How Companies Can Ethically Engage on Reddit

David DiGiovanniReddit is an online community, possibly best described as a series of smaller ones, much like independent niche online communities. One subreddit (or section of Reddit) can be completely different from another.

But just like other niche online communities, these subreddits can be very beneficial to businesses – if they participate in the right way. If you’re sloppy or fail to account for the community norms, you could do substantial damage to your reputation. This episode features David DiGiovanni. He helps companies and individuals tap into the power of Reddit in an ethical way. Plus:

  • How to host a successful Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything)
  • Should companies launch and manage their own subreddits?
  • What tactics does the Reddit community frown upon?

Big Quotes

“People see Reddit as this one homogeneous thing. They have this certain idea of who the average redditor is and obviously that’s true to some degree but when you look at it closely, and you actually know how Reddit works, each community is different. There’s communities that are almost 100% female when the platform as a whole is 50%-60% male. Each subreddit has its own demographics, and then it has its own rules based on the nature of the content being discussed. You have to take the time to understand what are the rules of this community and how is this community unique. That will give you a big clue as to what the voice of the community is and how you can really be a part of that and not be seen as an outsider.” -@DavidDiGiovanni

“[The worst thing you can do during an AMA is not] answer a question that the community clearly wants an answer to. It’s perceived as a lack of transparency. … And when Reddit sees that, the community will jump on that, and they’ll start asking that same question in as many varieties as they can.” -@DavidDiGiovanni

“You can do an AMA anywhere on Reddit … you don’t have to do it in the big AMA subreddit. If you’re in a niche the average redditor doesn’t care about, then go find that subreddit that is related to your niche and do the AMA there. Talk to the moderators there, because they don’t have AMAs coming through every day, so you want to kind of plan it out ahead of time with them and say, ‘Hey, this is my background, this is what I do. I want to answer questions here. Do you think this would work?’ And they’ll usually give you the thumbs up and let you do it.” -@DavidDiGiovanni

“[On Reddit,] there is value in the namespace. If you start a subreddit with the namespace ‘news,’ people expect that to be a subreddit dedicated to news. And if you take that subreddit off the rails, you’ve just ruined that namespace for the entire overall Reddit community. So there is this expectation that the community is bigger than the moderator, because there’s value in the namespace, and it needs to be protected and kind of stay on topic and not be dictated away by somebody with their own special interest.” -@DavidDiGiovanni

“As we see the decentralization of things like politics and business, online communities seem to be that perfect solution to give a little more power back to regular people.” -@DavidDiGiovanni

About David DiGiovanni

David started his professional career as a web developer in 2009, building websites as a freelancer for marketing agencies and small businesses. Since then, he started GroupSRC, a consulting firm, with his twin brother Paul, that focuses on community engagement (helping brands engage online communities). They have mostly focused on Reddit, where they help businesses conduct ethical marketing campaigns that put a premium on the value of the communities they engage.

In addition to working directly with clients on Reddit, David and Paul also publish a blog at, which is dedicated to helping businesses use Reddit for marketing purposes.

Related Links

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