Anyone who’s worked in PR long enough knows that a successful campaign relies on its ability to tap into the zeitgeist. This is where social media comes in handy – especially Reddit. It’s anonymous, so it’s often where people go to share their dark secrets, but that also makes it one of the most honest places on the internet. Real people are on reddit, talking about real issues. They’re also generally more willing to align themselves with potentially niche topics.
As a B2B PR agency, we work with companies in different sectors, including tech, HR, hospitality and marketing, and we find that subscribing to subreddits (more about them in a moment) that cater to each client’s market is an effective way to see what’s happening in different markets. So, if you’re wondering how to incorporate Reddit into your PR strategy, the best place to start is to use it for research and information gathering. Here’s how to do it effectively.
Sign up and lurk
A common complaint about Reddit is its design – it’s not as user-friendly for the masses as Facebook or Twitter and takes some getting used to. That’s why it’s really important to register and ‘lurk’ for a while – get used to the layout and the way it works; keep track of what posts perform well; curate your newsfeed and get used to Reddit etiquette (or Rediquette, as is outlined on the website).
Search for relevant subreddits
Reddit is made up of subreddits (or ‘subs’) which act as channels on dedicated topics. You can subscribe as many subs as you like, and posts from those subs will make up your front page. The best way to find subs is to use the search bar at the top. If you’re unsure what subreddit you’re looking at, look at the part that comes immediately after the r/ at the end of the URL (for example, https://www.reddit.com/r/books/ is a sub on everything related to books). Anyone (with an old enough account) can create a sub on any topic they like, so if you can’t find the one you’re looking for, you might want to create it yourself.
The best way to identify whether a sub is worth joining is to look at the following:
- Rules – All subs have to abide by Rediquette rules, but the best subs have their own rules to keep posts relevant and their users active.
- Moderators – Subs with active ‘mods’ tend to be better, too. Good mods will make sure posts are relevant, exciting and rule-abiding.
- Member count – Huge subs (those with a lot of members) tend to be more active, but they’re not always relevant. Subs with smaller but engaged groups might be more suitable if you’re looking for posts on a specific topic.
Start up and downvoting, and commenting
Just like other platforms, Reddit rewards you for activity and interaction. You’ll notice that on your profile, you’ll have a ‘karma’ score. This is based on the number of upvotes and downvotes you accumulate on posts and comments. Certain subs will only let you post if you have a minimum karma score, and long-time Redditors will take note of your Karma score when reading your posts, so it’s worth spending time building it up. A good way to do it is by commenting on other people’s posts, as comments can be upvoted.
Start sharing interesting content
After you’ve lingered for a while, you’ll notice that certain types of posts perform better than others. Generally speaking, images, videos, personal stories and breaking news perform well, but each sub will be different. Once you’ve got something genuinely worth sharing (company blogs generally don’t fall under this category), start posting it. Don’t be discouraged if your initial posts don’t perform particularly well – practice makes perfect. Also note that a lot of Reddit users are in the US, so if you want a lot of views, you might want to cater to US time-zones.
Using Reddit for publicity
Using Reddit for promotion and marketing is a whole other ballgame. In essence, the platform has been built to thwart overt marketing and advertising posts, rather than welcome them (its rather particular etiquette is outlined in more detail in its Rediquette). Unless it’s a sponsored post, you will be thrown out or downvoted into oblivion if you push a product or service (and trying to do so covertly generally doesn’t work). There are some guides out there on how to use Reddit for marketing, but really, the best place to start is to use it and get familiar with it.
Useful marketing, PR and video subs
You can also use Reddit to gather new ideas and insights in your industry. Some of the best marketing and PR subreddits include r/PublicRelations, a subreddit for PR professionals; r/content_marketing, a subreddit for content marketers; r/copywriting, a subreddit for tips, tricks and advice on copywriting and r/AskMarketing, a subreddit for questions about marketing (similar sub also include r/digital_marketing, r/DigitalMarketing). Our video production agency are big fans of /r/editors as a useful resource for tips and advice; r/cinematography, which is an active resource for cinematographers of all skill levels, and, for a bit of fun, r/praisethecameraman – a sub dedicated to good camera operators who keep a proper recording angle, regardless of the content itself, sometimes in zany or extreme situations.
Reddit is the perfect tool for informing your upcoming PR campaigns. Once you start using it, you won’t look back.
Katie Chodosh, Comms Consultant, TopLine Comms