Blue Ocean Strategy: Creating a Reddit Community That Will Spread Your Message For Free

5 min read
how to create a reddit community founder networking

The book Blue Ocean Strategy might sound more like an environmental study than a work on business management. Since it was published in 2004, however, it has sold more than 4 million copies, with translations in dozens of languages. (This is more evidence that it’s not always best to judge a book by its cover.)

In Blue Ocean Strategy, authors W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne describe how companies can carve out their own niche. The authors discourage founders from competing in preexisting market spaces, which they call “red oceans” for their cutthroat, bloody competition.

Rather, they suggest that new businesses should find their own “blue ocean.” This term describes an untapped, uncontested market with few competitors and high levels of consumer demand.

Creating your own “blue ocean” is significantly easier said than done, of course. But the rewards for finding the right market are well worth the investment. Ideally, your customers will be so excited about your products that they’ll handle much of the marketing for you.

Social media websites like Reddit are an excellent way to generate buzz among a hungry audience. With more than 400 million monthly active users, Reddit is one of the most popular social media platforms in the world. However, it often receives less attention from marketers than websites like Facebook and Twitter.

Building a Reddit community for your business can be one of the best ways to do organic word-of-mouth marketing. Below, we’ll go over how to create a Reddit community for your business.

How do you make a community on Reddit?

Reddit is divided into smaller communities known as “subreddits,” each devoted to a particular topic or purpose. As of writing, the website hosts more than 2 million subreddits and over 100,000 active communities. For example, the /r/movies subreddit is a hub for discussing everything from blockbusters to indie films.

Users can make posts (which consist of links, pictures, or text) in a subreddit, as well as comment on those posts. To express their approval, users can “upvote” a post or comment, and can also “downvote” to express disapproval.

Subreddits such as /r/popular or /r/all collect recent posts from across the website that have been highly upvoted. Users can also curate their own Reddit front page by subscribing to subreddits. In this case, the Reddit home page will display only posts from communities to which the user is subscribed.

What about creating a subreddit for your own business? The purposes of having your own Reddit community include:

  • Posting interesting, engaging, or humorous content related to your products
  • Getting suggestions and feedback from users
  • Answering questions and solving issues
  • Holding contests or drawings

Before creating a subreddit, you’ll first need to have a Reddit account. In order to deter spammers, this account must be at least 30 days old. In addition, the account must have some amount of positive “karma” (the number of upvotes it has received). The exact number is kept hidden, but users suggest that the score is between 50 and 100.

Next, click on the “Create Community” or “Create your own subreddit” button on the Reddit home page. (Which button you see depends on whether you’re using the new or old Reddit interface, respectively.)

You’ll need to define a name for your subreddit. This name may contain up to 21 characters and will determine the community’s URL. You’ll likely want to set the subreddit to public, rather than restricted (with posts only from certain users) or private.

Other settings you can define for your subreddit include:

  • A short tagline and description of the community (which appears in users’ search results)
  • The subreddit’s theme and appearance (including logo, colors, background, and font)
  • The community’s rules

In particular, subreddits must have moderators who enforce the community’s rules. Reddit administrators may close communities without human moderators at any time. Once you’ve created the subreddit, you can define other Reddit accounts as moderators. Make sure that you have multiple moderators, so that the community can survive events such as founders leaving your startup.

Is a community the same as a subreddit?

The terms “subreddit” and “Reddit community” are often used as synonyms, but there’s an important distinction between them. A subreddit is simply a sub-forum of the larger Reddit website that has been created for a specific purpose. However, not all subreddits can truly be called “communities.”

For instance, certain subreddits restrict their submissions so that only approved users can post. Perhaps the most visible example is /r/announcements, which only allows posts from Reddit administrators. Also, these posts may or may not allow comments from standard Reddit users, depending on the post author’s choice.

Given these limitations, it might not be entirely accurate to call the /r/announcements subreddit a true “community.” Instead, the term “Reddit communities” is better applied to subreddits with a healthy amount of monthly activity. This includes multiple community members who are actively participating in the subreddit and interacting.

In other words, your own “blue ocean strategy” should seek not just to create a subreddit, but to create a community. Your Reddit startup community should attract people who are passionate about your products and services, organically building a user base.

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