User Engagement

A Deep Dive into Building Your Community with Discord

| Last updated: July 25, 2022

Online communities have now become an essential part of our digital life. It’s never been easier to connect with like-minded people and discuss things you’re interested in even if you’re located in different parts of the world. There are many different platforms that enable such type of socialization and in this article, we are going to talk about one of the most popular ones. Namely, Discord. 

Discord is a messenger adapted primarily for gaming communications, but it is also possible to use it for other purposes. During the Covid-19 pandemic, its audience expanded beyond gamers. The messenger became especially popular with young people who sought communication with friends.

The messenger supports not only voice, video, and text chats but also thematic communities. The app authors for the most part are big fans of computer games, and they know how to arrange everything in a chat for gamers. As a result, the players can empathize with exciting minutes of virtual battles, keep in touch with partners during dangerous missions, and just chat with other fans of their favourite game.

Discord’s popularity is constantly growing. Here are some usage and revenue statistics:

  • $130 million in revenue in 2020, an 188% increase year-on-year;
  • Over 140 million monthly active users and 300 million registered accounts;
  • In 2021, Discord was valued at $15 billion, doubling its value in less than a year.

How to Set Up a Community on Discord

Before you set up a community on Discord, you need to create a server – a platform that hosts various thematic communities. Follow these steps:

  1. Launch Discord.
  2. A panel will appear on the left side of the screen. On this panel, you need to find and click the icon in the form of a plus sign.
  3. In a window that appears, click “Create a server”.
  4. In the next window, fill in the required fields, such as the name of the server, the region, and the image.
  5. When ready, click “Create” – and that’s it.

Now you have to check if everything works. To do it, you need to view a list of all servers. If you have performed all of the above actions correctly, then you will see the new server in the general list. You can invite friends to your server to chat, create communities, and so on. You can also create participants and assign them roles, each of which will have certain permissions.

A channel is the key structural unit on the server. These are communities for communication on a specific topic with an unlimited number of participants, with which you can exchange text or audio (video) messages. Depending on this, channels can be text or voice, but the process of their creation is the same. You only need to determine a specific type during the installation but it is impossible to change in the future.

To create your own channel, you need to do the following:

  1. Launch Discord.
  2. Go to the server where you plan to open the channel.
  3. Next to the “Text channels” or “Voice channels” tab, click the plus icon.
  4. Name the channel by entering a name in the appropriate field.
  5. Add participants according to the desired roles.
  6. Confirm your actions by clicking “Create”.

How to Manage a Discord Community

It is quite easy to manage a Discord community. The functionality is straightforward and simple to understand. First of all, you need to invite users to your community. Follow these steps:

  1. In the title bar, click the little man icon.
  2. Select a person from your contact list or copy the automatically generated invitation link.

It is also possible to add users from your existing contacts. Follow these steps:

  1. Activate the “Friends” tab by clicking the top-most icon on the left part of the screen.
  2. Activate the “All” tab on the right, above the friends’ list.
  3. Right-click a friend’s name.
  4. In the menu that appears, select “Invite”.
  5. Select the server to which you want to invite the user.

Now it’s time to assign user roles:

  1. Go to “Server settings” > “Roles”.
  2. Click a plus icon to add a new role.
  3. Set up the name, colour, and permissions for participants with this role.
  4. In the left part of the screen, click “Participants” to open the community members list.
  5. Click a plus sign next to the name of the user to whom you want to assign a role and select this role from the list.

In Discord, it is not possible to protect a channel with a password. But you can make a channel private during the creation by doing the following:

  1. Create a channel via a plus icon.
  2. Enter the name of the channel.
  3. Turn on the “Private Channel” toggle below.
  4. In a field that appears, specify the user roles that can access this channel.
  5. When ready, click “Create”.

The closed channel will be displayed in the general list. All users will see it but only a participant who has the appropriate permission will be able to enter it.

One of Discord’s helpful features is AFK rooms. With this function, you can automatically transfer the user to the AFK voice channel if they are absent for a certain period.

  1. Log in to the app under the administrator profile.
  2. An “A” will appear next to the server name. This is necessary because only the server administrator can create an AFK channel.
  3. Under “Server Admin” > “Server Properties”, go to the “User Inactivity” tab.
  4. Under “Action”, select “Move to channel”.
  5. Specify a channel where users will be transferred after the end of the timeout period.

You can also create groups inside communities. For example, you can create groups for the most active community members. You can add up to 10 people to a group. You do not need to send invitations to add members, it is enough to select them among your contacts. The first step is to add all contacts to the friends’ list. Next, click the “Send Message” button, select the recipients from the list, and start chatting.

In 2020, Discord released Community Servers. They added this feature because the audience went far beyond gamers. To use it, you need to have either a Discord server with over 10,000 members or a partnered/verified server. If your server falls into one of these categories, you can activate the new Community tab in your server settings.

Pros of Using Discord for Community Building

It is quite easy to create servers, channels, and groups in Discord. The app has a fairly simple and intuitive interface. Extra features will make the work of administrators easier and secure the communities. By creating new roles and setting up various rights, you can “play” with the app’s possibilities. This can be a division into regions (where necessary), the creation of a hierarchy of roles, or setting up temporary passes per channel for individual users. 

Further benefits of Discord are as follows:

  • Different rooms (chats) with different access rights.
  • Roles with varying degrees of access to channel rooms.
  • Possibility to pin important messages.
  • Possibility to rate a message in the chat by leaving emoticons under it.
  • Possibility to make a voice chat public and private, and there is no limit on the number of participants.
  • Interactive URLs with previews of videos, images, and gif animations.
  • Invitations to open channels with either a one-time or a reusable link.
  • High-quality audio and a lot of helpful audio settings, such as individual volume control for each participant.
  • Easy-to-use AI chatbots that help to automate repetitive actions, such as chat moderation or onboarding.
  • The Community Servers feature makes it possible to automatically filter unwanted media content from community members and remove moderation permissions for all group members.
  • The Community Servers feature has a built-in analytics system that can give you insights into community engagement. The more members a community has (e.g. over 500), the more insights you can access.

Discord is an established community with many users, so all of the functionality is at your fingertips – you do not have to build anything from scratch. And what’s also essential – Discord is free of charge, although it’s also possible to level up your server by going for a paid version called Nitro. 

Discord Nitro comes in two versions – Nitro and Nitro Classic. For $4.99 per month or $49.99 per year, Discord Nitro Classics will provide you with animated GIF avatars, a custom discord tag, platform-wide emojis, HD video streaming, and 50MB file upload limit, and a Nitro badge. On the other hand, Discord Nitro allows you to get a 100MB upload limit, 2 server boosts, server avatars, and the global availability of stickers at the cost of $9.99 per month or $99.99 per year. 

Cons of Using Discord for Community Building

Keep in mind that if you want to build a community of your app users in Discord, you may face the following challenges:

  • It is necessary to set up a server for an unlimited number of users. The non-server mode supports only up to 10 participants, and this number is of course too small for building an online community for a brand. It’s quite easy to create and set up a server in Discord but it still requires time and is an extra step on the way to building an online community.
  • Another limit is the number of characters in a message – it should not exceed 2,000 symbols. If the message has more characters, Discord offers to send it as a file. Additionally, the size of the file cannot exceed 8 Mb. You can send larger files only with the paid subscription, Nitro.
  • User interaction takes place outside of your game or app. Your users need to leave your app to interact with the community. Additionally, they need separate profiles in Discord. Discord’s roles and permissions may be complicated for beginners.
  • Security issues. The application monitors the users’ activity to display to others, and the users cannot fully deactivate this option. 
  • Lack of user engagement within your app. Business models of platforms such as Discord are not intended to make users spend more time in your app. On the contrary, their purpose is to make users spend more time on the platform. For example, when a user comes from your app to Discord or, say, Facebook to interact with the community, the platform will do everything to prevent the user from going back to your app. They want the users to stay so the platform can serve them ads.
  • You do not own the relationship with the user, but the platform does. So when the platform decides that it wants to change the rules on how you can access the community, they can do it and you have no leverage.

In an ideal scenario, you control your in-game/app community, inside of your product. This way you retain ownership of the user, you keep direct access to the user (for notifications, etc.) and there is the least amount of friction between interacting with the community and using your product. 

This doesn’t mean that you should ignore the other platforms because your users will still talk about you there. It just means that your focus should be on getting your users to interact with you directly. So if you’re posting content to Discord, make sure it has a CTA that drives back to your product. Technology like GetSocial can help you with that.

How Does GetSocial’s Solution Differ from Discord?

  • All the interaction between your users happens inside of your product. It means there’s no switching between different platforms and thus, users spend more time in your app/game.
  • With GetSocial the community sits right inside your platform and is integrated with the services and products you sell.
  • You own the data and the relationship with your users, not a third-party platform.
  • With Discord, you are limited to the features that are provided there, whereas with GetSocial you get the flexibility to build a community that meets YOUR requirements i.e. you can build a community like Linkedin, Tiktok, Instagram, Quora, etc., whatever suits your tastes and goals. 

If you’d like to find out more about building communities with GetSocial, you can book a demo call with us to explore our platform!

Anastasia Khomych

Anastasia is a content marketing manager at GetSocial.

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