Yes, you can get real, breathing people and their eyeballs on your content with reddit.
But what the deuce is reddit?
reddit is home to millions of redditors, and it doesn't work like other social media platforms. It certainly doesn't look as polished as other platforms.
See that? It's not even capitalized.
But it CAN be a great community to invest in and promote your content.
Every filmmaker should consider joinin reddit and spending time on the film subreddits, sharpening their skills and answering questions. I'll explain why in a little bit.
Yet, I still don't understand their mascot.
Before we get into the nuts and bolts of why you should consider reddit as a part of your content strategy, I have to rewind the clock.
Some time ago, I had a podcast with a young man named Matthew Rojas.
He cracked me up because he hit on something my dad does: unnecessary pluralization.
For example, my dad used to call the Eckerd drugstore Eckerds.
The grocery store Kroger was Krogers.
It's a running gag for him because he knows it cracks us up.
Well, there are some folks in Matthew's world that don't want to use Instagram, Snapchat, etc. with their churches.
And to prove their point, they pluralize these social media channels.
We don't need the Instagrams!
There's truth to that banter: you don't need every social media platform.
I started off with everything from Google Plus to Vimeo. I had 7 social media accounts - that's WAY too many. I dump posts on several platform, but these days, I only focus on creating valuable content on YouTube and Facebook.
It may be prudent for you to look at other channels too beside the usual Facebook and Twitter. If you're seeing great results from your Google Analytics, then stick with what is working.
For Microbudgeter, Instagram is HORRIBLE for directing traffic here.
In all of the Microbudgeter history, Instagram has accounted for almost 0.00% of all traffic.
So in 2016, I jumped ship. I worked hard on building up the Instagram account, and even shared how you can triple your Instagram following - but after a year, it wasn't cutting the mustard.
Do the same inventory - personal or organizational account - and bow out if it isn't working.
Let's rewind the clock to February 18th, 2016.
The week before, I finished up the blog post about shooting with only a boring white wall, a post inspired by real circumstances following the birth of my son.
I sent it out with the usual Friday newsletter (on Feb 12th), but I segmented that day on a trial basis.
Okay-ish results, ja?
Gotta try something else - I am a fan of "when you fail, try something else."
Now, about this time (Feb 19th), I was dabbling on reddit. I had heard of entrepreneurs using reddit and seeing good results. So I thought if nothing else, I will practice taglines.
After learning to swim on reddit (it takes some getting used to - it has its own policies, subpolicies, acronyms and subcultures), I found several subreddits to be a part of that are relevant to Microbudgeter (then known as Church Films).
I went to a subreddit, posted my week-old blog post with a somewhat outrageous tagline, and washed up for supper.
I couldn't have guessed what was going to happen on Saturday.
I got about 8-12 pomodoros into work and I got an 'SOS' call from my brother Dan.
He blew out his ACL skiing on the mountain next door (yes, there is a ski resort outside Vegas, and it's even on a real mountain - fancy that).
AND to make matters worse, it was Dan's driving foot.
Our family of three jumped in the car with next to no gas in the tank - a fact we realized long after passing the last gas station (or so we thought). There is no gas on the mountain.
45 miles later and surrounded by snow, there was Dan in the First Aid shack.
By the grace of the Almighty, my lady was able to drive the car down to a gas station; I took Dan to the ER, where we spent the rest of the day.
Note: block out your whole day when it's an ER visit - or a film shoot; it goes both ways.
And yet, in spite of the reduced work that day, that Saturday holds the record for the MOST traffic to the Microbudgeter site in a single day up through Feb of 2016.
I shared the boring white wall post earlier that morning and didn't think much of it.
reddit is funny. You can't post too much in a short amount of time (links that is) - as far as I can tell, you can comment on someone's post as much as you like.
But if you post two links back-to-back, they might call you out on it and freeze your ability to share the second link for a few minutes or longer.
The more aggressive you are, the more they are too - play by the rules Starlord.
A lot of traffic spilled over from the day before.
Yes, the headlines were catchy, but no matter how much time I pour into promoting Microbudgeter content, I have no control over what people will do.
Especially on a place like reddit. It can be brutal. It can be flippant.
It can also be positive.
The Almighty is good, what can I say?
Twitter allows for narcissism, same as Facebook. reddit? reddit doesn't put up with it.
You'll find two things on reddit: helpful content or questions.
If you're posting the former, you'll get more than a few pair of eyes, especially if you use the platform as a chance to practice your tagline (or pitch for that matter) in a sentence or two.
Still had good traffic pouring in.
Conclusion? reddit is here to stay for the foreseeable future.
Google Analytics tells me reddit is the second biggest driver of traffic right now.
Squarespace has gotten much better at accurately gauging unique visits. They're almost as good as the juggernaut Google, but not everyone uses Squarespace.
So if you're lost in the sauce, and you're brand spanking new to Google Analytics, here's a primer.
Under the top-level menu "Reporting," look for the audience tab on the left.
Then choose "Overview."
The number of people that visited your site in a given period (select last month in the top-right corner) is counted as your "Users."
b. Social Acquisition
This is one reason (after many months) I had to scale back on Instagram considerably.
In the month of March (2016), reddit is whooping every other social network COMBINED.
This too is in the left-hand panel. Click "Acquisition," then "Social," then "Overview."
c. Site Content
This too is in the left-panel. Go to "Behavior," then "Site Content," and lastly click "All Pages."
In your selected period (whichever dates you're using), this will tell you which pages are getting the most traffic.
Most of the top-performing content in February was from strict blog posts - not the podcasts.
Moral: blogs with valuable content *can* do really well on reddit.
d. Forget All Of The Whipped Cream - The ONLY Metric You Should Care About
A talented marketer Bryan Harris realized this - not me.
Take your number of new email subscribers in a given month and divide that number by the number of unique visitors (site-wide) in that same month.
For example, if you had 5 new email subscribers and 100 unique visitors in January, then your conversion rate for January was 5/100 = 5%.
That's your real conversion rate, and the only stat you should take to heart from all of the Google Analytics data. There's just too much to obsess over otherwise.
And remember, numbers are no substitute for good ole-fashioned faith.
Remember, you need a tough skin on reddit.
Especially if it's remotely inspired by faith, hope, or good will. The redditors are mostly young adults and younger, and they don't mind speaking their minds.
Note: to this day - personally - the juvenile detention center in Salt Lake City was the easiest place to share my faith. People are hungry for the truth when they've got nothing but time to think. On reddit? Sometimes, I pray like a mad man before I hit the reddit inbox.
reddit requires patience and loads of guts, especially if you're going to tell people anything remotely connected to your beliefs by way of your filmmaking.
Yep. Prison ministry - even with the youths who had committed heavy-duty crimes - was much easier, hands down.
I put a lot of heart and soul into Instagram, and I still love the platform for its ease of use and bare-bones approach to content, but it is not good for this blog.
Which is why I have to put more time into other places.
You should too. Figure out what's not contributing and cut back significantly or eliminate it. It's the Pareto principle.
If that's reddit, great. Be a part of the reddit community if you want to see good results, but be consistent, and truly only dabble on it if you can commit. I don't see the same huge spikes because I'm not committed to the platform.
When I do visit reddit, I share a link or two, then try to answer a question:
I care about my fellow filmmakers - you should too.
Remember, spam is NOT okay on reddit.
It is not a home for lazy marketers. If you are promoting your film or byproduct of your film (blog, course, infographic, behind-the-scenes video), you must be willing to participate in the subreddits.
So are you thinking of getting out of the kiddie pool?
Marketers haven't soiled the playground on reddit, and I think it's because the barrier to entry is so high. It's not like spamming Facebook or Twitter.
Guess how much the gofundme campaign was able to raise?
WHAT HAVE YOU LEARNED FROM USING reddit? Comment below.
Original publication: Mar 18, 2016; updated Feb 18, 2018
To help you navigate the murky waters, I've put together a swipe file of the subreddits you should bookmark and commit to if you're a filmmaker who wants to make authentic stories of grace, hope, forgiveness, and true freedom.
It will save you at least an hour. I know I spent a couple of pomodoros (25-minute blocks) finding good subreddits to post in and be an active member of.
Promise me this: don't half-you-know-what-it, try it and if you're going to be a redditor, you will engage in the community.
Though it is a virtual community with lots of colorful monikers, it's a community no less. As a follower of Christ, you are called to be a light. Love God, love people - don't be a spambum.
You want to get to 10,000 views on your authentic story (that's not cheesy)? Consider playing by the rules on reddit.