In 2020 we will see major changes in how brands approach social strategy. To grow brand awareness and encourage brand loyalty, the largest social platforms are shifting their focus from followers to communities, investing time in bringing together niche groups. For example, Instagram is reducing the focus on follower-based metrics by hiding like counts. Whereas, Twitter is introducing ‘topics’ to follow, to encourage like-minded groups and communities to form. It is no longer possible for brands to fire and forget when it comes to posting on social, there is an expectation for brands to be wholly engaged in their community. 

Community vs Followers 

To stay ahead of the wants and needs of their communities, many brands are turning to Reddit. The platform allows users to create links, images, videos and text posts which can then be voted up or down by other users. The social news and discussion site has long remained under most marketer’s radar, being deemed a platform where people simply post to debate. But in recent years, the platform has seen some big names utilising the niche groups to tap into new and engaged audiences. 

Why Reddit? 

So, why Reddit? A well-kept secret is the scale to which Reddit has been adopted. Currently, 42% of internet users aged between 18-24 are Reddit users, presenting an opportunity for marketers trying to reach their consumers from new angles. As marketers, we know that the marketing funnel is now evolving to become more focused on building lasting customer relationships. We now have before us the adoption, retention, expansion and advocacy model – directing marketing to form these lasting customer relationships instead of good first impressions. 

Source: Campaign Monitor

Building a brand community acts as a key tool to drive powerful word of mouth marketing and 84% of consumers are more likely to trust a referral from a friend. Due to this, the Reddit platform is rapidly growing with 1.6 billion visits between Feb 2018 and March 2019. With 330 million active users, the platform has already enabled many brands to develop their community. In 2018, technology communities saw 24% year on year growth. Reddit poses clear advantages to a social media strategy, particularly when aiming to target a young audience. But, what can marketers actually achieve? 

  • Niche Targeting: SubReddits allow the user to be part of niche and concentrated conversations. They are specific groups that enable those interested in a broader topic, to speak and share content with like-minded people. For marketers, this is an extremely valuable tool that can be used for targeted marketing.
  • Trend research: The Reddit newsfeed is continuously updated with the latest trends, memes and social media crazes. By making a habit of checking the Reddit news feed, brands can use it as a form of trend research, to keep up to date with what is important to their consumer now and the latest trends online. 
  • Content ideation: If you find yourself stuck in a content rut, Reddit is a useful tool to discover trending topics and utilise them in your brand discussions. Here is an opportunity to see what other brands are talking about, what consumers are talking about, but most importantly what is grabbing people’s attention.
  • Customer Experience: For brands, the most valuable part of Reddit is the ability to be involved in conversations with your consumer base. Respond to their questions, build on other answers with content and post your own questions! This kind of activity will show you are actively involved in your industry and more importantly, invested in your customers.
  • Increase your Karma score: The Karma score is Reddit’s equivalent to a follower count, the more your comments/posts get upvoted the higher your score will be. This, unlike vanity metrics, shows how engaged you are as a brand and will increase your chances of engaging more long-term customers as they will respond to this investment. 
  • Branded Subreddits: A brand Subreddit allows customers to discuss new products, share experiences and ask questions directly to the brand. Reddit prioritises user generated content (UCG), therefore when deciding to create a brand Subreddit it’s important to plan content that will encourage discussion amongst your community.
  • AMA Threads: To stimulate UCG, brands often start Ask Me Anything (AMA) threads. This gives customers the opportunity to ask about brand culture, brand history, product updates and new releases. AMA threads are also a way to improve your customer experience, with consumers having a direct line to you as a brand.
  • Promoted Content: The Reddit platform is focused on building like-minded communities and discussions. If brands want to get their name in the customer eye-line, they will use promoted material to remain at the top with the upvoted content. With users spending an average of 16 minutes on the platform in comparison to 6 minutes on Twitter, promoted content will be a key tool for marketers in 2020. Instead of using a jargon filled tagline, brands will use a question to stimulate a conversation amongst the community they are aiming to target.

Know Thy Audience 

In order to gain the most valuable consumer insights, brands are now finding new innovative ways to understand and connect with their audience. Instead of asking customers to complete time-consuming surveys, marketers are now turning to discussion platforms online to really understand consumer wants and needs. Using discussion platforms such as Reddit, Quora, Facebook groups and Twitter topics, brands can be actively involved in the customer community. As a result, brands can expect an increased level of engagement between them and their consumers. 
Source: HubSpot

Toyota proved just how impactful Reddit can be by using promoted posts within Subreddits. Within the Formula 1 Subreddit, Toyota chose to use a video to ask users “What happens when you give two pro drivers two powerful Supras”? Instead of using a traditional marketing banner, Toyota asked the Formula 1 enthusiasts a question on the Subreddit and were able to start conversations within the community. Using the Meltwater Explore tool, we ran a quick search on the impact of the Toyota campaign, looking deeper into the volume, reach and key themes of Reddit mentions. In just one day, the thread generated over 5000 brand engagements reinforcing the power that forums – and more specifically, Reddit – can hold for those marketers willing to think outside of the box.  Source: Meltwater Explore tool

Are you on Reddit?  

Whether you’re posting a daily question, answering questions in your community or using promoted posts, Reddit offers an alternative to traditional advertising. In the wake of booming community focused industries such as eSports, the use of Reddit will be a key tool for reaching enthusiasts in the sector. Moving into 2020, consumers will not be looking out for brands, instead brands must be actively engaging with communities. By being in the community, they can then understand the community.

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