Reddit's Woes Highlight Short Term Strategy SuicideI recently wrote a piece about the Reddit community.

If you treat it with respect, I wrote, then the community will respect you back.

That global community, however, caused the social site to go into meltdown last week when a popular figure behind the scenes that interacted with the community was suddenly sacked.

Victoria Taylor helped organise Ask Me Anything (AMA) sessions which were interviews on one of the network’s most popular sections with celebrities and other public figures.

Outraged, large swathes of the website’s moderators made subreddits private, effectively locking a lot of people out. What would have been classed as a slow news day story a few years back was front-page fodder on the front of the BBC News website.

It was very inconvenient for people that liked to visit their favourite website. It was a total nightmare for online marketers that have made Reddit their number one source of traffic.

Do you use Reddit as part of your social media marketing strategy? Are you worried now that it’s in trouble? Let me know in the comments section below.

Redd all about it

A lot of modern content organisations, as I’ve mentioned in the past, find stories that have already gone viral through Reddit and post them as news stories. Facebook pages such as The Lad Bible do it, while Trinity Mirror also post stories around content from the social network.

They also post links to their content there, too. It’s integral to the process; a job posting at Trinity Mirror underlines that the successful applicant will ‘understand how to appeal to Reddit, Twitter and Facebook – and the different approaches required for each.’

Reddit has become such an integral part to publishers’ and marketers’ social strategies that a shutdown on the scale of last week’s efforts can cost them a lot of money in lost traffic, especially sites that use content aggregators such as Outbrain and Taboola.

Of course, larger sites and brands have the resources and funds to make sure that Reddit isn’t their only outlet when it comes to spreading the word socially. But a lot of businesses and organisations put all their eggs in one basket online and, as my regular readers will know, that’s something I’m not particularly keen on

Pao-ch!

This isn’t the first time Reddit has imploded and caused trouble for itself. A lot of existing users are unhappy with the site’s overall design which is still relatively untouched from when Reddit first started, and CEO Ellen Pao is less than popular.

 

 

A petition calling for Pao’s sacking has already attracted approximately 150,000 signatures. A lot of site users, after Victoria Taylor’s sacking, have taken it as a last straw and have migrated to the recently opened (and Reddit-inspired) Voat and other sites like Medium and Frizbee.

Amazingly those problems will be at the bottom of marketers’ and publishers’ lists. They’ll only worry about numbers and when traffic will again be referred from their favourite website. And it’s this mentality where a lot of them fail.

If you rely on one website and doing the same thing over again then you’ll always be in danger of something like this happening to your campaign. As well as having sites like Reddit as part of your outreach strategy, you need to focus first and foremost on your customers.

They’re the ones that pay the bills, and the ones you need to secure in the long-term. Submitting links just to generate traffic willy-nilly is short-term social strategy suicide; data for the sake of generating data.

Can Reddit recover from this? Have you tried using other sites to promote your content and what has the reception been like? Let me know below!

Time is money

That’s not to say don’t be social. It’s to say plan and be part of the community. To keep your ear to the proverbial ground and forsee dangers like this, adjust, and plan accordingly.

It still irks me when I see companies looking to just get an intern in on a very low wage and expect them to handle such an important part of the business, thinking all they have to do is sit on Facebook all day and the money will roll in.

It simply doesn’t work like that. By all means get an intern in, but teach them the basics and nuances of marketing, communication, and give the role some respect.

Twitter, for example, has recently introduced Persona Targeting and improved audience insights for their sponsored posts, to give advertisers greater information about users such as income and audience behaviour.

It demands time and attention, and isn’t really something Reddit can provide. Twitter and Facebook in an advertising sense are more stable and better investments money-wise, while being part of communities like Reddit are worth their weight in gold.

 

That’s not to say don’t be social. It’s to say plan and be part of the community.

 

It’s a worthwhile part of your strategy, and those that have spent time communicating with people one-on-one haven’t only seen site visits improve but brand recognition and interactions with users willing to talk about the company in a positive light.

Time-wise it can be a strain, but if you strategise properly – and most importantly strategise with the long-term in mind – then you’ll surely see your business grow online.

That means complementing techniques with each other. Building email lists and sending out interesting, shareable content. Getting the user journey right on your website and making sure it’s responsive and mobile-ready. Combine your search and social efforts.

Reddit’s problems are symptomatic with an online community fed up with not being listened to, with people looking to build their brands with it caught in the crossfire.

If you’ve planned properly though (The Guardian, for instance, has an incredible custom CMS that helps socially) then you’ve little to worry about. If you’ve got away with just dumping links on Reddit for a traffic boost over the years then, sorry, but your time is up.

If you’d like to learn more about social media marketing and how it can help boost your business online contact the Webpresence team today!

(Image credit: 2ememain)