All Top Streamers Have Their Own Niche, Here’s How to Find Yours
If you’re serious about live streaming and hope to become a top broadcaster, one of the best ways to do so, and to experience long-lasting success, is to claim a niche.
I realize that can be tough to do when you’re just starting out and your first instinct is probably to look around and see what successful streamers are doing and model after them. It’s true that studying the secrets of top broadcasters and applying what you learn to your own stream is a surefire way to accelerate your growth. But where many streamers go wrong is that they imitate what top streamers are doing without putting their own twist on it. This might work to some extent, but it will be extremely difficult to maintain a position as a top streamer by simply copying others.
Remember: learn from the best, then make it your own.
So how can you make it your own? How can you stand out in a sea of streamers? Well you’re in luck! Here is a massive list of ideas and tips from top streamers and talent managers who have seen what works — and what doesn’t.
Share your talents (or lack of talents)
If you’ve got a talent, don’t keep it hidden! People love talent shows, just look at American Idol, the X Factor, and Dancing with the Stars. Singing, dancing, playing an instrument — these might seem like the obvious ones, but there are so many other options such as fitness, beauty tutorials, cooking, art or DIY.
The more ‘out there’ your talents are — the better. Have you ever heard of Mukbang or ASMR? Despite being very strange, these types of streams and videos can attract huge audiences!
We all know that if you want to grow a following on a social media platform, content is extremely important. However live streaming is different than other platforms. For live streamers, interacting with your audience is also essential.
So remember, when you are doing an activity during your stream, you must find a way to constantly interact with your audience. For example, if you’re an artist, you can’t just stare down at your drawing for 15 minutes. People might enjoy seeing your creative process, but eventually they will leave your stream because they feel like they’re simply watching. If they wanted to be a passive viewer they could just turn on the TV or watch a YouTube video. Instead, as your drawing, find ways to involve the audience in what you’re doing, thank them for gifts, and chat.
Or let’s say you’re baking, the goal of your stream isn’t to teach your audience how to make the best chocolate chip cookies ever. The goal is to involve the audience in making the best chocolate chip cookies ever.
Another thing to keep in mind is that, in general, viewers don’t like to give gifts unless they know the streamer will see them and acknowledge them. So while you’re doing an activity you also need to constantly be scanning the screen for gifts. If you frequently miss gifts people will stop sending them.
You can even find ways to use your talents as a gifting strategy. One top streamer on MeetMe is a glassblower and tells viewers, “send me X gift and I’ll make you an pendant.” This type of immediate gratification serves well on live streams.
And what should you do if you don’t have any talents?
Learn a new hobby or create a challenge and bring your audience along! Say you want to lose 10 pounds but you lack accountability — workout during your stream and get your audience involved, then celebrate together when you make your weight loss goals.
Or make a joke out of your lack of talents. Think about those shows I mentioned like American Idol and X Factor. Some of the most popular contestants are the ones that are hilariously bad. It’s so painful to watch them but you just can’t look away!
As I mentioned above, interacting and developing relationships with your viewers is crucial.
Some simple ways to do that:
- Play games with viewers (hangman, crossword Puzzles, karaoke, pictionary)
- Use the guest broadcaster feature
- Get your audience to vote on things. (An easy way to do this is by saying “Put a 1 in the comments if ABC or a 2 if XYZ”)
- Use the bouncer feature to bring special recognition to highly supportive viewers
- Find a unique way to recognize your top gifters and supporters by making them a part of your stream
When you’re a new streamer it’s unlikely you’ll have a huge audience right away. Instead of getting bummed out that nobody is showing up, take advantage of that small audience and really get to know each and every one of them. They’ll become your diehard fans.
Even larger streamers can do this. When you just go live it typically takes a little while for people to start flooding in. Use those first few minutes as an opportunity for some deeper interaction with those first-comers. They will feel rewarded for showing up right away.
While I suggest keeping details of your private life private and avoiding sensitive topics (religion, politics, etc.), it is also important to infuse your personality and life experiences into the content of your streams. Your perspectives and opinions may be different from other streamers and you shouldn’t be afraid to share that. Relate-ability is key. Viewers will feel closer to you if they feel you have something in common.
Or maybe don’t be yourself, get in character. Some popular streamers, such as Twitch’s Dr DisRespect are always masked or in costume no matter what.
While you want to mix it up and keep things fresh, it’s also important to have rituals that your viewers look forward to.
One example comes from George UK, a top streamer on MeetMe, who always has music playing in the background of his streams. He says having music playing creates an upbeat atmosphere and prevents any awkward silences. But he also pointed out that it’s important to choose music that’s not too polarizing.
And while you may not want to become a mukbang streamer, you’re ritual could be that you’re always drinking tea in fun mugs, you stream while eating breakfast, or you’re always snacking on a bag of M&Ms.
Many top streamers have found that creating a repeated memorable action for gifts increases gifting potential. For example, Will Smith, a top streamer on the MeetMe, Skout, and Tagged platforms, is known for doing 10 push ups every time a viewer send him a sports car gift. No matter what he is wearing, what is going on in the stream, or where he is, as soon as Will sees a sports car he drops to the floor and starts doing push ups. Sometimes people will send him multiple sports cars as a challenge to see how many push ups he can do.
Improve your streaming environment
I can’t count the number of streamers I see sitting in a dark room with colorful lights. Although there’s nothing wrong with that, when everyone has the same background, it makes it hard for viewers to distinguish one streamer from another. It feels like all the streams are the same.
So what else can you do? If you’re going to continue streaming in that room, think about how you can make the room look nicer and add some personality. If you don’t want to redecorate, you could DIY some simple backdrops. There are tons of ideas on how to do this on YouTube and Pinterest. If you’re doing indoor streams during the daytime, try to set up somewhere facing a window, good lighting makes a huge difference!! And if you stream at night, you may want to consider investing in a ring light (these lights are what make beauty bloggers look so good).
Don’t limit your streams to your house. Let your audience experience your world. Here are some other ideas:
- Bring your audience to the studio (producers, artists), yoga class, dance class, etc
- Visit a famous site. Top MeetMe streamer Holly often goes to Disneyland.
- Captain Catch, a top streamer on Skout, streams in bars in Japan
- Been dying to go on a vacation? George UK not only streamed during his trip to Aruba, he also let his audience choose what activities he did Choose Your Own Adventure style!
Besides helping you grow your audience, receive more gifts, and have longer-lasting success, finding your niche is also important because platforms are actively looking to support streamers that have differentiated themselves. Much of the content on streaming platforms is homogenous and benefits the platform to promote a wide variety of content as it helps them attract and engage more users.
Have any more suggestions, tips, or tricks that have worked for you? Share in the comments below!