If you aren’t yet on Reddit, maybe you should be. Although Reddit’s community is somewhat small compared to Facebook or Twitter, it’s nevertheless a teeming hub of Internet culture. Reddit doesn’t call itself “the front page of the Internet” without reason; some of the most popular viral content on the web either originated on Reddit or was promoted through the social media site. Used properly, it can be the perfect platform for event promotion.
Before we get into that, however, let’s begin with a brief primer on what Reddit is and how it works. I’m going to assume that most of our regular readers may not be acquainted with (or accustomed to) the workings of this particular social network. Don’t worry, I’ll quickly cover the basics.
Reddit is a website composed almost entirely of user-generated content. It styles itself as a combination news-and-entertainment hub, where registered users submit either links or text posts (referred to as “self” posts). Every post submitted (and every comment made) can either be upvoted (signifying approval) or downvoted (signifying disapproval). In the case of links, upvotes will net the user something known as Karma (an intangible value which effectively signifies whether or not users have liked your content). If something gets popular enough, you may be lucky enough to have your post make the front-page.
All content on the site is divided into categories known as subreddits. Any registered user can submit a link or post within any subreddit. Subreddits are useful for targeting specific interest groups with relevant information. Generally speaking, you want the content you post to be relevant to the subreddit category, targeting an audience that cares about the information you promote.
Alright, now that we’ve got the basics out of the way, on to the question burning in everyone’s minds: how can Reddit help you as an event planner? More importantly, how can you unlock that potential?
Aside from paid advertisements (which I’ve never been a fan of), it’s actually not terribly obvious on the surface. The thing about Reddit is that it’s got a set of very clear rules where self-promotion is concerned. Really, they can be summed up by the first line on the page: “It’s perfectly fine to be a redditor with a website; it’s not okay to be a website with a reddit account.”
That makes promotion somewhat difficult, doesn’t it? Believe it or not, it doesn’t, no more than on Facebook or Twitter. On Reddit, it’s the same story as elsewhere on the Internet: people hate feeling as though a person they’re talking to is just a walking sales pitch. They hate feeling like someone’s trying to sell them something, like the only interest a particular contact has with them—the only reason that contact is communicating in the first place, is because they want something.
So, with that said, promoting an event on Reddit starts with one simple step: participate. Don’t just treat the site as a potential marketing hub; treat it as a new hobby. Find communities (or subreddits) related to your brand’s industry or your client’s industry—and your own personal interests—and become an active member. Contribute interesting links and share interesting content—and make sure that content isn’t entirely tied to the event you are promoting. Ask yourself what your event offers that people will be interested in, and play to that.
In short, put those storytelling skills cultivated as an event planner to task, and interact.
Regarding how your event is going to interact with Reddit, there are a few ground rules to which you should adhere:
- Make sure your title is catchy, as well as informative. “I’m running an event this week about indie games” doesn’t really have the same ring to it as “Calling All Indie Developers: We’re Hosting and independent game development contest.”
- Focus on your attendees, not your event. Share why they would be interested in attending.
- Watch the comments. Keep an eye on what people are saying, and respond in a timely manner.
- Keep it conversational, and match the tone to that of the subreddit you’re posting to (yet one more reason you need to be active, so that you can actually understand this).
- Don’t spam, and don’t re-post. If you cross the line, not only will it be unwelcome, but your post could be removed as spam, or even worse, your account banned.
- If you have any well-known guest speakers in attendance, consider having them do an AMA (“Ask Me Anything”) post in the weeks leading up to the event. They don’t necessarily even have to mention your event directly—simply stating in passing that they’ll be there might be enough.
- Make sure the people who’d be interested in your event actually use Reddit.
- Avoid posting the same content to more than one subreddit. That’s generally frowned upon.
If you’re not using Reddit yet, maybe you should be. Though the Reddit community is somewhat small compared to many other social networks, the viral potential of content shared on the network is virtually unprecedented. For that reason alone, Reddit is a tool every event management professional should consider adding to their kit.