Rare is the person that argues social media can't drive action. From a Facebook campaign to make Betty White a host on Saturday Night Live to then-Senator Barack Obama's pioneering use of Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube in the 2008 presidential election, organizations have seen the value of strategic digital communication in elevating their profile—or the damage it can do to their reputation.
Every organization is different, but most businesses and nonprofits are active on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Each network has its own benefits. But now organizations must also consider Pinterest, Google +, Instagram, and a bevy of burgeoning networks.
One that we recommend becoming familiar with? Reddit.
Founded in 2005, Reddit is formatted like a simple bulletin board system. Users vote posts up and down and discussions form long threads. There are "subreddits" for locations, topics, or pretty much anything else you can think of. The network is perhaps best known for its "AMAs"—Ask Me Anything forums in which high-profile people like President Obama and Louis C.K. have chatted with users. (This Forbes piece is a great introduction to the benefits of the AMA.)
Sounds simple enough, right?
Alas, it's not that easy. Redditors (slang for a Reddit user) don't take kindly to users or organizations blasting out content without being an active participant in conversations. A user must earn "karma" for adding comments or sharing useful links. While Facebook and Twitter users will likely just ignore or unfollow an account blasting out content without engaging, Reddit will prevent a user from posting too much self-promotional material.
But with six percent of Americans using the network (and that percentage is likely to grow) it's worth getting familiar and thinking about how Reddit can help your organization. Here's how to get started:
Start an account. Obvious, but it's worth spending some time getting familiar with the "reddiquette."
Participate. Spend a few minutes a day voting. Share a few posts. Build your karma.
Think about an AMA... Have a great new product or campaign for your organization? See if Redditors are interested in learning more by asking you questions.
…But be ready to answer tough questions. Any social media advisor worth his or her salt will tell you to be genuine on social media. But Redditors have no fear of calling out a user they feel is using the community. Just ask Woody Harrelson. If you're not ready with a clever answer or strong talking points, don't risk it.
Have fun. Yes, Redditors can be a tough crowd. But they're also passionate about sharing great stories and driving action (just look at the attention Reddit got for this veteran who nearly had an unattended funeral.)
Read more about our digital communication services.
By Amy Derjue