Here’s a little secret: One of the main reasons Mixer declines partnership applications is dead air and/or lack of chat interaction
The most important thing to keep in mind is that your stream should be entertaining and engaging for your viewers. In this article, we’ll share ways to avoid some the most common pitfalls.
Let’s talk about dead air. Sometimes a streamer gets hyper-focused on the game they are playing, meal they are cooking, or art they are creating, and stops talking to the audience. There are also some game broadcasters who want to have an esports-vibe to their stream, so they focus solely on the game without talking to the chat. But unless you’re a top-ranked competitive player, getting too focused on the task at hand can lead to dead air, and let’s face it…that can get boring.
More than just a few seconds of quiet can feel like dead air, so be aware of yourself! The term “dead air” originated with radio/TV and is considered a calamity in professional broadcast circles. When it comes to radio and TV, the Federal Communications Commission can punish channels for dead air, including forcing them to pay heavy fines.
Of course, the FCC can’t fine you just because you aren’t talking on stream. But dead air is a known killer of viewership and growth.
Even if you have zero viewers, you should always behave as though you’re streaming to an audience by talking, laughing, and joking around. Monologue about anything: everything you’re doing in the game, the movie you saw last night, or what your cat likes to eat. Whatever you do, keep the chatter going.
Once you get in the habit of constant running commentary, the next thing to stay on top of is interacting with the chat.
First impressions can mean the difference between someone who becomes a long-term, loyal follower, and someone who stays in your channel for ten seconds then leaves and never comes back. If someone comes in and sees you laughing and joking around, that could lead to them chatting, which could lead to a connection both with you and your community, which could lead to a follow and loyal viewership.
What you’re working with when a new viewer pops in for the first time is a funnel of adoption, a marketing term to describe how customers (in your case, viewers) can move through this funnel from awareness, to interest, evaluation, regular, and (hopefully!) advocacy.
Once someone chats, it’s important to acknowledge them and say hi as soon as possible. It’s a bit like working in retail, where behavioral experts say you have about 15 seconds to greet a customer in your store to make them feel comfortable and welcome.
However, calling out lurkers is a huge turnoff. It’s best to wait until someone makes themselves known in the chat before you begin talking to them. Even if you have a chat bot and it shows you the viewer list don’t call them out (and certainly don’t have your bot call them out publicly!) until they chat. Someone who is new to the world of streaming may want to quietly check out your content before engaging with you and your community. A callout can feel just like, well…a callout, which forces them to engage when they may not be ready. Practically, they may be a lurker who has your stream on in the background while they work or do other activities. They may even have your stream audio muted and might not hear you. For these reasons it is best to let sleeping lurkers lie.
On the flipside, it’s best to behave in a different way if you are suddenly hosted/raided by a huge stream, or you get featured on Mixer.
- A raid is a cultural phenomenon in streaming where one streamer wraps up their broadcast, then encourages all their viewers to jump over to a different streamer together – often including a custom “raid message,” like “Streamer x raid!” While many people enjoy raids as a friendly, community-building activity, there are some streamers who prefer not to be raided. Be sure to check for permission (or have a list of fellow streamers who have already given you clearance).
- A host usually accompanies a raid, but can also happen independently, where any logged-in Mixer user can highlight your live content on their own channel. This can increase exposure to new viewers, particularly if the person who hosts you is also a streamer.
How to react if you get a spotlight put on you: keep your cool! Spending the entire feature panicking or constantly thanking people doesn’t make the best content, and this is when you want to show off what you can do! Focus on being entertaining, and if a bunch of people follow, great! You don’t need to thank everyone, especially if you’re getting multiple follows a minute.
In fact, if you know in advance that you’re headed for a big follower day (i.e. you have a feature scheduled, or are competing in a tournament, etc.), you may want to turn off or make your follower notification less obtrusive. No matter what happens while streaming, THE SHOW MUST GO ON! Don’t let yourself get bogged down. get bogged down. Your goal is to entertain.
Hype vs. chill
Streamers tend to be more hype or more chill in their vibe when it comes to commentary and chatter. A streamer can also move along the spectrum from chill to hype depending on their mood or the content they’re producing that day.
- A hype streamer is always excited. They keep the conversation upbeat. They talk fast.
- A chill streamer is more relaxed and doesn’t get bothered by things. They’re not stressed out about winning the game, or about the viewer numbers. Their main focus is leading and guiding conversations with viewers in the chat.
There is a misconception that chill streamers talk less. This is not true. An entertaining chill streamer talks as much as a hype streamer – but the energy is different. Regardless of which energy you lean toward, remember to keep the conversation flowing.
Review your own channel
One way to train yourself to avoid dead air is by watching your VODs (Video on Demand – your past streams that are saved on your channel). Knowledge is power, and if you watch 20-30 minutes of a VOD and notice a pattern of dead air, take note.
If you struggle to find topics to talk about, take notes throughout the day of stuff you see in the media or news or on Twitter. Use these notes when you find yourself struggling to find a topic for your monologue.
Pay attention to the volume mixing in your channel as well, particularly in co-streams. Be aware of what noise pollution is happening, like the overabundance of too many voices in Discord or the game’s voice chat. When you mix the sounds in your streaming software, set your voice to be the loudest. This way, your audience can always hear you clearly. Then set other’s voices slightly quieter than yours. Next, set game sounds low. Music should be quiet, or in case of a co-stream, you may want to completely turn it off.
You can mix the volume in your computer’s Volume Mixer and directly in your streaming software by raising or lowering the different audio channels (your microphone versus desktop audio).
Dealing with trolls
Trolls are inevitable, but suffering is optional.
There are different methods for dealing with trolls. You should match your troll procedure to your general stream persona. Many streamers opt to just have their moderators instantly ban the trolls who come in with guns blazing and ignore that the troll was ever there. Some streamers try to educate pesky trolls until they become productive viewers. Trolls come in all different types. Some are spammy, others are mean, and others try to backseat game. Some may try to rile up your chat by picking fights with other viewers to cause drama.
Here are some sample responses to different types of trolls:
- A spamming troll: “Come on, buddy, do you really want to keep asking the same questions over and over or do you want to become part of the family and enjoy the stream?”
- A troll who your insults your content or gameplay: “If you’re gonna insult me, do it more creatively!”
- A troll who gets even more angry after their first chat timeout ends, “Aww, does somebody need a juice box?”
At the end of the day, it comes down to your channel personality. Determine whatever method is right for you and your community. Communicate your expectations clearly to your moderators.
If someone crosses the line from generic spamming/trolling to breaking Mixer’s Terms of Service or the Rules of User Conduct, the best thing to do is report them. You should have open communication with your moderators, so they understand the best thing to do is report and ignore. Mixer has Guardians from the Community Action Team on duty around the clock, working to keep the Mixer community safe.
Most people watch streams because they want to have fun. In order to make your stream a fun, entertaining place, the most important thing is that you should be having fun! Fun is infectious, and a great base ingredient for every channel.