Best Community Platforms 2021 - Part I : 💬Chat Based Platforms - Slack vs Discord

Creator communities, learning communities and Brand communities are hot right now! The community has turned out to be the primary source to gather real-time feedback on products/content, to learn about upcoming trends in the industry and to gain loyal followers/users. Communicating with the users/followers through community helps build a stronger relationship than what social media could achieve. Where there's demand, multiple solutions will come up. We've seen a rise of community platforms - chat based as well as forum based ones. In this blog we talk about the two key chat based community players - Slack vs Discord. How do you know which one to go ahead with for your community?
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Pramod Rao
July 30, 2021

Online communities are on the rise!

And rightly so, to battle the fatigue of working from home, missing out on networking opportunities that happen from offline events otherwise and a place to learn together with folks who share your passion or interests.

Creator communities, learning communities and Brand communities are hot right now! The community has turned out to be the primary source to gather real-time feedback on products/content, to learn about upcoming trends in the industry and to gain loyal followers/users. Communicating with the users/followers through community helps build a stronger relationship than what social media could achieve.

Where there's demand, multiple solutions will come up. We've seen a rise of community platforms - chat based as well as forum based ones. How do you know which one to go ahead with for your community?

How do you pick a community platform? Here's how 👇

Define the Community Personas

  • Community personas describe your ideal community member's identity. Who are you building the community for? Try to be as specific as possible in your answer e.g. I'm building a community for Indie hackers and solopreneurs who are building profitable businesses.

Here are 3 steps to help you define your community persona:

  • Have a short bio in mind: what is the professional background of your community members? Can it be summarized in one line?
  • Define Specifics: anything that adds more detail and helps you narrow down who your community members are. Location, professional role, industry expertise, etc.
  • User's expectations: articulate what the user wants to gain from the community and what would he/she be willing to share with the community. This will help you streamline the engagement rituals for your members, basis their personal choices.

Identifying your community personas will help you streamline the content, engagement and networking events for your members, basis which you can pick a platform that facilitates all/most of your checklists.

Solving Community Pain Points

  • What are some of the most important day-to-day tasks you perform to accomplish your goals/objectives?
  • Do you face any difficulty in performing those activities or tasks?
  • How do you go about overcoming the difficulty?

"The strongest communities are built around a pain or struggle that people feel shame around. Identify a pain that people are experiencing, and create a space where they're accepted because of that pain. Give them a place where they don't have to feel shame." - David Spinks

Pick a platform that simplifies/automates tasks that lead to ultimately addressing your community member's pain points. Ex: If it's a community around Product Management and one of the major pain point of the members is access to PM leaders - pick a platform that helps facilitate easy video calls, networking sessions, AMAs, etc with these folks and also lets you archive these conversations in their content repository or integrates with a content management tool.

Understanding community motivations and goals

Why is it important to have a good understanding of your member's aspirations and goals?

  • Helps you customize the community experience to help members be accountable to and help each other
  • Connect members to the right members or mentors
  • Depending on the patterns that emerge, it can help you design the community space and rituals to cater to the community's needs
  • Helps you track outcomes for each member and can act as a feedback loop

Define the engagement rituals and content to be hared, basis this. It'll help you narrow down the tools/features you would want to see in your community platform.

List down all tools you would need

Once you have the wishlist of features/integrations with you, pick one of these top platforms that support your community the most 👇

Chat Based Platforms - Synchronous Communication

1) Slack

  • Slack is a workplace communication tool essentially for messaging and sharing files.
  • Slack also allows integrations with external tools to enable community management There are two methods of chat in Slack: channels (group chat), and direct message or DM (1:1 chat).
  • Slack makes all your tools work better by letting you integrate industry-leading software and custom apps right into Slack.
  • Few well known communities using Slack : Product School, The Product Folks, Creators of Product, Product-Led, Product Marketing Alliance, Future of SaaS, etc.

Here's a video by Velocitize on how to use Slack for your online community:

2) Discord

  • Discord, a popular community tool, was originally made to give gamers a place to build communities and talk. Discord is built to allow members to message each other.
  • Each community is called a "server." You can chat/DM and also share videos, images, internet links, music, docs and more.
  • Few well known communities using Discord : Stoa School, Man Matters, Fampay, Hoezzay, The Internet Said So, etc.

Here are some tips to create an engaging community on Discord

Discord has gained popularity for it's voice channels! Here's a tutorial on how you can use voice channels for your community:

Slack vs Discord - the biggest Question!

Here are the features each offer, to help you pick between these two:

Slack Vs Discord

There are few other chat based apps being used for communities. Check them out here.

Explore other apps

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