Nice To Meet You
Many people get the wrong idea of what networking is or how it works. There are many ways to network and such there are many wrong and right ways to do so. I’m going to try and break down them down as best I can. It’s important to know the right way to do things, but it’s also important to acknowledge the wrong ways so that you may avoid them. Ignorance can sometimes be bliss, but it can also hurt your career before it even starts.
Follow for Follow PLZ!?
I want to start with the bad examples of networking as it’s important to know why these are bad. Many new casters on Twitch or any platform for that matter get hung up on numbers, and these numbers make casters do silly things. One of these silly things is Follow for Follow or F4F for short. F4F to new casters is this instant helpful mutual boost, but it’s really not. The idea of being in a group of say one thousand casters and having them all follow each other… great you have one thousand followers, but how many average viewers do you have? You want to start building a community, not top a high score. Follow count is indeed used for some things, but your influence over live viewers is much more important. Ever wonder why some casters with ten thousand followers aren’t partnered, but some casters with four thousand are? The casters with a lower follow count but higher view count have created a community and have nurtured it. Your viewers are like plants and good content and conversation is their water and sun, F4F is like…. a flamethrower.
Hosts for Hosts is essentially the same bad practice, and if you decide to host someone who happens to have content that’s the opposite of your own, you could hurt your own brand anyway. If I enjoy horror games, I want to make sure I’m hosting casters that also enjoy horror games as my audience will resonate with the other caster and their audience and hopefully have a bond later. Randomly throwing people on your host list without curating them could potentially cause issues for yourself, so make sure ALL content on your channel is up to your standard!
Leeching is the term used when a caster only befriends another caster to simply try and take viewers for themselves. Typically it starts with a smaller caster wanting to game with a larger caster and while playing together keeps bringing up their own cast. They may even reach out to someones fan base on another casters tweet or FB post. This kind of “Networking” is not mutual, it is not okay, and more importantly its makes you look like a pretty crappy person. On top of those it also will make other casters not want to collab with you so you only hurt yourself once you get outed. Some people don’t know they are doing this so here is a few basic rules:
- Don’t talk about your cast on another casters stream
- If you are playing with another caster, use PTM or PTT, do not talk to your chat in open comms its rude unless the other caster has permitted it.
- Don’t turn someones social post in your favor
In 99 out of 100 cases streamers use crowdfire for the wrong thing. For those out of the loop on what crowdfire is, its a social addon that can do many things, and one of those is auto DMing someone the moment they get a follow. If you ever followed a caster and got an instant DM that looks like a research paper with links and a autobiography, you have been hit by crowdfire. I normally immediately unfollow these people, because I should not need a large DM to tell me how to find you, this is what pinned tweets is for and the info section on all social platforms. Crowdfire however is great for such things as informing your community of long breaks, or brand changes.
Time for the proper networking techniques! The biggest thing about networking is being humble and being aware of where the line is and not crossing it. The best form of networking is simply supporting other casters that you resonate with. It’s amazing how a caster knows when another caster is in his chat, even if its never brought up. Being a good broadcaster starts with being a good viewer. Don’t do anything in someones else’s chat that you would not appreciate in your own. If you want another caster to possibly network with you start with a simple “Hello!” after they end their cast on one of their social platforms. Explain your a caster and just simply looking for tips and advice. Go no further and let them respond when they can. Messaging a caster and asking for a follow/host/raid is past the line we talked about earlier, but there is nothing wrong with friendly conversation and asking for some tips.
Social media is one of those things that can be used for good and evil. We want to be on the good side so here’s some help! The best way to network on social platforms is by having a complete profile. Easy I know! For whatever reason most people never complete their profiles leaving gaps in info. When I search a caster I look for a few things: Twitch URL, Email, Website, and Discord. The very things people always push in others faces during “Bad Networking” should already be attached to a social profile. I don’t need you to post your link if your accounts are set up properly, believe me.. I can find you. Twitter is a great platform to reach out to developers and community managers as well to ask questions and request stuff for your streams. The difference between the good and bad ways is how you form your messages. Never seem pushy, give the other party enough time to respond, and don’t demand anything. Once one of those things is done, goodbye potential network opportunities. Simply treat everyone with respect and you will get much much further.
That’s a wrap
Hopefully this helps some of you with how to do things properly. It all boils down to being a decent human being with patience and understanding. Networking doesn’t have to be hard, but it can become difficult if you take advantage of others and use/abuse others in the process. Stay true to yourself and be a good influence and people will want to work with you. It takes time so be patient, but it is ultimately up to you to reach out to get opportunities, just make sure your not being pushy about it. If you have other tips leave them in the comments below!
Great article Plague! I love long-form content like this.
Totally agree with you on follow-for-follow, it’s a pretty meaningless tacic for “growth.”
I also agree that generic host-for-hosts are bad, but I do think careful planning with hosts can be beneficial. For example, continually hosting one channel similar to yours, rather than hosting a bunch of random channels that host you back. It all depends on the strategy.
Agreed, my thoughts on hosting more so came from BEING hosted, not hosting others. Nightly I get 30-60 hosts (pending on stream team) and regardless of how many hosts you get, your viewership doesn’t really fluctuate much, unless a host (talking auto hosts here) has like 20+ lurkers. Appreciate the comment here, your the first =P <3