Certainly luck and a little genuine conversation has turned 5.5 billion monthly page views into the goldmine community called reddit. The site defies so many things we are accustom to when it comes to successful UI and visual marketing, but at the same time it exudes best practices in true engagement and relationship building.
At SXSW this year, I met the Head of Comms for reddit, Victoria Taylor. Ironically, I was fresh off of two RFPs from companies searching for an agency partner, and each RFP asked about how the agency could infiltrate the reddit community on behalf of their brand and leverage Quora for GTM strategies. It makes sense that a CMO is eager to take advantage of the built in network of eyes and intelligent engagement, but without regard for the catalyst of why these communities exist could ultimately jeopardize the brand.
Following SXSW, I got a few questions in with Victoria, and her Q&A gives good insights into how reddit stays genuine and should be and should not be leveraged by marketers.
A couple of things to remember:
- reddit is about sharing personal stories and engaging with others, self-promotion is frowned upon
- reddit is a perfect example of why staying in touch with customers and influencers (or fans) can sometimes organically work in your favor
- Being a redditor means something to the reddit community, being a link poster will get you banned, transparency is required
- You need to be a redditor to know a redditor – in other words, it’s about personal connections and conversation, not a publishing tool
reddit is a community that is built and sustained organically, and in many ways should be relied on as a vehicle for smart content and discussion, but that doesn't automatically mean it’s a new bulletin board for marketing news.
Here are my five Q’s for Victoria from reddit:
1. Describe the PR industry’s biggest opportunity on reddit.
The biggest opportunity for PR professionals is to get real-time, unfiltered and honest feedback on reddit from our thousands of communities. reddit is a pseudonymous "community of communities" in which users can gather based on their shared interests and connect about anything and everything.
2. How much more do we as PR pros benefit from being active on reddit to fully use the community to benefit our work/clients?
I think that it's a situation where you should never be utilizing and submitting content to reddit with the mentality of it being for a client. reddit is meant for individuals to share personal stories and connect with others. You can read more about that here.
We would encourage you to approach it from the perspective of a cocktail party: you wouldn’t walk around a cocktail party handing out business cards to everyone without engaging in a conversation and connecting with them personally first. If you wanted to bring up in context a story about working on a certain project, or offer your advice on a case-by-case basis that just so happens to be related to a client, that's very different.
Transparency is important to redditors. Don't jump in on a conversation about makeup tips to share your expertise without adding the disclaimer that you know so much from working with beauty experts on behalf of X Y or Z!
3. With recent attention on the AMA format, is this limited to just celebrities/influencers, or with the right following on the site could anyone take advantage of this (even with a small community)?
AMAs are 100 percent organic and are scheduled with people from all different walks of life who have had notable experiences. Within the /r/IAMA subreddit, there are more than 5 million subscribers who have the chance of seeing an AMA at any given time. Each AMA is variable and we do try to schedule them so they don't overlap. Each AMA is unique and special, and hopefully connects with the community, whether it's Barack Obama or a vacuum cleaner repairman! You can check out http://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA for more information or feel free to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have additional questions.
4. As a communications pro, what attracted you to make the big switch to NYC for this position? What is the biggest advantage you see reddit has?
I love reddit so much and just joining the team was a huge incentive for me to make the move from Los Angeles and switch coasts. I feel that reddit's greatest advantage is its community, and the structure of tools we have to make it possible for the community to connect in new and different ways as it grows, evolves and changes.
5. Your best piece of advice to PR people:
It's hard to give advice, but if anything, I'd say to be passionate and do what you love. I'm so grateful to be able to work with the constituencies that I do every day and reddit is something that I enjoy being involved with, morning, noon and night. That passion helps to drive me through long days, exhausting weeks, travel or tough times.