Reddit's Erik Martin talks bans, traffic-driving best practices
Reddit is more than a social media traffic generator; it's a community whose feedback can be more valuable than the pageviews it generates. The bans of The Atlantic and Businessweek demonstrate how pageview journalism may be causing some magazines and newspapers to employ "black-hat" social media practices to gain pageviews while losing social media credibility.
While it was rumored that accounts were banned for egregious self-promotion, Reddit General Manager Erik Martin shared in an interview with eMedia Vitals that the bans had more to do with voting manipulation.
"What you get into with publishers, through ignorance or direct intent, is that they try to manipulate voting," said Martin, who also confirmed that many of the brands mentioned in the Forbes piece were banned for vote manipulation. He went on to clarify banning practices: "Submitting content won’t get you banned, but manipulating the community would."
In other words, having a social media editor submit all of your content won't get you banned (if you are a premium site), but you may be banned if you:
- "Have your entire edit team individually submit their own content and only vote for other content from their brand"
- "Employ an outside consultant to try and gain an unfair advantage"
- "Use a botnet"
- "Do anything that is systematic" (programatically vote or comment on content)
Find story ideas that will generate pageviews, shares, and comments
Create your own Reddit to curate content
Creating your own Reddit enables journalists to use the site as a curation platform and cultivate a more engaged audience, many of whom subscribe. Martin offered the TechNewsToday Reddit as an example of what to do.
TechNewsToday is inherently promoting its brand, but its editors recognize that Reddit is not just a place to submit links to their podcast or brand. Instead, they ask questions and post interesting stories to guage audience interest from the feedback that their posts receive. "They even recruited a spam-fighter mod (moderator) to help police their own network. It's like hiring an off-duty cop for security," advised Martin.
Publishers can modify the look and feel of their Reddit pages to better promote their brand and generate more engaged traffic.
Advice for social media editors
No one wants to be the social media editor who gets a publication banned from Reddit. So, we asked Martin to share some advice.
"The number one thing is to facilitate the feedback loop," he responded. Other suggestions:
- "Send writers relevant responses to a story"
- "Use Reddit as a test to see what is organically submitted and get value from that. Push those stories more agressively on Twitter and Facebook"
- "Find high-value archived content"