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Reddit: The Social Platform’s Impact on the Industry

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The content aggregation platform Reddit has become one of the web’s most popular social destinations. Featuring over eighty million unique visitors and five thousand active communities, or subreddits, the “Front Page of the Internet” has grown significantly since its inception in 2005.

ReadWrite recently interviewed Alexis Ohanian, the platform’s co-founder, who has launched several other companies and recently released his first book. While he is best known for Reddit and its abilities to launch internet memes and make articles go viral based on their “upvotes” from its passionate user base, Ohanian is also a major advocate of the power of the Internet. The site itself tends to reflect that as the users fiercely protect their communities from spammers and tend to be self-policing.

Ohanian told ReadWrite that he, along with co-founder Steve Huffman, “built a platform for online communities. User-created subreddits was the growth strategy, and by month two we had decided that was how we were going to grow.”

He goes on to describe how the many highly specialized subreddits are what really drove the success of the site and set it apart from their competitors. In addition, he says that one of the goals of the site is for it to become the main place where people go to both discover and discuss content and news about whatever topic it is they are interested in at the time.

It goes to follow that among marketers and advertisers, the site has become a valuable tool for sourcing ideas and promoting content. In fact, the sheer breadth and depth of the niche content alone makes it a resource for content marketers seeking to target specific audiences.

The extensive list of subreddits includes communities focused on specific types of fashion and personal style, cooking, sports, fitness, politics and more. Naturally, there are more irreverent topics as well, in addition to location-oriented subreddits and those devoted to charitable causes. Breaking news about both major international events and local happenings also tends to be heavily featured. Therefore, it goes to follow that given the specialized focus of the target audiences, the popularity of the site and Reddit’s ability to generate viral reach that there is a lot of potential value for brands and businesses looking to target this community.

However, attempting to “game” Reddit can go remarkably awry, as the community guards itself against spam and other attempts to rig the content and gain upvotes. The more upvotes, the more visibility a link or piece of content receives, and therefore likely more page views. Understanding “Reddiquette,” or the community’s standard of behavior and disclosure, is the first step to avoiding such mishaps.

After all, as AdAge points out, Reddit is a “place where memes are born, a crib sheet for the mainstream media and a generator of massive amounts of traffic for sites that are lucky enough to capture the imagination of the Reddit community.” The implications for marketers are therefore huge — be authentic and successful on Reddit, and reap the potential rewards in terms of clicks, visitors, general perception and online sentiment towards one’s brand or business.

Photo credit: Flickr

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