The MCAT server was created over four and a half years ago and is now an active community of almost 24,000 (!) members, all with a shared passion for furthering their studies in healthcare.
Shrooberry says their community mission was “to create a welcoming space for all healthcare students to have equal access to educational resources. The journey to becoming a healthcare professional is often arduous, isolating, and undoubtedly expensive. It was for those reasons, we envisioned a community where opportunities existed for everyone regardless of their background or socioeconomic level.”
For the MCAT team, building the server was all about creating a positive, welcoming environment and introducing things that could make the community feel unique.
“We made sure to create a warm community with moderators personally welcoming newcomers whenever we could."
"Creating a server is easy, however growing it to be a welcoming community requires significant effort. To build a successful server, focus on building the community itself, i.e. friendships, trust, and common interests.”
For the MCAT server, the team also wanted to focus on building something unique that set their community apart and made their server feel like home.
“We also focused on having some things specific just to our server that were not found on other study groups, in order to create our own presence. For example, we chose to highlight our custom study materials, pomodoro and forest study sessions, and hosting our own game nights.”
The MCAT team strives to keep enticing members back with valuable content, regardless which phase members are at in their education.
Some members have been part of the community since the very beginning, so it's important they’re able to provide specialized guidance to anyone—whether they’re in the starting stages of their pre-med journey or not.
“I love statistics and numbers so I think member retention is an excellent measure of a well-built server. I believe a successful community entices members to come back day after day.”
Shrooberry believes that beyond the numbers, a huge part of community success is having a focus around a common goal. Regular events and passionate moderators who are constantly engaging with their members is a great sign of a healthy server.
Shrooberry and the MCAT team learned the hard way that with great server growth comes great responsibility. Keeping the community engaged and the server well organized can certainly become harder as more people start to join.
“Our main challenge of last year was rapid growth followed by low member engagement. We were still hitting a 30% benchmark however we wanted to increase it since this was important to keep an active community!"
"We resolved this by hosting regular interactive events such as game nights, Ask Me Anything sessions by healthcare professionals, and study parties. We also created a role specifically for game nights and events so the interested members were notified.”
As your community becomes more established, it's important your server is evolving with it. Start small and focus your attention on building space to serve a smaller, tight-knit group of people.
“Don’t worry too much about growth. You would be surprised how many big servers have only a small fraction of their members active. The friendships, common interests, and memories are what makes a community special.”
“My server is called 100 gecs, based on the band of the same name. We made it right before the band's first album came out, as a small fan community with a few hundred folks in the summer of 2019. The band joined the server almost immediately and started sharing it, and we've been a growing community ever since.”
Avery’s mission is for the community to provide a safe space where users can talk about music, their hobbies, their interests and other things without hate or toxicity.
“I know that the internet can be an unwelcoming place and I want to provide someplace different. Besides the overall theme of the server being about the band, people come here to talk about all sorts of stuff in their daily lives, and I want the server to continue being a place where they can do that safely.”
The community has grown significantly since it was first started in 2019 and currently has around 6,300 members. The main driver of this growth has been its unique Community Events.
Alongside keeping existing community members engaged and active in the server, 100 gecs community has also welcomed hundreds of new members through Community Events.
“Our server is known for hosting online music festivals such as Summer Nights. We'd get dozens of musicians to come and perform in a voice channel for us, the band themselves even played for us! So besides the popularity of the band giving us members through Twitter and Reddit, we'd get a large influx of members from people listening to our music fests."
"Nowadays when we aren't hosting fests, our member growth comes from Server Discovery, the subreddit for the band, and the official website for the band links to us as well.”
In addition to having the band’s support as a big part of the community’s growth, the 100 gecs Community is incredibly active in promoting across their social media and website. Still, Avery thanks the community members and musicians who help promote the music fests.
“We gain hundreds of members per month without any extra events, around 500 or so, and that growth is stable and doesn't seem to be stopping anytime soon.”
Members can often be our biggest advocates. Learn how to grow your community through member referrals!
Managing and moderating a growing community can be daunting and comes with additional work to be aware of. It’s important your server is able to adapt to its growing members and is still able to keep the community safe.
“Moderating a server with thousands of people is always going to be a difficult task, no matter the resources or knowledge you have on your side."
"That being said, an issue we've faced is a lack of resources. We're rather low on moderators for a server of our size. Despite putting out calls for mods, we didn't find many capable or willing members. To help fix this issue, we made our permissions and auto-moderation system stringent."
"By doing this, we made sure many trolls or spammers are automatically punished, which lowers or entirely removes the need for manual moderation in a few types of cases."
"Overall, most issues are handled quickly and quietly, and our AutoMod buys us time to find more talented moderators.”
Bigger isn’t always better. Maintaining a healthy and welcoming environment will always be key to the community’s long-term success, whatever its size!
In addition, setting expectations as to what new members should expect when joining the community will also be important in ensuring new members stick around for a truly valuable experience.
Avery’s advice is: “Give people a reason to come to your server. What do you provide that other spaces do not? For example, do you provide events that are unique and interesting? Is your server about a more niche topic or interest? Are you the official space for your community to meet up around a content creator or brand? What is your server known for? Anything and everything can make up your server's unique identity.”
Remember, “member count isn't everything, your community is. Most people would rather be in a server with a small but strong community than an unhappy huge one. Having a happy community means that any growth is more likely to stick around and be active as well!”
Thank you so much to Avery for their help writing this article. If you’d like to join the 100 gecs server, click here to check it out. If you’re interested in learning more about growing a community on Discord, click here to find out more.
Today, the Photography Lounge Server has over 10,000+ members and strives to be Discord’s home for photographers of all levels.
Ari started building the community at age 15. He wanted a photography community that—as a beginner shooting photos on their iPhone camera—was beginner-friendly.
Ari says: “I understood the importance of attracting experienced photographers who could share valuable information and help out members just starting on their photography journeys. We have people taking photos on their laptop webcams as well as people shooting professional-grade work on Leicas and REDs, and I think the dynamic that creates is perfect.”
For Ari, keeping an eye on the numbers and being aware of the stats coming in through Server Insights is essential.
“Pruning members who haven’t interacted with the server in the past 30 days is something I do routinely. If your community is going through a dry patch and you’re dedicated to driving engagement back up, here are the steps I’d take..."
“After some close calls, we’ve managed to maintain the most difficult statistic for a Partner community on Discord. The “New Member Retention” rate. Luckily, Photography Lounge avoids issues now, staying between 20%-30%. I think we’re able to stay in this safe zone thanks to our introductions channel, which cues new members to introduce themselves. Our existing members welcome people personally, and I think having this instant human interaction when you join the server really helps.”
Of its 10,000 members, the Photography Lounge server has recently hit an impressive 5 million messages sent and 350,000 photos shared since its inception. Beyond sharing their work, community members constantly connect and create genuine friendships.
“Honestly everyday I see people actively contributing and chatting in the community."
"Recently, I discovered that two members met through the community, and decided to go on a ski trip together in Austria! This was by far the coolest online to IRL thing I’ve seen happen in the community. Makes me really happy to see people meeting great friends in the server.”
“Building a thriving community is immensely rewarding. You make great friends, are exposed to unique opportunities, and learn a lot. I’d never consider ending my time at Photography Lounge because, at the end of the day, I owe so much to it.”
Thank you to Ari for his help in writing this article. If you’d like to join the Photography Lounge community, click here to check it out. If you’re interested in learning more about engaging a community on Discord, click here to find out more.
Managing a growing server into a healthy community is no easy task. It takes hard work and dedication to foster and maintain a sense of belonging among members in a safe server environment.
Over two and a half years ago, Tom (aka Bruh!) built the Rocket League Germany Discord as a home for Rocket League fans to come together, make friends and play games. Today, it has over 28,000 members, offering Rocket League news and hosting community events, tournaments, and giveaways.
“The Discord Server is meant to be a haven where you can stay away from stress and other negative impacts by communicating with the community, playing games, making friends, and more.”
As an expert community manager, we sat down with Tom (Bruh!) to pick their brain and get their advice on what it takes to successfully run and manage a community on Discord.
As an admin, it’s key for you and your team are regularly active and engaging with your community in your day-to-day.
Tom says: “If you are not regularly interacting with your community or if they are not responsive to your wishes [as a Community Manager], this will lead to a collapse at a later point in time. My team and I try to respond to the requests and ideas from the community and implement them as best we can. This way helps to build a direct relationship with members and make the Discord server more attractive, more entertaining, and more professional as well as being user-friendly.”
“A strong and well-run community is evident from two important aspects. The first is the activity of its members and the second is the dealings with one another. Everyone should treat everyone with respect in order to prevent disputes and allow for compromise.”
A big part of Rocket League Germany’s community mission is to create an opportunity for members to meet and play together. Encouraging peer-to-peer connections amongst members will be a vital step to mustering up a healthy atmosphere and setting the standard for new members as they join.
Tom explains that part of the community’s success has been to understand what members want, their motivations, and what they hope to gain from being part of the community.
“Sit down with the community in a voice channel and respond to direct requests or introduce a suggestion channel where users or groups can offer their personal suggestions for improvement.”
Not every request from the community will always be possible and that’s okay. However, creating the right spaces for members to share their ideas and making sure your members feel their thoughts are heard will go a long way in building loyalty long-term.
For Tom, prioritizing the community’s safety has also been vital to running the server. The Rocket League Germany server currently has 15 moderators working together. They’ve found how important it is when people realize that the server is professionally managed; they feel more comfortable and more willing to participate.
And finally, some advice from Tom: “I would like to give all community managers an important tip for the future—ignore everyone who doesn't believe in you. Don’t get demotivated. If you love what you’re doing and building something that matters to your community you’ll find Discord Partners and friends who are excited to join, too.”
Thank you so much to Tom (Bruh!) for their help in writing this article. If you’d like to join the Rocket League Germany community, you can click here to check it out. Learn more about how to manage a community on Discord.