With 390 million registered users across the globe, and $19 million weekly active users, Discord has quickly become one of the most popular platforms for community-building. People from different industries, all over the world are using it – from educators, content creators, entrepreneurs, gamers and more recently: Web3 communities.
But what does it take to become a Discord community manager, and what do you need to know to get started? This ultimate guide will walk you through it all step by step.
Want to step up your community? Integrate your Discord server with Nas.io.
This article will cover:
- What Discord is
- The role of a community manager on Discord
- How Discord is different from Facebook
- Key Features on Discord
- Why host a community on Discord
- The downfalls of Discord
- A step-by-step guide to managing a community on Discord
- Building a Web3 Community on Discord
What is a Discord community?
Discord is a community building platform that has been growing in popularity in recent years after being established back in 2015. Soon after it rose to become the main communication platform at the time – especially for gamers.
Before this people used platforms like Skype or TeamSpeak, both of which are no longer as popular because of their limited abilities and less-powerful community-building tools compared to its new rival.
Discord used to simply allow text and voice chats, but over the years, it has grown to include so much more. Today, Discord uses an organized and forward-thinking approach to community building. It lets you organize different discussions under different chat channels, while allowing both voice and video calls, screen sharing, as well as private or public chats.
In the beginning, Discord was built for gamers – as it was an easy way to chat while playing games because of its screen sharing and streaming capabilities. And even though the most followed server in 2022 is for the video game, Valorent, Discord has expanded well beyond that to be used for all different types of communities. Web3 in particular is a growing sector of communities on the platform.
Today, Discord boasts 150 million active users around the world.
The role of a community manager on Discord
Managing a community on Discord is much like managing any other sort of online community. However, there are differences about the platform and specific best practices that you should follow to lead the best community possible (more on that down below).
To start, let’s look at what the role of a community manager entails. A community manager is there to manage, facilitate and host discussions with members. While this might seem counterintuitive to the whole concept of “community” where people are supposed to work together and interact on a level playing field – behind every successful community has a supporting moderator or leader to keep the community running smoothly. These are called community managers or community moderators.
As a community manager, your role is to focus on not just building your brand and spotlighting yourself, but curating a community experience and spotlighting others. This involves anything from:
- Encouraging others to speak and offering support when needed
- Acting as a representative of your community mission and goal
- Establishing the voice and tone of the community
- Making sure that people are engaged and learning consistently
- Making sure each chat on Discord is managed adequately
- Coming up with ways to improve engagement and experience
- Addressing people’s opinions and questions
- Curating content and ideas to add value to the community
- Chiming in and monitoring discussions and posts
Not only this, but Discord in particular can be a tricky platform to manage. Because of how accessible it is, especially with public servers, it’s easy for people to take advantage of it and spread misinformation or harmful content. For this reason, it might take some extra management on your part.
Make sure you’re on high alert and aware of everything happening in all of your subchats. If it’s too much to manage alone, consider onboarding some other managers to take control of certain channels while you focus on others.
How is Discord different from other chat platforms?
A lot of the elements of Discord might sound very similar to some social media platforms – like Facebook groups for example. So what’s the actual difference between Discord and similar platforms like Facebook groups?
First of all, it’s important to note that at its core Facebook is a social media platform, while Discord is a communication platform.
While both have similar features, there are some vital differences that make each one more effective in their own way.
Facebook is a social media-focused platform that isn’t as focused on building a community experience as Discord is. Community activity or group posts show up in your newsfeed alongside a bunch of other, unrelated content. It’s easy to get distracted by Facebooks various other functions. Not to mention, it’s algorithm is more focused on prioritizing trending content in your feed, rather than building a community experience.
On the other hand, Discord is specifically built to be a community-focused platform, and only that. Each server or community created is separate from any sort of social media. Its sole focus is to build discussion around a topic rather than an individual (like Facebook is). It’s also organized much differently, and broken down into sub chats to create opportunity for deeper discussion – not to start trends or achieve virality.
Meanwhile, trying to search through chats and keep up with only the information around a topic that really interests you isn’t as easy through Facebook.
There’s also limited security, privacy and safety on Facebook where Discord offers the ability to be more anonymous on the platform. Discord also doesn’t sell your data like Facebook does.
Through Discord, you can customize the experience a lot more effectively. You have a lot more control when holding video chats or events than you do through Facebook. For example, you can change individual mic levels, restrict specific access for specific members, and the system for sharing your screen and reaching people internationally is a lot more effective on Discord.
Key features on Discord
- Community manager access controls
- Video chats
- Audio chats
- Bots and add-ons
- Discord Nitro
There are plenty of different features on Discord that can help you create an epic experience. A full list of features is available on the support page of Discord, but here are some of the top ones to take note of:
1.Control features for community managers
Discord is known for offering a lot of customizability for community managers. One of those being the control over tools and access to information.
Community managers have the opportunity to add different assistant-managers or moderators to different chat channels – meaning you can have someone who’s only allowed to use tools and moderate in one channel, but not another one. This is a great way to still have full ownership over your community, but delegate selectively when you need help.
This is also helpful for privacy if you only want pieces of information or some channels to be viewed by certain members, but not by others. If you’ve used Slack before in your work chats, it’s quite similar to this format.
If audio chats are too impersonal, Discord allows video chats as well to help you get even closer to your members. You can screen share videos or live streams, play music throughout, and still speak to your members.
The visuals on your video chats are just as customizable as something like Zoom – with virtual backgrounds and grid-views – but it’s all integrated into one platform for you if needed.
A newer feature that Discord has added is their multi streaming feature. It lets you watch multiple streams all on one page if more than one thing is happening at the same time.
This differentiates them from Zoom as with the popular video conferencing software, you can only have one call going on at a time (unless you pay for an Enterprise account).
4. Customization and accessibility
Discord is very customizable and offers accessibility features to help those who are visually impaired. It also lets you set keyboard shortcuts and hotkeys to make managing your community much easier.
5. Audio chat
Audio chats were the main feature of Discord when it began, and it offers plenty of customizable options to alter audio levels and make the best chat experience possible.
6. Bots and third-party addons
Discord has a semi-limited amount of native features to run your community, but the best part is you can add on different third-party bots to amp up your community platform. There are bots that link to Spotify so you can add music, bots that add gamified elements to your community, security bots and more.
Discord Nitro is Discord’s main source of revenue as of 2022. Nitro is a paid addition to your normal, free subscription to Discord and costs $10 a month ($100 annually). It allows you higher-quality features from screen sharing, data storage, customization tools and more to make you look more serious about your community.
Why host a community on Discord?
- It’s easy to access
- It’s an effective marketing tool and can diversify revenue streams
- It offers an organized community experience
It’s easy to access
Discord is a very simple and accessible platform – it takes minutes to sign up and it’s completely free. The tools available also have many settings for anyone who’s hard of seeing or hearing, and it’s accessible for people to join in most countries.
It’s an effective marketing tool and can diversify revenue streams
Discord is a great tool to begin a community and market your products, brand, and diversify your revenue streams while providing real, tangible value in return.
While you can’t necessarily monetize your server within Discord, what you can do is monetize the experience. You can offer access to your community strictly for those who donate through other platforms – like Patreon for example – and then give them a private access code to join.
Not only this, but building a community for audience members or customers makes it far more likely that they will remain loyal to your brand, support you when you launch products or invest in extra features you offer – because you’ve already proven you will deliver real value.
If offers an organized community experience
One of the great features of Discord is being able to filter different topics of discussion through different chats or channels. It’s laid out very comprehensively and, compared to Facebook in particular, this allows for each discussion to be that much stronger and deeper.
This is because posts don’t get as easily lost in your feed, and it lets people access information more conveniently – and they pick and choose how they want to interact with the community.
The downfalls of Discord
1. Lack of regulation
One of the drawbacks of Discord is that it remains a semi-private platform – meaning there’s a lack of regulation compared to social media platforms. This can lead to problems like we’ve seen in the past where harmful content is posted, and problematic ideas are shared that lead to real world consequences.
This means as a community manager, your role becomes much more important – especially if your server is public.
2. Limited in-platform features
While Discord offers a lot of features to create a successful community, most customization has to be done through adding more features, a lot of which you have to pay for.
Some community managers prefer to have all the tools built-in so they don’t have to invest in a series of other products, which is why they will go with other platforms like Mighty Network or Nas.io – because all of the tools and integrations you need are right there at your disposal.
3. Video chat quality
One last downfall of using Discord is the fact that its video quality isn’t the best. While it allows plenty of different ways to communicate with your community, the video and screen-sharing features can be slightly unreliable according to many users – and can sometimes disrupt the communication or connection you have with your community.
A step-by-step guide to managing your community on Discord
How to master community management on Discord:
- Establish your community focus
- Create your server and organize your channels
- Build up your user base
- Create a safe space
- Turn members into your community managers
- Create rewards systems as an incentive to get people to increase engagement
- Add bots and plugins
- Plan a content schedule in advance
- Use your Discord insights
1. Establish your community focus
Think deeply about the true meaning of a “community” before you begin one. A community is one that, if you leave, you still have connections and are welcomed in the group. Think of American sororities – even when you graduate, you always remain a member at heart and are welcomed back with open arms.
Building a community is not about spotlighting yourself and being a creator like you do on social media, it’s about creating a space for discussion and curating a positive learning experience for people. This means there’s always value-adding to be done, moderation and discussion-starting that will have to be done by you as the community manager.
As you consider what kind of a community you want to host, make sure you’re setting yourself up to create this concept of a true community. And most importantly: get clear on your goals first. Before diving into managing even a private community of your own – make sure it’s going to be worth people’s time. Always have your “why” in mind and you’ll be able to make the experience a great one. Try answering some of the following questions to get clear on your community mission:
- Why am I beginning this community?
- What do I want my audience to feel when they come to this community?
- What is my main goal for this community?
- What kind of people do I want in my community?
- What sort of outcomes do I want to create for people who join?
- What kind of outcomes do I want to see for myself?
- How can I best curate this experience as a community manager?
2. Create your server and organize your channels
When you begin your Discord community, your first step is to create a new Server. To do this, hit the + button. Next, you’ll want to turn it into a community server.
Go to Server Settings > Community to unlock your community features. And voila – you’ve just created your community server.
Next up: organizing your channels.
Organizing your channels is one of Discord’s most useful features that will help you divvy up different discussions, to make sure each channel is focused on a different topic, organized and easy for your members to keep up with.
Many people begin by creating meme chats, announcement chats, and more – if you’ve ever used Slack, it’s fairly similar to this. It allows users to focus on the elements of the community that are most important to them.
So…create as many as you like! However, Discord recommends beginning with a smaller number of channels so as not to confuse your members – and so it’s easier to manage. But as you go, your community chats will evolve and change as needed. Just make sure all the chats you create are relevant and adding onto the community experience that you want to create, not distracting from it.
Here’s a series of tips we pulled from Discord itself to help you with setting up your chats and community experience:
- Create your welcome screen: This personalized screen is what’s going to be the first thing your members see when they enter your server. This welcome screen should tell you what your community is, and guide members on where to start.
- Screen your members: In order to keep your Discord server safe for all members, make sure to include rules and membership screening before anyone is able to join. (more on this later)
- Announcement channels: Make up a series of channels for different topics of discussion from latest news, updates or information that you think everyone should know – and send them beyond your own server! People can follow the announcement channels you create and have your status updates published directly to their servers.
- Make yourself discoverable: Once you set up your Discord server, display it on Discords Discovery so people can find your community and join. To do this, go to your Server Settings and see the requirements you must follow to join the Discovery page.
3. Build up your user base
While Discord’s Discovery page is one way to get your community seen by future members, make sure to share on other platforms as well.
Take to social media, tell your friends – don’t be afraid to sell your community! Use Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and post regular updates to give people FOMO. You can have up to 250,000 members for Discord’s free version, and then you can contact Discord if you want to raise your limit.
To make your Discord server discoverable, make sure to switch your settings to public so people can find it through search. You also have the option to keep it invite-only as a private server.
4. Create a safe space
Once you begin your community, make sure to have a set of rules and restrictions for your community. Have your “user rules” laid out clearly in your screening process, and post them again in a separate channel to make sure they are accessible for all members to review.
When setting up your community, make sure to activate the safety features in your settings. This way, everyone has to show they have a verified email address before being able to post. You can also enable an explicit media filter to help vet any attachments or images that people upload to the community. You can also add third-party bots that help you customize your security even more.
This way, everyone who joins and remains in your community will be like minded – and it will become a safe space for all to share and collaborate.
5. Turn members into community managers
You have the option to delegate your community management tools to others, so if your community gets large enough, you can recruit other people to help you create the best experience possible.
When choosing fellow community managers or moderators to help look after certain chats in your Discord group, pick from your most active community members. After all, these people are most cut-out for the job because they’ve proven their interest in your community, your mission, your topics of discussion, and they clearly know a lot about the space.
Doing this also incentivizes other people to stay engaged and active in the group – it’s a great opportunity for a rewards system!
6. Create rewards systems as an incentive to get people to increase engagement.
One of the biggest things discovered in behavioral science is the effectiveness of rewards systems when incentivizing people to do something. That’s why offering rewards in different forms can be a great way to create engagement within your community.
Some examples of this could be offering discounts, exclusive benefits for joining your community – the possibilities are endless. Offering rewards especially to those that are most active is a great way to encourage others to step up to the plate as well.
Whether you’re providing free guides, printables, or exclusive access to content for those adding the most value to the group – it not only makes your members more likely to stick around, but it shows your appreciation and makes your audience feel valued.
7. Add bots and plugins
Adding on third-party tools and add-ons such as AI bots to increase your community experience can get costly. However, it also helps amp up your community experience and the ease of your job as a manager. The key is picking the right ones for your community needs.
Here’s a list of 5 Discord bots that are popular add-ons for community managers:
- MEE6 – This bot seems to be very popular for all kinds of Discord communities. It helps you bring in new users to your community, while also monitoring and getting rid of those that don’t follow your server rules.
- Dank Memer – This bot is all around the web – and it’s bound to keep people interested in your community. Dank Memer is a bot that adds a fun, gamification element to your community where you can create memes, gamble with other users, steal things and, overall, it just makes your community more interactive and fun.
- Helper.gg – Helper.gg lets you assign tickets or action items to others in an easy and effective way. You can assign tasks to other assistant managers in your community, and users can use them to contact you directly when there’s an issue that needs resolving in a more timely manner.
- Pollbot – This plugin lets you create an unlimited amount of polls in your Discord community as a tool to help you get your audiences input or feedback, and the best part: it’s completely free!
8. Plan a content schedule in advance
The best community managers are the ones that consistently add value and create an experience in their community. Make sure you have content planned in advance whether it be posts, discussion-starters, AMA (ask me anything) sessions, karaoke nights, movie nights – whatever you and your audience want!
The reason people join a community is to get something exclusive, different and more engaging than social media. So, make sure you continuously have a stream of events and content to share.
Consider hosting weekly or monthly live events to build a more engaging connection between your members. Not only do live events help people get to know you better as the manager, but it also gives you a chance to weed out people who might not be in your community for the right reasons.
9. Use your Discord insights
A huge part of running a community is understanding and changing the experience as time goes on. The way to do this is through analyzing insights – and Discord has insights built right into the platform for you!
These are called “server insights”, where you can discover important information about your community. For example, you can see if people are communicating, if they are engaged, if new people are joining and staying, or if they’re joining and leaving right away.
Make sure to analyze what is doing well, and what isn’t doing well so you can adapt your community experience accordingly.
Building a Web3 community on Discord
Discord was first created in the Web2 era – but as Web3 started to grow, the gaming platform has now become a hub for communities in crypto and Web3.
So what’s the difference about hosting a Web3 community on Discord versus a community based in the Web2 space?
It comes with integrating the proper tools and experiences that are supportive of Web3 creators. In addition to the normal Web2 plug-ins we suggested above, here’s a series of additional tools that can help those communities geared more towards the Web3 space:
2.5 Role Bot – This tool watches user behavior in your community to categorize members as “whales”, “diamond hands” etcetera, and then assigns roles in the community based on this.
- ILUMA.xyz – This helps you filter through noise on Discord chats and gives you key insights. This is known to be an incredibly useful tool for DAO-builders.
- Collab.Land – This tool makes it necessary for people to be NFT holders in order to join your community. They get assigned a role, and then depending on this role they get access to special chats and events to add an element of exclusivity.
- Probot – This tool helps you translate your welcome screen into 30 different languages so you can be accessible and house your global, Web3 community.
- Tip.cc – Tip.cc allows you to host cryptocurrency transactions in your community.
This is only a few of the third-party Web3 bots you can add to your Discord server. Make sure to look into pricing and compare the tools with your ultimate community goal to help you in your decision-making – and be sure to consult your own community for other recommendations!
Build a community with Nas.io
Nas.io integrates your Discord community with an all-in-one community-building platform. With Nas.io, you don’t have to worry about your budget being big enough, adding on third-party plug-ins or struggling to manage without integrations. Here, you can build a customized space for free where you can create opportunities for growth, connection and learning.
We are a platform directly committed to building functional, collaborative communities online for your brand. Whether your want to start a community for fashion, sports, writing, Web3, NFTs – anything – this is the place to start.
Reach out to our incredible support team and learn how to start your own community today. We’ll be with you each step of the way.