If you search Reddit on Google, its tagline is “the front page of the internet.” Sounds pretty good, right? In 2012, Reddit had more than 400 million unique visitors.
But what is Reddit? And how can you—or should you—use it as part of your PR efforts?
Reddit is a social news website to which registered users submit content in the form of either a link or text post. Each submission is posted to a “subreddit”—an overarching topic that the post is related to and demarked by r/. For example, r/Education is the subreddit dedicated to posts about education. Posts are then upvoted or downvoted by users based on their popularity and relevance.
Each subreddit is an opportunity to access a community directly interested in a particular topic or field of expertise. However, each subreddit has its own set of rules, which you should read and understand before engaging.
A number of posts have already touched on the challenges of incorporating Reddit into PR campaigns. While some say there is a right and wrong way to go about this, many commenters advise against it. If you want to spread the word about your company, don’t join Reddit as a PR or company representative, but as a user looking to share a new resource the community will find useful. Be mindful of the conversation taking place though. If everyone else is talking about trends and issues, don’t start talking about a new product.
By providing a community with links to useful resources that appeal to its members’ interests, you can begin to drive website traffic and gain exposure with a new audience who might otherwise be unaware of what your company has to offer.
An old adage goes: “If you have good service at a restaurant, you might tell one person. If you have bad service, you’ll probably tell 10.” Reddit works in a similar way. If one person posts about a negative experience with a company, other redditors are likely to jump on the bandwagon with their own horror stories. This means it has the potential to be a PR nightmare. Unlucky companies have found themselves in hot water after an unflattering post on Reddit sails to the top of the homepage. Recently, restaurant chain Golden Corral faced a PR crisis when pictures and video of unsanitary kitchen conditions began working their way around Reddit. The company responded, but did so on channels like YouTube and Twitter, not on the channel where the issue originated.
UPS found themselves in a similar situation when an image surfaced featuring a worker mishandling a package. The image went viral, but UPS had a representative take the dive into the world of Reddit to find out what really happened. By keeping a cool head and asking the right questions, the representative discovered the deliveryman in question was not even a UPS employee.
As with any social media channel, there are challenges inherent in using Reddit and strategies for success. Understand the community you are trying to engage with and be smart about what you post.
Have you had any success generating interest on Reddit?