Everyone starts at the same place, fresh & new on twitch or another streaming platform reaching toward the common goal of having an audience to interact with. Some have found the efforts of growing their audience difficult, especially early on and so I found myself inspired to make this guide.
Start with the basics, your friends and family.
Straight up, the people most likely to be your very first viewers are your friends. Write a friendly message letting them know you're getting into streaming. Ask them to support you simply by being there and active in your chat. Your friends are going to be your biggest & best supporters day 1.
Be active in other communities.
Be active in communities! Not just in other people's streams but their discords too! The more active you are, the more people will remember you. This matters because most communities have going live channels in their discord. This is an appropriate place to non-invasively mention your stream in . The friends you've already made in these communities will no doubt see this and come say hi, maybe even your big streamer friend too!
Be active on social media.
I don't mean posting or telling people you're live, but engaging with other people. Find conversations to join in on. Make jokes & comment on other peoples content. If you've got no followers, engaging in the content of others is a great way to get your name out there and start to grow your social circle. People will see your comments, and if they like your contribution they'll check out your profile. So be sure your timeline has some of your own content on it for other people to see when they view your profile. Engaging with others, commenting on their stuff, adding to conversation is easily THE BEST way to get known as you're starting to grow.
Make content outside of twitch.
Discoverability is difficult, almost nonexistant on platforms like twitch for new streamers. On this specific point I think CapsLockKeyon said it best with:
If you make content outside of twitch that is easily passed around like on Twitter, your name is more likely to get out there which is the hard part about twitch. Discoverability!
When you're just starting out streaming you can further leverage your social media accounts for growth by creating content on them. You might not have gaming content ready to share but that's okay, just be your best self, share your personality & your sense of humor. You want to engage people that like you for you. For example, if you have an idea for a short video skit like a vine, record publish it!
After your stream don't forget!
After your stream ends, talk about it on social media. Thank your major supporters, and tag them if you follow them. It's a great way to grow your following. People love seeing the recipients of their support how grateful they are for it. To elaborate further on showing that gratitude: Did someone raid you? Shout them out with how much that means to you. Did someone make a clip? Drop a tweet thanking them & tagging them! Take the time to find & link to their social profiles so the people who supported you get alerted! They'll no doubt comment and their followers will see that and probably check you out too.
People appreciate you being your best self. That said, just enjoy what you're doing. Try not to stress over the numbers & be grateful for the viewers & chatters as you get them. The happier you are on your stream, the more that'll infect your viewers and the better the odds you have of turning that viewer into a follower. That first impression matters. Happiness is contagious after all.
I'd like to shoutout WhoarderOfBabelOn, CapsLockKeyon & SmalPoxx for giving me their input with this article & pointing out typos. You should check them out. They're 3 streamers I highly recommend networking with and learning from.