September 25, 2017 - - - 10:35 pm
There are many powerful tools in the arsenal of a budding content creator, and online networking is probably one of the most important. It’s not THE most important, that would be making content and working on making your content and channel the best it can possibly be, but networking is certainly up there. And if you want your channel to grow, then it is definitely something that you need to focus on.
Many content creators are out there networking on a daily basis, desperately trying to get connections and attention for their channels. Auto DMs when someone follows your Twitter (a very good way to get someone to unfollow your twitter), promoting your stream in others streams (Good way to get yourself kicked), only posting adverts for your own channel/discord in others peoples discord (again, kicked), and basically seeing other streamers purely as a means to grow your own channel and community (You can probably see where I am going with this).
Now before I continue with the rest of this post I am going to say that I am not a marketing expert, a communications expert, or even an expert expert (I do have a BA (Hons) degree in Writing though 😀 ). This is very much a “WHAT WORKS FOR ME!” post rather than a “THIS IS WHAT YOU MUST DO” post. I am not guaranteeing success. I am not even guaranteeing minor results. BUT…I do believe in what I am about to say.
And that is that, like everything, there is a right way to network, and a wrong way to network, and it can be a VERY fine line. But networking is not rocket science. It’s not even tricky. It’s actually very simple.
Look at this.
You need to build your network as a net. Don’t approach someone thinking “How can this person help my channel to grow?” Approach with “How can we help each other to grow our channels?” You need to make links at both ends. Your priority when networking should always be ways that you can support other streamers, be it hanging out in their chat, re-tweeting them, mentioning them during streams, or even becoming subs/patreons.
That is why it is VERY important that you concentrate your networking on individuals whose content you genuinely enjoy. Individuals who you are approaching as a viewer, not as a streamer. Network with streamers whose content you don’t enjoy, whose content you aren’t even familiar with, and trust me the ruse will quickly be up.
Yes, obviously there may be motives that bring them onto your radar. For example, many of the streamers I actively network with are people I discovered because of my interest in joining The Chillest (still interested, by the way 😛 ). It may be that certain goals/motives are why you make first contact, and there isn’t any shame in that, BUT it should not make any difference to how you conduct yourself going forward.
Enjoy their content. Maybe lurk for a while, but eventually make conversation. Not about streaming (Unless it is about their streams, or the topic of streaming). Chat about your pets, chat about the weather. Your goal here is not to promote your stream. Your goal here is to be a genuine, productive member of THEIR community. And never, NEVER use their streams or discords to advertise your own streams without permission.
But Jan. How can my channel grow as a result of networking, if I don’t mention my channel while networking?
We’re back to what your primary concern should NOT be, but okay let’s bring it up. There are subtle ways to bring up the topic of your streams when networking with other streamers. One way is to follow them on Twitter or Instagram, where of course your profile bio mentions that you are a streamer and has a link to your channel. Another way, and maybe even the best way to bring up the subject though, is to host other streamers and, when able, conduct raids.
What is a raid? A raid, simply put, is when you finish up your stream by providing a link to another (currently live) streamer who you feel your audience will enjoy. Twitch Tradition then dictates that your viewers head on over to said stream, and announce the raid in the chat via the # (So if Sam raids a stream, the hashtag might be #SamRaid). Many streamers are very welcoming of raids, and some even have a fun way of greeting them, such as Svalagaming, who welcomes raiders by fighting a dragon while dressed as a viking. No I’m not making that up 😀
Many streamers will also acknowledge the raid with a shout out, encouraging viewers to follow your channel. Depending on the size of the channel raided, this can add quite a few viewers to your followers directory, which may in turn lead to a couple of new viewers when you next go live. But perhaps most importantly, it’s quietly raised the neon sign that you are a streamer as well. If your raid target recognises you as someone who enjoys their content and has taken the time to be a productive member of their community, then you could now be on the way to making a new ally on the platform who in turn may check out your channel if they have time.
And so your net is made. Connection successfully secured. And you did it all not by supporting your own channel, but by supporting somebody else.
NOTE, that does NOT mean that you support someone because you EXPECT them to support you back. And don’t cancel your support JUST because you feel the other Content Creator isn’t doing enough to support you back. Yes there may be reasons that you move away from someone, maybe you stop enjoying their content for example, but if you cancel support simply because you feel a Content Creator is not doing enough to support you back, then 1) you’re supporting for the wrong reasons in the first place and 2) people DO notice that behaviour, and it will earn you a lack of respect and reputation that you do not want.
That is why I reiterate, concentrate on streamers whose content you enjoy as a viewer, because being a viewer and a member of their community is your primary concern. Getting support in return should be seen as a bonus.
But the bonuses do happen 😀
Oh, and if you can afford to do so, go to events.