As a game developer, you know better than anyone that gaming communities provide game publishers with an unmatched opportunity to better engage users who want to share their experiences, become better players, and discuss the subtleties and nuances of games. But did you know you should be using gaming Discord servers to grow your online community?
There’s no doubt that for developers and marketers, online communities are an excellent means to monetize games, improve user experience, and even build stronger bonds with players — all of which increases your player retention.
In this article, you’ll learn:
- About growing your online community with the right social media marketing strategy
- Why you should focus on Discord
- How to grow your online community through Discord
- How to set up a Discord server for your game
- How to stream on Discord
- The secrets to success on Discord
Did you know that building a tight knit community for your indie game gives your game a better chance at success? That’s because successfully growing your gaming community brings together individuals who share a common interest, and gives you a direct line of communication with these people so you can keep them involved.
Keep in mind that in this day and age, games come and go and plenty of indie games turn out to be just a flash in the pan. For any game to be really successful, you need engaged players that will not only keep your game alive, but also introduce it to new players for weeks, months, and years after the launch.
Anyone who is into gaming knows what gaming Discord servers are. In fact, Discord servers are now often described as the gamers’ social media. This is because a huge portion of the online community can easily be found engaging on a gaming Discord server for one popular game or another. So if you want to reach your target audience on platforms where they are sure to spend a lot of time, you should make Discord gaming servers part of your social media marketing strategy.
Discord is easily the best communication platform for both gamers and fans. But a lot of people don’t realize that Discord is also a great platform for most game developers. On top of the marketing benefits, Discord servers can serve as a place for game developers to collaborate with each other on projects and share knowledge from their own niche communities.
Because of this, every game studio and development team — and particularly all indie game makers — should learn how they can use Discord to meet their goals. With capabilities like streaming directly to players, seamless voice chat between two people, a larger group or an entire server, it’s easy to see why this platform has quickly risen to peak popularity in the past couple of years, especially within the gaming community.
Growing your online community with the right social media marketing strategy
Creating and executing an effective social media marketing strategy is one of the valuable tools for game developers and studios. This is because it allows you to be in full control when marketing and promoting your games. Did you know that there are over 2.5 billion gamers around the world?
Social media has had a lasting impact on video game communities as well as the gaming industry as a whole. Last year, there were about 3.8 billion individuals active on social media. Despite the widespread use of social media, especially in the gaming community, it’s important for anyone promoting a game to keep in mind that each social media platform comes with its own set of nuances. With that in mind, you don’t have to go it alone — you can always reach out to a marketing agency that specializes in video games.
No matter how you decide to approach the task of growing your game’s social media following, you’ll have set aside some time for research, planning, and content curation to get the best results. This is true for any platform you choose to grow your online game community, be it Discord, Twitch, Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, or Instagram.
Because each platform comes with its unique benefits and drawbacks, opting to build out your social media accounts across multiple social platforms can help you keep your target audience fully informed and engaged, drive more cross-pollination among your existing social following, and ultimately jumpstart growth for your game’s social media following.
For example, let’s look at YouTube. It’s a reliable and solid platform for reaching gamers, so it should be part of your social media marketing strategy — but it certainly shouldn’t be the only platform you build a presence on. Focusing exclusively on YouTube would mean missing out on all the value to be found on other platforms. Similarly, an effective social media strategy should make the most of each platform rather than focusing on a single angle. On YouTube that could look like much more than just uploading trailers of your game — you could also develop a vlog, or put together an influencer campaign where you publish streaming footage of an influencer testing your game.
So when you’re deciding which social media platforms you’re going to commit to, you should keep their unique strengths in mind. Without further adieu, let’s unpack why you should focus on Discord if growing your goal is to grow your online community.
Why focus on Discord for video game marketing?
To say that gaming discord server has had a massive impact on the gaming community would be an understatement. Did you know that in just three short years, this San Francisco-based company has racked up a whopping 130 million users?
What is Discord?
Discord is a social media platform that has revolutionized online gaming. Every couple of years, a new big technology comes along that becomes immediately popular. This usually happens because it fills a void that people didn’t even know was missing. And Discord is undoubtedly one such technology.
Originally launched to become a reliable voice chat solution and instant text messenger for individuals playing MMORPGs, over time Discord has become synonymous with voice over internet protocol (VOIP) and online community management. Not a small feat!
Discord offers real-time voice chat, text chat, streaming, game shop functionality, and gaming notifications, among others. The platform has taken the global online gaming community by storm and quickly replaced Teamspeak and Skype for many gamers. It’s not surprising that an increasing number of game developers are now creating their own Discord servers.
Creators and developers can use a gaming Discord server to build an audience, form strong bonds with fans, and garner helpful feedback. For proof of this — and some inspiration — look no further than the top Discord servers to see how creators can engage with players and even stream on Discord.
On top of these great reasons, some game studios have found other ways to integrate Discord more tightly and comprehensively into their game development cycle. This helps create an active and engaged community months or even years before a new game comes out.
Here are some additional reasons you should focus on building a gaming Discord server to promote your game and create an engaged social following.
Energize and engage your gaming fans
On Discord you can collect crowd-sourced ideas, bug reports, and feature requests directly from the Discord community, which is invaluable. On top of using Discord like a focus group for user testing your games, you can also create unique activations like playful leaderboards, or asking questions that encourage responses and upvoting, to not only rally your community, but let them know that you’re really listening.
Discord is a free channel for indie game developers launching on a budget
Believe it or not, Discord is completely free. While there are some optional in-app purchase customizations that you can buy to take your strategy even further, the entire base feature set is now available for free to all community members as well as the server host.
Unlike some other free options, one of the best things about Discord is that there are no restrictions or limitations on chat history.
Discord is open and accessible to all
Another benefit is that Discord is also open by design. This means you can easily and creatively share invite codes, allowing your gaming fans to quickly join your server.
There’s also an official discovery registry, which makes it easy for gamers to find the servers of some of their favorite video game makers — including you.
Gaming servers are a direct line of communication to players
A direct line of communication to your gaming community and followers is the most powerful and important channel that you can have.
Just imagine typing something, and then it directly shows up on your fans’ screen as a notification. You cannot get more direct and immediate than this, so it makes a great channel for keeping your game at the forefront of players’ awareness.
Secure and safe to use
Discord lets you create verified and secure servers for your gaming studio or brand. You may decide to make your gaming group private and only invite gamers that you choose. If you take this route, the platform even secures your IP, keeping it from getting exposed to various third-parties.
How to grow your online community through Discord servers
One way to grow your online community with Discord is to make it clear to your players that your development team is logged on — and ready to connect with fans and develop a core group of video gamers interested in your product. Players prefer a direct connection to people who make their games. As a result, this can create a huge draw for your brand.
A gaming Discord server makes it easier to address multiple people at once and create a constructive dialogue. That’s why some of the most popular games, like Fortnite, Minecraft, and Terraria, now have official gaming Discord servers.
This works so well because fans can interact with game developers and also with one another. As a game developer, you can attract players to your server by using Discord to answer fans’ questions, offer previews of your new games, and advertise new content.
Yes, at first glance it seems like Discord is built for communicating with your entire audience. But real game marketing pros know that you can also use Discord to create some mystique around your game. You can establish private channels for more classified information and updates about your game, only making it available to the most elite game fans.
Moderators and channels
Because of Discord’s lower barrier of entry, the platform can easily become inundated with many new users, feeling crowded in no time. Depending on the maturity of your gaming brand, that might not be a bad thing. Either way, it’s a good idea to think ahead and carefully appoint moderation positions. This will help organize discussion into several channels.
Discord channels are also essential for a healthy and productive server. They’re basically just different chat streams based on certain topics or themes that your server can be easily divided into. The main goal of these channels is to bring order to any likely chaos that may happen if there were only one place where your players could share their thoughts.
Server verification can help you attract more players
One of the best ways to attract fans to your gaming Discord server is through verification. Note that verified game servers are “official” servers that Discord developers, as well as influencers, run. Similar to the coveted blue checkmark on Instagram and Twitter, they confirm to your fans that the individual running the gaming server is who he or she claims to be, which is important.
Verified game servers on Discord attract more fans and also generate more discussion. You can easily apply on Discord’s website to become a verified server.
Setting up a Discord server for your game
Choose who to invite to your gaming server
The process of creating a new server is quick and easy — it’s when your server is up and running that you have to start making important decisions.
Discord has many personalization options, which is great for brand building in the gaming space. One great feature is that you can easily control who is and isn’t in your group. You can add group members through personal invites sent through text or email, or even through clickable links on your site as well as social media pages.
Plus Discord offers more customization on how you can label members than platforms like Facebook. For example, you may want to limit who has permission to create the invite links in your gaming community, and grant that permission based on a certain amount of engagement.
Use tiered groups
Unlike groups on most social media platforms, with Discord you’re not restricted to a single Discord group within your game server.
You can set up several text and voice channels and easily control access with the help of assigned roles. Keep in mind that owners, moderators, admins, and members all have different access rights and levels to various chat groups. Because of this it’s a good idea to plan out how you structure your server — especially if you want to plan with your team on one channel and engage with customers on the other.
Offer excellent customer service
Did you know that Discord is one of the best platforms to provide customer service? This is because you can quickly converse with members and also send private messages. And gamers also gravitate to reliable communities to raise their questions about games.
This is great for your brand because it provides an excellent opportunity for transparency around both the answers to frequently asked questions — but also the way your brand interacts with players. Let’s not overlook the fact that 53% of consumers are ready and willing to buy from brands and companies that show transparency and honesty on social media.
How to stream on Discord
One thing to keep in mind about streaming on Discord is that you can only stream on Discord’s desktop client for Windows. Don’t shoot the messenger, Mac users.
Keep in mind that if the game you would like to stream is already recognized by Discord, you just have to click the “Go Live” button. You will find it at the bottom left near your avatar and username. If Discord fails to automatically recognize the game that you would like to stream, select “Change” in the Go Live menu. Now, check the voice channel that you would like to stream to and then click “Go Live”.
Note that once your game stream is up and running, the platform will display a small preview of your stream in its window. You can hover over the stream and then click the cog icon in order to access the Stream Settings menu. You may use this menu to change the frame rate and quality of your game stream.
When it comes to spectating, players can tune into live streams on the desktop app as well as from a Chrome internet browser. First, you have to open Discord and then enter the gaming server where you would like to stream. With that in mind, it’s best to know the top gaming Discord servers for your game before you begin. Once you’re ready, open the game that you would like to spectate on.
Secrets to Success on Discord
Control your various Discord notifications
Keep in mind that your notifications may quickly spiral out of control if you’re a member of many Discord servers. Opening the app in order to find thousands of unread messages is not a great user experience.
Fortunately the Discord app lets you take a more granular level of control when it comes to your notifications. For example, you can easily edit your preferences at the gaming Discord server level, the user level, and the channel level.
To make sure the members of your server have a great experience, you can even provide recommended notifications for your channel.
Be careful with advertising on Discord
Trust us — don’t make the mistake of advertising to random people, or advertising on Discord random servers. This is not the intended use of the platform, and it’s not aligned to the ethos of the Discord demographic so it’s unlikely to go over well.
Also, avoid incentives like rewarding people for inviting their friends because unsolicited advertising breaches Discord’s Terms of Service.
Use game server golders in Discord
It is worth noting that Discord added support for various server folders in July 2019 since so many users had requested the feature. Keep in mind that using server folders is helpful as it allows you to organize your list of game servers on the left-hand side of your screen so that you can manage them easily.
For individuals who are members of many different groups on the platform, these folders certainly make the app considerably simpler to use, especially if you’re promoting multiple games — each with its own server.
Set up your Discord hotkeys
Note that Discord hotkeys, also known as keybinds, let you easily set which keys trigger or activate specific in-app actions. You can either set up one key or any combination of keys, which can be really helpful if you find yourself fielding a high volume of messages and want to navigate them quickly and efficiently.
By now it should be clear that Discord is one of the best social media platforms out there for communicating with players. With its advanced text and voice chat features, huge potential for real-time customer service, user roles and group tiers, and potential for verification, Discord is the perfect place to engage with your online community.
No matter how well known your game is when you begin, Discord can help your game catch on across gaming communities since word travels so fast in the app, and players tend to join a number of gaming servers.
If you’re not sure how to get started, or if you think you could be doing much more with your Discord server — know that Loopr can help you no matter your budget. Get in touch and we’ll figure out a tailor-made approach for you to grow your social following on Discord.
Can’t get enough of this stuff? Check out our video game PR case studies to learn how we’ve helped indie game developers and esports brands just like you.