One of the most popular tools for building fan communities right now is Discord. Originally associated with video games, the chat network has seen a significant uptake among music communities over the past few years. Having your own Discord server with live chat and voice channels comes with benefits, but also downsides. In Facebook and Reddit communities, information moves at a slower pace, making it more manageable than Discord. Luckily there are all sorts of automation available, in the shape of bots, that can make your life easier.
Manage events with sesh
Where Discord distinguishes itself from other services is its audio channel functionality. They allow you to conveniently chat with people, do events, interviews, hangouts, sing or whatever else you can think of that you can do with your voice. Through Discord’s Stages feature you can even run sessions Clubhouse-style. The platform doesn’t have a convenient way to schedule events, but there’s a bot called sesh that fills the gap.
sesh allows people to schedule events, RSVP, set reminders and even convert the event’s starting times to their own timezones. Oh, and it’s free to use.
Record sessions with Craig
No matter how great your scheduling chops are, there will always be people who can’t make it. You can give them a chance to listen in anyway using a bot called Craig which can record voice channels. It’s free and open source, can record for up to six hours and will save your audio for seven days, so you have ample opportunity to download it in a variety of modern audio formats.
Get a robo-admin buddy called MEE6
One of the most extensive bots available is MEE6. Whenever someone joins the Discord, the bot can send them anything from an inane greeting to something everyone should know when they join. You can use it to let people earn levels in your server, allowing them access to special channels only the most dedicated folks can enter. You can ‘emoji-gate’ channels, which means people react to a message with an emoji (for example a flag) in order to be added to a channel or set of channels (for example for their country).
It also does things like auto-moderation to help keep the language on your server clean & respectful and can even drop music into voice channels, but there’s other great bots for that too.
Turn your Discord into pirate radio with Rythm
What’s a music community without music? Rythm makes it easy to add music to a voice channel and collectively manage a playlist. It can grab music and playlists from SoundCloud, YouTube and Spotify and broadcast them directly to your server. You can even request the lyrics to songs. Does this app play nice with copyright law? Probably not… Given the prominence of music channels on Discord, this might become a priority for rights holders sooner rather than later.
Share new YouTube posts through YAGPDB
YAGPDB, which stands for Yet Another General Purpose Discord Bot, is made by the same developer as MEE6 and has a similar feature set. It’s a little bit more advanced, so you can give it a try if you’re ready, but what I wanted to highlight here is its free YouTube integration. You can add channels to the bot, so that whenever there’s a new video on the channel, it’s automatically posted to a channel on your Discord. You can do the same with MEE6 or via an automation platform like Zapier, but you’ll have to upgrade to premium in both cases. YAGPDB does it for free.
Go multi-lingual with Discord Translator
If you have a global fan community, it may be hard to connect everyone to each other due to language barriers. While you could add people to their own language spaces with bots like MEE6 or YAGPDB, you may also want to create a space where everyone can connect with one another. Discord Translator allows for various modes of translation: from auto-translation to translations through emoji reacts (e.g. respond with the French flag to a message in order to get the text in French). While the default language to interact with many bots is English, Discord Translator allows people to send commands in many other languages too.
Have some fun with PokéMeow or TriviaBot
At the end of a busy day maintaining a Discord server can feel like work. Make sure to create room for some downtime while still staying in touch with your community. Caught the Pokémon bug when Pokémon Go launched a few years ago? You can now have a similar experience that’s completely Discord-based using PokéMeow, which is easy to set up but offers a complex communal gameplay experience. If a pub quiz is more your thing, look no further than TriviaBot. You can set up teams, have dedicated leaderboards for your server and give special rewards to your community (e.g. server ranks). The bot has over 100,000 questions, so you’re unlikely to run out of fun any time soon.
Don’t forget why you formed the community
There are literally thousands of bots you could add to your server. It’s easy to get carried away and to just keep adding stuff to your server. Make sure to remember why you brought this community together and design the space to be focused around that. A little distraction is okay occasionally, but it shouldn’t distract from your goals.