Discord gives you a direct line of communication with your hardcore fans. We’ll outline several steps to follow to help you build up a popular channel and keep the visitor stream flowing.
Discord and gamers belong together. Set up your server, and you’ll open up a direct line of communication with your fans.
But you’re not guaranteed to have any fans unless you do your homework.
Discord is remarkably popular among gamers, and most pros have channels with thousands of members. Even non-gamers are getting into the act, reporters say, and that makes competition for members even more acute.
Don’t be discouraged. With these 10 discord server promotion tips, you can stand out from the crowd and build an active community.
Tip #1: Define Who You Are and What You Deliver
Specificity is key as you think about how to advertise your discord server. The more you know about why your channel rules, the easier it will be for you to convince others to join.
Experts recommend using a simple formula: I (add verb) for (type of person) by (descriptor). Let’s break this down a bit:
- First verb: Help, demonstrate, encourage, connect, and entertain are all good verbs that describe what gamers do. Which verb represents your work accurately? Take some time to find the best word.
- Type of person: Your audience might consist of new gamers, fans of a specific game, a specific ethnicity, or residents of a particular place. Think about the type of person you’ll connect with best. Get specific.
- Descriptor: By now, you know who you’re talking to and what you’re doing. What is the final goal of your work? Do you bring people together? Do you teach them new skills to be better players?
Once you’ve come up with the mission statement for your server, post it where you can see it. Every time you promote your channel and every time you talk with your community, ensure that you’re meeting your goals. If you’re tempted to do something that doesn’t align with your mission, stop immediately.
Is this a lot of work? You bet it is. But this tight focus will help you create a channel that is both different than the others and helpful to a specific type of person. That leads to long-term growth.
Tip #2: Stay Connected With Your Server
If you’re tightly focused on how to grow a discord server, you’ll probably spend alot of time on other channels (more on that in a minute). Never forget that your community relies on you to keep the conversation going.
A popular Discord server is a hot spot of chatter. When your space is new, you’ll probably have to stir up conversations yourself. And you’ll need to respond to the other things people share. You’re not too important or too busy to chime in and support robust activity. You must be there.
Reporters say there are 14 million daily active Discord users. It’s the “daily” part of this statistic that should interest you. If your community doesn’t take a day away from the site, neither should you.
As people discover that your channel is busy, active, and alive, they’ll want to join in and stay. You’ll see your numbers grow in no time.
Tip #3: Promote Your Channel Everywhere
People who really know how to make a Discord server popular know they have to leverage other social media channels. You’ll need to sprinkle the web with invitations, so everyone knows that you’re running something they should join.
Discord recommends these four sites:
- YouTube: Create a short video that explains what you’re doing on Discord and why people should join in. Litter that video with screenshots of the best moments that happened on your channel, and walk through the join-in steps carefully, so even newbies know just what to do.
- Twitter: Tweet out bits of your best conversations. Tweet the moment you’re logging on to post something witty. And put a link to your channel in your bio.
- Facebook: When you’re new to Discord, any community member is valid. Even your grandmother and your long-lost friend in Florida should join you and boost your numbers. Send out a personal plea to your connections with a link to join.
- Tumblr: Post a screengrab of your best conversation, and write up some context about how your channel works and why people love to visit. If you can, sprinkle in a few votes of confidence from your active members, just to prove that people join in and have plenty of fun.
Tip #4: Get Your Server Listed
Don’t do all the hard work of Discord server promotion alone. Use a listing site to help people find you quickly and easily.
Gamers recommend DiscordMe. Download the app, and you’ll list your server in just a few simple steps. Remember to optimize your profile with the mission statement we talked about earlier in this blog. That will help people understand why you’re different and why they should join in.
The site also allows you to “bump” your site periodically, so it gets a bit of extra promotional help. You can also use the Discord Me bot to offer general invites for new community members.
Tip #5: Connect Discord and Twitch
Active gamers often use Twitch to share their best moments with the world. While Twitch does come with an open chat function, connecting both Discord and Twitch can help you push your Twitch followers into your Discord community.
Discord says integration lets you hang out with your closest friends while you stream live on Twitch. You’ll have two conversations happening at once (one on Twitch, one on Discord), and that’s the beautiful bit.
While you’re streaming, prompt your lurkers to join you on Discord. Say something like: “I’m chatting with my super fans on Discord during this stream. You wouldn’t believe what’s happening over there. Hit the link in the chat for an invitation.”
Pop your link in the Twitch chat, and then walk through those requests as soon as you can. Repeat this every time you stream, and you could start to see steady growth on your server.
Tip #6: Reward Your Active Community Members
Gamers are competitive. (You don’t play Fortnite for your health, do you?) Put the need for recognition at the center of your server management program, and you could see explosive growth.
Discord lets you designate roles. Plus signs, smiley faces, italics, and more help set people apart. When people see those signs, they pay attention. As one gamer explains, when she saw those signs, she didn’t just want one. She needed one.
You could hand out special recognition for community members that:
- Help other gamers. Did someone solve a thorny problem for a stranger? That deserves a virtual pat on the back.
- Show up every day. Core contributors who always come back should be set apart.
- Show kindness to a newbie. Did someone make a new member feel really special? That could merit a special bit of recognition.
You can also just give a special shoutout to people who contribute to your community in a special way. A simple “thank you” can help you demonstrate how much you appreciate the work they do. This helps to build your community even more.
Tip #7: Kick Out the Troublemakers
Plenty of people head to Discord because they dislike the toxicity of Reddit or the politics on Facebook. Don’t let those bits of nastiness creep into your server. Make your channel a space people enjoy, and they’ll tell their friends. Viral marketing like this is one of the core principles of how to make your Discord server popular.
Dealing with a nasty community member seems difficult. But experts say the solution is plain, and it involves three steps:
- Warn them. When you see someone acting inappropriately on your server, point that out. Define how you expect people to behave, and point out where the person did something wrong. People make mistakes, and sometimes, a warning keeps them from doing the same thing again.
- Kick them out. If your troublemaker won’t stop behaving badly, kick them off your server. They’ll need an invitation to come back in, and you can use that moment to outline what you expect.
- Ban them. Let the nasty person back in, and if the issue appears again, ban that person from ever coming back.
This approach helps you address bad behavior. But it’s also fair. React too swiftly and ban people before you’ve told them what’s wrong, and that could backlash.
Tip #8: Watch Your Metrics and Adapt
As people join your Discord channel, they’ll leave data behind. That’s a goldmine of information that can help you pinpoint what you’re doing right and where you might improve.
Discord says people running Partnered or Verified servers have access to the Server Insights tool. That feature can help you track:
- Chatters. How many people are actively involved in conversations on your server?
- Lurkers. How many people are hanging out in conversations without saying anything?
- Viewers. How many people have peeked in without joining?
These are key stats for you to follow. The more people join your server and hop into conversations, the better. Run a few experiments, and see if you can push your viewers and lurkers into the chatters column. Can you start the right conversation? Is one person bullying others from speaking? Are you trying to chat at the wrong time of day?
If you don’t have a Partnered or Verified server, finding the data is a little harder. But you can still run some crude estimates. Look for response rates and active chats. Watch and see if those numbers go up or down as you experiment.
Tip #9: Upgrade Your Setup
In theory, it’s easy to create a Discord server. But in reality, it takes time to nail down all of the specifics and get things running smoothly. If you’re struggling to promote your Discord server, your setup could be to blame.
You might need to tap into bots to clean up the messes your conversations leave behind. You might need more (or fewer) moderators to step in when things go wrong. And you might need to identify the right invitation strategy, so you’re bringing important people into the conversation.
There’s no shame in stepping back and ensuring you have the basics down pat. If you just can’t get people to join and stay involved, a return to setup basics could be just the change you need.
Tip #10: Don’t Get Discouraged
Discord is an amazing space for connecting with other gamers who share your passions. But it’s also a popular space, and sometimes, it’s hard to get noticed. Don’t let that simple fact drag you down.
It takes weeks, if not months, of hard work to set up a Discord server properly and start the conversations humming. It also takes hard work to help people find out about who you are and why you’re important.
Don’t give up before you get started. Put in the hard work and keep at it. Soon, you’ll have the community you’ve been looking for.
How an App for Gamers Went Mainstream. (March 2019). The Atlantic.
How I Grew a Niche Discord Server to 1400 Members in 3 Months. (November 2018). Medium.
Inside Discord, the Gaming Chat App With as Many Users as Fortnite. (April 2019). CNBC.
How to Get the Most Out of Your Community Server. (December 2015). Discord.
Advertise Your Server. DiscordMe.
Twitch Integration FAQ. Discord.
How to Build an Active and Engaged Indie Game Community with Discord. (December 2016). Discord.
Why Your Discord Server is Inactive. (July 2018). Discord Street.
Server Insights FAQ. Discord.
How Do I Promote My Discord Server in the Best Way? (November 2017). Quora.