If you’re a marketer, chances are you’ve read an article on how Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, or Twitter can be used to reach consumers with advertising messages and build communities of loyal followers. But if you’re interested in getting your brand more involved in social media, first get to know some of the alternative options out there that could be a better fit for your business.
Reddit is an online community where users share news, photos, interesting and obscure pieces of information, along with their own personal stories and opinions. Redittors can post links in various “sub-reddits” (categories such as /r/pics or /r/music), and if their post receives enough up-votes from other users it may make it onto the “front page” (the constantly updating list of hottest posts, found on Reddit’s homepage). The default ranking for all sub-reddits is by popularity, so posts with more up-votes and comments have a greater chance of being seen. Be warned that users can also down-vote posts into obscurity if they find them uninteresting, or identify them as obvious marketing ploys.
This social media platform isn’t about how many friends you have – it’s about posting content that other users find unique, interesting, funny, and relevant to their interests. Reddit won’t be the best match for every brand, and risks include posts being flagged as spam, getting abused in the comments, or down-voted to never be heard from again. Don’t let this scare you off! There are certain topics that excel on Reddit, such as gaming, technology, science, music, educational stories, food, fitness, and more. It’s also a great opportunity to reach a large audience; Reddit had 43 million monthly active users in 2012, and got more than 3 billion page views in August of that year.
Reddit users are highly engaged on the site, and can spend hours at a time clicking through links and images. The reward of being able to determine what it is your Reddit audience wants and then delivering it to them will be a huge surge in traffic.
As with any marketing tactic, the most important thing is to consider who your target market is and whether or not they’re likely to be on the site (look at user demographics). Sub-reddits allow you to target niche audiences, so it’s important to post in ones that are relevant to your business, product or industry. Picking a sub-reddit with higher traffic will help your post to be seen, so choose ones that are consistently being updated with new content. Customize how your front page looks by subscribing to relevant sub-reddits, and then monitor what types of content is most popular within your target area.
To have the best experience, invest time on the site finding out what users are interested in, posting great content such as photos, videos, as well as up-voting and commenting on other users’ posts. There are general sub-reddits that have a high traffic volume and can span many different topics, such as /r/todayilearned (interesting facts or tidbits of info), /r/askreddit (ask Reddit users for their ideas, opinions, or stories), or /r/askmeanything (a single user is ‘interviewed’ by replying to comments on a specific AMA post). Numerous high profile business leaders and celebrities have done AMAs to spread awareness for causes or projects they’re involved in. The example of Woody Harrelson’s disastrous AMA compared to Gerard Butler’s success – both done to promote upcoming films – shows the difference between truly engaging with users versus blatantly marketing to them.
If you’re interested in reaching Reddit’s audience, but don’t have the time to commit to maintaining an account, there’s also an option for more traditional on-page advertising that can be targeted to specific sub-reddits.
Although Tumblr and Reddit are both focused around sharing great content, Tumblr is much more like a traditional blog. But don’t make the mistake of dismissing Tumblr right away just because you already have a company blog. The posts that do well on this platform are short, sharable, and visual. Although publishing a longer post every few weeks can make you stand out on Tumblr and give your follows more to talk about in the comments, it’s better to save text-heavy posts for your blog.
Tumblr is not a space for you to constantly push out advertising and marketing messages – no one wants to follow a brand that fills their dashboard up with spam. It’s also not just about posting content, but also curating it by sharing other users’ posts. Just like with Reddit, the key is to determine what your audience is interested in, and then give them that type of content. You can’t be all things to all people, so keep your focus on Tumblr narrow.
Sephora is a great brand to look to as an example. Their blog is filled with highly relevant content, and they always have a visual element accompanying a text post. They reward customers for visiting their page with plenty of style tips and how-to tutorials (featuring Sephora products of course). Not only are they engaging consumers, but they can drive traffic back to their website with the message “Shop Sephora.com” at the top of the page.
Beyond the content itself, there are a number of other best practices for marketing with Tumblr. Use tags to make your posts discoverable through Tumblr’s search, and post during peak hours to increase the chance of your content being found. Make your blog accessible to non-users by allowing consumers to subscribe to you via RSS or email, and install Disqus so that anyone can post comments. You can also create categories (as Sephora has done) to keep people exploring your blog for longer. Don’t forget about SEO – optimize page titles and meta descriptions, create custom post URLS, name image files and fill out alt attribute keywords.
Before you jump on the Tumblr bandwagon, make sure this platform is right for your business by answering the following questions:
- What do you want to achieve with your Tumblr blog (e.g. increase awareness, revenues, customer education)?
- Who will be responsible for running the blog?
- Who is your audience, and what will be the focus of your blog?
- Are you able to commit to this new social media platform in the long term?
I hope this post has started you thinking outside the social media box!