How to not-promote your channel on Twitch

So you created an account as well now, eh? Welcome to Twitch! It’s a lovely platform with a bunch of issues but you haven’t heard about those yet since you’ve only been viewing people from afar or you’ve heard about all those big Twitch streamers before, so you’re trying to be like that! Maybe you’re also just new to all of this and thinking about trying it out yourself… and alas, you end up setting up OBS, hitting that “Go Live” button and playing a game… by yourself… while nobody is there. 

And alas, you’re wondering: Why is nobody watching you? 

Clearly, it can’t be you as you’re awesome! Clearly, it can’t be the category as Fortnite is popular with a ton of streamers playing it and a market that seems to be as deep as the players’ parents’ bank deposits… and clearly, it can’t be your settings since you watched plenty of tutorials before even creating a brand or anything like that!

Pet picture provided by the lovely MuddChi! Check her stream out 🙂

So you decide to watch other streamers and ask them what you’re doing wrong… and you got banned! Uh… what? Rude! Screw you! Guess we’ll go somewhere else and ask about the best obs settings for your stream and… oh, weird… you can’t chat anymore for another…. 8 HOURS?! WHAT?! It must be a bug! Let’s try somewhere else… you say Hello and have a nice convo going and before you get to ask about your initial question, you see that it’s time to go live again. You drop a follow to that streamer and say your farewells. “Going to stream now myself! See you another time!” – and BAM! The banhammer has spoken, for you’ve done the verboten! (forbidden… in German… I tried!)

So, this post is about Twitch Etiquette and promotion/networking. The Do’s and Don’t’s! The way to go and the way to not go! That kinda thing! 

First of all, that person up there… could’ve been anyone! I once mentioned my stream somewhere by accident as I was super excited and while I didn’t get banned, I received a warning that people consider that as “self-promotion” which people don’t like to see. I wasn’t aware of that at all at the time and while it wasn’t my intention to self-advertise myself, I can see how it could have very much come across like that! Alas, I’d say that people should never mention their streams in other streams unless specifically asked about it. 

Streamer: “Do you stream?” – You: “Ah, yes, actually, I do!” – […]

You don’t want to be the person to bring it up… in another person’s stream. Just like you don’t bring a sub from SubWays to BurgerKing! You just don’t do that kind of thing. It’s considered rude and you’re most likely going to get kicked out for so blatantly promoting a different store. 

“But, Magi,…”, you may interrupt, “what if I actually want to ask a streamer about something?”

Well, then, new Twitch-Person, I’d recommend DMs to you! Chat with the streamer in their chat, get to know them. Ask them questions about their stream (also quite helpful) without bringing up your stream (again, nogo!) and then you later message them on Twitter or Discord. If it’s a smaller streamer, with less than three digits of viewers, they will reply to you and probably quite fast as well! Off-stream they won’t bite off your head or whatever. I’m sure they’ll provide you with links, guides, screenshots, etc. 

Sunflower – picture provided by Threadandbearit! Check them out!

A while ago someone came to my stream and asked something about his streams and while I initially thought of banning that person for self-promoting, I thought it’s an easy topic to talk about and that it may be quite interesting for others. The person ended up not only donating money to me (which I didn’t ask for but he did it anyways while I was away) but also joining our community and they even raided me once with their community, which is lovely. In the end, helping them helped me but usually, they’d get banned for that kinda stuff. That was also the first advice I gave to him: Don’t ask about your stream on other people’s channel. People consider it rude and quite often get rather pissed off about it. Quite often they ban people for that even if it’s not meant in a harmful way.

Now, so far I’ve only talked about the less rude people that have good intentions and don’t want to promote their stream… but some people just suck. Sometimes people come into your chat and ask for followers and whatever. 

Person: “Hey, I followed you. Please check me out as well now.” – Yup, banned. 

“Follow for Follow” aka “F4F” is not only incredibly useless but also highly bannable as it violates Twitch’s Terms of Service (also known as TOS). Followers are a good indicator of how big the community is, nothing more… nothing less… People that follow you will get notified when you go live and they’ll be able to see you being live on the left side of the screen. When people follow, they become community members enabling them to get community-gift subs that are not directed at anyone in particular, which can be quite neat now and then… 

But followers don’t decide how successful you are on Twitch and it doesn’t matter in terms of view count or quality of the stream. If that was the case then you could just buy followers or set up a bunch of fake/bot accounts that follow you and suddenly you get a ton of viewers or fans or money or whatever you’re after. While you need to have 50 followers to become an Affiliate, that is your smallest problem considering the other goals. 

When I see F4F-people, I instantly ban them. I don’t want them in my community as they violate TOS openly and as they probably will start to bother my viewers as well. 

Sophie – also another lovely cat picture provided to me by TabiHastings! Check them out on Twitter/Twitch! 🙂

And then there are people that backseat your stream or that are only there to start a fight. Don’t just come to a channel and correct people on the way they’re playing. Don’t spoil their games. Don’t tell them off. Don’t make them do things for you. It’s their stream, not yours. 

Last Saturday, I did a 25-hour-charity stream for the Trevor Project. We were able to raise a total of 140.20$ with the help of some very generous viewers of mine, which I’m grateful for, and in the end, we got to unlock all the milestones in one single donation, resulting in a bunch of giveaways for the community. I was going to give away a bunch of different games from Moonlighter to Hart’s Island to Felix the Reaper to other titles. I was excited to see all of these different people get their games after we reached certain milestones and hence I put “Giveaways” into the title… but that naturally also attracts people that only are there for the giveaways…

And there he was… some guy called “madafaka” with some number at the end of his name whose literal first message in the chat was “!giveaway”. 

….

Yeah,… no. Obviously, I was already tired and sleep-deprived at that point so maybe I’ve overreacted a tad… but at the same I paused everything while telling him off as I thought that it’s a prove that has to be made clear.

I told him that it’s bullshit to go to small streams only for the giveaway and to be so bold about it that you don’t care at all about them but only care about that giveaway. One of my viewers (a lovely regular at this point) agreed with me while that guy was actually trying to defend themselves, talking about us “going to the zoo to visit the monkey” and not to “buy the monkey” or something like that. I don’t know what he was on about or if he was on drugs or whatever… but it was hilarious for anyone who saw it and “!giveaway” has become a meme on my channel now, which is lovely. 

When he then told me to “stop bitching about it”, I told him that he can tell me that again at a later time. The stream would have continued for eight and a half more hours so I timed him out for exactly eight hours. It would have been funny if he had returned… but he didn’t… which is for the better.

Jynx again, MuddChi‘s lovely cat

So, let summarize the Don’t’s of promotion:

  • Don’t promote yourself openly. 
  • Don’t mention your stream in other people’s streams unless asked about it or unless you know the streamer/unless you’re a regular.
  • Don’t bring your stream up on your own.
  • Don’t do F4F.
  • Don’t be a dick by backseat-gaming, spoiling, or by telling the streamer/moderators off.
  • Respect others and treat them like you want to be treated.

And lastly, you’ll want to ask how you promote yourself properly, right?

Well, honestly, there are a lot of ways. So, that’s going to essentially be a whole different post on its own, but to be frank I guess I could say that there are more Do Nots that are essential for that…

Just be careful and:

  • don’t beg for hosts or raids.
  • don’t expect others to do the same for you. They are not obligated to!
  • don’t make friends for the sole purpose of getting “twitch famous”. There may be a whole post dedicated to just this one topic, so look forward to that.
  • check the streamer you’re raiding out BEFORE you raid them. Best case, they’re cool and your community loves them! Worst case, it’s some bigot that offends and insults you and your community while traumatizing everyone so badly that they won’t watch you ever again!

Overall, I think that this might be a nice little series of posts that I could do. I just don’t know yet in what category to put it or if I should create a whole new category for Twitch stuff (Edit: Done! New Sub-category in the Gaming Journal!)… If you’re completely new to this kind of stuff and want to learn more about streaming or ask any questions about that kind of thing, then I highly recommend CastorDie, which is a wonderful little Twitch Community full of streamers and uh… people… of sorts… and among them is also MrGoodHand who’s running a blog as well, so check him out over here. 🙂 

I hope you enjoyed this little “guide” of sorts. It’s a bit rambly and chaotic, but overall, I’m sure that I can create some useful informational posts like this as well in the future that might be quite nice to read through. I’m sure I could also feature/recommend streamers in this Twitch-Category or whatever… I feel like that might be quite cool. ^-^)

If you have any questions, let me know and I’ll write something about it or put something together out of a lot of different opinions and stuff! 

Either way, have a nice day and see you another time!

Cheers!

Edit: Changed the title of the post from “New to Twitch, what now? #1 – Promotion” to “How to not-promote your channel on Twitch” as the earlier title was misleadin and as I don’t feel like a “series” of posts would be the way to go for this. Instead I’d rather enjoy having posts here and there on the topic of channel growth, activity on your channel and my journey on Twitch without having them correlate to any sort of over-arching category, like it’s the case with The Stray Sheep.

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