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Reddit Throws Its Weight Around

Social news site Reddit is proving to be a powerful digital tool.

We saw Golden Corral’s alleged PR crisis develop on the site’s front page in July. Reddit also gained notoriety for its real-time coverage of the search for the Boston Marathon bombing suspects in the days after the horrible events.

For better or for worse, Reddit is quickly becoming a go-to site for content – news and pop culture. If you’re not currently a Reddit community member or monitoring the site, here are a few things you should know to get up-to-speed.

How it works: Reddit is an open source community where users can add stories, images, videos, comments, etc. In my opinion, the best thing about the site is how content is managed. Registered users are able to vote on uploaded content, moving “hot” stories up in placement ranks on the platform’s homepage, which it calls its “front page.” Unimpressive “cool” content threads drop out of prominent placement. Unlike Facebook where the system controls what content a user sees, Reddit allows its users to be in control of what content gets the most eyeballs.

Communities are called “subReddits” and are where related content lives and is organized by topic. Its users also love acronyms, which you can debunk through the FAQ page, a helpful resource.

Reddit encourages open, honest and elaborate (this isn’t Twitter) comments, which is exemplified through the AMA – Ask Me Anything – feature. This is a forum where anyone can ask the featured guest questions. Guests could have an obscure job, be related to a pop culture topic or be a celebrity/public figure. It’s unfettered access that promotes open dialogue and expanded thinking. President Obama even held an AMA in 2012.

Stats: Check out this user data from last Wednesday, Sept. 11:
Reddit Stata 9/11/13

What brands can do with it:

  • Conduct research: Search your company name or keywords, but make sure you have a thick skin. Remember, you’re not going to come across your message points intact, but you may garner some insightful information from the Reddit community.
  • Offer up a company or affiliated expert for AMA: This is a great chance to offer interesting, in-depth points of view that are longer than press conference sound bites. But don’t try to pull a fast one on the Reddit community by preparing pre-drafted messaging points into responses. They recognize and appreciate authenticity.
  • Share useful information: If you’re preparing for a product launch, consider posting a calendar of the product development timeline or updates on its features. You may start with a small number of interested users, but you’ll be able to monitor activity to learn the types of posts that garner attention and serve to expand your reach.

Check Reddit out. People are using this community and it provides an honest look into opinions and viewpoints in real time.

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