Discoverability: Can You Build up a Twitch Channel ONLY Using Twitch?
It’s very easy to become discouraged as you start your Twitch journey. Seeing established creators draw several hundred – or thousand – viewers to their streams is always great. But as a streamer, it’s the lingering question we have: “How can I grow my brand on Twitch?”
There’s no magic formula, no secret sauce, and no bullet to success. Most Twitch experts will tell you (and I’ll agree) that it takes hard work, consistency, and an engaging brand to even begin to make a name for yourself on Twitch.
That said, there is one thing that most new streamers seem to miss as they start their journey: You cannot build your Twitch brand on Twitch alone. Twitch is lacking several key features that keep you from advancing, and they all boil down to one word: discoverability.
Twitch and Discoverability
“Discoverability” is your… uh… ability to be discovered. Specifically, on Twitch, it’s the ways that Twitch allows viewers to break out of their normal channels and see others they may enjoy.
Let’s look at the Twitch home page. We’re looking for ways that we can find new, smaller communities – communities who are looking to build their brands on the platform. Of the -several- rows of thumbnails, only two of them really offer any way to find new, smaller communities.
The search page has gotten -better- over the years. Marginally. There aren’t many options when it comes down to differentiating yourself from the crowd. If someone’s searching for you, you have to stand out in the few characters you have with the start of your title. For a new streamer, this is a big ask.
Tags aren’t helpful, either. They can help a potential viewer narrow down their focus, but it’s still like drinking from a firehose.
These are all indicitive of the bigger issue: other than clips, every single other directory requires you to be online in order to be found. It is extremely unlikely you will, using only Twitch, be able to be discovered unless you are online.
Building Your Twitch Brand OFF Twitch.
So, how DOES one build a Twitch brand, then? Regardless of what other steps you may take, the number one rule is always the same: provide value. If you aren’t making quality content, then it doesn’t matter. Even if you get people to your channel, they won’t stick around. Whether you are streaming for 10, or 10,000, you should make your audience want to stay with you throughout.
But again, getting to that 10,000 mark, especially without help, is difficult. That’s why we need to start looking outside of Twitch. We need:
- Platforms that allow us to make easy-to-create, easy-to-consume content we can make when we aren’t streaming
- Platforms that will allow us to repurpose any content we’ve already made
- Platforms with better discoverability options baked into their core.
Based on these criteria, I can recommend three platforms: YouTube, Twitter, and Instagram.
YouTube, also being a video content platform, is a no-brainer. We can upload videos with content from our streams and double-dip. Plus, YouTube’s discoverability is second-to-none. If you’re looking for a specific video or creator, there is a good chance that a single search will help you find them.
We’ve talked at length about Twitter and its importance in building a brand. Twitter is the de-factor social media network for connecting with people. It offers great discoverability by user (search functions) and by topic (hashtags). Plus, it offers a secondary platform for your ‘live’ announcements. This allows you to bring someone who’s not currently ON TWITCH back onto the platform.
Instagram is a great secondary platform. It’s a great way to share photos, memes, and even short video. And, just like Twitter, the ability to find new user is easy thank to hashtags and the ability to search for other users.
If I only had to choose one, I would choose Twitter every time. The variety of content types, plus the discoverability options, make it the de-facto choice for building a brand online. If you can do multiple other platforms, up to a certain point you will see growth with diminishing returns (most people can only commit to a few platforms solidly).
Using Twitch with other services may seem counter-productive, but time and time again people who have learned to market themselves on various – and multiple – platforms always do better than someone who is sticking to the one platform they know.