A client recently asked me whether or not they should “get involved” with Reddit. Their target demographic is female and they are in a very crowded and subjective vertical, so I recommended they pass. This report which was done in October 2016, clearly shows that the majority of the audience is made up of males 18-25 and offers a lot of other insights into this insanely popular, but very unique platform.
The community is the asset with Reddit and that community abhors self promotion or anything that seems advertorial. The biggest thing with Reddit is you need to be 100% authentic and if users sense that you are fake and/or somehow not open, honest and transparent, then they will crush you and call you out. Even if they are wrong and you are being sincere, it is too late once that happens.
I equated it to walking into a comedy club and a comedian starts laying into you. They might be totally off base with their comments or observations and have you pegged wrong, but once they say it and the laughs start rolling in they will continue and it is literally impossible to go back and undue it. Better bet is to just walk out and never look back.
Brands or personas (Elon Musk, Bill Gates etc…) can host AMA’s (ask me anything) in an attempt to strike up an open and honest dialog with potential consumers. This works in their favor as it can immediately ignite massive exposure and chatter within this highly active community. Reddit users are passionate and spend 10+ minutes per session, which is very attractive to marketers of course. You will get good and bad chatter for sure, but if you are prepared to answer them openly and honestly (and ok with taking a few gut punches along the way) it can be worth the time invested for sure.
I did some research on brands “doing it right” and came up with some examples:
Uniqlo has been on Reddit since 2012. Arielle Dyda, a Uniqlo e-commerce manager, uses her personal account to respond to fans. When Uniqlo has a deal, Dyda shares it with the popular fashion subreddits. Referrals from Reddit have been shown to drive 20% of Uniqlo’s total online sales for a deal. Uniqlo’s presence is genuine and natural. Their brand is strengthened by using someone who knows the community and is upfront in her approach.
From personal experience I find it to be like an angry and aggressive Tripadvsior or Yelp:
This company recently pitched my company through a random email solicitation. When my employee (24 year old male) went to look them up, he found this write up:
Have any of you guys ever received an email from brandzooka? Are they scammers? Or can they be trusted
Then some user named PaddyoColorado (coincidence they are in CO) replied with:
Brandzooka is a real company – a start-up in Boulder Colorado – that helps small businesses run targeted video campaigns to specific audiences on all kinds of web sites. They help the little guy advertise where only the big guys used to play.
Then in typical Reddit form, they got crushed:
“It looks like you’ve created this account for the sole purpose of writing this “review”.”
“Brandzooka have sleeper cells everywhere it would seem. Trust no one lol”
“Spam straight from this company in the weed state came into my server’s inbox too. There is no opt-out in the e-mail, and it was sent to a non-public “admin” e-mail account along with a non-existent “yde” account.
“Bounced it straight to SpamCop, as well as sending a PM to a MyWOT user.”
This made me pass on taking the call for sure. That company might actually be great, but I read it on Reddit that they might not be and I am not even giving them a try. That is powerful persuasion for sure!