Social media platform Reddit is emerging as a hugely popular online content engagement forum, for both user-generated and searched information – which means that Reddit health posts are hugely popular, too.
We know that people turn to user-generated content on social media to research their health concerns, but how influential is this health information?
And, more importantly, how does this influence impact our health writing work?
Recent research offers some insight into how users are engaging with Reddit health posts.
Reddit health posts and user engagement
With its capability of providing publically available and contextual information, Reddit has become a dominant social media platform.
In 2015 there were 82.5 billion page views, with 73 million individual posts and over 725 million associated comments.
Engagement on Reddit is, however, a complex process.
Reddit health posts fit in many narrow and broad categories or “subreddits”.
Users are required to filter through subreddits on various topics and popular threads to find relevant health posts.
Despite this, a recent US study published in the Journal of Health Communication found regardless of perceived credibility of information sought, both men and women aged over 18 years old had a level of trust in Reddit health posts.
People who use Reddit to find health advice are open-minded
The 389 adult Reddit users were surveyed to gauge if and how Reddit health posts influenced their behaviour.
The study found their top five most searched Reddit health topics were exercise, nutrition, diet, mental health and stress.
The researchers performed data analyses of the participants and concluded: “Users who seek health information on the platform are likely to enact the found information regardless whether or not they perceive the information to be credible.”
These findings suggest people who use Reddit to find health advice are open to perspectives and ideas, especially when intentionally seeking information.
Using Reddit health posts as a professional tool
We can work with and use Reddit health posts, both personally and professionally. Health writers can build their profile by sharing knowledge in their field of interest to an interested and engaged audience on various social media engagement platforms.
This means focusing on your niche in health and posting content on subreddits. If users find your content relevant, they will ‘upvote’ your response, and your content could be the most viewed response for a post.
Real and verified medical professors, clinicians and health experts who love contributing to health news discussions are behind many top Reddit health posts.
By building a professionally credible profile, you could be considered an expert by many esteemed colleagues in your health niche.
Tips for building a professional profile on Reddit
- Ensure the content you post has the potential to be a top response. Your content should be relevant, without appearing like spam
- Avoid mentioning your company or endorsing any products
- Read other Reddit health posts, as this can help you understand how others handle the same issues; most users write in lay terminology supported only with personal narrative, as statistics and jargon do not blend in well
- Try to post content during peak times when others are online.
By devoting a little extra time in your social media activity schedule to share health posts on Reddit, you can expand your engagement with consumers and colleagues, while becoming a valuable contributor who is generating positive health outcomes. Try it, and let us know how you go.