How to Grow a Community – the Reddit Way
Community Management would be nothing without actual community members to manage. When I think of an ideal and great community, the first thing that comes to mind is Reddit. It’s diverse, no censorship. Everyone just have a sub-Reddit where they feel like they belong. It’s a hyperactive community where the content is generated heavily by the community.
How Did Reddit Grow its Community – 4 Ways You Can Do Too!
Reddit didn’t just rise as a giant community that easily. It started somewhere. Steve Huffman, one of its founders, explained how they grew the community to what has become one of the most interactive and engaging community.
1. Fake Content / Members – It is probably one of the frowned-upon when it comes to community management (just as self-promotion is greatly frowned-upon on Reddit), but let’s face it, every big thing has to start somewhere small. Every great discussion, someone has to start the conversation. It’s a good thing Reddit wasn’t ashamed to admit that. I clearly do not encourage sustaining a fake community but in order to start a fire, you gotta light it up with a match and when starting out, no one will give a damn providing you with the match (aside from your over supportive mom, maybe) so you’re left with no other choices but to do it yourself.
Even superstars like Lady Gaga didn’t happen overnight. She started being delusional, thinking of how great she can be and eventually did. Think of how great your concept is and how great your community can be and start it out. It has to start with something.
2. Set the Tone – What your community will become is determined by what voice you give to it. Set the tone of the conversation. Take control of it in a way that you guide others to engage more. Get your users to talk about you, talk to you and to get them to do that is to listen to them and understand their behavior.
3. Don’t Censor – Unless the community is too racist or another member is harm to another member, allow your community members to talk. Talk to you. Talk with each other. Giving them freedom to do what they want to, like to do makes them want to stay on your site even longer and keep on coming back, even inviting more people with them. It’s how the community eventually grows.
4. Don’t Complicate Things – What I really like about what Steve said on the video is about how they maintained a non-complicated concept, design and implementation of Reddit. No emails required, no silly categorizations which requires more decisions from the user (which often are unnecessary). The more decisions you have, the harder it is to interact with the site.
Asking too much information, too much feedback and too much interaction from the users often causes them to be less engaged. Similarly, perhaps this pretty much explains why people are likely to Like something than to actually Comment on Facebook.
Do you have specific community management strategies that you have successfully implemented? Feel free to share them with us through the comments below!