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What is Reddit and why should you care?

Created: 11 Apr 2013
Christy Loerzel's picture
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You’ve seen the headlines and heard your friends buzzing about it, but have you checked out Reddit? Everyone from U.S. President Barak Obama to Microsoft founder Bill Gates is using it to engage, answer questions and promote initiatives. But have you considered how to incorporate it into your social media program as a Symantec partner?

If you are unfamiliar with Reddit, it is an online social media community where users vote on content. There are sub-communities, or subreddits, that any user may create that are independent and moderated by a team of volunteers. Some subreddits cater to a more technical audience – such as r/sysadmin and r/vmware subreddits. Reddit users submit links to online content and vote on which stories and discussions are important. Anyone can join Reddit. Anyone can participate.

Why should you care? Last month alone, Reddit had 55,024,811 unique visitors from more than 175 different countries, according to the company’s page. On March 23, 2013, Reddit powered 4,206 active communities consisting of more than 2,094,953 logged in redditors casting over 16,121,282 votes. It’s a growing platform with an engaged technical audience.

One of the most popular Reddits is IAmA ("I am a"), where a user can post "AMAs" (for "Ask Me Anything"). AMAs are open to all Reddit users and use the site's comment system for both questions and answers.

Recently, Symantec’s Backup Exec Product Management and engineering virtualization specialists held a Reddit AMA. The team knew its audience was active, technical and not interested in slick marketing or advertising campaigns—they want to talk to real people, get real answers and engage. Reddit was designed for this type of interaction. The team believed that for a technical brand like Symantec, a Reddit AMA would give credibility and improve the “brand” among the IT geek elite.

According to Backup Exec’s Matt Stephenson (aka @PackMatt73), “The most important thing was the direct line into our users. The transcript has been a topic in meetings with Product Marketing, engineering and QA. The issues brought up have been discussed in internal conversations, but getting confirmations from the ‘wild’ is helpful.”

Like other social communities, Reddit requires a commitment and isn’t for everyone. But, if you’re looking to connect with a technical audience to understand their needs, what they’re looking for and how you can help, you might want to check it out.

Here are a few recommendations on how to use Reddit to connect with your customers:  

  • Frequent Reddit. Join the community, ask questions and participate in AMAs. Once you’re ready, start your own AMA. In Reddit, like in other social communities, the more you give, the more you get out of your experience. Also, it’s best to engage in others’ AMAs before you can start your own.
  • Be real. It needs to feel like a real person (or people) is participating in the AMA, not a robot(s). Avoid using marketing speak or jargon. Involve knowledgeable people who can respond quickly. Gather your company’s experts in a conference room and coordinate responses to questions together.
  • Be prepared. You must be able to answer—or acknowledge—all questions. If you don’t know the answer, it’s okay. Don’t try to change the conversation to the topics you want to focus on—this has backfired on many individuals and brands as they look to promote only a specific project, not talk about past issues. Don’t believe me? Check out what happened to U.S. actor Woody Harrelson.

Have you used Reddit? Will you? Share your experiences with the Symantec partner community on our Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn group and page.

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See the complete Symantec Partner Social Media Series.