Reddit Is More Influential in Higher Ed Than You Think | Call to Action: Marketing and Communications in Higher Education

Are you paying attention to Reddit yet ? I ’ ve been beating the Reddit barrel for most of 2019, always since I discovered a position by an enroll college student asking strangers on the internet for advice regarding on-campus mental health resources .
Since that military post, I ’ ve found prospective students complaining about university websites, asking questions about the sociable atmosphere on campus, soliciting opinions about choosing between college options and everything in between .
Despite my best efforts, higher erectile dysfunction administrators are silent broadly surprised at the size and scope of Reddit. And to be clear, Reddit ’ s numbers are impressive. There are presently more than 330 million monthly active users on Reddit, with more than 138,000 active communities and an average of 21 billion shield views per calendar month. Those numbers make Reddit the sixth-most-trafficked web site in the United States, according to Alexa, ranking immediately behind Facebook and ahead of popular and long-familiar sites like Wikipedia, Netflix, Twitter and ESPN .
If you ’ re raw to the earth of Reddit, here ’ s a crash course : Reddit is an open community and discussion forum. Users can ask, answer and debate a wide kind of topics through concentrate communities called subreddits. Posts on Reddit aren ’ metric ton subjected to algorithms like many social platforms ; rather, comments and posts are curated by peer users through the use of up or down votes. The more a community up votes a mail or comment, the more visible it becomes to other users.

This character of open, anonymous, egalitarian community means Reddit ’ s benefits and pitfalls are peculiarly exorbitant. At its best, Reddit can be home to thoughtful and intelligent conversations, helping users solve complex problems or find emotional support. At its worst, it ’ s a hotbed for inflammatory, distasteful and deleterious comments made by users empowered by the platform ’ s initiation of anonymity .
Reddit may be intimidating to higher erectile dysfunction administrators, but it surely isn ’ thyroxine to prospective, accepted and enrolled college students, deoxyadenosine monophosphate well as youthful alumni .
In Campus Sonar ’ s future research report, scheduled to release at year ‘s end, we analyzed over 124,000 conversation mentions by prospective and admit college students from 2016 to 2019 and saw a clear growth vogue in conversation volume on forums broadly, and Reddit specifically .
Because of the measure and type of conversation taking target on Reddit, administrators from commercialize, admissions and alumnus relations can glean significant rate simply by listening to the conversation. however, with indeed much relevant conversation, it can be tempting to impetuously create an account and start post .
Don ’ metric ton do that .
Reddit users are notoriously harsh on content that appears disingenuous. And they aren ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate shy about sharing those misgivings .
If you ’ re cook to start engaging on Reddit, let ’ s speak about the right way to do so. I like to call these tips my Reddit Rules of Engagement .
Tip No. 1: Be you, not a school or department.
Conversations about higher education admissions can be pretty personal. And if you try to inject yourself into a conversation masquerading as an institutional stigmatize or even a department, you ’ ll have a harder time generating meaningful conversations with prospects and admits than you would if they could associate a appoint and job style with your account. Reddit may be based on anonymity, but you ’ ll build more confidence in less time using a verify name .

Tip No. 2: Help, don’t hype.
It may not be sexy, but one of the most valuable things you can bring to Reddit is clearness. Whether it ’ s a wonder about deadlines, scholarships or admissions requirements, students have a draw of questions about the admissions action. For prospective students, in particular, fear is a common emotion. If you come across a stake that signals tension or confusion, don ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate offer blind encouragement or try to sell your school. Rather, focus on solving problems and helping students move through the process. You ’ ll be rewarded in the end .
One of the better examples of this comes from the University of Florida, where affirm admissions officer u/FloridaGuy83 frequently answers prospective students ‘ questions in a straightforward manner .
UF Reddit thread

Tip No. 3: Invite conversation (but be ready to share).
Reddit posts are wholly public, but manually wading through looking for relevant conversations to engage with can be prison term intensive. Another option : bring the conversation to you .
One of the best ways to do this is through an AMA, or Ask Me Anything. It ’ s a tactic that works precisely the way it sounds — you introduce yourself on a particular subreddit, and users ask you questions about, well, anything .
A bible of caution here. AMAs can go truly well or terribly wrong, and it much depends on the subject ’ randomness willingness to be guileless. Before you take on this tactic, take a consequence to study previous AMAs, preferably within higher education. The thoroughly news program is there are enough of excellent examples of institutions using Reddit AMAs to engage prospective and admit students, build post awareness within a strategic subject area, or drive web site traffic and media inquiries around areas of research .
Another pro tiptoe : “ Prepare for the worst, ” says Andrew Youngson, newsworthiness and campaigns subject coach at Imperial College London. “ Consider the questions you would hate to have come up and plan how would you answer them. ” Youngson, who has helped several researchers on campus host Reddit AMAs around potentially emotional topics such as animal research, says preparing for difficult questions helps researchers and subject matter experts feel more at still before the Q & A. “ If a strange question comes up and gets tons of up votes, we need to address it because it ’ sulfur going to stick at the top of the feed. It ’ south constituent conversation, and the second you appear to be avoiding questions, the community will jump on it. ”
Tip No. 4: Build a coalition of the willing.
When it comes to credible sources of information, “ person who looks like me ” continues to be listed at or near the top of the list, according to the Edelman Trust Barometer, an annual report produced by Edelman PR .
What does this entail in relation to Reddit ? basically, responses and opinions from chap Redditors who are going through the same work or have done sol recently are probable to carry importantly more weight than your post as an administrator .
That may seem like a problem, but you can use it to your advantage. much like you would turn over restraint of your Instagram bill to current students, identify scholar and alumnus ambassadors with active Reddit accounts and put them to work. not sure where to look ? speak with your campus tour guides or pay attention to the organic responses to existing Reddit posts about your mental hospital, such as this thread that includes alumni from UNCSA .
With Reddit ambassadors, you ’ re not looking to control the message or surrender propaganda through a third-party account. rather, send your students posts that warrant a reaction, and trust that they ’ ll suffice questions honestly and efficaciously .
Tip No. 5: Work with the moderators.
Moderators, or mods, are about entirely volunteers and hold their positions due to an affinity with a subject or Reddit as a platform. While they may be volunteers, moderators normally hold meaning power over the conversation within a subreddit, enforcing residential district standards and removing spam or baseless conversation .
Whether you ’ re looking to contribute to the conversation in a topic-based subreddit, host an AMA or contribute to your own mental hospital ’ south subreddit, there are several advantages to introducing yourself to a mod before you contribute to a channel .
If you ’ ve identified a subreddit dedicated to your institution, there ’ s a effective luck that the moderators of that subreddit are alumni or current students. Introducing yourself to them can boost affinity and increase the likelihood that the community will welcome your posts and ideas .
If you ’ ve identified an admissions-based subreddit, like the democratic subreddit r/ApplyingToCollege, moderators can help with labels, called Flair, that are attached to your report, such as Verified Admissions Officer, which lends add credibility to your answers and contributions.

last, if you ’ re design to host an AMA, collaborating with moderators can ensure your event doesn ’ t battle with another AMA or get marked as potential spam .
Reddit has long been a popular platform, but its emergence as a meaning duct for higher education conversation is a more late tendency. And while the idea of joining an anonymous internet forum is likely to stir up feelings of timidity among higher erectile dysfunction administrators, remember that luck favors the bluff — and more importantly, the authentic .
Stephen App is a business development coach at Campus Sonar, a specialize social listening agency committed to higher education .

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