Reddit-CoverAh Reddit, where cat memes rule and everyone is anxiously waiting for you to spell something wrong. Known as ‘the front page of the Internet,’ it’s long been a social channel marketers are dying to tap into.

For those that might not be too familiar with Reddit, it boasts 542 million monthly visitors and is ranked the 11th most popular site in the United States. With specific user-generated content and a huge audience, getting in good with the Reddit community could mean big things for brands.

While the payoff can be big, using this site correctly is difficult. Make the wrong move and the Reddit community has been known to come after brands with pitchforks and strong words.

Take Nissan for example, an over enthusiastic public relations team tried to make it seem as if questions were coming from the public to their “Ask Me Anything Feed”.  Sophisticated Reddit users spotted a fake a mile away. Come on guys, a little subtlety never hurt anyone on Reddit.

Curious about what works on Reddit and what might encourage angry pitchfork raising? Read on.

Avoid Over Marketing

No one wants to see a brand spouting how great it thinks it is all over Reddit. It seems insincere and gives people an open invitation to tell brands just how not-awesome they think they are. Brands get in trouble when audiences think their interaction is one big marketing ploy. If you’ve spent any time on the platform, you’ve likely heard of the Woody Harrelson debacle.

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The best brands add value. They post content that is helpful, relevant and interesting to their audience. The same is true of any social media channel. Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are a little more forgiving, but posting interesting articles and giving people a reason to interact with your account is key.

Listen

Reddit is ‘the voice of the people’ and an excellent resource to hear that voice. Brands do well when they tune-in to their specific audience group and pay close attention to what they have to say. After a post was submitted to Reddit about a Galaxy S4 catching on fire while the owner of said phone was sleeping, competitor HTC took the opportunity to respond, ask questions and listening to their consumer base through brand ambassador ‘jetleigh’.

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The same goes for social media channels in our own social strategy. Listen to what the audience has to say. Find out what they like and what their pain points are. Paying attention leads to more valuable content for the audience and a better overall relationship between brand and viewer.

Talk to the People (as a person)

Reddit is the platform of the people and the last thing brands should do is make people feel like they’re being pitched to. An excellent example of doing things the right way is Amazon. They take human interaction to the next level with ‘brand ambassadors’. These ambassadors AmazonZach and AmazonJosh, peruse the site looking to answer questions, respond to feedback and act as a face for the company.

Social media accounts that talk to people as people tend to be the most successful. Sure, we can’t all hire two full-time employees to troll around Reddit all day looking to answer questions, but checking in and answering any questions and responding to comments goes a long way with audiences.

Overall, Reddit can be beneficial for getting to know audiences and the questions they typically have about your service or industry. Larger brands benefit from the social site more significantly than local companies or small businesses. While the site isn’t for everyone, it does offer some lessons which can be helpful for posting on any social platform: be yourself, be honest and be available. Sure, we see ads all the time on social media, but when following or interacting with a business account, people expect to talk to a person, not a robot. Social media platforms are the place to get to know the people behind a company, make sure you’re using it.

If all this talk about Reddit is a little overwhelming, don’t worry. Begin at the beginning with our social media starter kit.

Roundpeg is an Indianapolis content marketing firm.