Mayo Clinic’s Strategy for Engaging with User Posts on Reddit
Time to confess: I spend a few hours every week browsing reddit at work. And I think you should, too.
In fact, we think that reddit, when approached wisely, can be an important part of any social media strategy. That’s because reddit is far more than endless conspiracy theories and pictures of cats. It’s an extremely powerful content amalgamator.
How reddit works
Here’s how it works. The site is organized into discussion areas, or subreddits, on specific topics like fitness. Users (redditors) can submit original and external content for other users to comment and vote on in subreddits. Discussion is ample: in 2015 the site reported 82.54 billion page views and 725.85 million comments made by 8.7 million total authors.
If content is out there, redditors are likely talking about it – because they’re talking about almost everything.
Reddit is a top-five source of traffic to Mayo Clinic websites
That includes our own content, as we’ve discovered. When we looked at referral data, we found that reddit was a top-five source of traffic to Mayo Clinic websites. Native keyword searches turned up discussion threads about patient experiences, costs of care, research breakthroughs, healthy habits recommended by our physicians, and so on.
Users were asking important questions about our content, and not getting answers. We needed to respond to these conversations – and to increase the organic engagement we were already seeing.
Our strategy for engaging with user posts on reddit
So we’ve recently developed a strategy for actively monitoring and engaging with user posts on reddit. Here are some takeaways:
Start listening now
Conversations about your organization could already be happening on reddit. Start paying attention! We monitor a few times a week to check for mentions and links to our content. The more we listen, the more we learn about our reddit audience and their opinions of us.
- Find links to your content by replacing the end of this URL with your domain: https://www.reddit.com/domain/org/.
- Follow relevant subreddits (e.g. diabetes, cancer, fitness) to keep an eye on popular posts.
Be a human
The best way to engage with redditors is to behave like one yourself. Above all, you should avoid using reddit as simply another means to push out content. Redditors use the site to interact with others and share information that is valuable and relevant – not to market themselves. (Look at what happened when actor Woody Harrelson tried to use a Q&A session to hawk his upcoming movie.)
- Before you affiliate your reddit username with your organization, practice using reddit for yourself. Join subreddits matching your own interests, and try posting. Get comfortable with reddit’s culture and etiquette.
- When you start monitoring for your organization, act as an individual, not an institution. For example, choose Shea_MayoClinic rather than MayoClinic as your username. (Note: reddit usernames can’t be changed, so consider creating separate personal and professional accounts.) Use first-person pronouns, and avoid canned or templated responses.
Think before you (re)act
The safest way to leverage reddit for your organization’s business goals is to participate in conversations, not curate them. Sometimes that means replying to a question about affordability of care with the number of your patient services office, or posting a direct link to a press release in response to a discussion on celiac disease. More often, it means expressing sympathy and support, or saying nothing at all. Remember, you’re engaging on reddit to have conversations and be genuinely helpful – not to self-promote.
- Link to your content only when directly relevant.
- When you do share links, give more than just the URL – explain how the information answers the user’s question or meets their needs.
- Invite users to send you a private message if they have questions or concerns best handled privately.
Participation is the key
Redditors are most likely to engage with your content and brand if you pay attention to what’s happening in the community, and respond appropriately and helpfully. With that in mind, happy redditing!