Stop Tweeting Your Life Away

Twitter doesn't grow your streams.

In 4 years on Twitch, 2 of them as a Partnered streamer, I've never seen Twitter grow anyone's Twitch account. Let's be clear: Twitter is grown BY your stream, not the other way around. Twitch is grown independently, through YouTube, and even through TikTok now. You need to understand that Twitter is a big waste of your time because it shares the same weaknesses as Twitch (discovery and social proof). And we're going to talk about alternatives that are FAR more effective, especially for new streamers.


So why do so many people say Twitter grows your streams, Skull?

Twitter was created in July 2006 by Jack Dorsey, Noah Glass, Biz Stone, and Evan Williams.
Justin.tv, which would come to be known as Twitch.tv, was created in October 2006 by Justin Kan and featured ONLY him. In 2007, Justin stopped streaming and relaunched the site, opening to thousands of viewers and broadcasters.

These platforms grew up together, and the successful broadcasters that grew Twitch back then had used Twitter as a tool to help them do so. Back then, they weren't just informing the world of their own existence through Twitter, they were informing the world of TWITCH's existence, too! The advice they had given when Twitter was a growing platform with organic discovery at it's heart held true for a few years. Back then it was good advice, but ever since it's been parroted into eventual irrelevancy.

In short, "it's something somebody heard once" which then became "some coach said this once". It's basically our modern day "of course the earth is flat" assumption. And evvvvveryone's following it.


How come it worked then but not now?

Simply because because back in 2007 not many people were doing it. As the advice became more widely circulated, more and more streamers started adopting Twitter as their social of choice, migrating away from Facebook. It was easy to use, quick, and fun. Twitter's new car smell was all over TV and the news as the next big thing. Organic reach was high, and followers and engagement came fast and hard.

It was so successful that almost every broadcaster started adopting it. Soon, "Go-Live" posts, selfies, and other low quality self advertising for Twitch began circulating. #supportsmallstreamers and other ill-fated hashtags and "stream support" groups began flooding people's feeds with low quality content. After a couple years, people got sick of seeing it. They even got sick of seeing hashtags in general. And now they're sick of seeing go-live notifications too.

Also consider what's happened within the last few years. In May 2015, Discord launched, replacing Twitter as the best off-Twitch platform to interact directly. It gave people a better way to opt-in to hearing about broadcasters outside of Twitch and talk within a community together. And in 2016, TikTok launched. Over the last 3 years, it's managed to blow past Pinterest, Twitter, Snapchat, and Reddit, and is close on the heels of Instagram in terms of active users. https://datareportal.com/social-media-users

Times have changed, guys. Remember at one point, Snapchat was the hot app. Now Twitter's on the same chopping block.


Are there any examples of this?

There are SO many examples of people with large Twitter followings and FANTASTIC, regular Twitter content that DON'T have large streams. And this is content that would transfer over really well to Twitch.

I'll tell you about my favorite.

There's a dude that makes these amazing one minute skits about streamer life. You've PROBABLY seen them if you've been on Twitter. THOUSANDS of likes and retweets. But the audience refuses to transfer over to Twitch. It's certainly not for lack of quality content. But that's exactly the point. If the content is there, and the Twitter audience is massive (30,000+), THAT should be partnered. It sadly isn't. If he can't make Twitter work for Twitch... something's wrong with the platform, and its relationship to Twitch. Not the content.


Why is Twitter so impotent (not important)?

Twitter and Twitch share the same PRIMARY weaknesses: poor discoverability and requiring social proof. Twitch isn't searchable, and Twitter isn't much better. Hashtags were an attempt to alleviate this, but after the abuse of the hashtag system users are very averse to using them. Conventional advice was to use 2 hashtags in the past. Modern advice backed by studies is now to use ZERO. https://mention.com/en/blog/instagram-hashtags-engagement/ That means searching basically isn't a thing on Twitter. It's just not something the majority of users do there anymore.

Without searchability, the primary driver of traffic defaults to Social Proof, just like Twitch. The higher your engagement numbers and likes are, the further your reach is. This is a nightmare for small creators. It means they're in the same boat on Twitter as they are on Twitch! Complements to your content shouldn't share the SAME weaknesses as your primary content. If Twitch has bad discoverability, we need complementary socials that have GOOD discoverability.

Twitter also suffers from fundamental differences from Twitch. Very short form content, low quality in your average post, poor filtering, spam, and it REPEATEDLY pushes your content to the same audiences. There's no way to push it to new ones. And perhaps it's most damning shortcoming: nobody really expects an amazing Twitch clip on Twitter to be indicative of someone's Twitch content. People aren't dumb. They know that clip was the best 60 seconds of an 8 hour show. They've learned through experience that the other 7 hours and 59 minutes are probably not as exciting. So why interrupt your 15 minute Twitter break when you've seen the top of the mountain? Why not just scroll down to the next clip?


What complements Twitch better?

Good discoverability. Platforms with a search function, platforms that force people to view content, and platforms for community engagement. The best right now are TikTok, YouTube, and Discord.


TikTok

People love to hate on TikTok right now. That's GOOD. People used to hate on Twitter back in 2006. It means you're in the right place. Once it becomes socially accepted and mainstream, its organic reach will shrink. Until then, expect it to be an amazing platform. Although it behooves me to mention it already has double the active users of Twitter. https://datareportal.com/social-media-users

Why? It forces people to watch content. And the longer you watch, and the more things you "heart", the better the algorithm gets at recommending content you'll like.

When you create a video on TikTok, at LEAST one other human will see it. If the content is watched for the majority of its duration (watch time) or a user likes and comments on it, the video gains momentum. As the momentum grows, the algorithm recommends it to more people. The algorithm places weight on watch time, interaction, and likes. Easy peasy. And users tend to watch LOTS of content from different users (since each video is only 45s-60s long) with each session. And it's NEW, which means it comes with the benefits of organic reach and increasing user counts.


YouTube

YouTube is self explanatory. It's a search engine, and when you create content that people will search for, discoverability can be high. However, "Let's Play", "unboxing", and "review" content are some of the most saturated types on the platform. Sadly, this is where people usually start. It doesn't mean you shouldn't do it. It just means you need to start looking into "keyword research" BEFORE you start. Also, YouTube will probably be around forever, because it's the only platform that is essential to our daily lives. It's TOO useful as a search engine to ever give up. And it'll be the cornerstone of the internet world for the forseeable future. Even more steadfast than Twitch.


Discord

Discord is amazing. It's the BEST way to connect with your audience outside of Twitch. Discord's a DM client, a file repository, a self-contained forum, a screen-share client, a VOIP client, and it can pull in outside data using IFTTT integrations. And it's accessible on mobile. When it comes to 1 on 1 interactions, Discord is the king. When it comes to community interactions, Discord is God. While it's not searchable (actually it is, if partners enable it), it does allow you to deepen relationships with people through direct conversations. It can be both more and less intimate than a Twitch chat, and lets you do so many things you can't on Twitch. That makes it a great complement.


Is Twitter still good for anything?

Twitter is still useful for giving the communities that followed you there updates on your life or your stream. Game developers and community managers still use it to communicate with creators or to send keys. It has a purpose, but you really don't need it and you shouldn't prioritize it. Unless you've already got the social proof to use it effectively, then knock yourself out.


Suspicious Activity #1 - F4F, Retweet-Bots, Follow/Unfollow bots

Not ALL coaches are giving bad advice, and like we discussed earlier it's just advice that's been parroted since the beginning of time. The earth is flat, remember? In fact, MOST advice on most subjects, especially one that's so infant as streaming, has been parroted from another source. If you want to find the original sources, you usually need to track it down to the DATA or demonstration. Things that are missing way too frequently. I should cover how to get your own data in a future article!

I digress. The point is: You shouldn't be taking Twitter tips from ANYONE that grew their following with F4F (follow for follow) and bots. They can't teach you from their own experience if they're leaving MAJOR experiences of their own out.

Why would they do this? Because they know the value of Social Proof better than anyone, and they know making it LOOK like they're getting engagement is a good way to fool more people into believing they know what they're doing. Creating their own self-fulfilling prophecy. Twitter is their biggest source of Social Proof, and therefore their biggest source of authority. Both are well known drivers of human behavior. But don't take my word for it, take the word of Robert Cialdini, author of Influence: The Power of Persuasion. https://www.influenceatwork.com/principles-of-persuasion/

To check someone's track record, use https://socialblade.com/. You're looking for BIG spikes of thousands of follows/unfollows. If someone followed 1,000 people in a month, that's almost certainly bot activity. Same with unfollows. The time it would take to do that manually is way too high for a sane person. In addition to follows, likes and retweets can also be purchased with bots. You don't need to look hard when you're vetting your sources. It's not hidden very well. Retweet accounts are usually just that - they only retweet content. Check sometime. I just encourage you to do your due diligence before pouring time into suspect advice. And if you're wondering about my data "chops", I professionally Audited controls and financial statements, and consulted for Fortune 100's for 8 years. Pretty good training for spotting this sort of thing.


Suspicious activity #2 - Obvious Tip

The thing I can't figure out about all the Twitter advice for growing your Twitch, is that it's ALWAYS missing a really obvious tip. If you were to track a "coach Twitter's" follower gains by the release dates for their YouTube content about Twitter, you'd see that YouTube drives a HUGE portion of their Twitter follows and engagement. Big boosts in their Twitter engagement occur after the release dates of those YouTube videos. (You can use SocialBlade to verify this too, for both Twitter and Twitch).

That'd make the BEST piece of advice about growing your Twitter account and engagement the following: If you want Twitter follows and engagement, make YouTube videos about how to get Twitter follows and Engagement, because it targets the exact audience you want: People with Twitter accounts who also use Twitch and want to grow both of them. The fact this tip is never given is either due to incompetence or withholding information. But as someone who prides himself on delving into ALL the content released on these topics, I can't remember a single time I've heard this.


Twitter Isn't the Answer

Do what makes sense in your own head, and use what you know to be true. If all the signals in your brain are screaming to you that Twitter's a waste of your time, cut it loose. If something feels fishy, maybe you should check your sources. We've discussed a few ways to do that here. If you feel like you're being "car salesman'd", walk away. And if you're worried what you're gonna do with all the time you'll save by not being on Twitter: there's more than enough to spend on TikTok, YouTube, and Discord and they're ALL more effective for growing your stream in 2020 and forward. Appreciate you guys reading this far. Glad I could save you some time and frustration. Till next time, boneheads! - Skull

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