In this article, streamer CelticWolfTv explains why having a Discord server can be one of the most effective ways to develop a meaningful connection with your audience - and how to do it!
What if I were to tell you about an app that can effectively marry all of your online identities and streamline the way you communicate with your audience - or better yet - how your audience communicates with you? This is where Discord comes into play, but first - an introduction into how I came across Discord ....
I work as a school teacher; 12th grade English Literature and AP Literature & Composition, to be specific. By the beginning of March, it was becoming clear to most everyone that our education system would be moving to remote learning in light of the global pandemic. This presented teachers, students, and parents with some very interesting - and terrifying - questions. How will the rest of the year look? What about graduation, or prom? How can we maintain a sense of community?
While we haven’t been able to answer all of these questions, we have been able to address creating a sense of community that is meaningful and engaging, and it is thanks in large part to the effective use of Discord servers.
Here are my top 5 takeaways & reasons I believe you should set up a server for yourself.
1. It’s simple (where it needs to be)
From a straight-up technical perspective, it does not take much to get started on Discord. There are many ways you can access Discord, either by downloading it directly to your PC/Mac or smartphone - or you can access it via any browser. The key feature here is this: regardless of how you access Discord, its presentation and features are uniform across platforms.
This may seem like a small detail, but it makes Discord massively accessible to many people across many demographics, and with many businesses and schools opting for this free communication site, more people are familiar with the platform than ever before. Your ability to reach a wider audience just got that much easier.
Once in, you can begin setting up your first Text or Voice Channels. Text Channels are exactly what they sound like and are a great place to post updates, chat, debate, or brainstorm. Voice Channels offer excellent spaces to collaborate in real-time, allow you to video-conference, and feature crisp audio quality with beta noise-cancellation.
2. It’s complicated (where it needs to be)
Let’s say you want a little differentiation - after all, variety is the spice of life. You can now move past just a “General” Text or Voice channel and begin building separate, unique “rooms.” Need a place to post announcements for when/where your next set is? Check #live-sets. Want to have each member briefly introduce themselves to improve your audience’s connection with you? Check #meet-the-band. etc, etc. The possibilities are literally endless and only bound by your own creativity.
But let’s talk moderation. You can’t very well have everyone running around your server with Admin permissions; everything would descend into chaos and we know how messy the internet can get. This is where the ability to set roles and permissions comes into play. It can be an involved process, but suffice it to say that you can micromanage how much - or how little - access every member of your server has. I would recommend having at least 3 tiers of access to start and building as needed from there.
As you develop relationships with the people engaging with your server, you can grant them more access and even have them moderate the server for you - once they’ve shown they understand the basic rules of engagement, etc. It takes a lot of personal time to grow and cultivate your server but once the foundation of trust is in place, you can begin diffusing some responsibility to those who have earned it. But more on this later.
3. Integration Station
In addition to having the freedom to create different spaces for your audience to interact within your server, you are also able to integrate & streamline all of your other social media accounts within Discord. One of my favorite integration services is a moderation bot called MEE6. At its most basic elements, MEE6 is a one-stop auto-mod that is essential to any server; you can set it up to automatically notify your audience anytime you go live on Twitch or Mixer, or anytime you post to Twitter or YouTube. MEE6 also has a leveling feature that incentivizes user-interaction within your server and can help you identify potential moderators for your server, as aforementioned in the previous section (more on why this is important for you in Reason #5.) But how do we get people to the server, and why would they want to be there?
4. Capture Lightning in a Bottle
Imagine you’ve just finished streaming your session on Twitch and have had a consistent viewership and people are engaging with you - and each other - in the chat. Instead of signing off and asking them to “Like & Share on Facebook,” effectively losing this euphoric high of togetherness and community, you invite them to join your Discord server and continue the party over there.
This is an immediately engaging, personal and genuine way to connect with your viewers; you’ve invited them to continue developing your relationship, rather than asked them to support your metrics.
It’s all about the interaction.
Like lightning in a bottle, the energy of your performance has now been captured, transferred, and reproduced in your server.
What you’re building now is culture, and culture is powerful.
5. Community is Key
I think the biggest factor that sets Discord apart from other social media services is its personalization factor. Whereas Facebook and Instagram tend to market themselves towards the individual, Discord centers itself on bringing like-minded individuals together in a communal space to share ideas, grow, and work together. People want to feel valued and will continue to frequent places where they feel valued, whether it be through a sense of community or a sense of responsibility; Discord allows you to give them both.
Yes it’s Discord, but it’s your server. It will take on your identity as it grows under your care. Like a garden, or relationship, or anything worth doing, it can take a frustrating amount of time and effort to get it started, but it is oh so rewarding once it’s running on its own.
You can check out CelticWolfTv on the following channels:
Cover Image Credit: George Brynzan (@nitros) on Unsplash