Building for a Highly Opinionated User Base: Lessons from Reddit and the Power of Social Learning

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Aug 15, 2023

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Building for a Highly Opinionated User Base: Lessons from Reddit and the Power of Social Learning

Introduction:

Building a product for a highly opinionated user base can be a challenging task. This article explores the lessons learned from Reddit's experience and the power of social learning in creating successful products. By understanding the importance of trust, listening to the right customer voices, creating a space for reasonable discussion, and harnessing the power of social networks, companies can navigate the complexities of highly opinionated user bases and drive innovation.

  • 1. The Trust Vault: Measuring and Building Trust

When dealing with a highly opinionated user base, trust becomes a crucial factor. At Reddit, the concept of the Trust Vault was introduced to measure the level of trust the customer base had in the company. Utilizing surveys such as the Edelman Trust Barometer, companies can gauge trust levels and make informed decisions. By prioritizing the concerns of users and building trust through positive experiences, companies can strengthen their relationship with their user base.

  • 2. Listening to the Right Customer Voices

Not all feedback from users represents the attitudes of the majority. It is important to identify the voices that truly represent the general user base or the ideal customer profile. While negative feedback often stands out, it may not always reflect the sentiments of the majority. By considering the significance of feedback and the influence of users giving it, companies can make more informed decisions. Additionally, clear communication to deprioritized groups is essential to maintain transparency and trust.

  • 3. Creating a Space for Reasonable Discussion

Nuanced product discussions are best conducted in a private space rather than in the public square. This is where the concept of an advisory council comes into play. By forming a group of passionate community representatives, companies can engage in safe and private discussions. Building a culture that rewards candid feedback and establishing a process for regular connection strengthens the relationship between the company and its user base. A fresh and dynamic membership in the advisory council ensures diverse perspectives.

  • 4. The Power of Social Learning

Innovation thrives when there are loose ties and a wide network that brings diverse viewpoints. Collaboration and cooperation, facilitated by communities of practice, play a vital role in the learning process. These communities provide a safe space between focused work and social networking. However, it is important to recognize that communities can also enable negative behaviors. Companies must be aware of the potential for bias and take action against hate groups. Ultimately, learning faster and driving innovation is all about establishing better connections and leveraging social networks.

Conclusion:

Building for a highly opinionated user base requires a deep understanding of trust, effective communication, and the power of social learning. By measuring and building trust, identifying the right customer voices, creating private spaces for discussions, and harnessing the power of social networks, companies can navigate the challenges and drive innovation. Three actionable advice for companies include: consistently measure and build trust, listen to feedback but consider its significance, and establish a culture of candid feedback and regular connection. By incorporating these strategies, companies can create products that resonate with their highly opinionated user base and foster long-term trust and engagement.

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