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Moving your community from Slack to Discord
Sep 7th, 2022

Moving your community from Slack to Discord

Are you considering moving one of your online communities from Slack to Discord? If so, you may have questions about the difference between the two platforms and the potential challenges you will face during the transition process.

In this blog, we’ll discuss everything you need to know to successfully migrate a community from Slack to Discord, including:

  • How to move your community from Slack to Discord
  • What to expect during the transition process
  • Step-by-step guide task list on how to perform this transition with as little disruption to your members as possible

Why migrate to Discord?

Discord was created to be a social platform for gamers but has grown into a massively popular communication channel used by hobbyists and professionals alike. Numerous companies are migrating their communities to Discord because it offers unlimited free features, whereas Slack’s free tier includes some major limitations—like limiting access to messages after 90 days. In addition, many organizations find that Discord has more user-friendly voice, video, and chat features.

Which communities are the best fit for Discord? Here are two situations where a Discord server might function better for a community than a Slack workspace:

  • A community that’s scaling rapidly. Discord charges by the entire server if you want to invest in HD video or voice, and it is free otherwise. Slack’s paid tier (which includes more community management features than its free tier) charges by the user. That leads to quickly accumulating costs as you add more users!
  • A community in which roles and permissions are very important. Unlike Slack, Discord allows you to set up specific roles. Each user can have as many or as few roles as needed. Once you assign a role to a user, their permissions automatically get updated, and they instantly get added to any private channels that are specific to that role. This allows for more narrowly defined moderation capabilities and more distinct access levels.

Slack vs. Discord

While Slack and Discord are used for similar purposes, they are different in several ways. There are pros and cons to both channels, so it all depends on what your community’s specific needs are. A Slack workspace focuses on nurturing relationships between members with known identities. It’s also often seen as more professionally-oriented than Discord, with lots of integrations for commonly-used business tools such as Gmail or Outlook and organizational platforms like Asana or Jira, etc.

Discord, on the other hand, favors anonymity between users and includes more moderation capabilities and audio/video functionality than Slack.

Challenges of migrating a community to Discord

Even if you decide that Discord is a better fit for your community, you might face challenges as you work to migrate everyone to the new platform. For one, some of your community members might get confused by the new functionality of Discord. There are distinct differences in the user experience on the two platforms—for example, Slack allows users to create threads while Discord currently does not.

In addition, your team will need to make a plan to avoid community attrition during the migration. Put together a strategy to announce the transition to your community with frequent reminders about the timeline for the switch and clear instructions about how members can join the new Discord community. Most importantly, you will need to make the new Discord server accessible to everyone in your community and provide support for anyone who experiences technical complications during the switch.

A step-by-step guide for moving from Slack to Discord

Migrating your community from Slack to Discord can be difficult, but if your team works through the process in steps and actively communicates with your community members, you’ll avoid some of the biggest challenges.

1. Preparation

Preparation will likely take several months. As your team prepares for the migration, ask some overarching questions about your business and community goals, plans, and needs. You should pick a retention goal, figure out how you will fulfill any accessibility needs, and determine what your community members desire—for example, how do they hope to use your new Discord server? For the platform, think through which management roles will be established on the server, which Slack elements you should prioritize recreating, and if any new Discord functionalities would fit your community.

2. Discord configuration

Next, configure your Discord server. It’s best to organize your server around the concept of roles. Decide which roles would work well for your server and how to create a hierarchy amongst your members. For example, are there members specializing in a particular industry or people with a specific job description (i.e. all software developers within your community, or all executives, etc.)? Turn that grouping into a role so they can access exclusive channels explicitly built for other individuals like them.

Implement as many resources, like essential channels, documentation, and content repositories, as possible from your Slack workspace into your Discord server.

The time it takes to configure your Discord server will depend on the size and complexity of your community and the associated roles you choose to create.

3. Rallying the community

Based on the questions you asked and answered with your community members during your Preparation phase, you should have a good understanding of what they hope to gain from the switch to Discord. Be sure to communicate with your community every step of the way and align your communications to the goals you shaped together in the Preparation phase. This will enable you to rally your community and help newcomers get excited about the switch to Discord.

You should also use a robust engagement strategy to keep the migration top-of-mind for your members, which will play a part in minimizing attrition. Ideally, your engagement strategy should span several months—give community members a heads up about the switch months before it actually takes place. And remember, rallying the community doesn’t end the moment you turn on your Discord server. You’ll likely have to continually engage with straggling community members in the weeks and months after the official migration.

Task list for community engagement:

  • Create a detailed list of essential community engagement tasks, and include timelines for things like iterative announcements and Q&A sessions.
  • Schedule announcements so they get released periodically.
  • Keep the community informed and excited about the move with tactics such as AMA events, explainer videos, social media posts, and newsletter reminders.
  • Consider opening a forum for discussion, like a Slack channel, so community members can openly discuss their expectations, hopes, and concerns.

4. Rollout

Perform the rollout in an orderly, well-orchestrated manner. Think strategically through all the possible ways that users might not make it onto the new platform and aim to avoid these possibilities. Will some users need help as they create a new account? To remedy this possibility, find or create an easy-to-access explainer video showing how they can create a new account.

In addition, create a phased rollout plan (spanning 1–2 months) so users less familiar with Discord won’t experience an empty, unused channel once they log onto the server for the first time. By iteratively inviting people to the server, starting with the most engaged users and ending with the least, your team will facilitate a more welcoming experience for those who are less familiar with the community.

Task list for a phased rollout

  • Mirror the same channels and conversations that exist in your Slack workspace.
  • Add additional channels that help improve functionality, like a read-only welcome channel on Discord, an updated configuration of news/announcement channels, etc.
  • Offer a preview to a few major influencers and contributors within your community.
  • To kick off the official launch, send invites to the most active community members first, and consider offering incentives for them to sign up.
  • After onboarding active community members, send invites to the entire community.
  • Implement ways for the community to continue engaging with each other on the new platform.

5. Shutting down Slack

When and if it’s time to shut down Slack, be sure not to “pull the rug out” from under your latest adopters’ feet. Do this by leaving the Slack community open for a few months after the launch and continuing to provide timely updates to your community at large.

Task list for shutting down Slack

  • Export archives from the Slack channel.
  • Keep the Slack channel open in a locked-down state for 3–6 months after the official move to Discord. No one will be able to contribute new conversations to the Slack workspace, but any latecomers who happen to log onto Slack will still be able to access it and see any announcements from your team.

How Common Room can help

Common Room can help you activate the power of your community by giving your team deep insights into your members’ engagement, activities, questions, needs, and overall sentiment.

As you switch from Slack to Discord, Common Room can help your team by providing a big-picture view of your community across both platforms. By using Common Room’s automatically-surfaced intelligent insights, you can better understand your community’s unique personalities, priorities, and current happenings. Using our engagement, activity, and sentiment metrics, you can:

  • Identify the most important channels, activities, and topics within your Slack community to keep them running smoothly when you transition to Discord.
  • Identify a cohort of your most influential and engaged community members, so you can invite them to collaborate with you or be part of an early preview on the new platform.
  • Easily manage and communicate with that smaller cohort of influential and active members through Common Room’s bulk messaging capabilities.
  • Keep an eye on community metrics from a single source of truth to figure out which migration initiatives are working and which need to be modified to gain more visibility and positive responses from members.

Common Room also offers features to improve your brand new Discord server, such as verification, to boost the safety and inclusivity of your community on Discord.

Want to learn more about Common Room and how we help Discord and Slack communities become stronger and more connected? Read more about the ways we build technology for product- and community-led organizations. To connect with 1000+ community and DevRel leaders, join the Uncommon community.