SOMEONE JUST JOINED!
"OH GOD WHAT DO I DO NOW!?"
"HOW TF DO I START CONVERTING VIEWERS INTO FOLLOWERS!?"
Converting Viewers into Followers
Converting Viewers into Followers really starts with what NOT to do. Getting someone to follow you is basically a process of not offending the person watching you within the first two minutes. After all, to even be here they already were introduced to you by a friend or they already clicked your thumbnail.
They're interested. And the hard part was getting them there in the first place.
So don't scare them off with any of the following:
1. Peaking Audio and other annoying noises
Some viewers might think it's funny. It's not. Nobody likes their ears violated by the sound of a constantly buzzing fan, crying child, or screaming that makes the mic peak. Out of all the reasons to click off of a stream, this one will make people leave the fastest.
So, I want you to make a 30 second recording of your stream using that "Start Recording" button, and be honest about what you hear. I also want you to consider adding the Compressor, Noise Gate, and Noise Suppression OBS filters to your microphone source and start playing around with them.
I could write a tutorial on these, but they're going to be vastly different settings for everyone, based on their voice, gear, and room size. The best way to play with them is right click your microphone source and enable "monitor and output" under properties so that you can hear yourself speaking. Then go through and play with each knob. If it starts to piss you off, that's normal. WORK THROUGH THE PAINNNNNN.
Acceptable audio is important. At any given time, more people are LISTENING to your stream than are WATCHING your stream. Do be attentive to whether anything in your audio is going to drive people away. However, as always, don't spend too much time beating your audio to death.
For additional polish, try out REAPER software https://www.reaper.fm/.
2. Pixelated Video
Pixelated video is symptomatic of images moving too fast for your CPU or GPU to encode under the current load, at the current bit rate. Either consider raising your bit rate, decreasing your frame rate, or decreasing your output resolution. I'll also mention that 640p resolution doesn't look terrible at high enough bit rate.
Most viewers will be watching at 720p or lower, so scaling a little up to that or scaling down from that (on mobile) won't alter their viewing experience. Most viewers don't care about frame rate, as long as they're able to see and understand what's happening on the stream. If it looks good enough for you to watch, then you're done! Don't sweat about this too much. It's not as important as your audio.
For most people, 720p 30fps at 3500kbps was the OLD gold standard, and will work for people on older systems.
For affiliates and above with a modern NVidia GPU, 720p 60fps at 6000kbps should look slick.
3. Personality Defects
It's not worth wasting your time saying don't be racist, sexist, or intolerant of others. That's baseline. I will say... don't be too interested in money. If you're out here on Twitch and you're only interested in people for their money, I don't support what you're doing.
Do offer people value that exceeds what other channels offer. But don't treat people differently whether they're subbed, whether they're donators, or whether they're streamers. Treat everyone the same. Everyone is important. Everyone is worthy. Everyone has talents, dreams, and stories. You just gotta find out what they are. It should interest you to find out what they are.
That means you, guy with the $2000 new PC goal and 10 viewers, and you, guy with the "pay my rent" donation goal. People should be getting something for those donations. Typically some kind of entertainment. There should be a reason. Make the goal FUN. "500 and I'll shave my head." Don't use guilt to motivate your community's pocketbooks. It's not a good look.
4. Making people feel less important
Don't prioritize the game over your chat. There are some caveats to this, as your channel grows and chat eventually becomes a busy unwieldy thing at like 1000 viewers. But if you're gonna get this thing up to that point, you better prioritize your audience. 1 or 2 in 100 people will eventually follow, stay, and come back to your channel. MAKE SURE YOU TREAT THAT 1% LIKE THEY'RE THE 1%.
Remember to talk. Narrate your game play if you need to. Explain why you're doing what you're doing. Prepare topics of discussion if you really have to. Reddit, Twitter, and Twitch itself can be good sources for different topics. See a viral Tweet you have an opinion on? Save it. Talk about it on stream!
Also, remember to respond to chat as soon as you're able. https://chatty.github.io/ can help you manage this (customizable chat window). Because, short of awful audio, the next fastest way to get someone to click off is by not acknowledging that you value their attention. People often navigate to smaller channels because they're looking to have a conversation. Give that to them!
5. Laissez-faire Moderating
Don't tolerate aggressive trolls. Your chat can be many things, but aggressive shouldn't be one of them. If one person is harassing others, I can promise 10 more won't even speak up because they don't want to deal with the troll. You've gotta pull the weeds to promote healthy interactions.
There is no viewer that you need so badly that you need to let them belittle you or others in your chat. If they bother you, pull the weed. Believe me when I say your mental state is far more important than any need for a +1 to your viewer count.
Converting Viewers into Followers is going to require active moderation.
6. Can't see shit, captain
Don't clutter up your overlay with too much shit. Remember people came to Twitch to watch a GAME... then picked a streamer. Overlays are useful for recognizing the contributions you receive, but the vast majority of chat doesn't care too much who's name is up on the overlays. Use your overlays wisely.
A guiding question should be, "Is this worth covering up game play for?"
FINAL RULE - MAKE SURE NOTHING IS DRIVING PEOPLE AWAY, AND THAT EVERYTHING YOU'RE SHOWING ON THE SCREEN HAS A PURPOSE. Converting Viewers into Followers is about prioritizing what the viewer hears, feels, and sees.
Alright, enough with the don'ts. Let's focus now on what to DO!
1. Keep talking!
That first 30 seconds someone's watching you, probably from a lurk, is a chance to express your points of view and to connect with a potential follower. If they like what they hear, they'll probably follow. Some strategies for keeping the conversation going:
-Flash cards with open-ended questions on them
-Current events on Twitter or Reddit
-Review your clips
Every 30 seconds of dead air is a potential follow you would have otherwise gotten.
2. Ask easy questions
"Which Avenger would you least want to use your bathroom?" For me it would be Hulk. Asking open ended questions that are easy to answer on occasion gives new people who don't necessarily know what to say a chance to chime in and talk! Not a terrible way to get your lurkers in on the fun! If you have difficulty coming up with some, consider making some flash cards to pull from (I do this).
-Favorite Childhood games
3. Explain Y u do dis?
Usually people are here for the game. Giving insight as to why you're doing something lets them join the conversation. People don't necessarily care WHAT you're doing (they can see it occurring) but WHY is endlessly interesting, even to people that might not play that particular game. They can pick something educational up, and that my friends, is VALUE!
4. Talk about the value you provide
You've got to be your own best advocate, and your value may not be immediately apparent to a new viewer. If you make guides available for free, do plug that in. If you're an artist that does emotes, talk about it. If you do stream support activities, talk about that. Let people know what they have to gain by spending time in your channel, in addition to entertainment and content. Standing out is never a bad thing. And providing value is THE thing.
Converting Viewers into Followers is markedly easier when you're able to articulate what value you provide the world. Then people can choose whether you're worth it, and whether they want to help their friends by spreading that value. Giving people something they can use to help their friends is never a waste.
5. Talk about your belief system
I'm not talking about a religion, but what you stand for. My community loves generosity, helping people, and calling out the truth. We're a critical bunch that gives credit where credit is due, while recognizing when things are broken and need to be fixed. And when there's a mob mentality, we try to understand both points of view before developing a stance. Often our stance is that we just don't care enough, or know enough about something (like politics) to responsibly voice an opinion. We dislike follow for follow, mining people for money, and when people post things they don't feel strongly about to gain clout on social media.
Making what you believe and support clear lets people render a decision. If they like what you stand for, they'll probably follow. It also shows you have a personality, and that you're not disingenuously trying to garner favor with everyone indiscriminately.
Stand for something, or you'll fall for everything.
6. Bring it back to the game
When Converting Viewers into Followers, remember that sure they might want to follow you, but they got to you through the game. Always return to the game as the main source of entertainment, unless your content is a talk show. I'll keep hammering this in, but people come to Twitch for a large dose of gaming, and a smaller dose of personality, in a typical case. This is something I often struggle with when I get on my soapboxes.
Do your best to remember that your common thread with every single person that finds their way to your channel is gaming. Lose that thread and you'll probably lose the person.
7. Elevator Pitch
Be able to explain why someone should watch you in one sentence. Consider what makes you unique among the sea of millions of broadcasters. No guidelines here. This is intensely personal and is something you NEED to be able to do for yourself if you want to Convert Viewers into Followers.
Have a WOW factor. For me it's a giant flaming middle finger, a questionable kamehameha sound byte, voice overs, or one of several video alternatives. They're just something where people will see it the first time and say "WOW. This person cares about their content, and cares about what I'm seeing."
Do be careful of overusing the same wow factor multiple times. Converting Viewers into Followers also means not boring people to death. I've seen some of the BEST follower introductions on Twitch lose their luster after the 10th instance. For new people, they're great. For your returning viewers, and your lurkers... they grow kind of old. Make sure there's some variety thrown in there.
9. A brief history of Time
Talk about how you got started on occasion. People love stories. They've been the method humans have most communicated with one another since language has existed. You've got one, and you should tell people.
I saw ManvsGame on Justin.tv back in the day and I was amazed that people watched this gruff-voiced dude play any and all games. I thought it was awesome. I thought "This dude is doing something I can only dream about." Undaunted, and being a bit of a dreamer myself, I started dabbling with streaming, all while working in Fortune 100 accounting. It was much harder than I ever thought. But... I'm one of those people that becomes excited when faced with a challenge.
I became obsessed. I made my quality as amazing as I could. I invested in graphics, and then I taught myself how to make my own. I learned all the technical things required of audio, video, and all of the different pieces of the streaming puzzle. I began routinely reading EVERYTHING I could get my hands on regarding streaming, social media, influence, people, entrepreneurship, and I started saving.
Many books, growing streams, and hard-learned experience filled years later I one day found myself shaking and sweat-drenched in a private office. I was attempting to weather myself through a 7mm kidney stone my doctor would later refer to as a "boulder". A floor manager abruptly jostled the door of the office open with a stern look on his face.
"You're not supposed to be here. These are supposed to be vacant."
"o...k..." I managed to seethe out through gritted teeth.
But I had no intention of moving. This guy had prioritized the duties of his position over the well-being of another human who was very clearly in pain. His duties would have to wait. After about a half hour Lady Skull came to drive me to the emergency room. There they dosed me on synthetic morphine, and two percoset.
So sitting there in that emergency room, in as much pain as I'd ever been in, and with a stuck kidney stone that would have killed me... I thought.
"I'd still rather be here than at work."
Something needed to change. If you're in the emergency room and it's better than your day job... something is REALLY wrong.
So the gears started turning. I'd always loved streaming. It was something that had allowed me to connect to people with similar hobbies and beliefs. They weren't concerned with money or travel or fancy cars (for an accountant I'm really not that into material possessions). They loved games. These were my people. And these were people that I could be insanely useful to, given all I had learned within the past couple of years. Given all I was able to learn in the future, and how I am able to present it.
Three months after going full time, I was partnered.
Some months after that, here we are exploring new avenues, collecting information, and sharing our successes and failures with those who need it. Making growing a stream a little less lonely, and a lot more attainable.
Turns out the kidney stone that was going to kill me ended up breathing new life into my purpose, here.
Okay so if you made it this far (thank you), the power of a creation story should be pretty apparent. Kept you reading, didn't I? Think about your own! Consider putting it in your panels. It helps people figure you out, and get invested in your personality.
Converting Viewers into Followers is actually the easy part. The hardest part is getting people in the door, spending your time on the right things, and then retaining people once they've hit that follow button, which we'll talk about at a later date.
If you can manage to avoid the pitfalls we covered in the first part of this guide, you're golden. If you can also do a few of the things in the second part of this guide, follows will come and you'll be on your way to being one of the most proficient streamers on Twitch. That's no exaggeration, either.
Thank you guys as always for reading this far. Spread this to those that might need to hear it, if you found it useful. If you've got a friend worrying about follows, and they're wondering what will help make more of them happen, they probably need sections of this text. Until next time, boneheads!
Bonus: Stream Tools
Here's some tools for your Overlays
Here's some tools to help you make Panels
And for your bot, alerts, and events list, use https://streamlabs.com/ Cloudbot for easy setup, and fantastic functionality.