How Creators and Brands are tapping into the power of Twitch, Discord, and Reddit
The days of Instagram and Facebook dominating the social media world are pretty much over and have been since TikTok emerged as a favorite platform in 2020.
Today, creators are looking to diverse and unique social platforms to connect with followers. There’s a reason why these platforms look appealing: with niche communities and a dedicated audience, creators don’t need to pay as much attention to follower counts as in previous years.
Aside from TikTok, there are some new players in the creator game:
Twitch. Discord. Reddit.
While these platforms aren’t exactly new (Reddit goes all the way back to 2005), creators are using them in new and engaging ways.
Where did this newfound freedom come from to explore new platforms and engage with related communities?
It comes down to this: creators are more interested in connecting with an audience in a more meaningful and natural way.
Even if their following is on the smaller side within these different platforms, they have a good chance of connecting with brands that have modest budgets or don’t have the spending ability top-level influencers want.
Because these alternative platforms are designed more for engagement and interaction, it makes sense that they’re attracting creators away from other saturated platforms. Another factor is each of these platforms has more of a niche community to start.
Twitch, for example, is a company focused on gaming and esports. As a live-streaming game platform, users have the ability to broadcast as they play games live with audio commentary. Through a chatbox, viewers can engage and interact with the host – in the case of Twitch, this interactive platform works well given the nature of gaming and its base.
So, how do these new platforms factor into the creator economy, and, better yet, what does that look like for both creators and brands? Let’s explore.
As a live streaming platform, Twitch’s popularity has risen dramatically since its official launch in 2011. Since then, the platform sees an estimated 35 million unique visitors every month—making it one of the leading destinations for gamers and creators.
Is Twitch just for gamers and esports though? No.
In fact, creators use Twitch to stream a lot more these days. Take a look at the Twitch homepage and you’ll find a little bit of everything: music, creativity, IRL (which includes ASMR and podcasts), as well as games and esports.
There’s a lot of value for creators on Twitch, too: growing an audience in a respective niche, creating a community, and giving viewers a behind-the-scenes look at life as a creator (something a lot of viewers love to see).
Okay, so what’s the difference between Twitch and other streaming platforms – namely YouTube or TikTok? While there’s certainly an aspect of YouTube that allows for streaming, Twitch is geared more toward creating interactive live streams on a consistent basis.
Twitch also creates a space for viewers to come in and especially engage with others in the stream. The chat function is easier to use than let’s say TikTok—it creates more of a conversational aspect rather than just a comment feed.
Creator PepperRaccoon, a New Zealand-based illustrator, dedicates time each week to going live on Twitch. Scheduled streams make it easy for viewers to know when their favorite creator is live, plus there’s an option to donate to creators, buy merch, or support creators in other preferred ways.
Marketing designer Charli Prangley uses Twitch in an entirely different way. Through her live streams, she takes viewers along in the process of creating, auditing, or designing websites.
Throughout the streams, she often asks for feedback which makes the experience much more interactive and interesting.
The assortment of categories on the platforms shows how versatile the channels are and, at the end of the day, creators use it any way they want to connect with a specific audience and grow visibility or incomes.
You see it more and more now: creators encouraging you to join their Discord community.
Another platform designed to connect creators with an audience, Discord originally appealed to the gaming crowd but has since morphed into something of a forum/Slack app for all things social. From connecting with others and engaging in online conversations or coordinating meetups both online and offline.
Creators have the option to host public or private servers, which act as a forum for members to interact with one another.
When PokemonGo kicked off in the summer of 2016, YouTube creators with massive followings pushed users to Discord as a way to connect players in local and international communities to battle in raids, trade Pokémon, and trade helpful tips or news.
Discord got a huge boost of attention with one of the biggest players of Fortnight, Ninja, streamed with Drake and organically walked him through signing up for the platform—giving Discord founders a bigger spotlight than they could have ever imagined.
Discord’s chief marketing officer, Eros Resmini, shared that that experience between Ninja and Drake was exactly what he was trying to create at the platform: bringing people together for shared experiences.
How might creators use Discord as opposed to other social platforms? It’s all about looking for new ways to connect with audiences.
Benefits of using Discord as a creator include:
- Connecting creators with brand evangelists (fans who are most vocal and supportive for a creator)
- Developing a community around a point of interest. This also allows followers with similar interests to build relationships—which takes the pressure off the creator to always be engaging and creating in order to keep attention.
- Promoting a brand through personalized links or offer as a perk (such as access to a private server as a perk for Patreon).
For creators, Discord brings the most engaged audience to servers and since this platform is more casual and skews to a younger market, creators wanting to tap into that dedicated space will likely find it more lucrative than other platforms.
Ask someone to name social media platforms and they’ll probably go through a laundry list before they get to Reddit.
Despite it being around since 2015, there are still people discovering it daily. The interface is one aspect that keeps users from diving in—compared to Instagram or Twitter it can appear much more complicated but, as I found out myself, isn’t that hard to grasp.
With 250 million-plus users, creators have plenty of opportunities with this platform. And while there’s definitely a sense of content overwhelm (especially for new users), how does it fare for creators?
As a platform designed for conversation, Reddit is great for driving engagement where creators want it. Ranging from politics to pop culture in the form of subreddits, the opportunity for creators is in posting and engaging with certain topics to build awareness.
Whether it’s sharing blog posts or interacting with other conversations, it’s a good idea for creators to look at Reddit as a concentrated audience in a given industry or niche.
Are these platforms completely different from some of the main characters in social media? Not entirely.
But here’s where they differ for creators: instead of having to compete with the masses and figuring out changing algorithms, creators can get back to doing what they love: creating for an audience, big or small, where it resonates most.