If you’re a Twitch or YouTube Gaming partnered streamer, go sync your account in Discord before reading this. Here’s how to do it.
Discord is being used by communities of all shapes and sizes (even you, rhombus)! As we dive into this post, we will be using Twitch Streamers as the lens through which we explore community server set up. Any type of community can benefit from the ideas in here, though!
So now, beloved community leader, you hopefully have a Discord server. If not, stop being a broom and get your community in there!
The question is then, “how do I best set up my Discord server” and then “how can I best use Discord to interact and engage with my community?” Astute questions!
In this post, we’ll explain how to set up your server with a Welcome Channel and Announcements Channel to help ease new recruits in to the Discord experience. We’ll also suggest ways to tell your audience about your shiny new Discord server. Finally, we’ll share some sexy ways we’ve seen streamers use Discord to illustrate how to engage with your community.
Note: a lot of the below screens are heckin’ old! Discord’s gotten quite the makeover since. We’ll stop being lazy and update these one day :^)
Before we jump into designing your servers, we recommend setting a Verification Level and adjusting your Default Notification Settings to secure things. Get going with a safe start.
For a public server, we recommend at least setting your Verification Level to Low. We highly recommend setting the Default Notification Settings to Only @mentions though.
Set it up!
Loading up Discord and slapping channels together willy-nilly is some bronze-tier stuff. To be a shining diamond, you’ll want to set up your server with some intent. Here’s a baller server designed by streamer TKBreezy and his power mod, Mudkip.
Let’s run down the smart ways TK has set up his server.
TKBreezy promotes his server with an instant invite link from his #welcome channel. As a result, any newcomers will land in this channel first. In here, they are shown some information that eases them into the server experience. They also include some basic Discord tips for those new to the software.
Specifically, the instructions here guide newcomers to add a profile picture. They also suggest the newcomer uses Push-To-Talk as a default voice configuration.
Here’s how to make a room like this:
- Create the welcome channel
- Deny @everyone the Send Messages permission.
- Give a mod or yourself the Send Messages permission.
By denying @everyone the ability to Send Messages, you can control the room and only post content in there you want. Then, by giving a trusted mod or yourself the green check box, you now have permissions to post in here and craft the warm welcome message.
Much like a welcome room, the announcements channel is a place where you can constantly update your Discord homies. Make a post when you’re gonna go live with an @everyone mention or post some updates to your server, stream schedule, or whatever you want!
This channel has the same permission set-up that the welcome channel above has. Follow the above GIF to set it up.
These two rooms are great if you want to add some design and structure to your initial Discord experience.
Below is a grid of further channel suggestions. Be wary not to add too many channels or people will get overwhelmed and the activity between them all will lessen. That said, don’t be afraid to add new channels and see if your community adopts them!
This begs the question… how do I get my viewers to join my Discord community in the first place!?
Tell them about it!
Well, duh… but if you don’t let your viewers know that you have a Discord server they won’t know to join it! As I said above, you can’t just slippity slap together a Discord and hope people come.
Here are some ways we’ve seen other people talk about their Discord spice:
- Make a YouTube video explaining how to join the community server.
- Post on your communities official Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, or other social media platform.
- Show and talk about your Discord server on stream. You can even have a chat bot post it in your Twitch Chat and a panel below your stream that links to your server with a description. For sub servers, where you describe Sub benefits, put something like “VIP access to the sexiest Discord lounge known to mankind.”
Here’s an example of Discord as a panel below a Twitch stream from Biinny. He made his own custom panel but at the bottom of this post we’ve supplied some images you can use for your own Twitch page!
Don’t forget to include the Instant Invite link in all of these methods! You can even set a permanent invite link that never expires. Check it out in this EXCLUSIVE DISCORD PRO TIP.
Last but not least, you can hook up a Discord widget onto your community website. Here’s how TEST Squadron, one of Star Citizen’s top organizations, use the Discord widget.
You can find the code needed to hook this up on your website in the Widget tab in your Server Settings. Make sure to check the Enable Widget box!
Give them a reason to stay!
Look at you. You’ve got people hanging out in your server and visitors checking it out regularly. I am just so proud of you. You’ve grown up so fast.
Now, you gotta be active if you want to keep your fans engaged. Newton’s Third Law of Communities says “Your community gives back what you give to it.” You gotta give love to get love.
What are some ways that you can engage your community and give them a reason to hang around your Discord? How can you get people to stop wandering in and out and root down?
Here’s some strategies that we’ve seen work pretty well for some Discord badasses.
As you’re wrapping up your live stream, let your viewers know that you’ll be spending some time hanging out in your Discord server afterwards. In fact, making this a regular occurrence gives people even more reason to stick around. Play bingo, tell jokes, or just individually say each person’s username and call them your favorite sub. Notice them all, sempai.
Speedrunner and Mario Maker Extraordinaire, Trihex, has a Discord text channel called #asktri. Most of the time, this channel is locked and people are not allowed to send messages (similar to how we have the welcome channel set up earlier in this article). At times, he’ll open up the channel for people to ask him questions for a short period of time. He then hangs out and answers questions before locking it again, creating an ever-evolving and archived AMA for his fans and followers.
If you’re an artist/streamer, consider having a channel inside your server dedicated to feedback on your viewers’ art. They can request feedback from other members and yourself. This is a dope way to keep people stuck and engaged. Chibi-conjuror, Rin the Yordle, has a Discord server focused around her art stream. In the #critiquecorner channel, people post their works-in-progress and get live feedback from other members and Rin herself.
Beyond art, your gaming community can have a “game reviews” channel where users post reviews of games they’ve played? The meta point here is to share and discuss content with each other.
For streamers, if the game you play allows for multiplayer, you should absolutely consider playing with your community.
Shiny-headed Destiny streamer Professor Broman and his royal compadre King Gothalion run viewer raids with their community using Discord.
Discord makes getting all the selected viewers into voice chat rooms super slick with instant invite links. Furthermore, you could even have people in a “Queue” or “Waiting Room” voice channel to let you know who’s ready-to-go for some live gameplay. Less downtime, more headshots (or kill-stealing).
You can see an example of a waiting room channel in Broman’s server below, titled “Interested In Raid?”
Furthermore, Discord keeps your IP secure so it’s safe to use and play with other people. No fear of DDOS!
Making a Discord server and just expecting your community to be active and lively is a fools game. While some of your die-hard fans will hang out in there and some extremely community focused members will remain, you have to interact in there.
Hop in and out. Post messages frequently. This community orbits you. Consider yourself a host here. Your server is your auditorium. Everyone else is a visitor, a regular, a stage-hand helping set things up. You are the center piece, the actor on stage who everyone looks at when they speak. You are the reason they are there. So, be there!
By being active and fostering a Discord server, you tighten the bonds of your community. If you do it right, your community will be more engaged than ever.
We hope that Discord provides an awesome platform for you to level up your community interactions and have more old fashioned good times and vibes.
If you’re interested in seeing how to make an even more advanced server structure, check out this article.
You'll find some assets to use over at discord.com/branding. Feel free to rip them and use them!