Using Roles to Increase Community Engagement

They may not look like much more than a color or an icon... But when roles are used well, they can make users feel more invested in your community, help members engage with others, and even make moderation easier.

Making and assigning roles within your server is a fantastic way to encourage member engagement and improve your community health.  And because they’re highly customizable, they can be used for anything from simple hierarchy to XP-based leveling systems allowing you to better connect it to external sites like Twitch or YouTube.

Server Roles in Your Community

Keep Your Community Organized

You can make good use of server roles to give members access to private channels.

Doing this means you can easily keep certain topics or content completely private or only visible to certain members of your community. You can do everything from having a moderator-only channel to having a VIP-type room for subscribers.

Top Tip: There are various integrations and bots that Discord supports to link your server to Twitch, YouTube, or Patreon to automatically assign subscriber roles to supporters on other platforms. Other uses include...

  • Subscriber-only channels
  • Voice channels for supporters
  • Giveaways for specific groups, like monthly Discord boosters or active chatters
Make Roles Just for Fun

Everybody loves leveling up their XP, right?

Many Discord servers use bots to run XP-based leveling systems that encourage user engagement. The more a member engages in your community, the more XP they get and the more they level up to new roles.

It is worth noting that XP points and leaderboards may not be the best fit for all communities. Ultimately it’s up to you to decide how to encourage the right behavior and avoid falling into forced engagement or spam traps.

On the other hand, some community admins will manually reward people with additional roles or permanent titles for doing certain things. For example...

  • Temporary roles for active chatters, contributors
  • Permanent roles unlocked via loyalty points on Discord or Twitch
  • Unique roles for contest winners to display
  • Opt-in roles for notifications about community events
  • Looking-for-group style gaming roles

These types of roles are all effective ways of rewarding users with something that’s ultimately free to provide and encouraging them to interact with each other.

Self-Assigning Role Bots

Letting your users express themselves is a great way to drive engagement. That’s why self-assigning role bots are so useful.

They let your community members declare their interests, but they also help community members spot other like-minded folks and make friends with them.

If this sounds like something that would work for your server, there are numerous bots available for Discord servers that allow users to simply ‘react’ to a message that lists the various roles available. The bot will then automatically assign or unassign them! This can be used for...

  • Favorite games to help match you with other players
  • Hobbies to unlock additional relevant channels
  • Instrument you play for collaborating on music

You can also use these roles to ping different groups of members by mentioning these roles in a message or announcement.

TLDR; Help People Find Their People

Communities grow and bond because members find hobbies and interests in common. There’s a much bigger chance of this happening if your community can simply click profiles and see someone’s interests.

In fact, it’s not unlike joining a book club or realizing you go to the same hobby group as someone you’ve seen around a few times. That’s why roles are one of your best tools for getting community members to engage with one another.

With thanks to Alasdair for all their help in writing this article.