You’ll hear it over and over, “Get on Social Media.” But there are some problems with promoting on social channels like Facebook, Twitter, and aggregation sites like Reddit. If people feel like you promote too much, and give them no deals or content of value they may ignore you, or worse, remove you as a contact. So how do you balance self-promotion with cultivating an online relationship with your audience? Well the answer is use good sense and tread lightly.
Facebook is arguably the largest and most efficient way for many businesses and services to stay in contact with their consumers. It opens avenues for discussion which helps promote brand loyalty, and lets users share their approval or use of your product or service with their own friends. That kind of mixed audience marketing can be priceless for many businesses.
The downside of Facebook is that unlike traditional advertising where you may only have their ears and eyes for a minute or two, Facebook is a permanent relationship where they’re allowing you to advertise to them as long as you’re their friend. What people want is information that is worthwhile. Sharing coupons, deals, and contests is the best way to give them value for their friendship. Keep communication open, and respond to them when you can. It’s best not to treat them as a regular audience you need to advertise to. They know who you are, and they’ve made the conscious effort to follow you. Reward them, and go easy on them, since repetitive advertising will turn them off, and you’ll do more harm than good.
Reddit has been around since 2005, and it was fun then, and since the “Great Reddit Migration from Digg” event in 2010 it’s become the web’s largest bastion for discussion on everything from politics, to technology, to pictures of cats. You can share a link to your own blog or website in different subreddits which are individual boards ranging through a series of topics, or make a self post where you can discuss your service or pertinent information about it. Reddit uses a voting system where users can upvote content they like, and downvote content they don’t like.
The best advice I could give any business owner who wants to take advantage of Reddit to reach their base is to spend some time using it. Learn about the culture, what works, and what doesn’t work with a private account before venturing in representing your business. Reddit isn’t built for advertising, and users will downvote you to oblivion extremely fast if you aren’t careful. Discuss something relevant about your business that could be used as interesting news to people, or allow them to take advantage of a service that people in that particular field could use.
Ultimately your goal online should be giving useful information to people who are interested in hearing it. Traditional and web advertising should be used for everyone else. Don’t ever mistake the two, or you’ll end up damaging your brand. Play it safe, and always try to post pictures of cats.