On this episode of Friday Lives, host Anya Razina speaks with Eric Didier, Chief Creative Officer at Urban Misfit Ventures by day and Twitch streamer by night. He’s also known on the internet as “Dids.” Trying to launch a career as a YouTuber at a young age led Eric to streaming, which eventually prompted him to start his own business. Eric uses his personal experiences as a live streamer and content creator to help his clients develop their personal brands and storytelling strategies.
Anya and Eric covered several topics in this edition of Friday Lives, including how to combine Twitch and LinkedIn Live and what gamers who want to grow can learn from professionals.
Let’s dive in!
How Eric got into streaming
Eric was always a casual gamer, and he wanted to try gaming and streaming on YouTube as a teenager. But he quickly found out YouTube wasn’t the right place for him and discovered Twitch (back when it was Justin.tv).
Eric loved having a place to channel his creativity and claims that streaming on Twitch helped him develop charisma and even grow as a person. His motivation for going live wasn’t getting more viewers, it was working on his personal goals. Eric’s streaming and love of creativity and self-expression eventually inspired him to start a media agency.
I used [streaming] to grow into the person that I am today and still continuing to become. And I think that's really what influenced me to hit the ‘live’ button — more so than any of the viewership or accolades that can come with streaming.
Being “Strange on Purpose”
Eric and his colleagues have a podcast called Strange on Purpose, which they use as another creative outlet for Urban Misfit Ventures. Currently, the podcast is structured in different chapters, where they explore topics close to their hearts in more detail. They’ve done seasons on women in sneakers and women in eSports.
The unlikely combination of Twitch and LinkedIn
Most people wouldn’t put Twitch and LinkedIn Live in the same category when it comes to live streaming. But Eric broadcasts to both platforms simultaneously using Restream. He considers it the best way to express himself and build his personal brand.
Eric was a Twitch streamer before creating content on LinkedIn. When his business partner asked him to make a video for LinkedIn a few years ago, Eric didn’t think it would go well since he wasn’t “professional” enough as a streamer.
That first video got 5000 views and 50 comments — much more than he was used to on Twitch. So he kept making videos for LinkedIn. When LinkedIn Live rolled out and announced the partnership with Restream, Eric saw it as the perfect opportunity to combine his Twitch streaming with his professional brand-building.
My brand carries no matter what, no matter what platform I'm on.
Personal branding according to Eric
As a Chief Creative Officer, Eric is an expert in personal branding and storytelling. For him, personal branding is a 24/7 job. When he works with clients, he identifies three phases of building a brand:
- Brand awareness: This first phase is about letting people get to know you. You want them to see your personality and feel a connection with you.
- What you do: In the second phase, you tell people what you have to offer, or what you do. Once people get to know you, they want to know what you can bring to the table.
- Start selling: The final phase is when you ask people for something, whether it’s buying your product or visiting your website. People aren’t put off by your ask because they feel like they already know you.
This approach to brand building is the sweet spot between relationship building and influencer marketing.
Learning from mistakes and trolls
Eric is candid about his mistakes, missteps, and how he lets them roll off his back. He mentions his current issue with setting up his green screen and how he’s constantly tweaking it to get it right. He says that if you’re a human going live online, you’re going to make mistakes, and people will understand. You shouldn’t expect perfection.
Eric’s also had to deal with trolls, particularly one person who consistently left negative, personal comments in the chat on Eric’s stream. His advice in situations like these is to reply with positivity, not hostility. If you give the troll the attention they’re looking for, it makes the stream toxic for everyone else. Eric’s honesty with himself — about both his attributes and his flaws — helps him shake off negative comments from trolls.
I know who I am. I'm vulnerable just to be in front of the camera, doing the streaming. That's the risk that I'm willing to take.
Personal branding and storytelling: how to get started
A lot of people struggle with the first steps when it comes to personal branding. Eric encourages people to dive right in and use accessible tools like a smartphone to get started. You don’t necessarily need to live stream from your phone, but you can cultivate your social media presence easily.
Eric also stresses that it doesn’t take a lot of gear to start streaming. A webcam, laptop, and decent microphone are all you need. As you keep growing your live stream channel or presence, you can upgrade or add equipment such as a stream deck or higher-quality lighting.
What should your first video be about? Just introduce yourself, Eric says. State why you’re streaming, what your interests are, and what kind of people you’re hoping to connect with. You can also give yourself a 30-day challenge, which motivates you to go live every day. As long as you build your stream on your interests and like-minded people, you’ll always have things to talk about.
Get yourself a mini challenge that's relevant to who you are and what you do. It tells people who you are, what you're about — it tells so much about yourself. That's a great way to get started on any platform and for streaming.
What can Twitch gamers learn from professionals on LinkedIn?
Twitch gamers looking to grow their channels should treat it like a business. In that sense, always build relationships and network before you ask for anything. If there’s a company you’re interested in partnering with, immerse yourself in their ecosystem. Engage on their Discord channel, connect on LinkedIn. Then go for the ask.
The companies gamers want to work with almost always have a LinkedIn presence. LinkedIn is where you can showcase your portfolio and professional interests. Make yourself an obvious choice for a company you’re interested in.
The gamer’s guide to business
Do gamers lack the resources needed to grow their business? Eric doesn’t think so. For him, being live is only part of the personal branding process. All your off-screen work should culminate in your live stream, not the other way around.
Streamers should dedicate time to responding to comments on social media or chatting with their communities on Discord. Gamers who want a good presence have to focus on building their communities first and thinking long-term.
Always give to give without expecting to get, but once you've implemented yourself into that company’s community, then you can go for the ask.
The best revenue model for podcasts
For Eric, there’s not one way to generate revenue from a podcast. Many people choose sponsorship, but for others it’s viewership. For “Strange on Purpose” Eric and his colleagues are still exploring the best options. Being in the personal branding and storytelling business, Eric says he must always consider whether a potential sponsor will become a client some day.
Eric encourages podcasters to look beyond sponsorships too, by posting commercials on social media or influencing on other platforms, to generate income.
Starting on Twitch at a young age
A lot of streamers on Twitch or other platforms are young. If you’re still a teenager, how can you get financial support for your streams? Eric notes that while you may not be able to gain official support from Twitch due to age requirements, there are other avenues (and platforms) open to you. His advice is always to focus on community building first because that leads to other opportunities for sponsorship or partnership. Starting from a young age doesn’t change the fact that networking should always come before the ask.
Make sure you’re having fun because you don't want to burn out. You don't want to start to hate it. It's a perfect time, at such a young age, to do all of these things and really learn how to have fun with it. But learn the ins and outs and the importance of the network.
What can brands learn from game publishers?
According to Eric, game publishers are great at customer loyalty. They know that if they make a sensational first game that gives players a good experience, those players are highly likely to buy the second title in the series. Other brands can learn that connecting with people and making customers part of the story drives loyalty.
What’s the future of LinkedIn Live?
Eric sees a bright future for LinkedIn Live. Streaming on LinkedIn lets people get to know you before they agree to do business with you. It puts less emphasis on the cold introduction and fosters more meaningful interactions right away.
Live streaming on LinkedIn Live also gives you immediate feedback with influencers in your niche. Those looking for mentors or mentees can also connect more easily.
Should you bring live guests onto your stream?
With new technology like the Restream Studio, you can bring guests onto your live stream and broadcast them alongside your own image. But is it wise to have your viewers on your live stream? Couldn’t things go wrong? Of course! Things can always go wrong on a live stream, whether you have a guest or not.
Inviting someone onto your live stream, even for a few minutes, can help forge those important connections you need with your community. Eric likens bringing guests on a live stream to radio shows asking listeners to call in or TV news reporters interviewing witnesses live on-air. Why should live streaming online be any different?
If you are the person bringing guests on, you're able to really get immediate feedback or create conversation that helps your side of things grow.
Getting personal with your personal brand
Eric is a firm believer in putting himself out there. He shares details from his personal life on his streams because it helps his viewers connect to him on a deeper level. He advises streamers to be more transparent if they’re comfortable doing so. He understands there’s a fear of oversharing, but there’s also power in it. You never know who you’ll relate to, and it leads to more empathy, more interest, and real conversations.
Eric Didier had some great insights about storytelling and how to leverage live streaming for your personal brand. Some of the key takeaways from his conversation with Anya are:
- Use streaming as a way to grow as a person and it’ll be much easier to build a community.
- Twitch and LinkedIn are not mutually exclusive; gamers need an active presence on both platforms to advance their careers.
- In personal branding, building relationships should come first.
- Be confident in yourself, and don’t let trolls derail you from your goals.
- It doesn’t take high-end equipment to start live streaming.
- When you’re first starting out with live streaming, create content based on your interests and relationships with like-minded people.
- Don't be afraid to look for new ways to generate revenue with podcasts.
- Young streamers can also benefit from community building.
- Game publishers can teach brands a thing or two about customer loyalty.
- LinkedIn Live will help advance business relationships.
- Bringing guests or co-hosts onto your live stream makes it more responsive and engaging.
- Don’t be afraid to share personal details with your audience.
Huge thanks to Eric Didier for appearing on Friday Lives! We learned a lot about personal branding and storytelling, and we hope you did too.