How to engage your Discord community

Written by Aidan Wilson

Superfans love getting together and sharing their love for an artist or brand. Creating a community on Discord gives fans a place to do just that, uniting people from all over the world in their passion for any music artist, sports team or brand. And once they've started, a few simple engagement strategies ensure the community keeps on growing and thriving.

A happy and healthy community drives real results in marketing and monetisation, from word-of-mouth to community-generated-content to merchandise and ticket sales. And the key to a happy and healthy Discord server is engagement.

At Levellr, we've identified multiple proven strategies you can adopt to draw in those all-important superfans and keep them coming back. The great thing about these strategies is they create an environment which encourages conversation and participation among fans, so engagement snowballs without official help or supervision - creating a thriving community.

Keep Discord channels fresh

Mark your calendar Sync your activities with the brand or artist's schedule to boost engagement. For example, if there's an album release coming up, ask members for their input on the cover design. Where there's a product release, tour or merch drop, start building anticipation early.

For example, Maisie Peters scored a no. 1 album with 2023’s The Good Witch after building buzz among fans on Discord. Fred again.. did the same with his tour.

Learn from success (part 1) Take a closer look at highly active channels. Busy or popular channels often provide valuable insights for creating new channels. For instance, if your #fan-art channel sees fans sharing live show photos, artwork and song remixes, you could create dedicated channels for each to encourage more content. Let fans know about these new channels to involve them in the community's direction.

Don't be afraid to say goodbye Not every conversation takes off. If a channel remains inactive despite your efforts, consider removing it. Forcing communication can discourage members and even lead them to uninstall Discord.

Encourage interaction in channels

Ask questions Fans love to feel heard. Regularly post questions in each channel on behalf of the artist or brand, and you will:

  • strengthen the bond between the artist/brand and their community
  • cultivate a habit among community members to routinely revisit channels
  • motivate silent observers to join conversations and connect with others
  • ignite new discussions and interactions within the community

Engage engaging people Choosing your moderation team is key. As well as policing your community, fan moderators are great at driving engagement. Look for engagement officer skills, and encourage mods to keep channels active by prompting and participating in discussions.

Catch the drift Keep an eye out for channels drifting into unrelated topics. If a channel's purpose becomes unclear due to off-topic discussions, consider renaming it. This helps guide and inform both existing and new members about the channel's primary subject, encouraging participation in relevant conversations. When a community rallies around a topic, it often piques the interest of others who get involved in the channel's ongoing discussions.

Stay focused If a channel starts hosting conversations around multiple topics, consider creating new channels to separate the topics. This encourages members to further discussion on topics they enjoy, while cutting down on confusion in the original channel.

Promote inclusivity

Be a good host Organise regular events that invite and encourage everyone to participate. This fosters a sense of unity within the community, making it feel like a cohesive group rather than a collection of individuals searching for their place.

Maisie Peters teased her album The Good Witch with a series of fun riddles which unlocked snippets of songs, getting fans buzzing. Most importantly, the songs were unlocked when a certain number of people solved the puzzles, encouraging fans to work together and turning it into a collaborative experience for the community.

Get @ your fans Make announcements from the artist or brand's official handle to '@everyone'. That tags everybody in the community, so every single member feels included and informed of important updates and information.

Screengrab of Maisie Peters Discord.
Maisie Peters building buzz for her album launch with the @everyone tag on Discord.

Listen to everyone During Q&A sessions, consciously select questions from a range of community members so everyone has an equal chance to have their queries answered. Even members who don’t ask questions will feel included and valued.

Call on top members As time goes on, you'll get to know the most engaged members in the community. Leverage their enthusiasm and knowledge by tagging these members in relevant discussions. This not only encourages their participation and boosts engagement, but also instills a sense of ownership among superfans, motivating them to initiate and engage in more discussions across the server.

Listen to your community

Let your fans guide you Your community members are your compass. Listening to them is key to understanding their desires and needs within the server, which should guide the evolution of the community. They will articulate what they want and require, and it's your responsibility to turn their requests into reality.

Learn from success (part 2) Look at success stories outside your community too. For instance, think about how Monzo achieved rapid success: a strategy of listening to their members and creating what users needed the most from a new bank. The same principle applies to any thriving community.

Empower your members Actively listening to your members empowers them to shape and build the community collaboratively.

Reward and retain your members

Harness the power of rewards Rewards are super-effective motivators. When members engage in desired actions that help meet the brand or artist's goals, it's essential to acknowledge their efforts with meaningful incentives. Fans love incentives, which give them a compelling reason to keep participating.

Screengrab of Fred Again Discord.
Fred again.. fans plan to meet up IRL.

Rewards could be anything from exclusive content, like cool tarot cards released by Maisie Peters, or ticket drops reserved for Discord that give superfans access to Fred again.. afterparties and Fall Out Boy shows. The exclusive nature of a Discord community also makes it the perfect space for loyalty programmes by brands like Levellr client Starbucks.

Cultivate friendships, strengthen bonds

Make friends Creating a community where members form real friendships not only enhances their connection to the server but also makes it harder to leave. When your members have friends within the community, it adds multiple layers of attachment beyond just their love of the artist or brand.

Host small video sessions Encourage or organise smaller video room sessions, providing a cosy space for members to connect on a more personal level.

Make it IRL Consider hosting or promoting in-person events where members can meet face-to-face, strengthening their bonds beyond the digital realm. For example, the Fred again.. team supported listening parties organised by fans around the world.

Meet at the front Facilitate fan meetups at live shows, encouraging members to deepen friendships through shared experiences and supporting fans who might not know other fans in their day-to-day life. To support Fall Out Boy’s tour, Levellr prepared a dedicated channel for each venue so fans could co-ordinate meetups.

Spotlight collaborative projects Encourage fans to work together on creative projects, potentially benefiting the artist or brand. The OPIA community founded by composer Ólafur Arnalds is a perfect example, as fans are encouraged to create music together, even performing live with Arnaulds at a showcase concert.

Collaborative effort like this not only enriches their connections but also potentially provides the community owner with cool community-generated content. Fred again.. benefited from fans submitting voice notes and pictures to be used in his music and art.

Your superfans are waiting. Contact Levellr today to find out how you can build a community which works for your brand.

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