Having little to no viewers
I can assure you that every single streamer has started off live streaming and had no one watching. Some for longer than others.
You will find dozens of blogs and Reddit articles that tell you to “just keep streaming, eventually you will start getting views”. I will not tell you that because it would be doing you a disservice. The reality is much more complex than “just keep doing what you’re doing”. In the real world, when you realize that something isn’t working out for you, you don’t continuously push and hope for a change. After all, a well known and frequently heard version of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different outcome. As cliché as it sounds, it works in this context.
If you are going live and doing the same thing with no effect, consider switching up your routine. Moreover, consider some live streaming mistakes that you are making before going onto your next live. Rest assured that these are small and simple changes that can make a difference to the way you are streaming and how you are being portrayed by your viewers.
Why did you start streaming in the first place?
Are you a student, a working employee, a CEO, a stay-at-home parent, a freelancer? What are your hobbies? What do you do in your spare time?
I was on TikTok the other day saw an interesting live stream. A student had written the following on a piece of paper:
“I am studying for my finals and want to encourage TikTok procrastinators to join me”. My first thought was that it was genius. The streamer knew that her viewers would hold her accountable if she didn’t study. When I was in school, I always preferred studying at the library. There was something about other students just like me. I found it encouraging, and at the same time, it felt like an obligation to be serious and concentrate on my work. I was less likely to check my phone every 2 minutes or get bored and head over to Netflix or YouTube to procrastinate.
This TikTok Live was a digital version of my library experience. If I were in school and saw this Live when I was supposed to be working on a final paper, it would have caught my attention. I would have felt bad, but would have also gotten a spark of motivation. This type of content is suitable for students or working people that are supposed to get some work done. It’s an easy live stream because:
1) You don’t have to speak
2) You get your work done while motivating others. Soon enough, you can schedule your study sessions and if viewers enjoy your lives, they’ll start coming back every week.
Moral of the story:
This particular student wanted to start streaming because she needed a way to concentrate on her work. However, this quickly became interesting to other viewers with the same need. It is a particular niche of people and every streamer must consider why they want to go live and how their live stream will help others.
Welcome new viewers
Always be appreciative for every single viewer. Remember, word-of-mouth is the most effective form of marketing. Acknowledging new viewers on your stream when you see your viewership number go up is key to forming a bond with the viewer. While it is important for huge streamers to do this as well, we only ever see them do it if someone subscribes or tips. As someone starting out, it is crucial for you to call out every single guest. This will encourage the viewer to stick around, participate, and actively ask questions. Moreover, they have the power to share your Live with their friends and further increase your viewership.
If you only have one or two viewers, don’t put yourself or your content down. Flip the interpretation and consider the fact that this one person is taking time out of their day to watch your live stream. While they’re there, make it worth it. Interact, speak, explain your thought process through your live stream, and just be as uniquely you as possible. Trust and believe that one day, this one viewer will tell people “I knew this streamer before they were popular”.
Being awkward is okay
Overcoming the fear of speaking to a large audience is one thing, but streaming when no one is watching can be awkward. That is completely normal and it will likely take a few minutes for you to punch through this awkwardness. However, always make sure that you are speaking (unless you are a streamer who is studying, of course). If you are a gamer, you will want to describe the game you are playing, what you are doing, and how you thought about doing that. Go back to welcoming new streamers from time to time and catch them up on what they missed.
If you were silent the whole time and just playing the game, a viewer may pop into your live and get bored. They can go to the next live stream where a gamer is actually speaking, making jokes, and interacting with their followers. You don’t have to be speaking constantly, but just make sure you are talking about 75% of your live stream.
Restream to multiple platforms
Where are you going live usually? Twitch, YouTube, Facebook, your website? Why not go live on every platform at the same time?
You are bound to have more viewers from multiple platforms. If you have a WordPress website, going live on your site is the best starting point because you have full control over your content. Moreover, you will not face censorship or takedowns if you are streaming with WpStream. Therefore, you can go live on your WordPress website and then restream to other platforms using a Restream.io, Melon, or StreamYard. Essentially, you will go live on your WordPress website by adding the Custom RTMP (destination) of your site, and then adding more destinations to Facebook, YouTube, etc.
You can check out this video tutorial on how to go live on your website and restream to multiple platforms with WpStream and Restream.io
Schedule your live streams
There’s nothing more professional than streaming on a schedule. It shows consistency, dedication, and is a great way to market your live stream. How? You can post about upcoming live streams in time and even encourage your viewers to subscribe and add your live to the calendar. There are different WordPress plugins that will help you remind viewers of your live streams. Even if you don’t have lots of viewers initially, constantly posting your timings and reminding people will set off a trigger in their brain. This will eventually lead them to wanting to check out your live stream. It’s all psychology!
Therefore, remember to add your live stream timings to the headers of your social media platforms or even as pinned tweet/post so that it is constantly available for potential viewers to tune in. If you combine this technique with restreaming to different platforms, you’ll have your viewers increasing by day.
Join other streamers and build connections
Start interacting with other streamers that may have more viewers than you. However, be realistic in their numbers as well. Ideally, you could be joining streamers that have 100-150 active viewers. If you have between 0-5 viewers, those numbers will be extremely helpful. Besides, a streamer that has thousands or hundreds of thousands of viewers may not consider working with you no matter how harsh that sounds. Next, you will need to go live with a streamer that has the same type of content as you do. This is because their viewers will be more likely to watch your streams if they already enjoy the content of the other streamer.
Join groups on Facebook and build strong relationships with other streamers. Ask for advice and offer your own advice. Essentially, you will be networking a lot. Post your live streams on these groups (if it is allowed by the group moderator; make sure you check), and other streamers will become your viewers. They may share your live stream and you will see growth.
Don’t focus on numbers
Sure, it’s nice to see your viewership numbers grow. However, it can be super devastating when you aren’t seeing any growth or even viewers pop in and out without even giving you a chance. Although at the beginning of this article I mentioned how important it is for you to welcome your viewers as you see the number increase, consider disabling your viewer count.
Not only will this help your awkwardness, you will also not face disappointment if you see that you have 0 or very little viewers. Trust your process and pretend that you are speaking to an audience when in reality, you may be speaking to yourself. That doesn’t matter. It is much easier to speak when you know that no one is listening. Although you may have a few viewers watching, you will only see this after you have ended your live stream.
Consider this. You were planning to do something anyways. Whether you were planning to bake a cake, play a game, do your make up, or workout. The only difference is that you went live. Whether people watch it or not, at least you did what you wanted to do. After all, you can always record your live stream and post it on your website for those who missed it!
Starting out is always difficult, no matter in what domain. The key to having a successful live stream with numerous viewers is trial and error. While some may say that you will just have to keep going and continue streaming, that is not the case. What you actually need to do is change up your routine and try different things, one by one. It is quite a systemic and scientific way to approach streaming but often times, you do need to find the variable that can bring you more viewers. In this article, you learned how to apply the following approaches when you are live streaming with a very small audience:
- Remember why you started live streaming in the first place and work with that (passion, hobby, etc.)
- Make each and every follower feel seen. Welcome everyone with open arms!
- It’s okay to feel awkward while talking when no one is listening. Every popular streamer has done it at the beginning of their live career
- Bring in audiences from different social media platforms by restreaming on your website with WpStream, Facebook, YouTube, etc
- Schedule your live streams and be consistent
- Join streaming communities and interact with streamers
- Don’t focus on viewer numbers. You know your worth and that you have good content. Believe in your content and others will too