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So What? Discord 101

So What? Marketing Analytics and Insights Live

airs every Thursday at 1 pm EST.

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In this week’s episode of So What? we focus on discord. We walk through what it is and why marketers should care about it. Catch the replay here:

So What? Discord 101


In this episode you’ll learn: 

  • What is Discord
  • Why should marketers care about Discord
  • How to find Discord communities to join
  • How to set up your own Discord server

Upcoming Episodes:

  • TBD

Have a question or topic you’d like to see us cover? Reach out here:

AI-Generated Transcript:

Katie Robbert 0:27
Well, happy Thursday everyone. Welcome to SWOT the marketing analytics and insights live show. I’m Katie joined by Chris and John. This week we are talking about discord discord 101. So what is it? Why should you care? How to find communities how to set one up and some general definitions around? Discord and these community based systems as well? I I’m personally not excited for this episode, I’m not gonna lie. You know, I would be lying if I said, Yeah, Discord, I’ve tried it, I’ve signed up for a couple of communities. And I personally find it to be very overwhelming in terms of the amount of information so Chris and John, are more enthusiastic than I am. So I’m excited. I am excited to see the advice that you both give in order to set it up so that it’s not overwhelming because it is, you know, it’s a lot of information coming at you at once. So I guess let’s just start. First with what the heck is discord, Chris?

Christopher Penn 1:32
The shortest explanation is it is an application that runs either on your desktop, your browser or your phone that allows you to join individual communities, private social media, communities, and chat with people. I mean, it is for those folks who have a lot more gray hair like I do. It is essentially a graphical interface on what used to be called IRC, Internet Relay Chat. And back to the old commands. If you remember from back in the 90s. The commands that used to use to work with IRC actually work within the discord interface, but that’s what it is. If you’re familiar with a service like Slack, or you’ve joined a group on LinkedIn, or Facebook or whatever it you’ve joined, you’ve participated in, in private social community communities. The The difference with Discord is that it’s just a different service. It began in 2013 2013 2014. As essentially chats and service and communities, mainly around the gaming community, the gaming community is really as powered, you know, the first five or six years of discourse life and then in the last two to three years, three years, really, it has branched out considerably, in fact, in the most recent edition of the Trust Insights newsletter, and in our our new paper, we have looked at how quickly discord servers are being created. Last month 83,000 New discord servers were were created that were publicly linked that were you know, that were visible and SEO data. I ran this this morning. It’s September 1. So just today, they have an additional 909 new servers detected. So that’s it’s pretty incredible how how big this ecosystem is. Last I saw in a public report, I want to say it was on Marketing Land, Discord support something like 500 million monthly users. So it’s it’s definitely one of the large networks is larger than Twitter by a substantial margin is larger by Snapchat and substantial margin. And that’s that’s essentially, what the purpose of the service is. It’s it’s chat.

Katie Robbert 3:40
John, did you ever hop into AOL chat rooms?

John Wall 3:46
Yeah, way back in the day, I actually did to take care. I’m trying to think if there was anything worthwhile that I got any out of that. I think I did talk to some guys that ran DC Comics at some point. So it was not totally worthless.

Katie Robbert 3:59
I think I was a teenager, when AOL chat rooms were a thing. So I can, I can absolutely tell you that I didn’t join any useful ones. All right. So Chris, you mentioned a Discord server. And so this is something that I’ve asked you before because when I think about setting up a server, to me, that feels very daunting and intimidating. So can you define in this context what a server is

Christopher Penn 4:27
a Discord server is that’s their word for community. Right? So it’s, it’s like a group. So if you if you join a facebook group, the equivalent of a Facebook group is a Discord server. Discord itself runs the infrastructure, so you’re not dealing with actual boxes and wires or you know, paying some vendor for that. There are chat programs like that. There’s one called mattermost that has a similar interface to Slack but it’s you host it yourself. The intended use for something like that is within the highly regulated environment where you’re You like you could not use discord? For example, in a national security environment, it just, it would not fly, right? You probably should not use it in healthcare as an example. But that’s what a Discord server is. It’s a community of people.

Katie Robbert 5:14
Okay. I mean, so that’s helpful, because, you know, in previous conversations, you’d refer to it as a Discord server. And that was exactly where my brain went, having set up servers before, I’m imagining, you know, a temperature regulated room with boxes and wires and servers. And I was like, why on earth? Would anyone want to set up a Discord server? So in my world, I was sort of think of it as an instance. And so like, we’ve set up a Slack instance, for our free slack group. And so essentially, that’s what the server is.

Christopher Penn 5:46
Exactly. And it’s funny is, that’s one of those things where you can actually tell that the different language people use with stuff like that, so for example, with Slack again, this is from the the Trust Insights, newsletter, Slack, you know, people refer to them things as Slack channels or slack workspaces or slack communities, we use Slack community, with discord and discord server is that is that is the nomenclature that people use far above pretty much anything else. So just from a name of perspective, that’s what they mean.

Katie Robbert 6:18
What do you say, John? What’s your terminology of choice?

John Wall 6:21
Yeah, well, I, like I said, Discord server is totally the way to go. But how about as far as the actual infrastructure then so when you’re setting up an instance, you know, as we say, in Slack, but when you set up a server, like that’s not even virtual Docker container, you’re it’s still all entirely hosted by discord, right? You just set up the name for your server, and then basically start paying your monthly fee, and they still take care of all the infrastructure, right?

Christopher Penn 6:44
That’s right. And you can set up servers for free, there’s limited features you get, but they are free of financial costs up front. And that’s actually a really important point. Because unlike Facebook, or LinkedIn, and their groups, those companies, they make their money through advertising. So you are constantly competing with everything else. They’re trying to make revenue off of services like discord, make money in two ways. One, you can buy a personal upgrade to your account called nitro that allows you more chat icons, animated icons, you can use in chats, things like that, an animated character background on your profile, etc. That’s $99 a year. And then servers, the groups the instances, GAVI since called boosts, and boosts are essentially a $35 charge to and you need, there’s three levels of them to add features. So for example, you can live stream in a free Discord server, but I think it’s set to like four ATP resolution. And if you boost to level one, which cost $70 For the year, you can go up to 7:20pm, you boost to level two, it goes up to 10 ATP, and you go to, you know, and so on, and so forth. So you add more features, you can add more animations and cute images and stuff to your server, the higher you boost, the maximum level is 14 boosts, which I believe is what’s 14. And so that is $490 a year to have your server be at the top level, and then you get a custom URL and all these things that that, you know, they’re they’re nice vanity things. But critically, there’s no advertising, right? So when you’re interacting with people on Discord and stuff, you’re not seeing ads, and you’re not competing with essentially advertisers just to be heard.

Katie Robbert 8:35
Okay, so let’s get into it. Because I know we want to talk about, you know, what this means for marketers, and how to find groups, but I’m interested in, you know, setting one up and how you organize it and how you think about it. So, in our latest newsletter, we talked about running communities and sort of the lessons in terms of what you can do setting intent, but what we want to focus on here is really the actual software itself.

Christopher Penn 9:02
Right, so after you sign up for a free account, this is what you start with, you start with nothing. This is just your account. And there’s a couple things to pay attention to. First off is in the your account settings itself as a user as a person, you will probably want to do some customization of your profile. Now this is this is the area where you are allowed to, to to talk about yourself and promote yourself right. So in this case, you know, I would say find out more you know, Trust Insights and stuff I would have, I might want to have a profile banner, if I upgrade with nitro I could put for example, our company’s logo here on my profile, I can change my profile avatar to something amusing. Let’s see if

I can use this just as an example as as my profile avatar. So um Again, if you’ve heard nitro for animated stuff, you have to upgrade to Nitro. So this is your profile. This is what you have, that when you join a server when you join a community, and someone clicks on your name, this is what they’ll see. So if there are very few places in discord in communities, you’re allowed to be promotional, this is one of them. So make sure that you spend some time putting, putting a little bit of effort into it. Of course, the usual things like make sure that you’ve turned on two factor authentication, choose the level of tolerance you have for not safe for work things, you know, people can direct message you stuff, if you choose to engage with them. Choose what kind of data you want, do you want to allow content that’s 18 Plus, for you to be able to see it, those would be useful things to do. You can connect different apps, you manage the different devices, and so on and so forth. So there’s a lot of different things. You can connect certain social accounts to your discord account. So for example, your Twitter account, YouTube, Facebook, GitHub, again, for marketers, you’ll probably recognize a fair number of these twitch and things like that, if you were, we are streaming this, this show right now this live stream on Twitch. So I could put I could attach my Twitch account to this year, and say, I allow you to, to show when I’m using twitch and maybe even show what stream I’m using. So that’s the personal stuff, you know, how do you want? Obviously, how do you want discord you to look but I would say that’s those the basics, just getting your profile set up? That’s part one. Okay.

Katie Robbert 11:33
So now you’re given this blank canvas. And so one of the one of the discord servers that I joined the communities had, I mean, channels upon channels and sub channels upon those channels with the threat and it just for me, it was too much. And so like, where would you recommend? If I’m a marketer, or if I’m a community manager, wanting to start my own discord community? You know, what do I do first? I mean, do I create the channel then invite people in, like, I invite people that create a channel like is it a chicken and egg thing?

Christopher Penn 12:17
I would I before we go going and starting a Discord server, I would recommend you spend some time in some existing ones and get a sense of how people who are using the service are accustomed to using it. You know how different servers are set up, because you’ll see a bunch of different styles. So one things you can do to find servers that might be appropriate. In the beginning, obviously, Discord says, here’s some public servers, it brings you to a nice search page. And then you will obviously see there’s a number of different servers and topics. But there’s a nice little search bar here. So let’s type in marketing. See, there’s 15, business communities for marketing 12 collaboration ones. And you can see like people here, this one 445 people in this community 3800 members, the marketing, collective 228, folks, 20 2100 members, and so on and so forth, there’s a lot of different committees, let’s pick this one. And this is a public community. So certain discord servers, once you are above a certain member number, you can choose to be listed publicly, I believe it says 1000 members you can be you can choose to be listed publicly. And then people can find you with the built in system. If however, you’re a smaller server, and you’re trying to get noticed, or trying to get to that number, there are third party services, many of them free, that will allow you to list your server was a company called disc board. And you can list your server here. But again, this is a place to look for if you wanted to look for servers to join. There’s 280 ones here. So we saw in the official community, they were 15 servers that had marketing in the name somewhere or in the description here on this service, because there’s no minimum requirement. You’ve got a bunch of different servers that you could join e commerce advertising. Every person in the world has marketing and NFT. There’s all that stuff in here, entrepreneur communities. So those would be the two ways that I would initially say you would be good to get started in terms of just finding places. So we joined this server, and your prompt, you’re, you’re prompted with the welcome screen. The first things you do is you know, these are the first two things you can either just look around, or you can choose what role you want. And you can choose what channels you want to join in and you’ll see more and more of these things pop up as you choose channels. So I’m gonna say I want to join general marketing. I like that as a role. See, and so

Katie Robbert 14:44
your analytics clicking on emojis to choose your channels. That’s correct. So I guess I’m sorry, you’ve already lost me, basically. So by selecting your roll, it’s If you are choosing your role in marketing or your channels that you’re wanting to join in this discord community,

Christopher Penn 15:09
you’re choosing the channels you would want to join and get notifications for. Okay, like when somebody posts to the analytics channel, if you want to get notified a notification for that you would, you would choose that. Let’s see, let’s hit pickup. Okay, so I would choose, I want the general marketing channel. Okay, that’s interesting. I’m not sure what happened there. Help us complete a few more steps.

Katie Robbert 15:35
John has any discord communities?

John Wall 15:38
Yeah, yeah, I’m in a number of committees. And the interesting thing with this is this is part of the rules and setup for the community. So these can be set up different ways, this is pretty advanced, where they have this where you can click the emojis to subscribe to the sub channels like that. Not every channel does that. But yeah, this is it’s a huge gamer community. And that’s one thing. When you talk about the history of it, and why it’s so huge, I mean, there’s a real value to this, because let’s say you’re on four or five different gaming platforms, you can sign on with your accounts and all those platforms. And you can see where your friends are playing, you know, games, on multiple platforms got cross platform visibility, as to where people are in what they’re doing. So it’s, you know, it’s so good, that it’s attracted the attention of the rest of the world. But it was, you know, this kind of gaming value, and ability to discuss beyond individual games that that ramped it up.

Christopher Penn 16:30
So here, you can see, as part of this, this setup, I have to look at the rules, right? This is a professional community, set your role, be respectful. This is the only channel you’re allowed to promote your stuff in the shameless plug, do not spam. Do not copy content, or share it outside of the community, no off topic content, and so on so forth. In order to proceed, you have to say, Yes, I agree to the rules. So now I’ve gone ahead, and I should now be able to, yep, I can now choose Okay, I want to save stuff, I want to be notified about Mark and Jelena want to be notified about analytics, you can see the channels along the left hand side here. But in the way this particular servers set up, those be the ones where you’ll get a notification if a new post occurs in it. So in most servers, you’re going to see your channels, right, which are what channels are available, what content, essentially what discussions are happening. And you’ll also see a list of the different users, there’s depending on how a service that because there’s a gazillion different ways to set up a server, you can control like people’s ranks and things give them you know, people who are very active who have been in the server a long time, give them higher ranks and give them more privileges. They can help you to moderate your server, for example. But let’s take a look at what’s happening in the analytics channel. Since we like analytics. And, again, this is one of those is if you’re if you’ve ever used any kind of chat room, that’s essentially what you’re looking at here. So you see all these different people asking questions. Anyone have the issuer GA for Google Tag Manager events are not visible in GA for yes, that issue. And it can look down through here. So we have career opportunities, spam reports, things, Superbowl ads, this voice channels for people who want to have voiced conversations with each other, this introduction, one, so if I wanted to, I could type a short introduction about who I am, et cetera. That’s generally a good thing to do. When you’re joining community, just let people know who you are. And it looks like they’ve got some special activities of some kind, some kind of showcase, like a little contest and stuff. But for the most part, it can see what’s happening with the conversations. And if I wanted to, I could start participating in the conversations if there was one that was relatively recent, like this one, as anyone else knows decrease in impressions on LinkedIn in the past few days. Good probably answer that answer is yes. There was a peak in LinkedIn activity about four weeks ago. But that’s so we’ve now joined this server, we can now start participating in it, at the very least reading it and seeing who the people are.

Katie Robbert 19:07
So I see, you know, as you’re hovering over someone’s message, you have on the right hand side a series of little buttons similar to what you get in Slack. Your right yeah, your right hand side. Yeah. So you Okay, so similar to Slack, you can add a reaction to someone’s comment. What are the other controls that you’re given?

Christopher Penn 19:32
So I can reply, I can create a thread to start a sub discussion. And then of course, I can mark it unread and things like that, or do the the text to speech?

Katie Robbert 19:44
So I guess when so when you reply, it basically just if you’re not starting a whole thread, but it basically just like pulls that message down into your reply so it doesn’t get lost. But a thread is like nested within the comment.

Christopher Penn 19:58
Yes, exactly. So This case here, if I click on that, I can go back to the original comment. I don’t think there’s doesn’t like there’s any active threads on the server right now. Threads are relatively new to discord. They’re, I think maybe four or five months old. And the implementation of threads is not great. It’s not nearly as nice. That’s the way slack does it. So most people don’t use them.

Katie Robbert 20:19
I see. Okay. I mean, so again, sort of I’m an no one. But when I look at this, it’s a it’s very overwhelming. And obviously, it’s, you know, you get used to it after a while, but I think this particular discord community is actually set up really well. One, the discord community that I joined was kind of a free for all. And the notifications were overwhelming. The conversations themselves, like there was no real structure to how people were talking, everybody was just kind of like talking at all at once. And I think that that was my that, that being my first experience with discord. I was like, this isn’t for me, it’s too much.

Christopher Penn 21:02
Yeah. And every server, it’s like any group, you know, there’s the culture will vary wildly from group to group. One thing that is useful to do though, is if you’re going to set up a server, make sure that you tell people about it. So like our friends over towards data science, they have themselves a Discord server now, and if you click on through that link, I’ll just jump right in here. And in this case, they’ve even got a welcome bot that immediately greets and says, Hey, thanks for joining this thing. He, here’s some of the rules, right? They they hit you up immediately and say, These are the rules of our server, and you go in, you have the welcome you have your guidelines, of course, the usual rules, and stuff like that. And then this one doesn’t have any of the sort of the gatekeeping stuff at the beginning, they just have a bot, and then you can immediately start to jump in and see what people are talking about. Interesting. Yeah, so the culture is wildly different. The setup is wildly different from from server to server.

Katie Robbert 22:04
Whereas I feel like with a platform like Slack, it’s fairly consistent, like you can welcome people within with a bot or you can do it yourself. But in general, the experience from community community is fairly consistent.

Christopher Penn 22:23
Right. And that’s one of the things that I think makes discord interesting is you have such wide variation that you can by going from server to server for a little while, you can pick up some best practices and things that when you when it is time for you to start your own server, you can say, Okay, well, how, how much control? Do we want to have? How, what are the different entertainment options that we want to offer? What are the different bots, you know, like this server here, the data shows or they didn’t set up any voice channels whatsoever. So they they’re not interested in having people you know, be able to join a voice chat room and you know, essentially get on a conference call or live stream. This server does, then they’ve got a few different rooms that have different purposes based on what’s going on. So again, it varies wildly based on who the community managers are, and how much they know about discord and how much time they’re willing to put into it. The most sophisticated servers have tons. It lets you overwhelm and they have so many options. There’s like rooms where you can play poker and blackjack, there’s rooms where people are sharing Spotify playlists, and there’s a bot that will actually play music live and stuff. So you can have people DJing. So there’s there are many, many, many more customization options. I would say, if you’re going to start a discord, spend some time doing some requirements gathering, spend some time obviously first learn as possible, then make a list of all the things you’ve learned are possible with all the different bots and add ons. And they say, Well, how much? How much of this do we want to offer? And do we want to roll it out in stages? Do we want to have live streams? Do we want to have watch parties? One of the things that I’ve seen be very successful are watch parties where people choose a TED Talk to watch a work session from a conference, whatever and then there’s a live chat as people are watching it today. And they’re able to discuss it and interact as though they were watching it in person.

Katie Robbert 24:23
What do you think, John? Would you join a live watch party in a Discord server?

John Wall 24:28
Yeah, you know, for gamer stuff, it’s a great way to just kind of watch what somebody else is doing. You know, people want to show off strategies or hey, here’s some people you know, that are playing and what’s going on with that. That’s the only time I’ve ever seen you know, done any streaming stuff with that I really don’t don’t have the free time to just go hang out and have a Rando chat with you know, gaming or other communities. But it is interesting. Notice that it’s far more along the lines. Far, far further progress than slack as far as being able to share video and do audio calls and group into different, you know, side groups and have discussions like there’s a whole kind of level of online conferencing that slack doesn’t come near that these guys are way ahead and

Katie Robbert 25:13
well, and I feel like Chris, that goes back to your comment about requirements. But before you even get into, you know, sort of the what’s possible, you really need to know why you’re building the community in the first place, and what is the community member going to get out of it? What do you as the community host? Want to get out of it? You know, a lot, I was talking with someone this morning, who was sharing with me that their company wants to build some kind of a community, but the intention of the community isn’t really clear. So there’s hesitation to bring people in when there’s really no clear value for if I join this community, what am I going to get out of it? And I feel like from there, once you have that, then you can say, does, you know, a voice channel aligned with the goal of the community does a watch party? Is that something that was aligned with the goal of the community? So I feel like there’s a lot of and this is where people skip over. There’s a lot of upfront work that needs to be done first, before you even start messing around with, you know, the features and the look and feel.

Christopher Penn 26:21
Yeah, very much. So there’s there’s a lot of groundwork a well run community, you don’t see how much happens on the back end, right. In one of the communities that I’m a moderator in the moderator, the moderators server because they set up a separate server just for the moderators, the moderator server is probably just as busy as the community itself. Because people saying, what about this change to this rule? Why do we want to do this event? What are we gonna do for this thing? Who’s got some content for this? Can anybody do this? So that, you know, it’s a server of about 700, there’s eight moderators. And that their do somebody’s doing something at any given time of the day, because the moderators are located around the world in different time zones. So there’s there’s around the clock coverage. That’s the, the more moderation and the more administration you have, the better a server tends to run. Because there’s a you know, there’s more features, there’s more events. You can see here, for example, this server even just has a challenge getting ready for inbound next week. So they’re apparently going to have a back channel, you know, and that’s one of those things where, and you’ll see this in the new Dark Social paper that we just published. There’s no way for Hubspot to monitor what’s being said, except for someone like us to just join the server and stuff. And yet, there may be a lot of backchannel at events, but now it’s not on Twitter anymore. Now it’s in private spaces. And so someone who is a community manager for a company like Hubspot would have to get teams looking at all these popular marketing servers and seeing who’s talking about Inbound in each of those places.

Katie Robbert 28:08
Well, and I feel like that goes back into your the purpose. And so, you know, Chris, you mentioned that you moderate for a discord community that’s around the clock. It’s available all the time. For our Slack community analytics for marketers. We’re just too small to be able to offer that we know that we have people in different time zones. But until we grow, we can’t be a 24/7 community that doesn’t stop people from posting, but they may not necessarily get some kind of response from us or from other members.

Christopher Penn 28:45
Now, what’s interesting about a lot of the communities too, is that they’re they’re mostly all volunteer. There are some where they’re they’re paid staff, Joe polities tilt community, for example, folks who work for Joe’s company, obviously, are some of the moderators, with analytics for marketers. We could, you know, ask if anyone wanted to volunteer to join the administration team, our servers actually substantially larger than most discord servers, our service what 20, almost 2700 people. Generally speaking, you need about a you need one moderator per 200 People is about 400 to 200 people. So our server really could accommodate 10 or 11 of them pretty easily in terms of people responding to things people starting conversations, running events is the big thing. These communities do a lot of different events. And something actually that I’m going to talk about with our community is doing stuff like a monthly makeover where you throw out a data set and see who can who can make the most interesting analysis. We do question of the day, which is just asking our community a question every day just something to stimulate activity, because the biggest challenge that any marketer runs into is a community where nobody’s talking, right? We just joined the server half an hour ago, and literally nothing has happened. There’s not been a single post in this community, that that’s relatively quiet. You know, same for the data share, even though there are how many people are in this? Quite a few. So there’s there’s the folks who are online. And your it’s not particularly active. Discord servers tend to be fairly active, they tend to be, you know, again, around the clock conversations of some kind. So, for our community for analytics for marketers, we don’t really have I’d say, the pace, which would need a team of 10 to moderate because there’s just not that much activity, but we certainly have the the raw numbers

Katie Robbert 30:53
ya know, about for moderation.

John Wall 30:54
That was I just wanted to ask you about that the the, because I’ve never been involved with that side of it. How often do moderators have to get involved? Because the most common case you always see is users that are getting out of hand and being crude or causing problems. Is that a big part of moderation? or is there other stuff that goes on in there?

Christopher Penn 31:09
Yeah, it’s it’s helping corral users adhere to the terms of service to adhere to the rules of the server itself. In marketing communities. This is making sure people post in the right channels like hey, stop posting your blog, or your company’s services in general and please don’t post it somewhere else. You do have a server raids, which is where just a bunch of Yahoo’s all show up in spam all the chats. This happens a lot on Discord. Less so on Slack, but it happens a lot on Discord. It’s almost always either someone Hawking a cryptocurrency or an NFT. I’ve rarely ever seen a rate that had anything other than you know, it’s shilling their, their dancing ape or whatever. So and to see the administration that let’s actually, let’s actually create a server because I think that would be a good way to dig into this let’s do a club or community. We’ll call this skulls fest.

Okay, and so and so immediately, you’ve got a brand new server, there’s two channels, right? This is probably the this would be the the least anxiety or gendering server. That’s it. But in terms of modern moderation, now, you can start jumping into all the different options. And this is just what’s built in this is not adding on all the different bots. But to your question, John, you can choose like what level of safety like you’d need to need to be joined discord for longer than five minutes to prevent bots, you can choose, I want to scan media content to make sure people are not uploading stuff that they shouldn’t be. You can do you feel like the audit log can ban people. There’s there’s all sorts of different ways to improve the safety of a server and the the bigger a server gets, the more features unlock after I believe it’s 500 users, auto mod unlocks and you can it’s basically uses natural language processing to say, hey, we think this content suspicious, do you want to take a look at it?

Katie Robbert 33:29
Interesting. All right. So let’s say you know, we’re just going to start with a general channel. We will set the meaning of the channel like the what is the purpose of using this channel, but we haven’t Slack. So the general topic being this is where you talk about all your stuff, like whatever the thing is, right? Now, what is that? Slow, slow mode, slow mode

Christopher Penn 33:59
throttles, how quickly someone can post in the channel. So I think you need that. So there are certain channels where you’d make want to put announcements or like in a lot of creative communities, if someone posts a a creative work, you don’t want to scroll off the screen immediately as people are talking about it. So you might set slow mode on channel to 30 minutes, you’re only allowed to post once every 30 minutes to channel so that it encourages people to have discussions in a different channel. Okay. And then of course, like yeah, all of your integrations things. So you have a you have general, and then you can anytime you add challenges, in the beginning, you can add text or voice and then again, as your server gets larger, you can start adding different types of channels. There’s like a forum type of channel, which is essentially like a mini Reddit built in, but your server has to be above a certain size to get to unlock some of those features.

Katie Robbert 34:55
I mean, you just said the magic word. It’s like Reddit, so I’m out. Right It was another one of those community based platforms, which still exists, obviously, that I could never really wrap my head around not only because it has its own culture, but just I found it to be the user interface very hard for someone like me to follow and make sense of.

Christopher Penn 35:18
Yeah, the biggest thing that with with a server is, you know, once you’ve decided what kinds of things you want to do, like you can create channels, categories and events. So an event is a time limit, essentially, as a time limited thing, a category is just folders along the outside of here. So we could put like, an analytics category. And then we want to make exactly so you can make one for Google Tag Manager. Like that into analytics, you could make a channel for GA four, we could make a channel for Data Studio. It’s fine so far. So you get the general idea, you can, you can create as many of these things as you want, again, very similar to Slack, except that the there’s actually folders and organization, which is kind of nice.

Katie Robbert 36:11
Well, and we’ve used naming conventions in Slack in order to organize our channels in such a way. Now, I know that this probably comes down to personal preference, the level of granularity of the conversation. So, you know, you just created three different channels that you could talk about all in the same place. But so that really comes down to the discretion of the community owners, right to have that, you know, you only talk about Data Studio, if you have a GA for question, you go into the GA for channel. Now, as a moderator, Chris, what happens when someone has a question related to Data Studio and Tag Manager and GA four, you know, you start to get like picky about where they’re posting it.

Christopher Penn 37:00
That’s, that’s honestly up to your, how you want to run your server, right? There’s, there’s no inherent built in limits. It’s just like, yeah, like put this here. Or you could have a general you know, analytics panic channel, right. And then people can self select for for additional places, or you don’t have to get that granular if you just want to have a you know, talk all things analytics in this channel, you can and then people could start threads, maybe on specific things.

Katie Robbert 37:29
Okay. So why should a marketer care about a community like discord? So, you know, there’s one, it’s one thing to run your own community, and sort of have your intentions. But let’s say I’m not running a community, I’m just looking to join, like, why would I, as a marketer join knowing that, you know, I have all these rules, and I can’t mine the data and I can’t sell to people.

Christopher Penn 37:56
So more than anything, it’s about understanding the voice of the customer, right? So in this case, this is a market. This is a channel of marketers, this is a server of marketers. Yeah, I can’t go and just rip all the data out here. But I can go read through it. And maybe I’m doing put together my weekly content about marketing or analytics me, I’m doing my US guy answer series, and someone saying, hey, as anyone else knows, decreasing impressions in LinkedIn, there’s a blog post, right? This person asked this question, I can anonymize it, I can blind it. And then answer the question. Here’s one, does anyone have a standard KPI they track on Brandon SEO Marketing? Yes, you know, branded organic search, and we spend a whole amount of time creating content to answer questions that real people are asking. And most importantly, real people are asking behind closed doors, where they’re not necessarily concerned that you know, their boss is going to see it or whatever. So you’re going to get real questions from people. And I think that’s, there’s a lot of value to that, to seeing what people want to know. And if I’m in this space, I would want I would want this information.

Katie Robbert 39:14
What about you, John, why do you why do you join communities, like marketing communities, for example?

John Wall 39:19
Yeah, well, there’s, we’ve talked about, like, the big three of these things. One is that it’s there’s no advertising, you know, you’re paying to get in there. So you’re not competing with anybody else. And nobody just gets to the top of the list because they’ve spent enough money. You’ve got a chronological feed, you know, whatever the latest and greatest is going to be right there. It’s not, you know, you’re not going to see these weird posts from five days ago, surfacing again. And just the fact that you have it, you know, fully moderated and controlled, you know, you have a full ability to kick users out. See what comes to the table? Yes. squishies. We were talking about squishies this week. You know, the squish community exists only here Right, there’s no other place where you can find these people. And, yeah, as far as if you want to figure out when Target’s gonna have their latest shipment of squishies coming in this week, like, this is the place you want to go. And so yeah, it just seems like this is a better way to do a lot of the stuff you get on social. And it’s more of a private community, you know, Google doesn’t come in here and index any of this. So you need to know to go here, and you need to be let in to get the info. But there’s a lot of great pockets of data here to get into and just kind of figure out what’s going on and what’s on people’s minds.

Christopher Penn 40:35
Yeah, like, for example, this person is announcing that Molly clips mystery bags, squish fill in, stuff just came in at Target. This is 10 days ago, if I was Target’s retail manager for the toy section, I would spend some time in the server to figure out, okay, it was a pretty big deal. You know, there’s 1500 people in here, they’re taking photos in my store, stuff. Now the wall in all the different names stores, Walmart, stuff like that. Now, this is obviously a Discord server, that’s very different. It’s not a server about marketing. It’s definitely not B2B. But it is a community of people who are very passionate about something and are clearly going to be spending some money.

Katie Robbert 41:31
Alright, I might, I might give this court another shot. I might, we’ll see. Definitely not going to do it today, maybe next week.

John Wall 41:44
But the big key is to find a community that has what you get one is, you know, pick a couple of your favorite bands, you know, see what’s in there. Any entertainment stuff that I haven’t dug in too much as far as, like sports and stuff like that? I don’t know what the thing is there. But it is insane. How many communities are out there right now?

Christopher Penn 42:05
Yeah, there’s literally something for everybody. There is? No, there’s dogs, dog owners servers, there’s horse owner servers, there’s, like John said, If you name it, there’s something out there that is filled with people who want to be talking about the thing that that you care about. Let’s take a look at the dogs of discord server 20 28,000 members, 5000 of whom are online. Now, if you want a server that’s going to be overwhelming, this is going to be one of them. Again, same rules, right? Your comms the read the rules, the community stuff, getting a bot notice saying here’s some other places to go look, I have to verify except to the rules before I can participate. Now, I have been admitted to the main part of the server. And you can see there’s probably close to 100 channels.

Katie Robbert 43:08
I mean, I love dogs. I don’t know if I love them that much. A lot of dogs. I mean, well, and that you know, and so that, you know that something that I do find to be overwhelming is that you’re automatically thrown into every single channel they have versus Well, I mean, I guess it really depends. I’m guessing it depends on how you set up your community where people can either pick the channels they want to join, or you automatically join them into the channels that you have available. Yeah.

Christopher Penn 43:41
So you can have private channels, which are invitation only. And so you can put people in them?

Katie Robbert 43:46
Well, you’re saying private channels, but like in our Slack instance, we have public channels that people aren’t automatically brought into, but they can join them. They don’t have to be invited into them.

Christopher Penn 43:58
Right? In discord, I believe. You just get everything all at once.

Katie Robbert 44:02
Well, it’s yeah. See, that’s that’s the problem for me. Yeah, is that like,

Christopher Penn 44:06
You, however, can choose what level of notification you want both server wide as well as you can choose individual channels like hey, if you’re in a channel be like, I just don’t, I’ve had it with this channel, I’m good. You can choose you notifications or just mute the channel to say I just don’t want to see anything this channel because I’m not ready to handle that much conversation.

Katie Robbert 44:27
So I feel like I had done that like and this isn’t about my inability to use technology, but it is a little bit because he always got to have one of those people on the team. You know, even when I joined I think the problem with the slack. Sorry, the discord community that I had joined is there wasn’t really any like I said no real organization to it. And even when I disabled notifications going into see what was new. There was just too much information and there was like sub channels of channels and Sub Sub channels of channels and, you know, it was like, Oh, you have five new notifications where someone tagged you, but then I would go to click on it and see it, and it wouldn’t bring me to it, I still had to search for the thing. And so for me, it just wasn’t an easy learning curve. And so, you know, admittedly, maybe incorrectly, I gave up and said, This isn’t for me.

Christopher Penn 45:23
Ya know, it all comes down to you know, the level of comfort you have, and how much interaction you want, right? Because if you wanted to, like you could literally spend your entire life in discord with with enough servers, you could, you could literally do nothing else with your with your time. But if you’re looking to create a community for marketing specifically, it really it comes down to defining those requirements. So you know, in terms of things to do, number one, you should get some experience in other people’s communities first, join a handful, you know, through the ways that we showed early on in the show, get a sense of the culture, look at how people run their servers, than to build out your requirements like this is what we want our community to do. This is the level of interaction we’re hoping for, these are the features that we think people would enjoy, you know, if you’ve got a specific kind of crowd, they might enjoy having like, you know, the blackjack bot, and while the child so people could just amuse themselves, you know, take a two minute break from work and just play a game within a channel. And then three, start rolling the thing out, decide what bots you’ll need, learn how to configure them and things like that, that requires a bit more technical experience, there’s because the bots do have some, some technical measures, but that all is defined by your requirements. So those would be like sort of a three step process for making this thing work for your business. And the fourth part, I guess, was just sort of unspoken, but it’s true of any private community is you have to be willing to invest a decent amount of time, you know, a couple hours a day, at least, certainly in the beginning, to attract people to your community, to engage with them, to get them to engage with each other, and to provide value that that encourages them to stick around. So one of the things that we do fairly often in in analytics for marketers, I’ll show you an example here is, I’ll post exclusives, I’ll say this is this content is exclusive to our community, you don’t share it outside the community, you’re not going to find it posted someplace else. And that is one of those subtle reinforcements to people like yes, stick around, because you’re gonna get stuck here that you can’t get anywhere else.

Katie Robbert 47:44
Well, if you want to join our free Slack community, you can do so at trust marketers where you can join us and almost 2720 700,000 100 other marketers who are talking about marketing and analytics and everything in between. And you’ll find me and Chris and John, there every day with running color commentary. You know, we did ask our community about Slack versus discord. That was one of our questions of the day. And we didn’t really get a strong response that we needed to move from slack to discord. But I do think it’s a question that’s worth asking at least once a year, if not more frequently, as the technology evolves.

Christopher Penn 48:32
I would agree. I think the other thing is that discord in the paper we just published, which I believe it’s a AI slash members only study, I believe it’s the URL I set up for it. For people under 35 Discord is where you see very heavy usage, right is 9% of the US population 18 And up already uses discord. But when we broke it down by age, that was the group that used it the most. And as the folks who are very young now in the you know, the 13 to 21 crowd, in the next five years, they move into the workforce. And as they become more and more part of the workforce, they’re gonna bring today’s habits like Tiktok and discord into the workforce with them. And so if you are thinking about engaging with those folks, you might have to you might have to move to a platform like that, because this is what people are used to.

Katie Robbert 49:32
Make sense. What do you think, John?

John Wall 49:34
Yeah, the thing is, though, as far as network network effect, there’s huge momentum behind slack. You know, slack just did a better job of getting to the B2B space. And so there’s a ton of people on there and then you know, you have the 8 million pound gorilla that is that is also affiliated with Slack. So it’s kind of is the new IBM, but yeah, over time, and especially if they don’t close the feature gap. That’s something I’m gonna be continuing to watch in Slack. Have their game and become, you know, have parody as far as features or is it going to be one of those things where Yeah, Discord is just always calling to the more tech savvy users.

Christopher Penn 50:10
Yep. And to the entertainment users, the folks who who want to be using it one of the things that we see a lot of influencers doing is they have a discord community. So if you go to their their Twitch community of the Twitch channel, you’ll see their Discord server linked very prominently and say that, they’ll say, You know what, I’m not streaming, go join our Discord. So if you’re doing any kind of influencer marketing, and those influencers are particularly in the entertainment space, or the music space or the the gaming space, you’re going to spend a lot of time in discord.

Katie Robbert 50:40
I feel like we’ll be covering Twitch at some point, because that is yet another platform that this person right here is unfamiliar with. Can you tell that I’m just not the tech guru of the team? I don’t know how many different ways to say

John Wall 50:57
if you’ve spent a lot of time on Twitch, I’d be worried. I mean, that’s okay. I’ll take it. Yeah, the only thing worse is Reddit.

Christopher Penn 51:05
All right. I think that’s gonna do it for this week’s folks. Thanks for tuning in. Thanks for watching today. Be sure to subscribe to our show wherever you’re watching it. For more resources. And to learn more, check out the Trust Insights podcast at trust AI podcast, and a weekly email newsletter at trust Got questions about what you saw in today’s episode. Join our free analytics for markers slack group at trust for marketers, see you next time.

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