How to create a successful stream & community

I’m sure at some point you have gone online and found yourself in the lobby of some sort of streamer. Whether that be a gamer, an artist, a musician, or anything else. At some point you may have thought “Wow this is amazing, I can do this too.” Before you know it, you made yourself a channel, found your favorite streaming software and got down to work. Soon enough, you begin to realize… it’s not as easy as you once thought it was. Well, get ready for some good news – creating a successful stream is hard, but not impossible. Within the next few minutes, I’m going to show you what you can do to get started on the right foot. If you already have a successful channel, and you’re looking for a way to get more views, you can learn more about it here: 9 ways to get more views on YouTube. For everyone else, let’s get the ball rolling.

We are going to focus on what I have found to be the most important aspects to creating a successful stream today. Social Media, Communities, Consistency, and most importantly… You. That’s it – I know, simple, right? But once you understand how to take advantage and use those 4 things, you will be on the way to maximizing your chances at creating a successful stream. Whether you’re starting on a streaming channel like Twitch or Mixer, or ways to start a gaming channel on YouTube.

Learn How to Use Social Media to Attract Viewers

Social Media is a very powerful tool, why do you think so many businesses invest all that money into advertisement and Social Media teams? People spend a huge part of their day on social media, its just what we as a society do now. Social media is where you need to spend the majority of your time, because that is where the majority of your viewers will come from. You need to be just as, if not more active on social media than you are on your platform of choice. Upload videos to show people what you do, share tweets to get people talking, upload photos to get people interested, literally do anything you can that will help you get in front of more potential viewers. Just remember to always present yourself in an entertaining and inviting manner, no one likes spam and the more you look like just another streamer trying to spam their channel link, the more you will be ignored.

Learn to understand your analytics and take them seriously. Use hashtags, they are very powerful, take note of which hashtags worked best and what type of content had the most reach and engagement. Try to keep a log of the hashtags you use and rate them. You never want to use the same hashtags over and over, so keeping a log will help you cycle through your hashtags and will help you estimate how much reach you should expect from your post.

Your main priority should be learning what your audience enjoys the most and provide them with that content. Over time your following will grow and some of those followers will come into your stream seeking more of your content.

Something to keep in mind: No one want’s to be sold or told what to do, spamming forums with “Follow for Follow” doesn’t work. No one likes the “look at me, look at me!” person at parties, don’t be that online. Lastly, don’t complain when people don’t watch your stream, it never works out to your advantage.

Developing and Maintaining A Community

Developing a community is crucial to a successful stream. It takes time and a lot of effort, but it is well worth it. Having a community allows your followers from all your social media profiles to come together and hang out in one place whenever they want. Discord is a great place for this, creating a discord server is free, and it allows you to create your own personal forum for your followers. This is great for you because it allows your community to create content and entertainment for themselves while you are not live on stream or active on social media.  Having a community will also help new members feel welcome and will make it easier to retain loyal followers.

Discord will also give you a place to update your community more reliably. Sharing a post on social media stating when you will go live will more than likely be buried within minutes, but sharing the same post on your private Discord server will ensure your community will always be up to date and will know when you will be going live. This will ensure that your community will always be present on your streams and make your channel more active.

While your community is growing, you need to keep a close eye on it. Correcting toxic behavior is vital in order to maintain a healthy community, I can not tell you how many times I have joined community discords and left within minutes because the community was overrun by toxic members. Moderation is tricky though, you don’t want your community to feel like they are walking on eggshells around you, but you don’t want breed toxicity either. Use your better judgement when deciding whether you should remove people from your community. I know right now it seems like anyone is better than no one but allowing toxicity will make it harder to find new followers in the future. Your community should be aware of the rules and know that those rules are enforced.

A tip for the future: If you gain traction and fans, people will inadvertently track down hidden skeletons. Don’t give them a reason to find any by controlling your community early and assigning rules. Eventually, you’ll end up with trolls that come after your stream, we’ve written a great article on dealing with online trolls in the past. I recommend you read that as well.

Creating and Sticking to A Schedule

Not having a consistent schedule is one of the most detrimental things for your channel while you are just beginning. Think of your stream like a TV show you really enjoy. You know when your favorite TV shows are about to come on because they always air at the same time on the same days. Your stream needs to emulate this, really sit down and think about when you want to stream and make sure you choose dates and times when you will be available on the days you want to stream. Having a consistent schedule is very important because if I do not know when you will be back, I will only be able to watch you when I am on the platform and you are streaming at the same time. However, if you had a schedule on your stream, and I knew you were going to be live at 7pm, I would be more likely to return on time. Some viewers will even go as far as making time in their day to watch your stream if they really enjoy the content and atmosphere.

Once you create your schedule try to stick to it as often as possible, if you won’t be able to stream on a day you had scheduled, let your community know that way they don’t wait around for you. You should also avoid changing your schedule too often. Changing to frequently will make it more difficult for new viewers to keep up with your stream.

Last but Not Least, You

Working on yourself is arguably the most important aspect of your stream. Streaming helps you learn more about yourself as you develop a social personality. The more you interact with people, the easier and more natural those interactions become. This is both a good and a bad thing. Becoming comfortable with being under the public eye means it will not be as taxing, however, keep in mind that being too comfortable opens the door for mistakes. Regardless of how small your stream is, you are making yourself a public figure, which means that everything you say and do online will be under a watchful eye. As a streamer you have a responsibility to your community and peers. Empower other streamers and content creators, maintain a positive attitude, and always think about what you are going to say and do before you do it.  Remember that your streamer social media accounts and even your personal social media accounts should always represent you in your best light.

You should always work on improving yourself, your interactions, and your commentary. Watch your previous streams and try to critique yourself, did you talk too much or not enough? Is your commentary bland or irrelevant? Did you miss or skip over important messages in chat?  All of these things are easy to fix and greatly affect quality of your stream. Think of this like a muscle, the more you work it, the better and stronger it becomes. Eventually it will become second nature and you will be able to better interact and entertain your viewers. If you’re afraid of being in front of a camera, here are 3 tips to get over the fear of being on camera for entrepreneurial filmmakers.

That being said, you should always try to stream when you are in the correct mindset. People want to be entertained, if you are visually upset or in a grumpy mood, your community and viewership will be affected. Feel free to take days off, streaming can be very taxing, and you should always look out for your health first. If your viewers begin to take notice, do not be offended or defensive, they are just looking out for you.

Something to keep in mind: You’re not building a channel; you’re building an online personality. Your channel should be a “vehicle” for you to grow with.

Streaming should always be fun and a hobby, and just like every other hobby, it takes time to get good at it. It is more about the journey than the destination, take your time and enjoy the ride. While there is no copy and paste method to become instantly famous, there are things you can do to help you out along the way. Having a strong foundation is very important and can help you make great strides quicker. However, it is very easy to get lost in “the grind” and in the numbers of everything so you should focus on making friends, meeting new people and most importantly having fun. Everything else will come with time and effort. Hopefully the advice I’ve given you will give you a new perspective and will help you reach new milestones on your journey.

Jonathan Roel

Jonathan Roel is a graphic designer for PI Media, a marketing agency in Dallas, TX. In his spare time, he is also a videographer and photographer.