by Andy Cooper
Reddit may not be a social site you’re aware of. It’s still relatively niche, but has a rather diehard fan base of loyal evangelists. And whilst it may be niche, there are still opportunities for driving sizeable awareness and reach on the platform. Here’s a primer on what it’s all about.
What is Reddit?
Essentially, Reddit is a people-powered aggregator of content. Think of Digg or Stumble Upon, but more social. To become a user one simply must think of a unique username and password (no email address required) – although you can browse everything without registration. Once registered, users can submit almost anything they like: links, YouTube videos, .jpegs and gifs of cats and dogs, disgusting videos of spots being popped, infantile questions, news articles, fitness tips, recipes and pretty much anything else that can be held in some form on the world wide web. These are categorized into ‘subreddits’ – lists where relevant submissions reside. This content can then be voted on by each user with either an ‘up’ or ‘down’ vote. Communally upvoted content goes to the top of the page, downloaded disappears.
Users can then comment on each of these pieces of content, and the same up/downvote system is in place – so ‘good’ comments rise to the top, and trolls fade into the ether (in theory).
With a sizeable user base (100m+ users per month) and an open-source, ad-lite mentality, the site is quickly becoming a key resource for fans of discussion around pretty much any topic you can think of. It has a well-educated, middle class (largely male) audience who have a strong interest in popular culture.
What’s an ‘AMA’?
The AMA subreddit is a place for people to host Q&A sessions. The hosts of these sessions are generally people of interest, but that doesn’t just mean celebrities (although they are some of the greatest contributors) – people with interesting jobs, those involved in world events and even mundane topics are often very popular. There’s no barrier to entry – anyone can create an AMA, but in order for it to be successful there needs to be a hook of some sort to pull people’s interest.
One cautionary tale is that of Woody Harrelson, who ran into trouble with a heavy-handed insistence on discussing his film release and nothing else.
Other AMAs have also gone wrong – Morgan Freeman wasn’t Morgan Freeman, for example.
So why is this of interest to brands?
Do you have an interesting face positively associated with your brand? If so, this may be a great opportunity to reach a potential new audience (who also tend to be affluent) in a low-resource way (doing the AMA is free, and it would only take a couple of hours worth of your talents’ time).
Sure, they can’t simply extoll the virtues of your new deodorant, energy drink or mp3 player (lest they be shouted down and mocked), but they can build a positive affinity and association with an audience that will think positively the next time they see your talent representing your brand. And if your brand is doing something particularly cool (think Red Bull Space Jump) then you’ll probably find a lot of discussion around that event will occur.
Don’t have a celeb fronting your brand? No problem – there are still other opportunities. If you have a particularly interesting ‘behind the scenes’ element to your brand, this is potentially a great way to celebrate something generally unreported. Operate a huge warehouse? Get the foreman to do an AMA about the logistics and stories of what have happened there. Creating something industry-leading and socially exciting? Have your lead engineers discuss what they’re up to and how the project came about.
There are challenges around tracking the impact of your AMA (although reach is worked out relatively easily). I’d recommend seeing it as an opportunity to do something brand-relevant and a little pioneering – it can serve as good practice for trying other real-time activations.
Still don’t get it?
Give Kazoo a shout – we’ll talk you through it and see if there are any ways your brand could connect with the Reddit community.