Dec 4, 2020

How to Build Your Esports Following

by
Nicolas Lucente

Growing your fanbase in the esports community can be difficult. It is hard to jump into any industry and be successful off the bat. However, if you follow the advice in this guide, you will be much better off and will be pointed in the right direction to begin building your esports following.


Pick a Game

In order to grow your audience, you have to play specific games. Trying to appeal to everyone’s likes is a recipe for disaster. To generate a large following, you need to decide what you are good at and what category of games do you want to stream. If you enjoy Call of Duty, then you can strictly play first-person shooters, but you cannot have one stream of Call of Duty content and then the next day stream FIFA for hours. If you enjoy playing sports games, that can be your niche, but then you cannot go streaming Battlefield after that. The goal is acquire a consistent, loyal fanbase. After you have achieved that, they will go and tell others about your stream and so on and so forth.


Social Media Presence

Having a strong social media presence is very important. The more your fans have an opportunity to see you and interact with your content the better. You are not going to be able to stream every second of every day, so in order to fill in the gaps is through social media. Specifically Instagram and TikTok are great social media apps that will allow you to post some of your clips from your stream. Twitter is also a great platform that will give you the ability to start conversations with people and let people know when you are going live. Then, your social media accounts can be directly linked to your Twitch or YouTube, or both. Plus, it is hard to blow up on streaming services alone. Posting to socials will help put your name out there. Who knows, maybe one of your videos randomly gains a lot of views on Instagram and people decide to check you out because of it.


Wherever opportunity presents itself to allow you to put your name out there, take it. The mistake people make is thinking that they only need to stream and that their gameplay will do all the talking for them. You cannot expect to compete for views with other streamers that are going above and beyond with their content if you are only on one platform.


Esports tournaments can be as big as this one here, but they can also just be online tournaments that can be played from home. Both styles of tournaments can be lucrative and professionals tend to do both. Image courtesy of ECE.

Events and Tournaments

If you want to increase your following in the esports community, attending events and competing in tournaments is important. Events like Esports Bar+ provide great opportunities to meet a lot of people in the world of esports and network amongst them. Esports are growing at a tremendous rate, and going to events like this gives you the opportunity to meet the people that are trying to grow the sport even more. And, the more you know, the better. Competing in tournaments is also just as important. You can search for tournaments online and we are sure you will find something. Streamers and companies host Call of Duty tournaments pretty much every weekend. There are also several opportunities to compete in online sports game tournaments such as Madden, FIFA, and 2K.


Participating in these tournaments not only gives you the chance to win money, but it also puts your name out there even more. Are you noticing a trend? Putting your name out there repeatedly, without the fear of failing, is so very important. Plus, competing in tournaments is more interesting for your viewers to watch. If your fanbase is watching your stream knowing that money is on the line, the stream becomes way more entertaining. To put it in a different way, people would much rather watch the Super Bowl then a preseason game.


Befriend Other Streamers

Meeting other streamers is a win-win for both parties since you will both be able to grow your fanbase by using each other. Also, no one hates collaborations. Say someone likes to watch you and another streamer and you two decide to play together, that fan would be thrilled. Look at streamers like Swagg, TimTheTatman, Nickmercs, and Cloakzy-- they all have their own fanbase and yet they constantly play with each other knowing that is what people want to see. Sure, they are also all friends, but they became friends over years of meeting each other at events and continuously playing together.


Don’t know how to befriend other streamers? Follow other streamers! Watch their streams, comment in their chat, try to get their attention, and work your way into getting that collaboration. If this seems difficult to accomplish, try getting some of your friends that you already play with to stream with you. Audiences like consistency and they are ultimately going to tune in to your stream to be entertained, informed, or both. Watching friends laugh and mess around together can be fun to watch as you well know. If you are able to convince some friends to stream with you, it will benefit everyone involved since you will share a fanbase that will end up liking the dynamic you and your friends have together.


This is Nickmercs’ YouTube main channel page, a great example of how it should look. Notice the graphics and how he has his Twitch, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube linked at the top right corner. Image courtesy of YouTube.

Put Time and Effort into a Good Twitch/YouTube Layout

People like to click on channels that look professional. Quality graphics and logos on your main page will attract more people to actually watch your videos. These graphics include a profile picture, a heading, a chat box for your stream, and top notch editing for your YouTube videos. If you do not have any experience in graphic design work, there are several options to help you get started. Including TipeeeStream, which is a free option that can help create “Twitch layouts, special alerts, and widgets.”  


Stream, Stream, and Stream

There is a reason the top streamers in the game stream anywhere from five to ten hours a day. The more you stream, the higher probability people will find you and watch, and the higher chance your stream will pop up in “higher rankings in Twitch stream results.” Now, when you are first starting out, you do not need to be streaming for ten hours a day. However, leaving three to four hours a day aside to stream is important to start. Be animated on your stream too, people like to watch people that play with emotion or are comical when they play. This goes back to the entertainment factor, being entertaining is important to attract and maintain fans.


Consistency

Post to social media, stream on Twitch, and post YouTube videos consistently. To acquire loyal followers, you have to be trustworthy when it comes to continuously creating content for them to watch. In the esports world, there are no days off. If you are not streaming or posting content, you can be sure someone else is. Also, when you do post, make sure it is similar content. The fanbase you do acquire is expecting to watch certain types of videos. They will not want to see you switch it up when they are looking for the same thing you always do.


This does not mean sticking to one game and one game only, but it does mean remaining within the same category of games (as we mentioned before). However, one exception to this is following the trend of popular games. Warzone is one of the most popular games right now, but when Fall Guys became popular, a lot of people wanted to see more of that until the trend faded.


This image was taken at a Red Bull sponsored esports tournament. The growing sport continues to see growing audiences at such events, both virtually and in person. Image courtesy of Digital Surgeons.

Welcome to the Grind

All of this may seem like a lot, but to gain a following in the esports community truly does take some grinding. You cannot expect to become popular overnight. As long as you have fun though, it does not feel like much of a grind at all. Remember the phrase, “If you love what you do then you won’t work a day in your life.” It may be a little corny, but it still applies. Although, how can you not have fun simply playing your favorite games and getting paid.