Streaming can be a little intimidating at first, but you’ll find that it feels natural in a short amount of time. You don’t have to be perfect every moment; this isn’t YouTube. Just be yourself, have fun, play some music, and talk with people when they show up in the chat. It’s that simple.
To help you get comfortable and set yourself up for success, let’s talk about the things you need to know and do what no one explicitly tells you.
DO THE BASICS
Be Realistic About Time Commitment and Growth
Just like you didn’t create your Facebook, Instagram, or YouTube followings overnight, you’re not going to grow an audience overnight on Twitch. It takes consistently streaming over time and networking with other streamers on the platform to develop a regular audience of viewers.
A reasonable time commitment for a streamer is to:
• Go live 3-5 days per week
• Stream for 2-4 hours per session
• Stream for at least three months
Before this time commitment scares you off from streaming, know that streaming is FUN. Time flies by. The people who come to your stream tend to be very nice and supportive and will simply leave if your music is not their thing. Keep your expectations low in the beginning. Work on your stream and build an audience and let it develop organically.
You can start with fewer days per week, but know that the more you put into streaming, the more you will get out of it. If you’re only live a day or so a week, it will take longer to get viewers. You have to be present to win.
Do this and everything else I talk about in this chapter before deciding if streaming is working or not for you. Building an audience is a marathon, not a sprint. If you keep this schedule, you’ll develop a regular, returning audience and should hit Affiliate status during the first couple months, if not sooner.
Commit to a Schedule
When I say stream 3-5 days per week, I mean set specific dates and times, post them to your Channel Page, and stick to them. For example, you might go live Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 6pm and Saturday at 2pm. People will get to know your schedule and instead of randomly coming across you when you happen to be live, they’ll know when you’re up and think to check you out.
The best times to stream are:
• Weeknight evenings
• Weekend afternoons
Consider time zones. If your audience is mostly US and you are in the US, then stream when it’s those times in the US. If you know you have fans in Europe or Asia and you’re in the US, then at least one of those days start at a time that is a weeknight evening or weekend afternoon for them.
Be consistent and don’t take long breaks from streaming. You will lose the audience. It’s very much “out of sight, out of mind” on Twitch, so if you miss shows or take a long break, your followers will find someone else to watch and subscribe to and you’ll be starting over in terms of getting them back when you return.
If you do need to take a break or miss a show, tell your audience. Update your Offline Banner to reflect that you’re on a break and say when you’ll be back. Post to your socials that you’re missing a stream, but you’ll see everyone back on (date) and (time).
Streamline Your Setup
A lot is happening at once during a stream, so it’s essential that you can see all your various software tools and the stream at the same time.
It’s really helpful to have at least two monitors running so you can make each program big enough to see. You might set up your system this way:
On Monitor 1, have your livestream production software as big as you can so you can see the streaming video and everything you programmed to appear on it. You have the option of showing the chat alongside the video. If you’re using Chatty, then minimize that.
On Monitor 2, you’ll be using Chatty and StreamerSonglist the most, so keep those open. You’ll need to dip into your Streamlabs/StreamElements every now and again to see messages that are attached to donations, to turn on/off Chatbots, and do other small maintenance tasks as you stream, so keep yourself logged in and the sites open for when you need them. If you’re using SLOBS, you can access all the Streamlabs info from SLOBS.
Do not look at your live channel on Twitch. There is a delay and it will mess you up. Also, it will take up your bandwidth and you need that for streaming. If you want to see that your channel is streaming correctly, open it on the Twitch app on your phone and use your data plan, not your wi-fi.