Regardless of where you choose to live stream, your biggest challenge will be to grow your viewer count. While YouTube does offer a little more discoverability than Twitch, the task of marketing and promoting your stream will ultimately fall to you.
Don’t feel discouraged. Many streamers are in exactly the same position, and this guide stands to give you a helping hand out of that hole. I’m going to give you some tried and tested practical advice to start getting people clicking on your stream, and bring you that audience that will love your charm and charisma!
How to Promote Your Stream on YouTube
There are two main ways that you can promote your YouTube stream and start getting some traffic through your socials: on-site promotion and off-site promotion. Let’s start with on-site.
1. Use Clickable Thumbnails
In my opinion, this is the most important tool you can use to get people clicking on your stream. The thumbnail is the very first thing that your potential audience will see, and therefore it must be creative, engaging and intriguing. Once they’ve decided to click…then it’s all up to you.
Some examples of a good thumbnail are ones that can explain the premise of a video in a simplistic and interesting way. You’ll want to stay away from a ton of detail or text, as this may cause people to turn away.
This is an example from SmallAnt – you immediately are intrigued by the premise and the thumbnail explains the video concept well.
2. Use Interesting Titles
These are another key part of generating some engagement for your stream on the reccomended pages of YouTube. This is also part of the “first impressions” that your audience will get, though considerably less important than the thumbnail. Some important tips to keep in mind for your title are:
To ensure that your grammar and spelling are correct.
To ensure that the title looks professional and appealing.
To stay away from the generic clickbait, over-the-top cliques.
To ensure the title is simplistic and relevant to your content and audience
This is an example from PythonMC – his title is simple, visually appealing and uses the correct keywords to hook his audience and provide the high number of generated clicks for the short, sharp content he has produced.
3. Use Detailed Descriptions
A good, well-structured description will provide not a way for people to click on your stream, but a way for them to engage with you and your community once they are already here.
When someone is looking through your description, you want them to be able to find short, sharp and relevant links and information that can integrate them further into your community and your stream.
You might want to add some links to any social media platforms you have, alongside a brief outline of who you are, and what you do.
You’ll want to use engaging and interesting language that motivates them into clicking, much alike the title for the video itself. You don’t want someone to join your Discord to win a prize, or because you want them to – you want them to join because they want to.
This is an example from PointCrow – immediately upon looking at the description, we see a ‘hooking statement’ describing the video and giving off his overall personality.
We then see a clean, neat list of social medias and links which will entice potential audience members into exploring further into his community, visiting his other platforms or potentially even buying merchandise.
4. Promote on Normal YouTube Videos
A key way for you to advertise to potential live stream viewers is for you to regularly (but not excessively!) mention it on your regular YouTube videos. This is even more effective if you have a large following on the platform already, but it can be done with even passerby viewers.
Usually, at the end of every video, you will find a good content creator will place a small, unintruding advert which is almost seen as “the credits” to a video. This way, it doesn’t seem as much like a video-pausing, in-your-face advertisement – which always ends up turning a lot of people away.
Here is an example from the YouTuber Smallant. This is at the end of the video, where the content so far has displayed his skill in a game by defeating another content creator thoroughly – meaning viewers will already be impressed and will want to see more.
How to Promote Your YouTube Stream Off-Platform
Not only are there plenty of ways to promote your stream whilst on YouTube, there are plenty more outside of the platform. Let’s take a look at a couple of the main ones.
Funneling Through Social Medias
The most important and lucrative method of getting people into your stream is by bringing them in through your social media channels, specifically Discord.
By creating a Discord for your community and always inviting people in or outside of your stream to join, you will create your own mini Times Square billboard notice that you can push out to your already engaged community. Every time you go live, just sending fun and engaging “ping” can entice people to come along for more of the same attitude.
This same thing can be done on any social media – Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and so many more.
Here is an example of the “go live” notification from Eljayem_:
As you can see, this is a clear and smooth notification that outlines not only what he is doing, but also the reasons why viewers should join. His humorous and informal tone creates a sense of excitement to see what he will say in the next alert – reducing the chance of people getting annoyed or muting the pings! If they have comedic value, people won’t care!
Networking With Other Streamers
This is a point that not a lot of people consider! By joining various other creator’s streams (but not announcing that you are also a streamer) or by raiding other people, you can build up some neat working relationships with fellow streamers, who can then begin to raid you – or their community may even become so used to you that they decide to watch your off their own backs.
This is often a long-term investment, as you probably won’t see any returns on your hard work for a while! However, once it gets going – you could see some amazing benefits and you will make a lot of great friends as well.
So, overall, if you apply these tried and tested techniques to your own channel, hopefully, you can begin to see growth in both traffic and loyal community. For a lot more tips, tricks, and even a whole community of growing streamers to network with, check out the rest of the StreamScheme website.