Slack vs Discord: Choosing the Right Platform for Your Community

Community building is more important than ever, and choosing the right platform to host your community on is a critical first step in your community efforts. Two popular choices for hosting communities include Slack and Discord. While the two platforms are both essentially chat apps and have many similar features, they have differences that can significantly impact a company's community strategy. In this blog post, we will explore the pros and cons of using Slack and Discord and help you decide which platform is best for your community.

1. Features

Discord and Slack offer a range of features that cater to different communication and community-building needs. 

Discord is widely known for its real-time communication capabilities. It offers voice channels and video chat, allowing users to engage in live conversations and discussions. Additionally, Discord provides robust moderation features, allowing administrators to maintain a safe and welcoming environment for their community. Moreover, Discord's customizable roles and permissions enable community managers to create diverse and organized structures within their communities. Lastly, there are hundreds of bots that users can add to their Discord server to help them with anything from customer support to hosting fun games. 

On the other hand, Slack is known for its integration capabilities and user-friendly interface. It enables users to create dedicated channels for different teams, projects, or topics, promoting streamlined communication and collaboration. Slack natively integrates with many popular productivity tools and allows users to bring all their essential workflows into a single platform, enhancing efficiency and productivity. With its emphasis on professional communication, Slack excels in providing a seamless experience for businesses looking to improve internal collaboration, project management, and communication within their teams and departments. It offers a range of features all designed to enhance productivity and streamline workflows. 

While both Slack and Discord have a wide set of features, Discord’s feature set is more relevant to communities given it was built for communities, whereas Slack was built for professional collaboration.

Winner: Discord

2. Pricing

Pricing is undoubtedly a crucial consideration for most businesses. Slack offers a tiered pricing system based on the number of active users, with plans ranging from free to enterprise-level options. The free plan has limitations on storage and integrations, which means for example that message history is only accessible for 90 days on the free plan.

Discord, on the other hand, provides most of its features for free, including unlimited users, voice channels, and text chat. However, they have a subscription-based Nitro plan that offers additional perks like personalized tags and animated emojis. For companies looking for a cost-effective solution, Discord may be the more budget-friendly option.

Winner: Discord

3. Familiarity

Slack has gained tremendous popularity over the years, particularly in the business and tech environment. Its user-friendly interface, integration capabilities, and seamless user experience have made it the go-to choice for many companies, with 80% of the Fortune 100 companies and many tech startups using Slack to communicate. Additionally, Slack's sleek design and intuitive navigation make it easy for new users to adapt and get started quickly. 

Discord originated as a platform primarily focused on gaming communities, but has since expanded to cater to a wider audience, notably being the platform of choice for web3 communities. While its interface may not be as familiar to non-gaming and crypto users, Discord offers a unique set of features that can be appealing to certain industries, such as media, entertainment, and creative communities. 

Winner: Depends on target community members

Examples of companies using Discord and Slack for their communities

Thousands of companies have successfully implemented Discord and Slack for their community-building efforts. 

Discord is particularly popular among gaming companies like Riot Games and Ubisoft, as it provides gamers with a platform to connect, discuss strategies, and engage with their favorite titles. Discord servers such as the Minecraft server boast over 1 million members. Similarly, most web3 companies starting their community today will choose Discord to host it, with most of web3’s most notable companies and DAOs, such as Consensys, Polygon and Alchemy, using the platform. Several software companies have also moved their Slack community to Discord, an example includes Buffer, the well-known social media management software. 

Unsurprisingly, Slack has gained traction for hosting tech and SaaS communities whose community members are already familiar with and use Slack on a daily basis for collaborating with their teams in their day job. Some examples of companies using Slack include Product School, Kubernetes, Flutter and Online Geniuses. All these communities are targeted at professionals like product managers, software developers and marketers.

Conclusion: Discord or Slack?

In conclusion, both Slack and Discord have their advantages and disadvantages when it comes to hosting communities. Discord was specifically designed as a community tool, making it well-suited for building large-scale communities due to its feature set and pricing model. On the other hand, Slack originated as a professional collaboration tool, making its feature set and pricing less community-centric, but if your audience is already familiar with Slack and has an existing account, there may be a slight barrier to transitioning to a new platform.

Another thing to keep in mind, since both Slack and Discord offer the ability to easily switch between workspaces and servers, users might be viewing your community content more if it’s hosted on the app they’re already using on a daily basis. 

To make an informed decision, it's crucial to work closely with your target community members and understand their needs and preferences. You might discover surprising insights, such as many of your business audience being familiar with Discord because they are also gamers or exploring new AI tools. By gathering such feedback, you can effectively weigh the product and pricing benefits of Discord against the potential challenge of having users join a new platform.


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