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Over time, Discord has grown into one of the most essential tools in community management. For a streamer, the main purpose of this platform is to keep their community active whilst their channel is offline.
Thus allowing them to stay on the radar of their viewers and increase the average time they are spending in relation to the streamer’s content. On occasion, this can also serve as the stream’s “customer service”.
The main difference, however, is that Discord users do not use the platform for the content side of things, mainly using utilizing it for social and informative purposes. As such, whilst streaming, there is a clear sense of supply and demand, with the streamer showcasing a specific type of content to the audience. Discord, on the other hand, can serve to blur the lines a little, allowing the streamer to blend in with the wider community and create more personal engagement.
For this reason, Discord has established itself as a key factor in building a successful stream, including (but not limited to) features such as: special roles, badges, custom commands, and profile features. Each of these serves a wider purpose, that is, to maximize your audience and build a healthy community.
Keeping people interested in your Discord server will stem from a variety of factors, but the one king to rule them all? Regular activity.
To maintain a steady and active server, one must respect the basic “rules” that govern success.
A channel needs to have a clear purpose, something very easy to identify; as this is usually the reason why people will join the server.
To make it even more obvious, you can use the server icon alongside an information channel so that people know exactly where they are when they enter your server.
Verification levels are a good way to limit who can enter your server, this will help to prevent bots and spam. We recommend setting it to medium or high as a default setting.
It is mandatory for a good Discord server to be organized. Whenever you see several discussions going on in the same channel, it is a clear sign to create a new one or encourage the use of threads.
Public channels are differentiated by text and voice. Your channels should be named according to the discussions one can expect to have there.
There are two very useful types of channels, that is, Hidden and AFK. The first of which is usually where you would hold staff-only discussions. The latter is a voice channel that is most often utilized as a channel that people can be moved to if they forget to disconnect from a voice channel for whatever reason.
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Moderators are important to have, but an excess of moderation is just as bad as no moderation at all. As a rule of thumb for moderators, it is important to promote trustworthy and active members who are willing to serve the community in a greater capacity. However, you don’t want to water the role down by promoting any and every highly active member within the server, as this only serves to undermine the role and server structure – having a moderation team comprised of the core of your server’s activity whilst a nice gesture, can end up shooting you in the foot for this very reason. If you want to reward committed members, you can think about creating a VIP role instead.
Moderation bots and moderation tools can be useful but need to be used to serve a specific purpose. I.e. for identifying red flag content such as violence or pornography.
The most successful servers rely on informal communication between all their members, however, it is usually a good idea to start with defining your server’s roles. As with moderators, well-utilized roles are key to a server’s growth.
Staff, Moderator, and Contributor are three commonly used roles in any Discord server that relies on some form of content creation.
Rewarding roles, or roles that are more fun-oriented such as“Old Timer” should be favored over “Top donator” which can create an unnecessary disparity between your members, serving only to create a feeling of being a second-class citizen for members without said role.
This feature allows you to grab the attention of the whole server: it is a powerful tool, but you do not want to abuse it for various reasons. If you see the notification appear on your Discord logo, you will most likely assume that you have received a message. To then see that this has come from a server (without good reason) will most likely cause you to mute or leave the server, both serving to halt your server’s growth. If the notification has a purpose, this will most likely not happen. Try to put yourself in your members’ shoes and ask yourself questions such as “How would I feel about receiving this notification?”. Additionally, you can utilize bots that allow you to create reaction roles, allowing members to decide to give themselves a specific role. A good example of this would be allowing your members to opt-in to a role that gets notified via an @ notification when you go live on your streaming platform, thus preventing you from bombarding the entire server with an @everyone tag.
Welcoming newcomers and immediately establishing a connection with them is a great way to ensure that they feel comfortable and more active. You could utilize a bot for this purpose, however, you risk losing the human interaction that is key to establishing a friendly and welcoming community.
A simple “Hi! Welcome to the server, it’s nice to have you” will suffice; this will give the new member a chance to introduce themselves or ask any questions that they may have. As your server grows, and you find it increasingly hard to keep on top of welcoming each new member, it may be worth assigning a moderator to take over this role, thus freeing you to take care of other important tasks for your content creation and/or server management.
Not everyone wants to be exposed to explicit content. Therefore treat such channels like a private that people can opt into if they wish.
The purpose of this is twofold: it allows those that enjoy this content to have a place to interact with each other, whilst not forcing the same content on those that do not wish to partake.
Having a respectful community is intrinsically linked to your image as a creator, especially in the age of cancel culture that we find ourselves within, and so it is, therefore, important to moderate your server effectively. You don’t want members to fear your moderators though, and so installing forms of auto-moderation will reduce the formal interaction that moderators have to adopt when acting as an authoritarian force.
Cultivating such an environment will encourage your members to speak freely when someone acts out of line, this can be very useful, as the server can effectively moderate itself – if you achieve this, you and your moderation team have done a very good job.
Rather than posting your content anywhere and everywhere in your Discord is a big mistake, have a dedicated purpose-specific channel that serves as the home for your content, this way your community can easily identify where to find what they’re looking for. This also helps to avoid watering down your other channels and not disrupting organic conversation and connection between community members.
Whilst the first section of this article focused largely on how to set up a healthy and active server, the following section will focus on building YOUR server, around your personal brand.
Your server’s identity and content are entirely up to you, however, we’d like to give you some key pointers to help you on the road to success for yourself and your budding community.
If you are the star of the show while on stream, Discord should be about the community. You will most likely have a special role to separate yourself from the server list, but don’t fall into the trap of imposing yourself as the centerpiece of the community.
Instead, try using your profile icon or profile picture to set yourself apart as opposed to what you are known for outside of it.
Trying to generate some activity with incentives usually doesn’t do so well in the long run. Instead, try to push for the organic and holistic activity that encourages members to invest in the server because they like being a part of it rather than earning a token role because they’ve sent an arbitrary number of messages.
It is well established that voice chat creates a more personal connection than written messages. Hearing a voice can help to create a clearer picture of individuals taking part in a conversation and is much more memorable.
Being the streamer, people may see Discord as a way to get closer to you, often resulting in a friend request or direct message.
Whilst accepting or declining such requests or messages is entirely up to you, establishing a clear policy should save you some stress later down the line (especially against those infamous quid-pro-quo types, you all know what I’m talking about).
Building a discord server shouldn’t be about you; Your stream serves this purpose. On discord, there should be a real sense of community, meaning that (contrary to what you may think), other people’s content should be promoted the same way that yours is. This should be done outside of specific channels (such as your schedule channel, or your youtube uploads channel, as an example).
During your stream, you are the center of attention. On Discord, it is very different. It is the masses that will decide what is worth discussing, you cannot create the activity on your own.
Contrary to popular belief, your absence should not really be felt too much within your server, members should be able to interact the same way whether you are present or not.
To create some activity, you need to have engaging discussions. As such, if you are trying to start a conversation, look for topics where people are able to share an opinion rather than give a yes or no answer, as these tend to have a short lifespan.
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Special events, on occasion and with a specific purpose, can serve to engage people in a positive way.
You may give opportunities for people to showcase their skills or create new topics to talk about in the future (the new threads feature in Discord is great for this), and we would recommend not making these specifically about you or your content for reasons previously discussed.
People are able to interact much easier on Discord than they can on your stream or social media, so feel free to push these activities further than you would using another social platform.
A great way to know if your server is active is to look at the various channels and to see where the activity really is most frequent, both in terms of the number of messages and also in the number of individual people partaking in conversation.
Performing this simple check every once in a while will allow you to avoid server bloat by pruning underused/inactive channels, making it easier for members to find a channel that they enjoy whilst also displaying the most active parts of your server to any newcomers.
Retaining members in any Discord server will largely revolve around the server’s activity. Just like a stream, you need to create a wholesome environment that people want to come back to day after day in order to check for news and messages. In an ideal world, your members will be checking your server in a similar way to checking their emails each day whilst having their morning coffee.
In order to create such an environment, a Discord server needs to respect the basic rules of success, which are well established at this point, themes that we see across the board in almost every single popular Discord server out there.
Once these “rules” are firmly established, the server is able to evolve and become a uniquely tailored experience for the members that reside there. However, the work doesn’t stop there; as with anything in life that you wish to see succeed, you must nurture your server for it to grow. And with that, it seems pertinent to leave you with a well-known 14th-century proverb:
“Great oaks from little acorns grow.”
You can do it!
Keeping users on your Discord server is hard. In general, churn rate tends to be pretty high compared to other communities hosted elsewhere. The main reason is that it’s very easy to join. Keep users on your Discord with warm welcomes, regular questions and quality content. Also try not to overcomplicate the rules and channels. Keep it simple and watch your user base grow in long run.
Activity is usually a huge issue on most of the Discord servers. You want the active and loyal members, who post content that is beneficial to the growth of your channel. First of all, setup your rank system well and make sure it allows users to grow with the growth of the channel. Secondly, mix both professional content with off topic, so it’s not stereotype. Last, but not least, watch out for any signals of self-promotion outside of the channels where it’s allowed and make sure you ban users that are toxic.
Usually users leave the Discord server if they couldn’t find what they were looking for. Good rank and role system is a must if you want to have at least a chance to talk to the user.
If you want to create roles in Discord, right click on the server name. Make sure you are admin. Head over to Server Settings –> User Roles and you can setup your role system.