A strong brand will make your name more memorable to your followers and potential sponsors. As these things take time to build; it is important that you start to shape each element early on. In fact, you can begin before you ever download your broadcasting software!
Twitch Branding Tips
1. Find a Niche for Your Channel
The first thing you should do is to find your niche and how you want to build your channel. Knowing what you want to stream, who your target audience is, and how you want your channel to appear will help you figure out how to market it. Ask yourself the following questions:
- Do you want to stream yourself playing games, performing music or host a variety channel just chatting?
- What games do you plan to play?
- How do you plan to build an online community?
- What will set you apart from the other streamers on your platform?
The answers to these questions will help you figure out how to build your brand and write your content.
2. Choose a Memorable Stream Name
Although your content, personality, and dedication will set you apart, choose a good streamer name. This will make you more memorable to your viewers and potentially allow you to expand in other avenues of the content without having to rebrand.
Find a name that you can use on multiple platforms, is future-proofed if you change your content, and represents what you want for you brand.
3. Design Custom Graphics for Your Stream Channel
A well-designed logo can give your viewers a general idea of your personality or content. Good logos are recognizable and easily remembered. It should appeal to your audience. Take care when designing (or commissioning a designer) to be clear about colors, fonts, or any other details you want to be associated with your brand.
Profile Picture as Your Twitch Avatar
While we recommend that you use an image of yourself as your profile picture, you can also use an avatar that represents you or your brand. This image will be displayed when you comment on other channels and may be the first thing that potential followers associate with you.
Note that your Twitch profile picture size will appear differently on other sites or if people share your stream with one another. While it needs to be the correct size on Twitch, make sure it is of a high quality image or graphic.
Twitch Profile Banner
Though it isn’t as important as it used to be, your banner can still be a useful tool for graphic continuity as banners are often used across platforms. Design something that can easily be resized without losing important content.
ThatGirlSlays has great consistency with her graphics. She uses the same imagery on her social media account and her profile panels are uniquely designed to correlate with her banner.
Overlays can be used in a variety of ways. Some use them to cover up the on-screen information they don’t want their viewers to see (such as chats or maps in games). Others use them to spice up the area of your screen with the webcam or display information they want their viewers to know about them. Be creative, but don’t clutter your screen too much. Keep your audience’s focus on your content.
People love seeing unique stream alerts when they follow, subscribe, or donate. While you might only start off with one or two personalize alerts, you can continue to add as many as you like to add variety to your channel. Save your best alerts for subscriptions or donations.
Twitch panels can set the tone for your profile and are a great way to establish your branding. You can use them either as headings for written text or as links to your social media, affiliates, or personal website.
BeardedGuysGaming used a simple but effective design for many of their panels. They use the same idea to pass on information to their viewers as well as provide links to their affiliates, including coupon codes. The panels are neat, clean and fit with their brand’s name and color scheme.
Transition screens help your viewers know what is going on with your channel when you aren’t sitting in front of the camera. Use your offline screen to advertise your social media and let people who pass by know when you plan to stream next.
A BRB screen will let people who just joined your channel know you will be right back. Starting screens allow your followers to join your stream before your content officially starts, allowing them to see the whole broadcast.
The8BitDrummer‘s away screen has an animated window that switches between images and gifs.
Emotes for Stream Subs
Twitch emotes are incentives to your followers to support you. They create a fun way for your subscribers to engage with you and your community. Creative emotes that represent your brand while also being relevant on other channels may send additional viewers your way when they encounter your emotes elsewhere.
Twitch Graphics Design Tips
When designing logos or graphics, create something that will look good on any platform. Be consistent with your images, colors, overlays, Twitch emotes… anything that you can attach to your brand’s symbol.
If you’re outsourcing the creative work be sure to choose a designer who both understands your vision and will continue to work with you as your brand grows. Early on for logos and overlays, we recommend using a freelance designer from Fiverr.
4. Stream Regularly and Be Professional
Create a stream schedule and hold yourself to it. That said, if you tell your viewers that you will be live-streaming at certain times, make sure that you show up and that you are ready to work. Treat social media in the same way. Find a balance where you can interact with your followers, but maintain time to work on your channel, your content, and your brand.
Once you have worked out your schedule, post it in your profile so that followers know when you regularly stream. Maintain a professional demeanor and follow the terms and conditions of your chosen streaming platform.
To turn your stream into a career, you must take your work seriously. Be a professional. Nobody is going to build your business for you. Treat your followers and potential sponsors with respect.
5. Be Creative with Your Clothing Choices and Accessories
What you wear in your streams can set you apart. People love a funny shirt and it can also serve as great a talking point! You can literally wear anything between your pajamas and ballroom dance gear (so long as it meets the rules of your streaming platform).
If you have a sense of style that is unique, you can utilize it in your brand-building. Make sure that you can wear it comfortably for the duration of your stream. The same goes for accessories. Use or display unique accessories that are meaningful to your brand.
If eventually, you decide to merchandise your brand, showcase your products in your stream. Sponsor yourself!
6. Develop Trademark Traits
Whether it is something you say to your viewers at the beginning of each stream or something that you do under certain circumstances, find custom elements that you can sprinkle throughout your stream to add flavor to your channel. Using trademark elements not only enhances your brand, it continually draws viewers back to the channel so that they can participate in the tradition.
- On the daily YouTube show, Good Mythical Morning, whenever Link says “Tokyo”, Rhett responds with “WHAAAAAAA!?!” It has happened for years and after the first time, no explanation was ever given; but viewers rally every time it happens because they have become a part of that tradition. Live-streaming gives you an even greater advantage to interact with your viewers in this way!
- If you have your own personal style, utilize it. Though the pattern varies, Lara6683, a popular Twitch pianist, often wears the same style of short overalls.
- You can also incorporate your pet by introducing it to your audience or having a “pet cam” on your stream. The fashion-focused YouTube channel, PrettyPastelPlease, is co-hosted by Alex and her pet parrot, Archie. Many viewers watch her videos to see the bird’s antics.
- Utilize real-world objects. If possible, create content in your game to honor or interact with them. For example, in Hermitcraft Season 5, FalseSymmetry downloaded the Minecraft heads of each of her Patreon supporters and placed them in her base as a tribute to their support.
Think outside of the box. Play outside of the box. Use sound bites or unique emoji if your viewers interact with your stream by subscribing, donating, or bringing something special to your content. Interact with your viewers. Build relationships with them. Involve them in creating unique narratives and traditions in your work. When you stumble on something special, reinforce it until it becomes a part of your brand.
Create a unique name for your following. Every bit of branding helps your members feel as though they are a part of a community and they will be more likely to return and tell their friends about you.
7. Use Social Media to Build Your Following
Building your personal brand in today’s market goes beyond using just a singular streaming platform. Using social media avenues like Facebook, Instagram or Snapchat effectively is a great way to increase your reach.
The content you have made on Youtube or Twitch may also be suitable to advertise on these mediums. We recommend sharing any heavily edited, highlight footage you produce to showcase the best parts of what you have to offer. There’s always a chance your content could catch on and go viral on the socials!
Be sure to remain visually consistent over any platform you use. Try to incorporate the same colors, fonts, graphics, etc. Use your same name or a close substitute. Many streamers use external social media to feed their streams. Remind your followers of streams and special events. Let them know in advance if you decide to thank them for their support with a giveaway.
As you are growing, stick to one or two social media accounts outside of your streaming platform. Managing too many for a small audience isn’t worth your time, and the energy you can spend with your first followers will help inspire community building.
8. Feature Friends, Viewers, or Other Streamers
If you have a friend (or a group of friends) consider collaborating with them. Even if they don’t personally stream, they could join you on yours – even remotely through coms on Discord.
Reach out to other streamers who are within your range and ask them to collaborate with you. Work with them to build both of your brands. Encourage them by giving them new innovative ideas to improve their work and listen to them when they give you suggestions.
Plan collaborations ahead of time for the best success and celebrate each other’s milestones together. Strive to find someone with whom you share good chemistry, whose humor you enjoy, and who can improve well with you, even if you go off on tangents. As a bonus, finding this fellow collaborator could be the beginning of a solid friendship.
9. Set Aside Time for Channel Development
Streaming (and editing compilations) will take a good portion of your time. It is important to allocate additional time to spend on researching new ways to expand your brand. Here are a few ideas on how directed research can improve your channel as a whole:
Follow Popular Streamers
Find streamers in your channel’s category and become an active member of their chat. Take note of what their followers enjoy or what they request to see. You might be able to incorporate that data into your own content or create a specific niche that people would appreciate. Once you are more established, reach out to your own community for content suggestions. Research ways to bring it to fruition.
Always Analyze Your Chat
Look for constructive criticism. While some comments should be taken with a grain of salt, listen to followers’ suggestions on how to improve your stream. Consult with trusted friends, your peers, and people you respect for additional advice. Ask what they would like to watch. Incorporate suggestions that you believe would add value to your content.
Practice Your Craft
Play and practice outside of your stream, regardless of your content. This will allow you to learn new techniques, play around with ideas for future streams, and generally relax with your passion.
10. Pursue Sponsorship Opportunities
While having a large following definitely helps you find sponsors, you may be surprised that it isn’t their primary focus when looking for influencers.
Their primary focus – as yours should be – is on great content. Talent is more important to them than numbers, and they believe (as should you) that if you are faithfully producing quality streams, your channel will continually grow organically over time. That being said, don’t approach brands on your third day of the job. Establish your channel’s focus and show that you are consistent and reliable.
If you believe that your content is solid and you have extra time to look into sponsorships, you can find them at esports events, streaming conventions, through networking, and online.
How do you approach a potential stream sponsor?
- Keep your pitch brief.
- Tell them your name, about your content, your channel’s focus, why you believe that your brands can work together.
- Research a prospective sponsor thoroughly before you approach them, and understand what they would want from an investment in you.
- Know what sets you apart and keep it professional and friendly. If they have a good interaction with you, they will assume that your followers do as well.
11. Analyze Your Channel’s Stats
Even as a beginner, you should spend time analyzing your stats (even if there isn’t a lot of them). If you had more viewers in a stream than you usually have, look at that stream’s content you to see what you were doing differently at the time. Is there a time of the day where you are getting the majority of your views? What can you do to maximize that part of your stream to benefit your viewers?
You should also analyze the stats of top streamers in your genre. See when other streamers reach their peak viewers and what content they were producing at the time. Look into the specific game or category that you are also streaming. When is the market saturated? When are there the most viewers? Learning everything you can about your specific niche will help you grow your channel.
12. Don’t Engage with the Trolls
This is the Internet and unless you never have any viewers, someone will have something negative to say about you. How you handle these situations will affect the way your fan-base views you.
When a troll stumbles into your channel and starts a scene, roll with it. Turn it into a joke or something fun. Don’t ban them from your channel unless they start to harass your viewers or spew inappropriate content. If you do need to use the ban-hammer, do so discreetly. There may be times where exceptions to this need to be made. Try to utilize grace in those situations.
When you receive a negative review or comment, consider the criticism and the critic. If their feedback is constructive and relevant, thank them and make any necessary changes. If the reviewer is being critical for no reason, don’t take it personally and move on.
13. In Conclusion, Be Yourself
The fear of failure and/or rejection can rage against your desire to work toward growth. Understand that you have the ability to determine whether or not you give in to the fear.
Although the phrase, “Know your Why,” has become a cliche, it is crucial for creating a brand. Spend time defining what motivates you to stream and what it will take for you to reach your long-term goals. Use those motivations to fuel your confidence and portray your strengths on camera. Play to the strengths of your personality. Don’t attempt to be someone that you aren’t (unless you are doing so satirically). Your viewers will recognize your pretense.
You can, however, try mimicking certain mannerisms of streamers that you enjoy watching. See if those elements fit within your persona, or if you can build into your brand. Again, make sure to be genuine. You can be genuinely quirky and exciting even if you are normally quiet and reserved. It just takes some stretching and practice. Ultimately, find your own unique style to connect with your viewers to continually draw them back to your channel.
Is every element of your brand set in stone? Absolutely not. Feel free to slowly change certain aspects over time, while maintaining the rest of the brand for continuity. Once you build a fan base, you need to continually nurture it to stay relevant. Having a clear picture of what you want to achieve will keep you on track.