The popular website Reddit goes by the slogan, ?The front page to the Internet.?
It has earned this name by creating a platform that allows users with similar interests to discuss and curate the best content on the web.
Brands are starting to discover the value of creating, facilitating and leveraging Reddit communities to better connect and engage customers.
What Is Reddit?
Reddit is a social news platform that allows users to discuss and vote on content that other users have submitted. To help police the site and prevent spammers from bombarding readers, Reddit came up with ?karma? points.
Users get karma by their comments and links being up-voted by others in the community. If you spam post your unrelated content to Reddit, you are sure to get down-voted consistently by other users. This in turn means Reddit begins to limit how often you are able to submit content to the site.
The following is a list of strategies used by popular brands on Reddit to help build customer advocates and manage relationships with their fans.
#1: Encourage User Submissions
Reddit is not a platform to shout your message at your fans, but rather a place to interact with them.
Along with calling their followers ?petrol heads,? the popular car show Top Gear drives engagement with their Reddit followers by encouraging them to submit their favorite car pictures.
Each week, Top Gear selects the best picture and features it along with the name of the person who submitted it in the sidebar of their sub-Reddit.
Allowing users to submit content to a brand on a topic that they are passionate about will give followers a sense of ownership in the community. Giving followers this voice increases the interaction in the community and is more likely to create brand advocates.
#2: Customer Service
When you have a popular brand or product, you are going to have lots of customers who need help.
Microsoft has done a great job with their Xbox 360 page, providing a place for people to discuss the popular product. Microsoft already developed other channels to resolve customer problems, so they use their sub-Reddit to funnel customers with questions into the right channels to get resolved.
By redirecting users with product issues to the proper channels, Xbox increases its customer service and allows its Redditors to discuss and share photos, videos and experiences they had with the Xbox product.
Microsoft uses its sub-Reddit for customer service by doing the following:
- Clearly identify the purpose of the sub-Reddit.
- Create sections of helpful links.
- Outline directions on the best ways to get fast customer service.
It costs less to maintain a customer than to acquire one through other marketing channels. A big benefit of improving customer service is that it helps keep customers happy and wanting to stay with your brand.
Increasing the lifetime value of your customers can greatly contribute to the bottom line of a brand. Even if your company has other channels to handle customer service like Microsoft does, Reddit can be used to help make sure that your followers get to those proper channels.
#3: Create a Network
Anyone can create a sub-Reddit, and with the right strategy you can easily build a network (several interlinking sub-Reddits) around an idea.
This is what the SFW Porn Network has done. They created a network of interests like nature, cars and cities for people who are ?addicted? (hence the ?porn? in the name?it?s not actually explicit material) to discussing these types of images and posts.
The following helped them create this strong network:
- Have a common naming convention (subject + porn).
- Have a common navigation that links all of the sub-Reddits.
- Monitor to make sure the images and content are high-quality.
If you have one popular sub-Reddit, it?s easier to get those followers to go to another sub-Reddit on a similar topic. The benefit of creating a network is to amass a large following inside the growing and active Reddit community.
#4: News and Calendar
It?s simple. Brand advocates and followers always want to know the latest news and upcoming events.
For example, fans of the Philadelphia Phillies baseball team want to know the game schedule, the team?s standing in the NL East and other vital information. The Phillies sub-Reddit does this by having an updated calendar and league ranking board in the sidebar.
Depending on your brand, consider using some of the following in your sub-Reddit sidebar to ensure your followers stay in the loop.
- Have a calendar of events.
- Display your company news.
- Increase the percentage of a brand goal reached.
The benefit of displaying your news and events to your followers is that when they visit, they are immediately updated with the most important facts and status of your brand. Displaying this information increases the reach of your news and can help contribute to increased attendance at your events.
#5: Perform Interviews
The wildly popular show Breaking Bad got its fans involved with the brand by holding interviews with the cast of the show. The actors themselves answered the most popular questions that Redditors wanted to ask.
Doing this consistently not only grew the size of the community but also brought it closer together by eliminating the wall between actor and fan.
The benefit of this approach is again to allow your followers the opportunity to be heard and interact with your brand in a memorable way. Facilitating the opportunity for fans and celebrities to communicate is a great way to create a strong memory for those fans of the brand.
These experiences and memories strengthen your fan base and improve the likelihood that your followers will continue to support the brand.
#6: Creating a Community
Out of the many sub-Reddits I?ve searched through, none compares to the brand and community built by the Game of Thrones sub-Reddit. The group does not do just one thing right, but has taken several steps to create a strong, tight-knit community. It?s a great example of what a brand can and should do on Reddit.
Below are the different strategies they?ve used to really make their community stand out.
Get Everyone Into Character
The best part of joining a community is connecting and talking with others with the same interests. Beyond the amazing look and feel of Game of Thrones sub-Reddit, here are a few things they?ve done to make sure followers get into character:
- Give your followers a name.
- Make it easy for readers to add Game of Thrones flair to their name.
- Provide a link for users to download wallpapers in the background.
There is nothing worse than finding out the final score of the big football game before you are able to watch it. Just like how co-workers can spoil things around the water cooler, someone can easily spoil the ending of a Game of Thrones episode on Reddit.
The Game of Thrones sub-Reddit has taken the following steps to ensure that their followers don?t get their favorite show spoiled.
- Have a posting policy.
- Create theme modes (Normal, Talk Only, Mute Talk, Show Spoilers).
- Create a spoiler guide and link to it often.
Creating a community on any platform takes a lot of time and hard work, and Reddit is no different. If you have a product or brand that thrives on interacting and gaining feedback from people, Reddit is a great place to do it.
What do you think? Fellow Redditors: What brands do you think are doing sub-Reddits right and why? For those of you who have never tried Reddit, what questions do you have? Leave your questions and comments in the box below.