Managing massive growth in a Discord community

Written by Aidan Wilson

Your Discord community is blowing up. Congratulations!

Now what?

Growth is a big win for any brand looking to build a community, because more members brings more opportunity to drive value. Exponential expansion inevitably comes with challenges, but thinking ahead pays off massively: when growth is managed successfully, new members stick around and contribute to a healthy community driving tangible marketing and monetisation results for the brand.

And remember: even though a rapid influx of new members brings challenges, it can also shake things up. Handled right, a little controlled chaos builds buzz in your server.

When do communities grow?

Whether it's a music artist, sports teams or global player like Starbucks, a community owner needs to understand when spikes of growth are likely to happen.

Ideally, the brand will constantly drive new members to the community. But a server really takes off when the brand engineers big spikes in sign-ups.

The simplest way to boost growth is to promote the community (also known as a server). A brand or personality can talk about the server on other social channels and in marketing materials like email newsletters. Emphasise the benefits of joining the server and share an invite link, and you should see fans clicking to sign up.

Growth also happens when a new product or campaign drops. When a new album, game or product goes on sale, fans want to talk about it. Maximise that growth by promoting the server and including the invite link in promotional activities and campaigns across all channels (but consider staggering promotion across the length of the campaign, so newcomers aren't piling in at the same time).

There may also be external factors to think about. Sports-related servers will see growth when the season starts, or before a big game. LGBTQ+ servers could see growth before and during Pride Month. The server may be highlighted on the Discord Server Discovery tab. An influencer could mention the server, the artist might go viral unexpectedly, or a server could even benefit from the growth of some other server if members elsewhere decide to explore similar communities.

Once your server has been running for a while, you can use your dashboard to spot trends and predict potential growth spikes. Or if a server is relatively new, experienced community managers can help you anticipate when new members are likely to arrive.

Challenges of explosive growth in Discord community

Whether growth is planned or completely unexpected, it's possible to be ready in advance. The first stage of preparation is understanding what's likely to happen, and what issues will come up.

These are some of the potential challenges when a server grows:

  • managing new members' entry into the community
  • helping new members find their way around the server and seamlessly join in
  • minimising disruption to existing members
  • keeping the community on topic, on-brand and on track
  • safeguarding members against a potential influx of bad actors
  • supporting your moderators in what can be a busy and turbulent time

Prepare for growth

The best time to start preparing is before growth happens. The last thing you need is for a huge problem to be exposed while the server is growing. Think ahead and identify possible issues now.

For example, if your moderation team is at capacity with the community at its current size, start the process of onboarding new moderators before it grows any further. Consider establishing a back-up team of mods who spring into action at busy times.

Automate moderation

Try to streamline and automate as much of the sign-up process as possible. Create a comprehensive FAQ channel or event-specific landing page so mods aren't bombarded by the same questions from new members. Bots and other back-end tools are your friends here.

These are some auto moderation options to help you in times of growth:

  • Slow mode, which limits the number of messages members can send so busier channels aren't overwhelmed
  • Word filters that can spot specific terms used in a promotional campaign Autoresponders which pop up pre-prepared text
  • Timed reminders that highlight commonly broken rules
  • Automatic punishments such as warnings or muting
  • Increasing existing punishment flows (i.e. switch to an automatic mute where you would have issued an automatic warning before)
  • Anti-spambot protection and automatic filtering of links or media types
  • Verification levels, roles and gating, which catch trolls and bots and put off low-intention members

Reducing stress on your moderators is key, and frees them up to deal with the things that can't be automated. Your reserve mods handle repetitive and trivial moderation issues, leaving your experienced mods free to tackle the more difficult stuff.

What to do after a Discord growth spike

A growth spike is often a buzzy and busy time, where a higher volume of messages are flying around. Amid that increased conversation, important announcements could get lost. Once things have settled down, consider repeating important information and announcements, or reiterating the rules and purpose of the community for new members.

Remember that bringing new members in is just the first step. It's also crucial to hook those members and keep them hooked through their first hours, days and weeks. Read more about first week retention here, to learn how to turn newcomers into value-driving members who stick around.

Growth is good. Contact Levellr today to learn more about engineering and managing exponential expansion that converts into long-term value for your brand.

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