Modern day marketers are entrenched in a plethora of social networks, analytic tools, trade publications and more.
We’re constantly looking for better ways to research, create and promote.
We’re also pretty cynical. When we see pop-ups, banner ads, email propaganda, etc. we’re often thinking through the lens of the business behind those marketing initiatives and how it benefits them, or what we would’ve done differently. It’s rare that we’ll fall prey to the tactics of other marketers; however, I like to think many of us can respect and appreciate effective or innovative strategies.
But where do these ideas come from? Where can we extract more insights?
An often overlooked yet highly beneficial medium for marketers is reddit; a veritable treasure trove of information for marketers about trends, customer sentiments and pyschographics. There are hundreds if not thousands of subreddits, or individual boards/forum-style communities, dedicated to nearly any topic you can think of. It doesn’t matter what your poison is, you can find a place for it on reddit.
The anonymous environment allows users to freely express themselves, whether it’s aggressive but constructive criticism, or just friendly pointers. As someone who has been on the platform for almost 4 years now I can tell you there are some incredibly talented and wise minds lurking throughout subreddits. I’ve made contacts, partnered up on content marketing projects, advertised, and even crowdsourced data on reddit.
The benefits of redditting regularly might surprise you. Let’s explore them:
A goldmine of ideas
reddit can be extremely valuable to marketers, provided you know what to look for. Its value has everything to do with how the platform operates and how we utilize the platform. Don’t get confused. We’re not consuming media; rather, we’re analyzing it.
Content is voted upon, which directly influences the visibility of it. If it’s not relevant or particularly interesting, then it receives downvotes pushing it further and further down the stream. If the community deems it worthy, they will lobby it with upvotes pushing it higher up the stream. In this regard, you can see what’s popular and more important to a community by the top-rated posts.
Each post, image or piece of content has a dedicated comments section that allows reddit users to weigh in on a discussion. More importantly, this is where you can find customer sentiments, popular opinion and complaints about various topics.
For example, marketers in the gaming industry who frequent the “gaming” subreddit would find a lot of information about their titles. They could easily find a consensus of what the community thinks about the different elements in a game. If the community doesn’t like their game, they can also find plenty of solid points as to why that is. In turn, this should help them make and market a better title in the future, provided they learn to listen to their customers. Keep in mind, this same example can be adapted to fit any market or business.
An important thing to remember is not all content needs to be on the front page to become a hit. reddit is different than most social media networks and SEO entirely. You don’t have to obsess over being the top post in a stream. You’re better off targeting smaller groups and delivering your content and posts to the subreddit that fits your brand most.
When it comes to marketing, this aspect of using reddit can help you grow a laser focus on what’s important. It will help you get better at trimming excess fat, so to speak. You’ll quickly learn what type of content is worthwhile to a demographic or community, and what types are not. You’ll learn that relevancy is more important than volume, and how to choose more relevant topics.
There are cases where businesses, marketers and commercial industries have tainted reddit (see Woody Harrelson’s AMA debacle), but for the most part reddit is for the community. That means people using the platform are not scared to voice their true opinions and weigh in on a discussion. You might see some of this on a brand or company forum, sure, but there it will be largely filtered.
On reddit however, you have access to pure, unadulturated discussions, the kind that most people have in their day-to-day lives with friends, family or colleagues (granted some of this stuff can be NSFW).
One of the most defining traits of reddit is the insanely quick ability for users to band together in support of a cause or charity. While Twitter is losing influence with donors to charity, reddit remains one of the most effective platforms to rally a community (or communities) for a cause.
Rest assured, if you want to know what a demographic or particular audience thinks about a topic, you can head to reddit.
Discover trends and memes
Since most subreddits have active communities, it’s a great place to discover budding trends, memes or what-have-you. redditors love to repeat memes consistently, which often go on to become viral. In addition, the kinds of group opinions and ideas you can collect will show signs of budding trends.
As a marketer, this should help you stay on top of your game in terms of popular content. If you stick with it, then it should also teach you how to better identify popular trends.
For instance, some trends and memes seem to have an initial spark, before sputtering out shortly after. Adversely, other trends appear seemingly out of nowhere. By being active in communities like this, some of which happen to be the birthplace of said trends, you can analyze and pinpoint the various elements that go into the rise of a trend. If you want to learn what goes into the creation of viral content, reddit is the place to be.
Of course, there are never any guarantees, because some trends are just downright unpredictable. However, that doesn’t mean there’s nothing to learn from them.
reddit is not a social platform that you will benefit from right away. In order to take advantage of it, you need to remain consistent and stick with it. You need to frequent the same subreddits, offer advice and participate in discussions. This increases your klout, what’s referred to as “karma” on reddit.
If you want to really show your bosses that you’re extracting something tangible, create a spreadsheet and start logging information. Make a list of the best type of content and analyze the ingredients that made it popular, i.e;
- type of media used
Patterns will quickly arise and we’ll be able to identify which types of content our respective budgets can cover. In turn, we go into the creation stage knowing there is already validation for the type of content we’re making. Along a similar vein, we can simply ask others if “this is something they would be interested in” and keep a record of answers.
The important thing is to start participating now. You’ll gradually start absorbing the social norms of the subreddits you subscribe to and will ultimately craft your own tactics to extract value for your next campaign.