adams as a radio play for the BBC, with acting, sound effects, and of course, that amazing theme song. The book, which came out a year later, is so near-identical that it’s essentially a novelization of the radio broadcasts. Almost all the dialogue, narration and stage direction is exactly the same as the original BBC production- it didn’t require much work to adapt the story from one format to another. But by making the jump to a new style of media, a massive new fan base was introduced to the franchise, to the point that this second version of the material has since eclipsed the original by orders of magnitude. The radio version enjoyed its own success within England, but the release of the book turned ‘The Hitchhiker’s Guide’ into a global sensation. And this was achieved simply by taking the content and lifting it, near-verbatim, from one platform to another. 

Now I’m not saying that you’ll become an international superstar overnight just by putting your Twitch clips on TikTok, but ‘The Hitchhiker’s Guide’ is certainly a great example of how this strategy of reposting the same content on multiple platforms can be very valuable. You don’t always need to totally rethink what you’re doing when making a social media post. Sometimes it just comes down to bringing your existing offering to a different audience. 


By posting your stream content elsewhere and spreading it out, you’re extending the lifespan of the things you create. Every show becomes a fountain of potential posts, automatically generating free material that you can utilize elsewhere. But of course, whether you choose to create content specific to a platform or repost selections from your streams, there is no wrong answer. As I say in many Twitch Playbook entries, it all comes down to what you want from your overall content offering. Just like with streaming, find whatever kind of post makes you happiest to create (not just the one that gets the most likes), and once you know what that looks like, work on refining the process of creating those posts to be as unobtrusive as possible within your day. In past entries like Clipping and Highlighting Your Streams, I helped you to autonomously create clips. And in other similar entries, I helped you to organize and use those clips more effectively. Should you choose to post Stream Content on your own social channels, these entries can help a great deal. Hopefully by taking advantage of this mindset, you too will see the benefits of repurposing your streams for social media. 

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