If you’ve ever considered building an online community, you’ve probably heard of Slack and Discord.
These two “team chat” services have soared in popularity over the years, especially for creators looking to connect their community members. That in itself makes sense: Finding powerful and robust ways for your community to interact is an important step in all creator’s journeys.
But when you start comparing the Discord app vs Slack, it can be hard to understand their differences and figure out which one you should go with. Fortunately, we’re here to help you.
Ahead, we’re putting the two community platforms—Slack vs Discord— to the test. But first, let’s explore why it’s important to have a solid community platform for members to interact on in the first place.
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In this article...
Why are online community platforms important?
Online community platforms are important because they give you the tools to connect your members together and provide them with unique experiences and content to interact with.
Let’s break it down some more. At the end of the day, what’s a community? A community is a group of people coming together because of a shared goal or interest. In the past, communities were limited by proximity or how close to each other your members lived.
But online communities allow you to connect with people from around the world. And they are much easier to scale with your community’s growth. Creators who are looking to compare Discord app vs Slack understand the value that comes with building a network for your members to communicate.
Now that we’ve explored why community platforms are important, let’s dive into what Discord and Slack are all about.
1. Slack vs Discord: Who are they?
Before we break down the criteria for this throwdown, we thought it would be helpful to explain what Slack and Discord bill themselves as. This is important because there are many different online community platforms and they all emphasize different things.
Slack bills itself as a faster, easier, and more efficient solution to traditional email communication. Essentially, Slack is primarily a text-based service that allows creators to section topics into “channels,” making it easier to organize the variety of conversations you and your members are having.
For instance, you might have a channel called “General” which is a basic chat room for all members to hangout and talk. Then, if you want to have a place for a specific topic like making announcements, you’d make a separate channel called “Announcements.”
At its heart, Slack is a really organized chat-based community platform for members to interact in.
Discord is very similar to Slack in that they provide a primarily text-based communication solution for members of a community to interact with one another.
The aesthetics and functionality of Discord are fairly similar to Slack. They allow creators to make separate channels for specific topics. The example we used above to describe Slack applies in Discord as well.
Discord emphasizes that you’re creating a community “hangout” space for your members.
2. Slack vs. Discord: Judgement criteria
When there are so many online community platforms to choose from, it can be hard to know what software to pick. We’ve come up with some guidelines that will make that decision easier. Our top three criteria are:
Customization and features. Your online community succeeds when you have many tools to experiment with. Why? Because it gives your members new ways to interact with one another and your content. We are talking about online course creation, paid memberships, discussion boards, polls, Q&As, member profiles, prerecorded video,livestreaming, video chat, and more.
Availability. The best online community platforms will make your content available in as many ways as possible. If your members can access your community or course from a variety of places, they will be more invested. Online community platforms that can be built for and across the web, iOS, and Android is a must.
Pricing. How much you’re asked to pay for an online community platform is important. When so many offer similar features, it’s important to make sure you’re getting the most for your money.
There are many ways to evaluate online community platforms, but we believe these three aspects will be the most helpful to unpack.
So let’s dive into the comparison between Slack and Discord!
3. Slack vs. Discord: Customization and features
When it comes to choosing an online community platform, we believe the best ones give you many tools to encourage interaction between members.
Think about it this way: When you create an online community for your brand, you’re not just connecting people together who like what you do. You’re also creating a network!
This means that you want to have the ability to provide experiences for members to interact with one another and build new personal and professional relationships.
On Slack, you create “workspaces” for different groups of people to interact in. This speaks largely to the audiences they target: professionals, businesses, and corporations. Essentially your “workspace” will be the hub through which all your community interactions take place.
Within a workspace, you can create the “channels” for discussion topics we talked about earlier. Outside of these customization options, a lot of the rest are fairly superficial (like allowing you to change the color of the sidebar).
Within a “channel” conversation, members can reply to individual messages and create a thread. This is helpful for organizing conversations.
In terms of features, however, Slack does allow for over 1,000 integrations. This means you could integrate things like Google Drive, Giphy (who doesn’t love a good gif?), and Zapier. Outside of integrations, Slack offers video and voice calling if you’d like to have some kind of video hangouts.
When you choose Discord, you’re largely getting the same experiences with customization and features.
A few major differences are that Discord has “servers” (their equivalent to Slack’s “workspaces”) but they are all accessible through one account. A downside of Slack is that your members will need to have multiple logins if they are part of multiple workspaces. This will make it much easier for members to switch between different groups that they are in and access their direct message wherever they are.
Discord has a heavy emphasis on targeting gamers. Because of that, the platform has robust features for voice chatting in more informal ways.
On Slack, when you want to voice chat it’s basically like a Skype call. But on Discord, you can click a button and voice chat without opening any additional windows. You can even provide your members with exclusively voice chat channels.
When you compare Slack vs. Discord’s communication features, Discord, in general, is much more informal.
4. Slack vs. Discord: Availability
Right now, people are increasingly interacting with content and communities through their mobile devices. We believe that the best online community platforms allow you to build a space that is accessible wherever your members are, at any time.
In terms of availability, Slack offers a great mobile app experience that is nearly identical to what you have on your computer. This will allow your members to interact wherever they are across any of their devices.
Discord has very similar availability options to Slack. When you use Discord for your online community, your members will be able to access the Discord mobile app and interact with the community no matter where they are.
5. Slack vs. Discord: Pricing
When it comes to pricing, it’s important to choose a platform that provides a great experience for your members and you. What we mean by this is that the online community platform you choose should offer great features and accessibility all at a great price.
One of Slack’s major weaknesses is its pricing. While Slack does have a free plan, you’ll be restricted to one-on-one video calls, search features will be limited, you won’t be able to share your screen or connect with outside organizations, and you’ll only be able to integrate with up to 10 third-party tools. If you’re trying to grow your online community, then you’ll likely end up opting for a paid plan on Slack.
Their pricing model charges you $6.67/person per month at the standard level and goes up from there. This means that as your online community grows, you’ll have to continue to pay more.
Here of the features that come with the standard plan:
Unlimited message archive.
Group video calls with screen sharing.
Work securely with other organizations using Slack Connect.
Discord on the other hand has a much more accessible pricing model for what most online communities will want.
The primary experience of Discord is offered completely free of charge.
Some of the features you get with Discord are:
Unlimited message archive.
9 integrations (game, social media, and some other services), API integrations.
Group video calls with screen sharing.
The default online concurrent user limit is 5,000 but it can be raised.
When you look at the options offered from Slack vs. Discord, it becomes clear the Discord is a much easier place to start building an online community.
6. Slack vs. Discord: Which is the winner?
So, if you couldn’t tell from our Slack vs. Discord head to head, the two platforms are very similar.
When you’re choosing between Discord app vs Slack we think it will largely come down to how big your online community is, and what your target demographic is.
Discord is a very informal platform that is largely used for a community hangout space. Slack is used more in businesses as a way for coworkers to connect and interact. This doesn’t mean that they can’t be used for other purposes, but they won’t be ideal.
In fact, the two platforms give you a clear idea of who they are aiming for in their slogans:
- Discord: Your place to talk.
- Slack: Where work happens.
We believe that online communities are built around providing members a unique experience that connects them with like-minded people. Slack and Discord are great supplements for online communities, but not the best for building one straight out.
7. Hold up. Why settle for less?
We spent a lot of time above talking about the ins and outs of Slack and Discord, but they really aren’t your best online community platform option.
We think what we’ve built at Mighty Networks provides a much better experience than what you’ll get at Discord or Slack. At the end of the day, Discord and Slack are both just communication platforms. When you choose to build a community on these platforms you’re barring yourself from so many features. Here are just a few of the many features you get with Mighty Networks:
Offer paid memberships.
Have your own branded app that is accessible in the App Store and Google Play store.
Discussion boards, create polls, and surveys.
You can livestream within your community, post recorded videos, native live video support within your online course, and more.
You can have free small groups or charge for access.
Build online courses.
We could go on, but there’s no need to rub it in…Mighty Networks is able to do most of what Slack and Discord are doing on top of all of the additional features listed above.
Better yet, all of our features work across the web, iOS, and Android which gives your members flexibility and accessibility to how they interact with each other and your content.
Sounds pretty great, yeah? Check us out!
Ready to launch your online community?