A thriving online community provides a place for your fans to efficiently interact with eachother. They can solve problems, share experiences, and convert newcomers into loyal fans. Many businesses and leaders choose a traditional forum solution and host it themselves, but we think reddit can be a much more efficient and valuable platform for your forum. If you aren’t sure about using reddit as your forum, take a second to learn about the GoPro subreddit and how it has become a thriving and valuable subreddit community.
Assess Your Audience and Set Goals
It is important to get clear about the current state of your audience and what you hope to accomplish by establishing a forum for your audience. Here are some questions you should ask yourself:
- Have my fans or audience already created a subreddit for me?
- Does my audience want to discuss topics related to my brand?
- Do I have a large enough audience to sustain an active forum?
- How will an active forum be beneficial to my brand and my audience?
- Will my audience use reddit and why do I want to use reddit as my forum?
Having clear answers to these questions will help you plan your subreddit launch and communicate the plan to your audience. Most importantly, do not write off reddit without first asking your audience for their thoughts on the idea. Ask them what they think about using reddit as a forum in an email blast and on social media. You might be surprised that many of your fans are already using reddit.
Subreddit Launch Checklist
These are the items you need to have in order before promoting your subreddit:
- Create a subreddit on reddit.com, but only if there is not already an active subreddit about your brand. Choose a name for your subreddit that is as closely related to your brand name as possible. If redditors have already started a subreddit for your brand, jump into the community and start contributing value. At some point, message the moderators and introduce yourself as a member of the company.
- Fill in the sidebar with basic info about your brand and the purpose for the subreddit. Include links to your website and social media accounts.
- Design your subreddit to match your branding. If you have the CSS skills or have access to a developer, you can create a fully designed subreddit that has the look and feel of your website (see How to Edit the Design of your Subreddit). If your resources are limited, simply upload your logo and don’t try to get too fancy. The default styling will look and function better than a poorly designed subreddit.
- Create a “sticky post” welcoming visitors. State the purpose of the subreddit and ask subscribers to post suggestions in the comments section. You can “sticky” any text post on reddit, just look for the “sticky this post” link when viewing the comments page for the post. A sticky post stays at the top of the subreddit as long as it is stickied.
- Seed the subreddit with valuable links and self posts. Do not fill the subreddit with links to your own content.
Launch the Subreddit
It is time to introduce your audience to the subreddit. Execute these items to get things rolling.
- Put a link to the subreddit on every page of your website. This can be a “Join Our Community” link in the sidebar or you can mix-in the reddit logo next to your other social media buttons. This is important to establish your subreddit as the official place for your audience to discuss your brand. It will also help new website visitors find out about your subreddit.
- Create and share content promoting the launch. Write a blog post, release a short podcast, cut a YouTube video, and send out an e-blast that announces the subreddit launch and encourages your audience to join.
- Post about the subreddit on your social media accounts. You can post multiple times per day the week of the launch.
- Reward early adopters. Tell your fans to take a verifiable action in the subreddit within the next 24 hours and reward them with a coupon or discount code. By rewarding early adopters, you help seed the subreddit with subscribers and activity that will attract more users.
- Hold an AMA (Ask Me Anything) right after launching the subreddit. Promote the AMA to your fans and let them know that this is their opportunity to ask you anything. Remember to check the AMA thread over the course of a week as new subscribers trickle into your new subreddit and post a question (click here to learn more about AMA’s). Consider making your AMA “sticky” so it stays at the top of the subreddit for multiple days.
After the Launch
Continue promoting the subreddit on a consistent basis to facilitate steady growth and participation. In a future post, we will discuss simple ways to moderate your subreddit, encourage activity, and leverage that activity.