Reddit as a Buzz-Generating Tool?
There is a lot of discussion about utilizing popular social media networks such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+. However, one avenue that often gets overlooked as an important source of information is reddit. For those of you who don’t know, reddit is a social media site where users can submit links and posts, and submit comments. A voting system allows users to promote posts and comments by giving them “upvotes”, and then marking comments and posts as irrelevant or not following the rules by “downvoting”.
There are many different subreddits which allows users to pay attention to the types of conversations they wish to see. There are subreddits for basically every type of interest and hobby, news, politics, etc. With any social network community, it is best to understand what the community is all about before jumping in to participate. So, it is a good idea to read the reddit FAQs (http://www.reddit.com/wiki/faq) before doing any sort of activity on reddit as reddit is a community that belongs unto itself.
A Pew Internet research study showed that 6% of adults use reddit, which by all means does not compete with the big four social media networks. However, if you know where to look, there is a lot of great content on reddit that can help you promote your brand to your buyer personas. Following the 10:4:1 rule as promoted by Hubspot, “for every 15 of your social media updates, 10 should be pieces of other people's content, 4 should be your own blog articles, and 1 should be a landing page.” Reddit can help there! Not only can you find great content, internet memes, viral videos, breaking news, but you can also post interesting content as well. More than just tweeting out a blog post, you can interact with the community and get valuable feedback and information.
Find Great Content
Viral Videos & Memes
There are many ways to find great content on reddit. Many internet memes and viral videos get their start or start to take off on reddit. One way to create humorous content for your social media updates is to find a meme that is appropriate, and make your own spin on it. Humorous content is a way to get the attention of your customers and humanize your company and brands. Sites like quickmeme, memegenerator, and imgflip are an easy way to make your own captions to many popular memes. The best way to find memes are just by monitoring your favorite/relevant subreddits, but there are subreddits like /r/AdviceAnimals and /r/memes where you can get an idea of what’s out there and trending. (Image by Redwoodneo [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons and is used under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.)
Also, many companies and organizations do parodies of famous viral videos to hop on that buzz bandwagon. However, many organizations get on this bandwagon late and get less attention from their parodies. Keeping track of reddit will help your organization not only keep a finger on the pulse of what types of videos go viral, but also if you want to create a parody you can get in on the wave at the beginning rather than at the end. One example of this is the popular Harlem Shake video (http://youtu.be/8vJiSSAMNWw). Wayne State University took advantage of this and created a short parody video that plays on all of their digital signs [WSU parody].
News & Current Events
Besides internet memes and viral videos, reddit is also home to breaking news articles. Many times during major news events, reddit is a key resource in gathering all of the information presented by multiple sources and putting it in one place. This can be anything from an Apple announcement to tragic events like mass shootings. reddit did gain some notoriety during the Boston Marathon bombing because of several posts containing threads where amateur sleuths on reddit combed through all of the photos and videos posted online to try and find out who the shooter was. While this unfortunately resulted in some news outlets reporting incorrect information about suspects, it does not represent all of what happens there. Subreddits like /r/news and /r/technology are great places to find information. Also, you should look for subreddits related to your industry and subscribe to those.
Post Great Content
Ask Me Anything
There are several great ways to generate buzz about your brand or organization on reddit. One very popular method of generating buzz is to do an AMA, which stands for “Ask Me Anything”. If you take a look at /r/IAMA, you’ll see posts from CEOs of companies, actors, political figures, and normal people with interesting professions. Many people post AMAs at any time, but if someone from your organization wants to post something, it’s best to message the moderators and schedule it. This way reddit has a heads up about your AMA, and can make sure that it can handle the increase in traffic. President Obama did an AMA that took down the site for a few minutes due to the heavy load from interested users.
Links & Self Posts
If there is a subreddit related to your industry, it may be good to submit links to your blog posts to those subreddits. (Don't forget to read up on the guidelines for self-promotion on reddit!) Every subreddit has rules about what types of posts are allowed, so be sure to read the information in the sidebar before posting or commenting!! This is a place to really interact with people who are interested in your industry and it is another great way to get feedback about your posts. There are many online tools to get statistics about subreddits, posts, comments, and users listed at the end of this post.
Seed Content & Drive Buzz
So, in addition to using reddit to find interesting content and interact with others, if you are interested in using reddit to "drive buzz" for your organization, consider the ways other brands interact with the reddit community using things like sponsored headlines (http://www.reddit.com/ad_inq).
- POTUS IAMA Stats, August 31, 2012, http://blog.reddit.com/2012/08/potus-iama-stats.html
- Know your meme: Internet meme database, Harlem Shake, http://knowyourmeme.com/
- RedditList.com: Tracking the top 5000 subreddits, http://www.redditlist.com/
- Subreddits.org, http://subreddits.org/
- Reddit Insight (Statistics about posts or users), http://www.redditinsight.com/
- Stattit (Statistics about subreddits), http://stattit.com/
- Pew Internet Research: 6% of Online Adults are reddit Users, Maeve Duggan and Aaron Smith Jul 3, 2013, http://pewinternet.org/Reports/2013/reddit/Findings.aspx
(All accolades and credit for this tremendous blog post are for Kristine Putnam who is the author and content creator!)