How to solve challenges in your community

Written by Aidan Wilson

Every brand needs a community. Whether you choose Discord or Telegram or another platform, a community creates enormous value by gathering your superfans in a dedicated space where you can talk to them directly, driving real results in marketing and monetisation metrics.

Every community faces challenges, however. Here at Levellr, we've built and managed communities for music artists, sports teams, global brands and more, and we've seen how things can go wrong. But that's also taught us how to deal with challenges likes developing trust with members, keeping engagement ticking along, managing conflict and revealing the ROI of a Discord community.

Here's how to weather any storm and keep your community happy, healthy and driving value for your brand.

Building trust and credibility

The challenge: Trust is paramount in a community. If members feel dissatisfied, neglected or, worse, exploited, they will leave. They might even talk down the brand or artist on other platforms. Trust can be destroyed by many of the challenges mentioned here - but fortunately, trust underpins the solution to any issue a community owner might face.

The solution: Transparency builds trust. Community owners need to consistently be authentic, inclusive and genuinely committed to the needs and interests of members. When things do go wrong, swift and effective communication is essential, backed by a well-defined crisis management plan. That's especially true while addressing sensitive topics or responding to criticism, when online communities can become focal points for a crisis or controversy.

Maintaining member engagement

The challenge: Keeping community members engaged over time can be difficult. People's interests may wane, especially between releases or campaigns, or they may become distracted by other online activities. Brands need to consistently provide valuable content, discussions, and interactions to keep community members engaged.

The solution: Continually driving engagement seems like a big investment, but in fact a little time and imagination will pay off exponentially. Members are keen to engage with the subject of the community - that's why they're there - so fun activities like contests, conversations prompts and teaser campaigns become self-sustaining.

Discord screengrab
Maisie Peters ignites her community with messages that make her fans feel part of her journey.

Another useful tool is gamification, which rewards members for doing the things you want them to do. Fans love to collect experience points (XP), unlock new experiences and badges, and feel like they're taking on respected roles within the community. For more on how to keep a community happy and humming along, even between product releases, check out more proven Levellr strategies to drive engagement, retention and growth.

Measuring ROI and demonstrating value

The challenge: A post gets a few hundred reaction emojis. So what? Demonstrating the value of a community to executives and investors can be tough.

The solution: A Discord community is a huge opportunity to drive real results for any brand, music artist, record label, sports team, podcast, content creator or anyone with a shared passion. Your community is a goldmine of data about your brand and how people relate to it. Track metrics beyond simple engagement numbers by looking at KPIs like customer satisfaction and brand loyalty, or simply asking them questions in polls.

If marketing metrics aren't enough, a community generates cold hard cash. Post a link in the community and you can directly track members to specific online stores and monetisation opportunities, such as ticket and merch sales or streaming sites. When your fans are gathered in a Discord community, you can record and analyse behaviour from their initial excitement all the way through to spending money - and as well as tracking this data, you can even even encourage purchase decisions within the community, like incentivising them to stream more or releasing exclusive merch drops.

Managing conflict and negative behaviours

The challenge: Any group attracts trolls, spammers or negative behaviour. Brands need effective moderation strategies to deal with these issues promptly, but without feeling overbearing for members.

The solution: There are a range of stategies you can use to safeguard your comunity and your data, reducing the risks and mitigating any impact. A robust moderation strategy begins with clear community guidelines, which are communicated to new members as they sign up. When the community is up and running, the most crucial line of defence is community moderators. These are members that have been carefully selected and trained to deal with problems. Community mods are able to spot tensions and defuse conflict among their peers in a way that admins can't, and that makes them an invaluable asset for heading off problems.

Levellr trains and empowers mods, backed up with powerful tools for mods and community owners to respond appropriately to different levels of misbehaviour ranging from time outs to outright banning serious wrongdoers. As always, the most useful tool is trust: when members trust the owner and believe in the community's purpose, they will often police themselves to keep the group happy and thriving.

Balancing transparency with brand guidelines

The challenge: Any community owner must find a balance between brand messaging and collaboration with members. A healthy community is built on two-way communication, which can be hard for brands that are used to rigidly enforcing brand guidelines.

The solution: Embrace collaboration. A community will very quickly tell you when they're unhappy, but will also tell you when they're happy. That feedback is a huge opportunity for exploring new ideas, product testing and more. It's also a much more effective way of reaching fans than social media. Most importantly, listening to a community of engaged fans helps a brand evolve to remain relevant, especially when trying to reach new demographics.

Managing user-generated content

The challenge: Community owners must navigate legal and ethical considerations associated with user-generated content within their communities. This includes addressing issues related to copyright infringement, privacy concerns, and offensive or inappropriate content.

The solution: Treat user-generated content as a genuine collaboration between members and brand. Encourage community-generated content by rewarding fans, and making their content a genuine part of the artist or brand's journey. That way, fans don't feel exploited and are excited to continue sharing community-generated content.

Discord screengrab
Fans of Fred again.. are enthusiastic collaborators with his creative projects.

Scaling up community management

The challenge: As communities grow, managing them becomes more complex. As members join, it can be harder to provide personalised attention and support to members, and new locations or demographics may have different needs or cultural sensibilities.

The solution: Listening to members is essential as a community grows. Community mods and members have an insider's perspective on how to help the community owners build a diverse and welcoming community for all new members. And you don't have to navigate uncharted waters alone: Levellr's community management team have years of experience managing and supporting communities, which means you can benefit from their expertise and insight from day one.

Navigating platform changes and algorithm updates

The challenge: Social media platforms and online forums frequently update their algorithms and policies, which can affect how content is surfaced and distributed. It can be hard for brand teams to stay on top of these changes and adapt their strategies to maintain visibility and engagement. In the worst case scenario, a brand can lose access to their superfans in the community they've cultivated and invested in.

The solution: Take advantage of the strengths of platforms like Discord, while also ensuring you capture members independently of any platform. The simplest way to do that is to include a marketing sign-up option when members first join. That way, from the moment they join your community, you have their email and can reach them directly at any time. This is a tried and tested method: Levellr communities average an impressive 51% opt-in rate to marketing communications. The industry average? Just 2%.

The bottom line

Any community will inevitably face challenges. But with a foundation of trust and smart use of the tools and strategies available, you can steer a course through any issues and come out of the other side with a happy, healthy and stronger community.

At Levellr we work with a range of clients in multiple industries and sectors, from music artists like Conan Grey and Fall Out Boy to global brands like Starbucks. Working with them to manage, build and maintain thriving communities, we've  helped them drive tangible marketing ROI and monetisation value through meaningful emotion connection with fans.

Contact Levellr today to find out how you can found a community which can weather any storm and create huge value for your brand.