A Streamer’s Guide to Deeper Authentic Connections with Your Audience
As a streamer, staying connected with your audience can be difficult.
You aren’t in the same room with them. They may be many miles or multiple time zones away. You can’t see their faces, and you don’t necessarily know much about them. What can you do to connect with them more deeply?
Before you consider any specific streaming tools or social media strategies, it’s important to step back and make sure you understand who you are and what you’re offering. To connect with your audience, you first need to understand yourself.
What Is Your Unique Value Offering?
If you confidently know yourself, you’ll be able to connect with people without putting on a performance that feels false. You’ll enjoy yourself more, and you’ll avoid wasting time on topics and activities that aren’t a good fit for you.
Your unique value offering is the totality of the strengths and weaknesses you bring to your audience on your channel and in other interactions. It’s what your audience comes to expect when they tune in to your channel, chat with you on social media, or enjoy an in-person meeting with you.
Your strengths may include the following:
- You’re highly skilled. For example, you play games at a competitive level, and your technique is remarkable.
- You’ve got a knack for building a community. You make people feel welcome and excited to participate. Maybe you host a lot of giveaways and contests.
- You explain concepts and techniques in a way that people find clear and interesting.
- Your creative talents in music, graphics, writing, or other art forms are riveting.
- You share insights that reflect wisdom and thoughtfulness. You inspire people to think about their lives in new ways and change for the better.
What about your weaknesses? It’s tempting to avoid thinking about them or to pretend that you don’t have any. Giving in to this temptation will cost you opportunities to understand yourself better, improve as a streamer, and connect more deeply with your audience.
When it comes to evaluating weaknesses, consider these points:
- Don’t deal with a weakness by pretending that you’re another person or by blindly imitating other people. Instead, make sure you’re streaming in a way that highlights your strengths.
- Weaknesses can sometimes be spun into strengths. For instance, if you’re struggling with a game, you can play it as humorous entertainment or take the opportunity to show people what it’s like to learn a game from scratch.
- What are you labeling as a weakness? You may think you have a flaw simply because you’re different from most other streamers in some respect. However, this difference may contribute positively to your uniqueness and your likeability. Your audience doesn’t need you to be perfect or to give them the exact same experience they could have with another streamer.
- Work on weaknesses that you think are genuinely undermining your streaming and your ability to connect with your audience. For example, pay attention to whether you mumble too much during your broadcasts. The key is to remain practical and not beat yourself up for failing to live up to some unreachable standard of perfection.
Developing a Deeper Understanding of Your Unique Value Offering
To understand your unique value offering, it isn’t enough to give yourself a quick evaluation. You need to be specific and thorough.
Study the content of your videos. What do you do during a typical broadcast? What have you been sharing with your audience?
Common streaming activities
Along with playing games, there are all kinds of things you may be doing in the middle of your broadcast:
- Delivering commentary and analyses. For example, you may be commenting extensively on gaming strategies or game design.
- Putting on a performance. Maybe you sing, act out scenes from your favorite movies and shows, or wear costumes or unique outfits.
- Sharing anecdotes. Which kinds of stories are you most likely to share? How personal do you get? Maybe you talk about outdoor adventures or funny mistakes you’ve made. Maybe the subject matter is more serious, including discussions of how you overcame an illness or what you’ve learned from failing and from taking risks. It’s possible that you have the gift of turning mundane life events into interesting stories.
The usefulness of your content
When it comes to the core topic of your streaming, consider what you share that’s useful to your audience. The following are several examples for gamers:
- Step-by-step guides for beating each level of a game.
- Tutorials for playing a game, setting up equipment, installing software, or preventing repetitive stress injuries from hours of gaming.
- Comparisons of various strategies and their strengths and weaknesses.
- Reviews of games.
- Interesting connections between specific games and other hobbies or topics, including history, politics, movies, and books.
- Advice you’ve heard from other streamers or gamers, including members of your audience. Make sure to give everyone proper credit.
The content you share reveals much about your priorities, the value you offer as a streamer, and your personality during broadcasts.
You may come across as some combination of warm, personable, sharp, or analytical. Even as you deliver serious content, you may like to goof around and crack jokes.
If you have trouble defining the personal attributes you display or consider most important, turn to a resource like MindTools, which offers a list of values and a discussion of the traits you hold essential. It can help you clarify what you uniquely offer as a streamer.
You should also pay attention to what other people say about you, including:
- Compliments and thoughtful criticism.
- Feedback you’ve solicited.
- Reviews for any content you create, including videos, books, articles, and online courses.
- Social media chatter and the words people use to describe you when they recommend you to new viewers.
You don’t need to obsess over every word or try to satisfy everyone. But if multiple people are describing you in a similar way, you can get a better idea of how you’re coming across to viewers. Maybe you’ll be satisfied with the impression you’re creating, or maybe you’ll want to make some changes to better reflect who you are and connect with people more meaningfully.
Giving your audience the right information
Think about what you share with viewers. Maybe you’re holding back too much or sharing too much irrelevant or uninteresting content. If your viewers don’t know certain things about you, their impression will be incomplete, and they’ll be less likely to connect with you.
While you shouldn’t brag or act in an overbearing way, don’t be shy about sharing your accomplishments or proof of your strong reputation.
- Make sure people know about any brands that sponsor you.
- Display some of the positive feedback you’ve received. Without skewing your content too heavily towards self-promotion, you can still show viewers that people see you as an influential figure, someone to watch regularly and connect with.
- Name any awards you’ve received for your streaming, creative projects, professional work, or other areas relevant to your broadcasts.
You can also ask viewers what they like best about your streaming and social media activity. Make a request on your channel while chatting, or set up a poll with content preferences they can vote on. Offer them rewards for their feedback.
You’ll benefit by developing a clearer idea of what truly matters to your audience and what they see in you. You’ll be able to use these insights to keep connecting with them through richer content and positive interactions.
How Will You Deepen Your Connection With Your Viewers?
Now that you have a better understanding of yourself and why your audience is tuning in, what can you do to strengthen your connection with them? Your streaming strategy needs to focus on building relationships and encouraging loyalty.
You can also grant special chatting privileges to your subscribers, sponsors, and most loyal followers. For example, when using Discord, you can set up a private server just for them.
To avoid finding yourself with nothing to talk about, plan ahead for what you might like to cover during a particular broadcast.
- Come up with engaging questions and discussion topics.
- Mention interesting news your audience might like to hear about, such as recent developments in the gaming industry.
- Encourage viewers to share opinions on game play, characters, and other facets of the game or topic you’re focusing on.
- Respond to questions and comments as promptly as possible. If you can’t answer immediately, let your audience know that you’ll do a follow-up later. Make sure to stick to that promise.
- Discuss questions or comments that you’ve received through your social media accounts. Also, you can highlight comments from your streaming chats on social media.
- Play word games, pose trivia questions, and launch into other fun activities that encourage participation instead of passive viewing.
Reward loyalty and participation
Some viewers will drop by occasionally. They may wind up following you but not engaging much with you. Others will chat with you, subscribe, follow you on social media and on your streaming platform, share your content, recommend you to other people, or write positive reviews about your work.
How can you encourage and reward greater loyalty?
- Offer one-on-one gaming sessions or lessons.
- Invite loyal viewers or sponsors to appear in one of your videos or to stream simultaneously with you. Sites like Multistream.me can support simultaneous streaming.
- Highlight your supporters’ work. Maybe they’re creating beautiful videos, excelling at a hobby or profession, or raising money for a worthy cause. Give them recognition and praise.
- Let them pick certain music or graphics for your stream. You can offer to sing to them or create a beautiful avatar for them.
- Award them points or gifts. For example, you can set up a store through StreamElements. This will allow you to offer a variety of perks that your loyal followers can earn.
- Sponsor giveaways and contests with prizes. Prizes can include personalized content and interactions.
Connect with your audience across different sites
- Join Twitch communities tailored to your interests.
- Find viewers across social media platforms. Make it easier for people to follow you by displaying links to your social media handles and streaming channel.
- Participate in gaming forums on Reddit, and forge new connections by sharing useful information on Quora.
- Use Stream-Aid to help engage your audience and support you.
Throughout your interactions with people, remember your values and your unique attributes. You aren’t just a salesperson pushing a product; you’re having conversations and acting naturally. You’re expressing what you love and what you know. When you behave authentically and share valuable content, you strengthen your connection with your audience.
Respect Your Uniqueness
If you’re true to yourself, streaming won’t be a chore or a forced act. You’ll enjoy what you’re doing and generate real enthusiasm about the topics you love.
This enthusiasm is contagious. And your authentic qualities are enticing too. Whether it’s your warmth, intelligence, wisdom, sense of humor, honesty, creativity, kindness, generosity, high energy, expertise, or lack of pretentiousness, you’ll connect with people more deeply by acting in a way that’s natural to you. Your unique attributes will become a key way to develop lasting and loyal relationships and build a strong reputation.