Social Media for Twitch Streamers, Part 1 (Twitter and Instagram)
Part of my background, aside from being an aspiring streamer, is in social media and marketing. I’ve always told people that having a website is great, but not promoting it on social media means you’re missing out on potential people to consume your content.
Being a streamer on Twitch is no different. Twitch’s “discovery” ability is… lackluster, to put it nicely, so you need a way to bring people into your stream from other platforms. In fact, it’s a widely accepted fact that it is nearly impossible to grow on Twitch without some sort of secondary platform – whether that’s YouTube, Twitter, Tiktok, or Instagram.
If you’re just starting out, it can be intimidating to see people with communities on several platforms – how can anyone keep up with all of these various profiles at once?! A lot of streamers try to do everything all at once, and end up doing everything pretty terribly.
So, let’s take a step back. Is it worth it to try to establish a social media strategy, even if you’re a small streamer? I answer that with a quote: “If you fail to plan, then you plan to fail”. And Ben Franklin’s right – not having any strategy whatsoever means you don’t have a clear direction, and will ultimately stunt your growth both on Twitch and your social media platforms.
Let’s take a look at several platforms in brief, and see what each platform brings to your community.
Of all social media platforms, having a Twitter account is the VERY minimum that you should be doing. In case you’re not familiar with Twitter, it’s a ‘short form’ writing platform. On Twitter you’re given 280 characters, plus images and video, to get your point across.
Create an account and start following your favorite streamers (and hey, give me a follow while you’re at it!) Look for people who are playing the same games as you, or streaming at times adjacent to yours. If you stream in the mornings, find an afternoon or evening streamer so you know they’re going live.
My next point may be a bit… controversial. Please, PLEASE do not JUST tweet about when you are going live. If someone comes to your Twitter account and only sees “Going LIVE!” they will probably not follow you. Part of creating content – of any kind – is providing value. By only broadcasting your live notifications, you’re doing your viewers a dissatisfaction.
Post your favorite memes. Post small updates about how life is going. Post photos of your setup, your pets, your family. Share articles about games or streaming. You want people to WANT to subscribe to your Twitter. Then you can share your “Go Live” notifications in the midst of the value you provide.
When you do share, don’t go overboard on the hashtags. Studies show that using more than one or two hashtags will cause your engagement – clicks – to drop. That said, I think it’s OK as a streamer to use:
- #Twitch or #YouTube (your platform)
- The game you’re playing (#FFXIV and #FinalFantasyXIV, in my case)
- MAYBE one other streamer hashtag (#supportsmallstreamers) or a team hashtag if your stream team has one
Any more than that will run you the risk of a loss of engagement.
Speaking of hashtags, if you love using them and have an eye for photos or video, Instagram may be a good choice for you. Instagram does allow text captions, but the real star is multimedia.
There are two parts to your Instagram experience – the feed, and Instagram Stories. There’s also IGTV, but that’s not something we’re covering in this article. The feed is full of people you follow. Instagram Stories are snapchat-style video and photos with stickers, captions – a short slice-of-life style format.
When you create your account, set up your profile, provide a description, and start following people. Take the same approach as Twitter – follow your favorite streamers, streamers that play the same games as you, etc.
The good news: Instagram engagement with hashtags is much more forgiving. You can post an Instagram photo, and then immediately leave a comment with as many (relevant) hashtags as you need to. Find the hashtags that work best for you (and we can show you how to do that in an upcoming blog post!):
- Your platform (#twitch or #youtube)
- Game of choice, if you are posting clips (#borderlands3)
- Other hashtags (team hashtags or #supportsmallstreamers)
As an aside, know that you can’t post links in your actual feed items – at least not ones you can click on, anyway. If you want to showcase your profiles or currently hot projects, you’ll need something like a linktree – a place you can quickly add profile links. Then, in your Instagram posts, you can say “Check my Bio for Links” and send people to the one-stop shop for your profiles.
This is accepted as a ‘great start’ with social media. If you’re just trying to go live on Twitch without it, you are doing yourself a disservice. It is downright impossible to build a platform on Twitch without social media thanks to Twitch’s terrible discovery. Social media is also a great way to network, meet new streamers, and ultimately show off your personality and knowledge to a more diverse audience.