Discord is a big-on-personality platform for people and businesses who want to interact with their client or fan base, give tiered access to content, and have the freedom to upload and link to image files, videos, and music. You can download the app on your mobile devices or computer or access it via the web.
A Discord space is called a "server" and allows a great deal of customization for the server owner. This makes the platform appealing to artists and entertainers of all types who want to cultivate and reward patrons, small businesses that want a means to offer personalized customer support, and entrepreneurs looking for a means to keep their investors informed on projects and startups.
The platform is set up to offer and incentivize tiered access to content, which makes it a compelling choice for the following:
- Tutorials and online workshops.
- Online adult content and entertainment.
- Independent artists' content.
- Communities and fundraising opportunities for bloggers, YouTubers, and podcasters.
- Influencers who want to create a hub for their other social media channels and interact with their followers.
- Gamers who want an alternative to Twitch.
Discord server owners can link to third-party platforms like Patreon, PayPal, and GoFundMe to accept payments or take advantage of on-platform and third-party created code (called "bots" in Discord-ese) that will let you accept money directly on the server. And DIscord's features help you motivate your audience to spend.
What's great about Discord?
Discord makes it fairly easy to organize subjects, content, and even your fans through these features:
A visually appealing platform
Readable fonts, text color options, and user-selected background colors make Discord easy on the eyes, and unlike Reddit or bulletin board forums, it has an overall friendly appeal.
A Discord server — the space within the platform that's designated for you —is a collection of channels, or topics, created by you. These are organized by categories.
Channels are divided into three major types:
- Video chat: Interact with your community live, or set up channels where your users can interact with one another.
- Voice chat: Popular with gamers who don't want to use in-game or console chat features.
- Text content: These serve as forums, usually by topic. You can also use text channels to upload images and video clips or link to third-party sites.
Users can be given access to gated content by assigning them "roles." Think of this feature as a means of rewarding patrons or customers with gold, silver, or bronze access, but you can give the roles any title or purpose you wish. Roles can have access to specific channels or entire categories, and they're easily manually revoked or added.
Customization through bots
These are bits of code created by Discord or third parties that let you add features to their Discord servers. You can find a bot to do almost anything you want, from auto-assigning roles to including games and statistics calculators in your server that help foster a sense of community. Explore these marketplaces to find bots that are appropriate for your server:
You can upload banners and server icons with your logo if you or an audience member "boosts" your server with small payments.
When a user creates their own profile, they can use different "handles" for the servers to which they belong. If, for example, they use their gaming name (or "tag") on video game-related servers, they can have a more professional name on others.
What are Discord's drawbacks?
Do you think Discord might be the perfect platform to generate revenue? Before you sign up for a Discord server, you might want to consider the cons.
It's widely associated with recreational use
Discord began as a video gaming community interface, so while it might have all the features you want for your business, it might not have the most professional impression. Discord's own logo is in the vague shape of a game console controller.
There's an intimidating (at first) learning curve
Though Discord is very user-friendly and offers plenty of tutorials within your server—and there are Discord servers set up to help you create and manage your own—you might feel a bit overwhelmed at first. But once you get familiar with the Discord environment, it's smooth sailing. Discord is a "WYSIWYG" (what you see is what you get) platform, with the exception of bot implementation, which can frustrate even computer-savvy users.
It's not really free
You can set up your server without paying a dime, but if you want your own branding, you'll have to upgrade your server with a small investment—usually less than $30. The good news is that your users can also "bump" or upgrade and promote the servers, which is a fantastic incentive to give them status-oriented roles.
We also advise that you, as the server owner, get a paid membership with DIscord. This is approximately $11 per month and offers you special perks such as free server bump credits, which you can assign to any server, and special gifts like free YouTube Premium memberships.
So what do you think?
If you're curious about creating a Discord server, nothing is stopping you from crashing around the platform's environment without spending money. It's time well spent, and it's the best way to decide if this social media platform is best for you and your next big project.
Want to read up on more options and inspiration for generating an income on social media platforms? You might want to check out these To The Moon articles: