Chances are high that anyone that frequents the Internet on a regular basis has either heard of the online community Reddit or is an actual Reddit user. For those individuals who haven’t  heard of Reddit, chances are even higher that they have run across a topic, article, link or meme that originated on Reddit.

An online, social community that votes on content that is generated by users, Reddit has exploded in popularity with almost 160,000,000 unique visitors in the month of January alone. The concept is relatively basic and user-friendly: Any user can post links, photos, or any other forms of content to the site as well as generate conversations, topics or questions. The sheer volume of interesting content merged with Reddit’s simple, yet effective voting interface easily allows obscure or undiscovered material become viral in a hurry, often times well before other platforms like Facebook or news outlets. Anything from memes to major stories are often picked up by various media sources and become the next day’s news. A saying goes “Anything you’ve seen online was on Reddit first.”

The titanic amount of traffic fused with technical and engaged users make digital marketers salivate at idea of promoting products and services on Reddit, yet finding an outlet and strategies to promote products and services  can prove to be a challenge to companies that are often met with skepticism and suspicion by Reddit users tired of being advertised to on a daily basis. Marketing to a demographic that simply does not want to be marketed to can often times have unintended or negative (sometimes bordering on “disastrous”) results. It is important for any organization looking to participate on Reddit to be familiar with a few key rules and etiquettes that will be crucial to providing your organization the information they need to navigate through one of the most unique, popular and engaging sites on the web.

Ask Me Anything (no, seriously!)

One of Reddit’s most popular features is the “Ask Me Anthing” or better known as “AMA”. Due to the nature of the site, as well as the tech-savvy and often times sharp-witted users that frequent the site, Reddit AMAs often go poorly for anyone from celebrity actors to major brands to political journalists. Notable fails range from bad luck (Google hosting an AMA on the same day that a major Gmail outage occurred) to an ironic lack of transparency for a forums called “Ask Me Anything” by Intel’s CEO Brian Kranic, refusing to answer computer security related questions. The fact is that Reddit’s Ask Me Anything forum is exactly that: a platform for users to ask anything. If you’re an organization too timid to answer any questions that might hint at a weakness or follow up to popular/upvoted questions, don’t get involved. The ability to answer, or at least acknowledge the questions is imperative. Having said that, AMA’s can be a great way to connect with a technical audience, find out what their needs are and ways that your company can respond to any requests.

Participate!

Take advantage of the vast depths of information and conversations that are happening on Reddit. There are countless forums and sub-forums (better known as “subreddits”) that can serve as quality resources for analyzing any online “chatter” about your business or brand. It is more frequent to see companies or company representatives participating in forums and AMAs as part of the community. A Reddit section called “Does Anybody Else…?” provides a potential gold mine in market research, with questions tailored to your industry. There are also tools that an organization can use to track conversations such as the free “Reddit Enhancement Suite” which allows you to subscribe to certain threads. You can even track competitors through the subreddit, “HailCorporate”, which was established for the purpose of exposing companies and marketers with dubious intent, i.e. “ads disguised as posts.” There are plenty of ways to utilize Reddit without participating in intimidating, unpredictable AMAs or trying to push a production or promotion on an audience that is skeptical and unreceptive to advertising. However, Reddit’s easy functionality and massive, engaged audience does make it a platform for you, the business, to listen, provide feedback and potentially stop a PR crisis in real time by being open and transparent.

 

Be Genuine

If there is anything that Redditors hate, it is stealth advertising. While especially marketers know that there is nothing inherently wrong with liking or promoting a product or service, nothing will turn off your organization’s Reddit outreach faster than a post disguised as organic content that is actually a pseudo advertisement. But rather than bombard Redditors with ads and promotions, use the platform to engage your target audience with real time conversations and use the forums as a way to elicit feedback and requests. The more transparent your organization or organization’s representative are, the more likely you are to gain sincere feedback and responses and just as important, avoid the embarrassing Reddit mishaps some of even the largest brands have made when trying to market their products and services. Avoid industry jargon and work instead to engage potential consumers by being honest, concise and transparent in your interactions with Redditors. See Nissan as a prime example of the creative way a major brand can use Reddit to get positive community interactions, feedback and engagement. Being honest and genuine will reap rewards when navigating through Reddit and will pay dividends in many ways.

There is a reason that Reddit is called the “front page of the Internet.” The simple interface allows the potential for content-oriented material to go viral quickly and the staggering popularity of the site suggests that Reddit will continue to be a powerful hub for content and information in the future. The amount of daily users combined with a knowledgeable and engaged demographic can make Reddit tempting to approach from a pure advertising viewpoint to reach consumers but in reality, Reddit is a platform that is best utilized by companies to listen, ask and be open. If your company is looking for ways to leverage Reddit into a powerful hub for customer service and feedback, don’t venture alone!

Contact Convergent1 today and see how we can help your marketing efforts utilize Reddit and all other social media platforms to help your company grow, engage, and connect!