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  • Josh Graham

Secondary social media platforms: Discord explained

We’re excited to share with you our first in a series of blogs that will explore some secondary social media platforms. As much as we love the big four (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn), we think that there’s room for a few more seats at the digital marketing table. This week, we’re talking Discord, an app that has its roots in gaming but is quickly and quietly becoming so much more. If you want to learn how your business can utilise this exciting new platform, then keep reading.

Welcome to the first in a series of blogs that will explore some of the undervalued and/or up-and-coming social media platforms that can help improve your digital marketing game. If you’re interested in building engagement and building community for your business, there are a few ways of going about it on bigger apps, but today, we’re focussing on one of the most exciting up and comers, Discord! Let’s get into it.

How It Started…

Discord began in 2015 as a way for video gamers to create communities in much the same way that Skype once did. With online gamers utilising a variety of communication methods across various platforms, Discord offered a better way for them to communicate, featuring text and chat options and improved audio features, striking the balance between web chat and a community forum service that can be adapted to just about any niche you can think of; as small as a few friends shooting the breeze (and each other depending on the game) or for a community that spans many, many, many users.

How It’s Going…

It’s safe to say things are going pretty damn well at Discord. With an active user base of about 150 million, with 19 million active weekly users, over 4 billion daily conversation minutes, and some individual servers having upwards of one million members, it’s an app that is bubbling with activity at all times of the day, all around the world. That’s a lot of hype, but, if you’re not sold just yet, let’s keep going!

So it’s just for gamers then is it?

No, not at all! Discord is very, very popular among gamers, but of course, gamers aren’t just gamers, they, like most people, have diverse interests they want to share with one another, and this is a huge reason for Discord’s growth and continued success and for the humongous numbers quoted above.

As friendships and communities are forged beyond their original connection, they splinter off and grow symbiotically. So when it comes to the app’s potential for marketing, it stands to reason that if your business covers a topic that inspires passion and discussion in people, then Discord might be for you, as it acts as a way to not only connect people already on the app with similar interests but also to allow you to connect and bond with your current following already on other platforms.

So how can I use it for my business?

Well, for example, say your business is in speciality coffee retail. While you’ll have no-nonsense customers who know what they want and don’t need any of the frills, you probably have a lot of switched-on, engaged customers who are not just interested in your product but know a lot about coffee in general. They may also be interested in your specific brand, and even your personal brand if you and your staff are often customer-facing on other platforms and in day-to-day service.

In retail, these sorts of customers can sometimes be referred to as Expressives (customers who know a lot about what you do, and want you to know they know a lot by sharing their knowledge through in-depth discussion) and Friends (customers who see themselves in you, and will want to engage with you on a personal level not necessarily related to your product, but perhaps on peripheral values, interests, and aesthetics), and are the two most relevant to this type of platform. They are often the kind who will already be frequently interacting with your content, from heart-eyes on your Instagram stories to religiously reading your blog.

Having chatterbox tendencies in common, Friends and Expressives get on particularly well with Discord, as it allows for the cultivation of discussion around your niche, but, to your advantage, all within the context of your brand on a server you oversee. Through this, you’ll be able to build a deeper connection and understanding of your customers’ traits and characteristics, and in turn, your customers will receive social benefits through interacting with other members, while organically strengthening their bond with you and your company’s values as you dip in and out of conversations, answer FAQs and share personal insight with your chosen niche to an extent that feels most suitable to you. If it doesn’t feel all that comfortable, you can always get others to moderate it on your behalf. Not that we’re hinting.

Aren’t there already apps that do things like this?

At this point, you might be thinking, ‘this sounds a lot like something I can already find on Facebook groups and on Twitter - why would I put my time into getting my customers to download another app they might not have?’. Well, there’s a multitude of reasons why, as Discord has a number of features that offer distinction above its peers.

First of all, it’s extremely customisable. If you’re familiar with apps like Slack, Discord can, in a community management sense, be used very effectively in a similar fashion (as you might have guessed, Discord can also be used by businesses internally, but in this blog we’ll stick to external applications). Roles and permissions can be assigned to each and every member of your group, allowing for complete control of the tone and content of discourse in ways that more public forums such as Twitter don’t allow, as well as private and public channels within your server.

To go back to the retail analogy, these channels could be staff or subscriber-exclusive in the case of private channels, or in the case of public-facing channels, you could have certain channels that pertain to different facets of your business such as sustainability, upcoming events, product launches, and customer service, all of which can be cherry-picked by group members to receive notifications for the aspects that most interest them. This allows them to cut out the extraneous noise that can come with having a singular forum that will cause you and your community to become fatigued as it grows and diversifies.

You can even program Discord AI bots (easier than it sounds) to enforce certain rules around etiquette and language and schedule announcements, making for a far more personalised and purposeful experience. Meanwhile, speaking of upcoming events, livestreams can also be held on the platform, allowing you to share quality time with your audience in the form of Q&As, product demos and reveals, and even in-person event streaming, with a wide range of audio and video control features to make the experience as painless and inclusive as possible.

Wow, this sounds great. You’ve totally convinced me! Thanks!

You’re so welcome. For all the reasons above, we believe Discord is worth your time and effort. Even if you’re starting with a relatively small community, if you see yourself and your audience reflected in what we’ve discussed, get to grips with it now by getting involved in other servers, so when your audience catches up to you, you can navigate the app and get people chatting about your product day in, day out, and get ahead of the competition. Happy server-ing!

1 Comment

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