Livestreaming is one of the fastest-growing forms of content creation. Platforms like Twitch, TikTok, Kick, and plenty of others all provide opportunities for creators to make money and build their brand.
But it's also a ton of work. As with all forms of entertainment and content creation, livestreaming has major pros and major cons. One of the biggest issues with building a content business around livestreaming is most of the benefits are very much centered around realtime interaction. If you're not live, you're probably not growing.
But when you are live, you're able to form connections with viewers more immediately than just about any other form of digital interaction. It's why people who become fans during a livestreaming event typically stick around longer and contribute more to your career.
So in order to find some middle ground, a lot of streamers have turned to repurposing their livestreamed content for other mediums — particularly social media. But social media and livestreams are inherently different types of content with different purposes. And while some of the top streamers in the world have found success reposting clips to social media, that's because they've already established the community on different platforms. And truthfully, their clips may get hundreds of thousands of views, but it's still often a fraction of their millions of followers. They don't typically reach a ton of people who don't know who they are.
When it comes to smaller and developing streamers, you can't expect to blow up on social media simply by reposting livestream clips. At the same time, we get how exhausting it can be to try and maintain livestreams and multiple social channels with entirely original content.
So, let's look at some ways to turn your livestreams into social media assets without just doubling your work load.
Why Recorded Livestreams Don't Inherently Make Good Content
So first, let's discuss why simply recording and uploading your VODs (video on demand) doesn't drive particularly good engagement. For most content creators, their previous streams get a fraction of a fraction of interest from their fans. Even the ones who typically show up for their streams. You can see this by perusing data for streams that people leave up on YouTube or Twitch.
Sure, there will be views trickling in here and there depending on the content, but by and large these videos are very much a "might as well leave this up" afterthought.
That's because the primary draw for watching livestreams isn't necessarily the content you're livestreaming, but the community that all shows up to be part of it. There's an excitement about realtime interactions with streamers and — especially with larger streamers — a feeling that you're hanging out on a livestream because all your friends are hanging out there, too, even if the streamer never really pays attention to you.
That's why you clipping a popular moment from your stream and uploading it as a social media video probably won't do as well as you'd hoped. Because it turns out what made that moment so interesting was the realtime reaction of the community. It can be both humbling to realize how you're a smaller part of the livestreaming experience than you realized, and also really fulfilling to see the ecosystem and community you're creating for others.
And you also have to remember that people browse their social media feeds for different reasons from intentionally tuning into livestreams. They're not the same type of content, the viewer intent isn't the same, and simply cutting up streams to feel like you're making use of them doesn't actually serve the potential audience you're trying to reach on social media.
Preparing Your Livestream To Look Like Native Social Media Content
One of the biggest problems with repurposing your livestream for social platforms is that, in most cases, they're just inherently not formatted for the same purpose. Outside of TikTok livestreaming, which natively supports 16:9 vertical screens, most stream setups are meant for a typical widescreen setup.
This leads to several issues. If you try to squish your horizontal content into a vertical frame, you'll be left with a lot of blank space at the top and bottom. This leads to a suboptimal experience for users and will likely prevent your video from getting much algorithmic reach. Some users have experimented with uploading horizontal content rotated 90 degrees to take up the entire frame — but that requires users to rotate their phone to watch it normally, which is a tall ask and likely not going to happen.
So, you're mostly left with cropping your video clips to where the most interesting thing is in the center of the phone, zoomed in, with whatever was happening on the sides cropped off. This can lead to plenty of problems, including the content drifting and requiring manual tracking, or even worse — your typical overlays encroaching on the frame and creating an ugly, unreadable mess.
So, you need to be very mindful of how you set up your stream. In general, you want to be sure to keep the immediate area around your face free of any potential text popping up. You can also utilize platforms like Streamlabs, which has matching dual overlays for vertical and horizontal setups. Some game developers are even launching new "HUD" displays with streamers and content creators in mind.
But ultimately, you need to be thoughtful to create a setup that will let you either edit your frame to show a clear depiction of your face as well as your screen, or simply show your face. Whatever you choose, you need to be mindful that anybody watching the video can see it as a standalone clip and not feel like they're missing on anything because it's out of frame.
Create Social Media Moments While Livestreaming
This is the real trick. If you want to make your livestreaming go further for you and be usable as social media content, you need to think about who is going to see your posts.
Outside of a core group of super followers, most of the people who see your content on platforms like TikTok, Instagram Reels, or YouTube Shorts probably don't follow you. At the very least, you'll need a significant number of people who don't follow you to be interested in your content in order for the algorithms to pump it out to more potential new fans.
So that's why you want to think about the type of content you'd want to natively see on these platforms. If you're livestreaming, think about framing what you say in a way that you would with social media videos. Most livestreams are spur-of-the-moment. People get value out of the unexpected. Most successful social media content is planned, scripted, edited, and executed well.
So you need to think about how you can create a fully-encapsulated social media post (preferably in 60 seconds or less if you're trying to post it on all the major platforms) during your stream. Start talking with a hook that you think may work well on social media. If you're going to try something outlandish in a game on the stream, introduce it verbally in a way that will catch somebody in the first few seconds.
Basically, with livestreams you have a ton of grace with your audience. They'll stick around for the payoff. With social media, you've got to catch people in the first three seconds or less and earn their attention.
But this is actually a super natural process. Even if you just had an organic, spur-of-the-moment conversation with chat, think about how you can repeat that conversation in a way that feels like a native social media post. Reframe that content so that somebody who isn't already part of your community or "in on it" can scroll by it on TikTok, stop in the first second or two, and feel like they got a rewarding, complete piece of content.
Unfortunately, in a lot of cases, being impressive or good isn't enough. You have to be attention-grabbing. There's a good chance that the more you frame your streams like this, the more you'll see people clip your content and start conversations around it. When it comes down to it, all you're doing is learning how to reframe and edit your livestreams into the most impactful nugget of content they can be.