I've written about the site Reddit before. It's the type of site that is brilliant in its simplicity, and valuable because of the people who use it. If you're not familiar with Reddit, it's a social-driven content repository. Users submit links and content into one of zillions of Subreddits - topic-based communities. Other users can then comment on the post or upvote/downvote the link. An upvote means you think this is something people should see, a downvote means this is something not worth looking at. Behind it all is a points system, where every action is rewarded with "karma," especially if you post something that others upvote.
I like Reddit because it provides me with a living window into the worlds that I'm interested in. I subscribe to a Subreddit dedicated to San Francisco (where I live) and one on bicycling (my sport). I also like a few that are focused on science and even parenting.
But I also use Reddit to keep up with topics that are related to the work that I do. It's a way to discuss topics, ask questions, keep up with news, and participate in the community that surrounds us. Below is a short list of the Subreddits that I think online marketers should be on.
This one is a natural. It's totally dedicated to the subject of advertising, in its broadest form. The thing I like about this Subreddit is that it's really for anyone interested in advertising, not just those who work in the field. People here are excited to discuss TV commercials as well as technology behind the ads. In fact, a recent discussion was about a potential idea of ESPN subsidizing wireless plans. The other thing you will find here is a lot of young bucks looking for a shot. If you want to find an intern (or, I suppose, be an intern), take a look here to find some new, fresh talent.
This Subreddit is not specifically about advertising, but rather about design in general. This is important because design is not only about how a thing looks but also about how well the idea is communicated. This is a great Subreddit in that it not only gives examples of good (and bad) design, but the comments attached to each post can help to explain why something is good (or bad). I've also found great links to stock image sites or icon galleries. Understanding design, even at just a basic level is key to being a great marketer. By following this Subreddit, you will be exposed to the conversation and maybe even feel brave enough to contribute.
Honestly, I think the quality of the discussions on this Subreddit is subpar. I am posting it up here with a somewhat selfish agenda: I want you to go here and start contributing better stuff. Too many things here are basic. Please, let's up-level the content here with deeper discussions about how social media is affecting consumers and culture.
This is, I promise, Safe for Work. This is simply a collection of ads from around the world that are gorgeous, provocative, and exciting. This is the place to come for inspiration. The interesting thing about this Subreddit is that every post is an image and the rule is that people put the resolution of the image in the title. Ads are little pieces of creativity that touch on an element of being a human. This is a great collection.
This is a pretty new Subreddit that I just found. It bills itself as "SEO for Grownups." I like this in that SEO should be a part of your real-world marketing mix; this group is dedicated to being real marketers, leveraging SEO. There are discussions about the intricacies of search and how to optimize content, but there aren't any black hats or dirty tricks here. This is not the place to come to learn how to game the system.
C'mon. You know you watch the show. Talking about "Mad Men" is nearly like work.
The last suggestion is that you find a subreddit for whatever product you are marketing. I have put a new step into my personal work process. If I am working on a project to advertise a new mousetrap, I will see if there is a mousetrap Subreddit. This is an easy way to get into the groove of the conversations that are happening around not only the brand you are focused on, but the real live community that it lives in.
And, of course, if you are already on Reddit, I would be very happy to be connected with you.
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Gary Stein is SVP, strategy and planning in iCrossing's San Francisco office. He has been working in marketing for more than a decade. Gary lives in San Francisco with his family. Follow him on Twitter: @garyst3in. The opinions expressed in Gary's columns are his alone.
December 12, 2013
1:00pm ET / 10:00am PT