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Marcus ‘djWHEAT’ Graham on Creating Your Community Strategy as You Go

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November 11, 2014
April 2, 2024


Marcus Graham, Director of Community and Education at Twitch, brought to CMX his lessons learned from growing Twitch, the largest social video site for gamers.

Marcus was incredibly candid when sharing that the team really had no idea what they were doing when they first started. They were growing too fast to know everything all at once.

“It is okay to fail,” he said. In fact, the early days of Twitch involved a lot of guesswork. It is okay to not know what the direction is at this point. You can look toward — among other things — the community to figure out the tough answers to the questions you have.

Twitch exists for and because “people like to watch other people play video games,” Marcus says. And people really really must like to watch people play video games, because they get 60 million unique people visiting the site monthly.

In the last year, they’ve finally had some breakthroughs in their community and finally have a structure.

The Twitch Community Composition

  1. Viewers
  2. Broadcasters, or those who create content via the platform
  3. Partners, or broadcasters who have created their communities and profit (sometimes six figures a year)
  4. Developers, or those who make video games and market and grow their own communities via Twitch

Each sector is critical to expanding and marketing the business for Twitch, and each one has different yet interdependent needs.

“We had to figure out a way to connect our users on a deeper level because all they do is live online all day.” Twitch started doing online events and is now moving towards doing Meetups. By connecting with the community, “we’ve also gotten the community to connect with each other, and it has created a ridiculous amount of brand loyalty… Giving them some sort of identity [means] giving them a place to live.”

Transparency Above All Else

“We manage gamers. They’re fickle, they’re demanding, they demand transparency.” Marcus drove home the point that letting your community in on what’s going on behind the scenes is an absolute necessity. Transparency seems simple, but not all people and companies believe in it. “If you don’t have the conversations, they go off and have the conversations on their own… they have the speculations.”

“I can’t stress enough—put yourself in your community’s shoes.” If a feature were taken away, would we complain? Would we get on Twitter to complain about it? If the answer is yes, your community members will too. Have some empathy and approach them the way you’d like to be approached.

“You can do amazing things, not only for growing your community, but hopefully for what is a lifelong brand connection.”

How do they do this at Twitch?

  • Twitch launched Town Halls, where they let their users come and talk to them, and they actually listen and act on what is being talked about.
  • Twitch also hosts Twitch Circles, where they not only talk to users, but users get to talk to one another.
  • Talk to support. Your support team talks directly to your customers. Make sure that the communication channels are open.

Today, just two community people manage over 60 million Twitch users. At that scale, they’re clearly doing something right.

November 11, 2014
April 2, 2024

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