When it comes to growing your Twitch stream, there are only a handful of strategies that yield actual results. The easiest way of growing your Twitch stream is growing an audience on YouTube first and bringing this audience over to Twitch. This method requires a lot of work and even more patience. It takes months, sometimes even years, to grow a big YouTube channel, depending on your niche. The second most efficient way of growing your stream is networking. Networking requires a lot of work up front, but pays off in the long run with very little upkeep. Networking is the business everyone wishes to have, put in the work at the beginning and then harvest the results for the next few years to come! While this sounds like the ideal situation to get yourself into, how do you achieve those results? There are two very different ways of networking, resulting in very different outcomes.
Growing A Large Network
What a lot of streamers want to achieve is a large network. The common belief is the larger my network the more support I will receive and the faster and bigger my Twitch channel will grow. This is a mentality that was very common for Mixer streamers. Mixer as a platform allows you to automatically host other streamers while being offline. At the same time you can have infinite tabs open in your browser with streams. This led to streamers inflating their viewership count which in the end, pushed them higher in the game category resulting in real viewers and followers.
This strategy worked for a lot of streamers and some autohost inflated the streamers viewership by 40-60 viewers. These viewers were other streamers having a tab open for the autohost list every single day, so they were not actually engaging in the streamers chat, or physically saw the stream at all. Streamers often had high viewercounts with no chat activity to back it up.
So how did the streamers get on all these autohost lists? Twitch has an autohost system as well, does that mean that numbers can also be inflated? To land on named autohost lists was simple. Leave a tab open for each streamers autohost list and in return you have a chance that the host will find its way over to your stream while you are live.
This method of networking is the most common form of networking. Support others and have a chance of receiving some support in return. While this method worked on former platform Mixer, it does not work on Twitch. Twitch blogs views that have not engaged in the chat for a period of time, or tabs that are open all day but muted. This also showed when Mixer streamers switched over to Twitch. All support was gone. Streamers who had inflated viewer counts of 60+ are now left with one to two viewers.
Growing A Genuine Network
The method that works the best for growing a network on Twitch is what works best for anything in life, honesty. Twitch does not allow inflated numbers to boost streamers up in the category, therefore you need real viewers from a real network in order to climb up the ranks and here is exactly how to go about it.
You have to spend time on the platform you ask to grow on. You need to watch other streams and get to know them in order to ever receive support, however do not go into a stream with the expectation of what is in it for you. Growing a real network takes a lot of time and effort up front. It means building real friendships and not just connections. Friendships are what will you allow to grow and keep on growing over the next years with zero time put into it. The fastest way to grow on Twitch is to build a group of friends, all in the same game genre and to enjoy the journey together.
Friends are the ones who are honest and tell you if you are doing something wrong. Friends are the ones that share their secrets with you, because they want to see you succeed. Friends are the ones that help you out with any questions you might have. The term network needs to go away and be replaced with friendships. No matter how big your network is, in the end when push comes to show, your network does not show. The best example are Mixer streamers with huge networks now being left alone on Twitch. Friendships last no matter what happens or what platform everyone has to move to. Friendships are what will get you where you want to be. Enjoy other streamers entertainment. Engage with them and their community. There are no shortcuts to friendship. The fastest and only way to friendship is honesty.