Using Discord to create the ideal community interaction Platform
Discord was created in 2015 and has become the most used method by gamers for communicating online via voice and text. With its myriad of features such as individual channels, screen sharing, high quality VoIP and more, it’s not difficult to see why it has become so popular. But in recent months it has seen a usage increase by the wider population for all sorts of community driven interactions, from web development collaborations to at home school teaching.
In this article, we aim to highlight specific use cases and features that can be utilised by you to get the most community engagement possible and encourage a positive vibe for your users and create recurring interactions and repeat visitations.
Bots will take over the world!
One of the best parts about Discord is the ability to implement ‘bots’ to automate various aspects of your server. They have a wide range of styles, from basic custodian tasks like welcome messages and channel assignment, to more playful ones like music quizzes. They can be used to auto-assign roles to users for direct access to specific sections you create within your server, automatically enforce rules by deleting messages, removing users etc or even allow for the use of custom command prompts within the server as well. The laundry list of functions a bot can perform are too numerous to name within this article truthfully!
While there are free options available, most of the popular ones such as MEE6 tend to cost a fee, either up front or recurring. While it is easy to dismiss them as ‘unnecessary cost’, they’re usefulness cannot be understated.
For the more adventurous, you can also create your own Bot from scratch! It is actually easier than it might seem at first, with a myriad of guides available online. If Skywarrior users are interested in a guide from us, you can let us know via the comment section below!
Few things are as pleasant as being greeted at the entrance during your first visit to somewhere new. It makes you feel cared about by those running the establishment, and can make it less daunting. It also provides an instant opportunity to ask questions and learn things about where you are.
To this end, implementing a welcome message is highly recommended. It gives acknowledgement to your community members and can be used to create a sense of the mood in your server. You can present them with a custom message, create a brief description of the server lay-out and even give them a run down of the rules you may or may not use for your server. Options for auto-assigning roles can also be helpful as it gives users a bit more immediate direction and saves them navigating through potentially less relevant sections.
These ‘welcome’ features can all be set up with the aforementioned Bots which is helpful, that being part of a broader range of features, but another option that circumvents using Bots is enabling the ‘Community’ option in your server settings. Becoming a Community Server has its own benefits such as getting Server Insights, the welcome message or having the chance for your server to be promoted within Discord’s own Discovery section. There are certain criteria that need to be met to enable the Community option such as having a verified email address, but they are all relatively straight forward. For more information you can check Discord’s own guidelines on Communities linked here
And if you successfully market yourself as a community server, you can progress to applying for the Partnership program within Discord for other benefits such as earning money through Discord!
Keep it neat & tidy
An easy mistake to make with Discord is to either make too few channels so all discussions get lumped in too close together, or to make an over abundance of channels with no clear guidance on what their purpose is. It is worth taking the time to organise each section of your Discord. This becomes especially important if your community is not highly specific. For example if you are an online Tournament Hosting platform that uses Discord but exclusively host events for 1 game such as Rocket League, you may not need quite as many channels. But say you hosted a wider range of events and cover 2 or 3 different games or maybe even more, you don’t want participants overlapping and discussing matters relating to one game in the wrong space. No one wants to discuss fighting game combos in the same space someone who plays an FPS game wants to discuss the best weapon to use in a particular situation. Aside from strict topics you can also provide spaces for unrelated, more generalised topics of discussion to give users more reason to stay within your community rather than heading to other platforms.
It would be wise to implement restrictions on certain channels as well. Areas like announcements or rules or things typically meant to be read only and not interacted with should have blocks on who can post in it.
Busy is better looking
One thing that is sure to put users off is a quiet Discord. It’s rare that anyone wants to start a conversation when they aren’t 100% sure they’re going to get a response, so keeping the chatter going as often as possible is vital. Ask questions often and encourage responses to keep users engaged.
If you struggle to maintain conversation on topics related directly to your Discord, don’t give a second thought to talking about topics outside your realm. Activity is key, so long as it’s relatively positive it is acceptable to have a variation in discussions.
Some of the previous Bot functionality mentioned like the quizzes that can be created are novel ways to engage users and encourage activity, especially if you make these kinds of activities a regular occurrence.
If you are a Gaming oriented Discord Server, then creating events so users can play together or allow them access to LFG or “Looking For Group” channels to organise events amongst themselves is highly recommended for creating activity within the Discord. Offering both options is recommended to cater to the audience that likes to just jump into games and the audience that is looking for something more specific and would prefer to handle it themselves.
Good help is hard to find these days
Admins. Team members. Stooges. Whatever you want to call them, running a large and successful Discord server is hard to do as a solo project. A good practice is to bring in extra help. Whether it be your friends, someone else in your organisation, or even just more active members of the community that you trust, having more people within the server that have a bit more authority and control than the average user will be immensely helpful. The server owner cannot be expected to be around 24/7 and an automated bot can only do so much within the parameters of its scripting. The personal touch is needed.
That being said, its worth dictating just how much power others can have. Perhaps they only have the power to remove messages. Maybe they can ban a user outright. It’s worth carefully considering just how much a user is allowed to do as the more control someone has over a server the more damage they can do. You could implement a hierarchy of sorts to have different tiers of admins and moderators who can exercise increasingly more control over the Discord so that only a handful have the most access to the workings behind the curtain of your server.
There are more nuanced details to successfully running a Discord server, but many of those are learned naturally through implementation of the tips mentioned above, such as having several bots work in tandem for different purposes or having an efficient team of moderators to keep things running smoothly with no risks to mistakes. Persistence and respect for your community will help make Discord a strong component of your community engagement in the long term.
We make use of these suggestions in our own Discord, which you can find here https://discord.gg/5esWCrsnga Feel free to join up to see how we have implemented these tips and to engage with our users on how they operate their ventures online!