The Digital Marketer’s Guide to Discord

Discord might be the biggest social media platform you’ve never heard of. With more than 150 million monthly active users, Discord is reflective of the emerging decentralized internet that is taking shape, where consumers control communities and platforms.

Founded in 2015, Discord is like Slack, Twitch, and Reddit rolled into one. With its roots as a place for gamers to congregate, the platform has become a beacon for almost any set of interests. In 2021, more than 78% of its current user base came to Discord for non-gaming purposes, compared to just 30% in 2019. Today, there are more than 19 million active servers, or spaces for communities to chat, on everything from anime to technology to fashion. 

Now, brands are looking to meet their audiences where they are and find ways to join in on the Discord fun, despite the lack of paid advertisements on the platform.

What A Serve(r)

How does Discord work? Discord functions similarly to a chat app, with different chat rooms, known as servers, based around different topics. Within the servers, you can chat with other members via channels in text form, voice, or video. (You can think of channels like categories that keep the server organized.) Rather than having a giant discussion forum, many members dedicate channels solely to Q&As or general conversation — or just cute pet photos.

Channeling Discord

With social media’s future still in flux, Discord may be a bright spot for brands looking to create or cultivate their online communities. 

Servers are a great way to get real-time feedback through streams, events, crowd-sourced content, and other collaboration opportunities from dedicated members of your customer base. Interacting on servers can also help you keep your finger on the pulse of conversations and get a better feel for your audience’s reactions to your brand’s messaging.

Currently, more than 1,000 companies use Discord to connect with their audience. Gucci’s Discord server, The Gucci Vault, has over 50,000 members discussing the luxury brand and opting-in to exclusive experiences on the server. Using Discord, Gucci leverages valuable insights and discussions in a unique way and engages directly with an active community of enthusiastic fans. 

Gucci vault welcome message

One unique feature of Discord is a user’s ability to assign roles to members within a server. For instance, you can assign someone as a brand advocate or a moderator rather than have messages sent from the generic brand account. Doing so can further your brand’s personal connection with users and creates trust with your audience.

Discord’s chat-driven model also gives brands the unique opportunity to connect with younger, more ad-resistant audiences, without competing for attention with so many other brands and the creators hawking them, like on more traditional platforms. 

The Future of Social Media

Over the past few years, social media users have been steadily moving away from legacy social media sites and looking to build community on more niche platforms. With the growing support for authentic and decentralized social media, Discord gives users the keys, but brands are welcome to make themselves at home. 

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