Discord Marketing: Creating a Brand Community for Gen-Z

Discord Marketing: Creating a Brand Community for Gen-Z

Discord’s Roots In the beginning… there was TeamSpeak – an innovative peer-to-peer voice-communication program. In the days of dial-up Internet, TeamSpeak reigned supreme within the realm of voice-over-Internet Protocol (VOIP)...

Jul 3, 2023

Discord’s Roots

In the beginning… there was TeamSpeak – an innovative peer-to-peer voice-communication program. In the days of dial-up Internet, TeamSpeak reigned supreme within the realm of voice-over-Internet Protocol (VOIP) programs for its great voice quality & streamlined design.

TeamSpeak ran through servers, which included a series of user-customizable text and voice channels. It was the perfect chat application for gamers. Though, for all its strong suits… it also lacked much of what you would expect in a modern chat application.

There was no way to share your webcam feed. Nor was there a way to share your screen. You also couldn’t drag-and-drop images… you had to hyperlink them. TeamSpeak was… basic.

Then… came Skype. Skype introduced a lot of the features TeamSpeak lacked. With Skype, you could share your camera – and your screen! Additionally, you could send files of all types directly over Skype with a simple drag-and-drop; and it wasn’t just limited to images!

However, Skype wasn’t just a feature-rich version of TeamSpeak… it was a brand new take on peer-to-peer voice communication. Skype functioned through a friend network – similar to social media sites of the time.

Everyone had a unique & identifiable username, which you could be discovered and added by within the ‘search’ directory. When you became friends with someone, you had an individual chat that was cultivated between just the two of you; you could individually call that person as well.

And with Skype, there were no servers. Instead, if you wanted to talk to more than one person, you created group chats. When someone sent a message, everyone received it. When someone called the group chat, everyone was notified.

Some people enjoyed this functionality, while others loathed it. As a result, for years, users were split between TeamSpeak and Skype.

That was until Discord came along…

Discord took everything TeamSpeak & Skype did well and meshed them together.

How Discord Works

From TeamSpeak, they took the server functionality and refined the experience. With Discord, there are more server moderation tools, along with more distinct and personable roles, which also help create a system of hierarchy that is easier to understand.

From Skype, they took the ‘friends’ functionality, which works hand-in-hand with servers. Not only do you have your server channels, but you can easily transition that into one-on-one text chats & voice calls. And you can even create group chats, similar to Skype.

Discord aimed to be a more personable version of TeamSpeak and a more community-centric version of Skype. It provided the best of both worlds.
And since its conception in 2015, Discord has not only improved on and refined these features… but they have since innovated by adding new ones as well. And some of these features even offer users lucrative methods to earn revenue directly through Discord.

Discord’s Innovative Features

Most recently, Discord allowed server owners to monetize their servers with the release of member subscriptions. The feature was released in December of 2022 and gives server owners the ability to monetize at three tiers… offering access to unique content & server features in return for user patronage.

Some users have gotten really creative with this new feature…

In the wake of a string of controversial decisions from streaming platform Twitch, deemed “anti-creator” by many, streamer DaddyDitto decided to migrate his stream over to Discord.

He explained in a TikTok how he utilized Discord’s ‘Stage Channel’ feature – which allows a user to host a voice channel where only certain people can speak and the rest of the connected users function as an audience – to emulate a Twitch stream.

By using Discord’s member subscriptions feature, he was then able to monetize his stream.

To interact with his viewers while live, he utilizes Discord’s built-in text channels. A method he argues is better than Twitch chat, as you not only have the ability to post server emojis (a’la Twitch emotes), but you can also post full-size images and gifs as well.

Discord as a Marketing Tool

This is not the only way you can use Discord to make money. Discord is an incredible peer-to-peer marketing tool.

There are thousands of servers that allow users to freely share their creations. These servers do a lot of the marketing legwork by helping you connect directly with prospective buyers. And meshing servers with Discord’s ‘friends’ feature, Discord has practically created a roadmap for artists to rake in commissions.

Still, this method does take some legwork. But Discord has become a lifeline for many freelance artists and has been leveraged as a marketing tool to create lucrative side hustles, with some even parlaying it into a full-time career.

With Discord, your marketing strategy isn’t just limited to peer-to-peer.

Discord Server Marketing

You can utilize Discord’s server feature to create a community out of your buying circles as well. And doing this not only streamlines your marketing efforts that much more, but it also creates a level of personability and yields a distinct kind of brand loyalty.

Recognizing this fact, big brands have started jumping on the Discord marketing bandwagon. Companies like Chipotle and GameStop have created servers in an effort to facilitate the aforementioned brand loyalty.

They are doing this by hosting community events where you can chat, play games, and win prizes.

Discord Marketing Essentials

Marketing to younger demographics is all about creating a level of personability. If your brand lacks the human aspect, Gen Z and younger Millennials will not give you the time of day. And operating from a brand’s perspective, it can be incredibly difficult to do this and not be deemed inauthentic. However, Discord is facilitating an avenue for brands to successfully accomplish this.

And with more than 150 million active users every month, you are seriously missing out if you are not leveraging Discord in your marketing efforts.

So how can you market with Discord? Well, first, you need server members.

Growing a Discord Server

Early on, you can get people in through advertising on server lists or sending your server to your friends, hoping they’ll share it. If you have a pre-existing brand presence, you can also advertise there. But your goal is to put in enough legwork to eventually start growing primarily by word of mouth.

Reaching that point isn’t as easy as racking up a few hundred members and calling it a day. You need to give people a reason to participate in your server, even after they’ve joined.

Your number one focus should be community. You want your prospective server members to be engaged with your brand.

Maintaining a Discord Server

Whether you do that by hosting community game nights or doing giveaways, the bottom line remains the same: you must maintain a consistent presence. If you don’t participate in your server, why would anyone else? At that point, there is no reason to be part of your community.

Additionally, you need to ensure that your community is a nice one to be part of. You can leverage Discord’s moderation features to keep tabs on your community. And if you want to streamline this process, you can use Discord bots which can automatically clamp down on users who send certain words or phrases.

Leveraging Discord Bots

Moderation isn’t the only thing Discord bots are useful for, however. There are hundreds of pre-programmed bots that can be added to your server, which will introduce a slew of different features.

Bots like MEE6 can help with your marketing efforts by automatically notifying users of new posts across your social channels. While bots like Rythm help enhance the “community feeling” by allowing users to listen to music together within voice channels.

Discord For Marketing

On the surface, Discord is an app for friends and family to stay connected and chat with each other. But once you get under the hood, you start to realize that it doubles as an incredible business tool.

Leveraging the platform for marketing purposes can yield fantastic results, whether it be peer-to-peer marketing or growing a Discord server and centralizing your business there. By utilizing Discord’s many multi-faceted marketing avenues, you can turn what was once merely an app for gamers to chat with one another into a major cog within your business or brand’s marketing campaign.

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