Hi fellow developers,
Today I want to share with you my tips for community management, please note that I am by no means perfect but I am happy with the results I got.
How important is a Discord Community?
– TESTERS: By having fans who join based on the early demo, prototype, screenshots, concept pitch you can also establish a solid tester branch that can support you and contribute to the game creation, just make sure you always state for them what interests you the most, for example, finding bugs testing a certain feature or they will just invade you with additional ideas that you won’t be able to keep track and go insane.
– BRANDING: by keeping your fans close and having active engagement with them your branding will also be boosted
– SUPPORT: having the fans so close to you is a big advantage in the long term, for me, it is even better than email subscriptions. Imagine that each Steam Wishlist amount is logistically concentrated on the actual game but having access to your fans & supporters at all times means you have a supportive community that can be close to you in the long term for future titles & projects.
– PUBLISHERS: not all but many publishers look at the developer community’s power, if they see the game got a solid community behind it surely this will be translated into in-game sales potential resulting in a better deal offer(as a side note, on my Discord room I have 4 publishers representatives).
– ACTIVITY: the main goal is to have fans/supporters interact with fans/supporters, this effect can be boosted by having a game Steamworks support. Also, new players that have questions can get answers from old players and this can also minimize your work on activity and give you more time to work on the actual game.
When to start building a Discord community?
As soon as possible.
If you have a coming soon page I suggest concentrating the main marketing funnel on it and the second funnel on Discord but if you don’t have a coming soon page then concentrate all your early slow-burn marketing on that.
Surely at the beginning, it is hard to bring in new people since you do not have a solid pitch/released game but it is ok to start building the foundation by inviting some developer friends or early possible fans.
It is good to have some people in your discord before fresh fans join, similar to multiplayer games, if you join an empty server there is very low motivation to stay.
How to pitch a Discord invitation
Before we go into this topic, when generating a Discord invitation please make sure you set it to unlimited use and users.
– post the invite on your Twitter profile and other social media including the section “contact” from your website, and make it looks clean & official. Mostly from these places you will have small/medium size content creators joining.
– add your invitation link to the forum signature, who knows, maybe other developers want to do some networking with you or just to research the “competition” community
– this is good for day one release when people are the most active: add a Discord button in your main menu and an achievement that unlocks if the player clicks on your join Discord button but do not add extra security as in to have people actually go through the full process of joining in order to receive the achievement, just basic click->open discord room->achievement drops, otherwise if you place too much pressure you risk annoying the casual fans of the game, and don’t worry about the hardcore fans because they will surely go throughout the full process of joining + most of them already use Discord.
– from time to time make a nice post advertising your Discord room on Twitter, Gamejolt, and other platforms, just make sure to reflect the game personality/company personality in it so it will become more attractive to the fans aka work on your pitch & branding.
For example, this is what I did:
It is hard to do all the moderation yourself especially if your community starts growing so get yourself some moderators.
Be careful when choosing moderators, you always want trusty people on that roles.
For example, I have picked my moderators from my fans/supporters that have the same role on other discords + a few game developer friends that I trust.
Here are some basic rules that you will need to consider:
# Keep it safe for work!
Words like f**k can affect your Discord room rating and some Discord settings so make sure you always delete these words even if they are lightly used and don’t encourage the behavior but also without being a police maniac, it is not that hard if your mods know what empathy is. If you use them like above with ** then it is ok.
# No drama, political, religious, cursing, or otherwise!
Even if some arguments are right or wrong it does not matter, stay away from these topics and immediately remove them. They can cause heavy hate vulcanos and s**t can hit the fan fast resulting in negative branding and losing fans.
# Keep things on-topic in the respective channel!
You don’t want spam, do you?
# No advertising
Watch out for people who join just to advertise, you don’t want your fans/supporters to be trolled and spammed.
Level System template
This is a system I made for the Discord room that seems to be working excellent for me.
I added level roles that I give and take manual because I want to leave no room for risk.
– a nice reward feel for the fans/supporters
– a way for me to keep track of everyone on my Discord. As in I don’t want to give an exclusive game test build to a person that would spam it on torrents and so on.
– long-term easy manual community management.
– LvL 01(newbie access)
* CONDITION: you need to say a few words when you join the server, this is mostly as a security measure that the person is not a Bot
* UNLOCK: lvl01-screenshots-only room with the latest screenshots from the game
– LvL 02(scout access)
* CONDITION: LvL01 + must be active on Discord, help with Feedback, this is also a nice reward for the player
* UNLOCK: lvl02-die-hard-only where you can have advanced chat with the developers
– LvL 03(survivor access)
* CONDITION: LvL02 + supporting the project with shares and tweets on social media from the lvl01-screenshots-only room, spreading the word
* UNLOCK: this level is the bridge to final levels
– LvL 04(true supporter access)
* CONDITION: LvL03 + must be very active on DIscord + heavy help with game exposure + I need to know the person a bit more up to the extent that I can trust him/her with access to exclusive game content like early testing and so on
* UNLOCKS: lvl04-beta-demo room and access to vertical slice version
– LvL 05(Max supporter access)
* CONDITION: LvL04 + hero of the community
* UNLOCKS: lvl05-game-editor-and-cheat-modes room and access to the game editor and debug modes
– Dev friend role
* CONDITION: must be a game developer
* UNLOCKS: for-devfriends room, here you can chat about personal projects with developers from my Discord
* CONDITION: must be a moderator
* UNLOCKS: administration room, for moderator chat and server decisions + moderator power
* CONDITION: high contribution to the game itself, this does not unlock any rooms but gives the most rewarding feel by having your name on the top of users
* UNLOCKS: highest honor role and name in the game credits
Also by unlocking rooms based on the level role you also do not invade new users with too much content. Just like in a game tutorial.
You can adjust this as you want, this is just my example.
You can also add bots and use your imagination on how to adjust to your own community needs although I prefer to keep it personal and stay away from bots.
Ah and name, use your main Brand name/company name not the game name unless you aim to stop game development after the current project.
Hope this helps.
Good day, Gentlemen!