Describing itself as the ‘front page of the internet’, Reddit is one of the most popular online discussion platforms. It’s fast and easy to use, and it has an instantly familiar interface which looks great on screens of any size. It’s also constantly updated with newsfeeds customised according to the user’s browsing habits, provided they’re logged in. So, why are individuals and businesses looking for Reddit alternatives?
Although Reddit is popular across numerous topic groups as diverse as tech to entertainment, it isn’t without its shortcomings. For a start, the site lacks many features entrepreneurs and businesses need to build up and advertise to their communities. Fortunately, there are many alternatives which might suit your long-term goals better.
Why are brands looking for alternatives to Reddit?
Reddit is a platform designed to hold many niche forums within it; on each of those forums, a dedicated user base takes part in text posts and image sharing, enjoying everything from memes and funny videos to informative how-to guides and Q&A posts. This wide-reaching appeal has led to Reddit becoming a hugely popular website, and seen by many as a good option on which to base their online community.
However, Reddit isn’t meant for social media marketing or even business community building. First and foremost, it’s a news aggregator and discussion board based on specific interest groups. It’s been one of the most popular platforms of its kind since it was launched in 2005. It’s also the eighteenth most visited site in the world, and it has some 330 million regular users. But none of that’s important if you can’t grow and nurture your community.
Reason 1: Reddit isn’t for social media marketing
Although Reddit is not typically seen as a social media platform, it shares a number of characteristics with social network giants Facebook and Twitter. For example, like these two platforms, users spend plenty of time browsing a live feed providing news aggregation, are encouraged to share content, and can post comments on other users’ threads. However, certain aspects of Reddit set it apart, such as its elaborate system of upvotes and downvotes – Facebook and Twitter instead rely mainly on ‘likes’ and do not have a downvote equivalent built into them. Furthermore, self-promotion on Reddit is, at best, frowned upon, although the exact rules largely depend on the specific subreddit you’re posting on. Many of the most popular subreddits will shadow ban users for promoting content, which means they don’t even know they’re banned although they can still keep posting. Others will warn you first, but the rules vary enormously from one subreddit to the next.
Reason 2: Its interface is dated and lacking many features
People love Reddit for its simplicity. It’s basically the world’s most popular online forum where people can upvote and downvote and reply to posts. Some subreddits have tens of millions of users. But each one of them has limited customization options, and there are few features for tracking the performance of your posts. There’s also no way to sell through the platform, and linking to your own website is either frowned upon or banned on most subreddits.
Reason 3: The barriers to entry are uncertain
The obvious way around the rules regarding self-promotion is to start your own subreddit. The only problem is that the barriers to entry aren’t entirely known. To start your own subreddit, you not only need an account that’s at least 30 days old – you’ll also need a certain amount of karma points from upvotes collected on your posts on other subreddits. The figure is known only to Reddit’s admins.
When it comes to vibrant online discussions on almost any topic imaginable, Reddit is honestly hard to beat. But when you’re trying to build a personal brand or market a business, your only real option is to invest a huge amount of time participating in multiple communities and, if you want to advertise your brand outright, use Reddit’s paid advertising service. Chances are, entrepreneurs and businesses will want to look at some of the following alternatives:
The popular question-and-answer website is more an alternative to Yahoo! Answers than it is to Reddit, but many of the questions asked on the platform do spawn intelligent conversations. You can either keep asking questions, answering other people’s questions, or both.
- There are no complicated requirements for opening an account.
- Having a user account gives you access to detailed analytics.
- It’s a great place to demonstrate your expertise by answering questions.
- It’s not a place for self-promotion, unless you’re offering actionable answers.
- It takes a lot of time to build a noteworthy reputation.
- Many answers lack authoritative sources.
Image-sharing website 4chan is one of the most controversial sites on the internet, but we’re including it here because you’ve likely already heard of it being a Reddit alternative. But while it does have many similar features, it attracts a very… unique crowd.
- It’s completely anonymous, which may or may not be what you’re looking for.
- Around 800,000 posts are made daily from 27 million active monthly visitors.
- It is a well-established hub of internet subculture.
- It’s no place for marketing a legitimate business venture or personal brand.
- It has a very controversial reputation in the media.
- It has a serious problem with trolling and spamming.
Mix is the successor to StumbleUpon, an online discovery platform which was closed down in 2018. Mix lets users discover and vote on popular online content by interest category. Website administrators can also share their own content. It can be considered a Reddit alternative if you are more interested in browsing the content rather than engaging with it.
- It’s very easy to use, and you can sign in with a Google account.
- It helps you identify trending topics in your niche.
- You can follow other users and build communities.
- Traffic from Mix tends to have a very high bounce rate.
- Like its predecessor, the service is largely orientated to a US audience.
- You need to build a large network to obtain more relevant recommendations.
Voat was launched in 2014 with the sole purpose of usurping Reddit’s place, but it’s still nowhere near as popular. Commonly referred to as a Reddit clone, it offers many of the same features and an instantly familiar user experience.
- It can be easier to build a close-knit community due to its small size.
- It’s instantly familiar to anyone who uses or has used Reddit.
- Its rules regarding advertising are relatively relaxed.
- It has an uncertain future due to its small community.
- It has attracted controversy for hosting groups previously banned by Reddit.
- It offers little value to legitimate brands.
Stack Exchange is a network of question-and-answer websites covering a range of topics. All the sites are modelled after the original Stack Overflow, a site dedicated to the programming community and can be a good Reddit alternative for people in tech. It’s one of the most popular online informational resources for professionals.
- It caters towards professionals seeking high-quality answers.
- It’s a great way to advertise your expertise in a given subject.
- You can find many useful answers to your technical questions.
- The platform isn’t meant for marketing.
- You need to answer a lot of questions to build a reputation.
- It primarily caters to programmers and technologists.
What is the best alternative to Reddit?
If you ignore its many far smaller clones, Reddit really is a one-of-a-kind online venue. It’s not quite a question-and-answer site, and neither is it a social network or website forum. At the same time, it offers all those functionalities in some form. But the fact it’s so large, and you’re not in control when building and engaging your community is also the biggest drawback.
If you want to build an online community, you need to create the right environment and give your members the means to engage meaningfully with you and one another. There are few better ways to do that than by building a bespoke community app that you alone have control over. That way, you’re not subjected to the limitations and uncertain futures of major public platforms, and you can cut out all the noise of mainstream social media.
Disciple was created to help businesses and entrepreneurs overcome the limitations of social bookmarking platforms, mainstream social networks, and news aggregators and build their own communities where they alone are in the driver’s seat.