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I am all about building community. I believe there’s no better way to connect with your customers and cultivate brand loyalty, than making them feel like part of the team.
Discord has become my go-to for creating space for this kind of connection. Since its launch in 2015, this platform has enjoyed exponential growth and currently boasts over 563 million users. Chances are, that number includes quite a few of your ideal customers.
But how can you set up the perfect space for all your community needs? I’ve built quite a few servers in my day, and I want to share what I learned with you.
Let’s jump in!
Step One: Do You Really Want A Discord Community?
If you’ve ever tried to get a new group of friends vibing at a party, you know that building community is a complicated undertaking. It takes up even more time, resources, and effort when that community is meant to be entirely online.
That’s why it’s so important that you know exactly what Discord offers your team that other platforms and types of communities can’t. Here are some major green flags for moving forward. But remember, the weight of each of these factors is up to you!
Discord Connects With Your Audience
With so many people already active on Discord, it’s easy to see who the demographic tends to be. This can help you zero in on the likelihood that your target audience is willing to hop on the server.
Getting its start as a platform for gamers, it should come as no surprise that Discord is particularly popular among a younger demographic. Over 60% of their user base is under the age of 34.
But gaming isn’t all this platform is good for! The most popular server to date by a long shot is for Midjourney, an AI-powered art tool. There’s also thriving communities for fans of podcasts, sailing enthusiasts, and call center workers.
That just goes to show, if you’re wanting to connect with any tech-savvy users, young creatives, or anyone who’s online, you’re likely to find them somewhere on Discord.
You Want Collaborative Innovation
Discord as a whole is an excellent tool for connecting with your team and your user base. If your brand is in any way interested in starting to harness user-driven innovation, you can bounce ideas around within your server. This kind of innovation can
- Cut costs for development
- Boost customer satisfaction
- Create wild new ideas
- Cultivate brand loyalty
All while allowing you to find out exactly what your user base is invested it. With its search features and separate boards, you’ll be able to filter through responses and find the ones that matter most to your goals.
You’re Invested In Discord-Specific Features
There are several things that set Discord apart from other platforms, and any or all of them might be a huge pull for your brand!
One of the biggest features is the capacity for audio and video chats. Smaller companies, or those that are looking to run live demos and town halls, might jump at the chance to connect with their users in such a personal way.
You can also set your Discord to either public or private, making the community - or parts of it - an excellent reward for top members of your user base. This exclusivity helps to cultivate extreme brand loyalty and excitement about everything your team is working on.
Step Two: What Do You Want From Discord?
Setting up a community on Discord can bring a lot of spectacular perks to your business, the biggest of which is building trust with your customers. The goal you choose will determine what you put the most effort into for your server.
- Connecting With and Updating Customers - You can use the server as a kind of insider information pipeline. This might include exclusive looks at upcoming projects, or information about presales
- Educating Your Users - If your product or service is particularly niche, you might want to set up a place for tutorials or support around its use
- Humanizing Your Brand - There’s a push for open dialogue between brands and customers, something that can easily be accomplished by cultivating a community
- Manufacturing Exclusivity - A private Discord can be a stellar perk for top customers, brand advocates, and more
Chances are, this platform won’t be able to get you tons of direct sales, but it can do a lot of good long-term.
Step Three: Setting Up Your Server
My favorite part about Discord is how straightforward it is to set up a server and channels. This allows you to get all the perks of a dedicated chat and community without needing to invest any time into coding or designing a user interface.
All you need to do to start is set up an account for your business, then click the green plus on the left side of the screen. From there, the process is super simple.
You can build your server from a template, or start from scratch. Either option is great, and you’ll want to take some time to customize the look and feel of your server no matter what.
When choosing a name and icon for your server, ensure they represent your brand as a whole as well as what your goals are.
For example, if we were to set up an exclusive Discord for our top brand ambassadors, we might go for “ReferralHero’s Heroes.” Or something more zippy. This is just an example, cut me some slack.
And that’s that! Your server is ready and raring to go! All that’s left to do is set up a few channels to get people talking.
Channels are essentially rooms where separate conversations can be had within your server. They could be for anything, including
- Brand Updates
- Behind the Scenes
- Book Club
- Community Feedback
Tie these back to your goal, and make sure there’s one for anything you want people to be talking about.
Step Four: Moderation
Every healthy Discord server will have a list of rules that users have to understand and follow. This is a key factor in ensuring your community is safe and prepared for your customers.
You’ll also be able to set up roles for your users, making it possible for your team to moderate discussions and control how members interact with one another. This is especially important if your server is public, as you will need to keep a handle on anything that doesn’t align with your brand goals.
These roles can even be used to create exclusive channels within your server, making them a great way to reward top users and use Discord for business meetings and connections outside your community-building efforts.
If you want to understand how to set up roles, and all the excellent features they unlock, I highly recommend giving Discord’s own post about it a read.
Step Five: Getting The Word Out
There’s no point in having a kick-butt server set up if no one knows about it. That’s why the most important step in the entire process is promoting your server so that your core audience can find it.
There are lots of ways you can get the word out about the server, from an email blast to social media, but the most effective is with a referral campaign. Whether you have a public community or an exclusive server, tying it to your referral program boosts its effectiveness tenfold.
Referral programs turn your users into brand ambassadors, telling their network about how much they enjoy your products. You can offer rewards that get them excited to spread the word and give them an active role in your brand to increase brand loyalty and investment.
Because your Discord is inherently connected to the idea of community building, giving people the ability to grow their own community through referrals gets them invested way faster. When their friends and family are a part of the server, they’re that much more likely to log on again and again.
You can also use a private chat or role upgrade as a reward for your referral program, offering sneak peeks, and tips and tricks that can help users bring in even more business.
This word-of-mouth marketing is a quick and effective way to build your community and keep people coming back long-term. Using software like ReferralHero takes all the guesswork and organization out of getting started, and helps ensure no one falls through the cracks.
Step Six: Cultivating Your Community
Now that everything is set up and in motion, your team can sit back and stop thinking about Discord altogether, right? Wrong! Continued involvement from you and your team is what keeps a community on Discord thriving and effective.
Assign people from your company to act as moderators and administrators for the servers. This allows you to keep any issues or challenges to a minimum right from the start.
If you’re trying to start community discussions on the page, make sure people from your team are contributing to them regularly. This will keep the ball rolling and avoid anyone feeling nervous about contributing.
As your community continues to grow, you can run fun events like giveaways and community get-togethers. Anything to get users excited and active.
Remember: no one gets everything right the first time. Make sure you set up channels for your users to give you feedback, and be willing to change and evolve over time. A community is inherently collaborative, and the more you lean into that, the more success you’ll find.
The Bottom Line
Discord’s name might make it sound like a scary, disorganized place to set up shop and build a community hub, but it’s quite the opposite.
With a passionate user base, tools for moderation and easy sharing, this platform can help you craft the connections that ingrain your brand into the hearts and lives of all your users. Now that’s a chord I could sing over!
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