When you diversify your market channels, you put yourself in front of a wider audience and make your brand more accessible to new leads.
Most marketers are familiar with the more popular social media platforms, like Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn. Those are all great opportunities, but many often overlook the value of Reddit.
What Is Reddit? Everything You Need to Know
Reddit is an enormous media aggregation website where users submit, comment on, and rate on content.
The vastness of this site can be intimidating when you start exploring the world of subreddits. And that scale means millions of leads. In 2018, Reddit had 330 million registered users.
The Front Page of the Internet
In July 2019, Reddit was ranked as the fifth most visited website in the United States. Globally, it ranks at number 13.
Founded in 2005 by college roommates Steve Huffman and Alexis Ohanian, the website was brainstormed to act as “the front page of the Internet.” Comprised of mostly user-generated content, users focus on high levels of engagement via commenting, sharing, and voting on content.
"Reddit" is actually a play on words of "read it.”
The Terms You Need to Know
Reddit culture is so well developed that it can be difficult to just jump in and immediately understand what’s going on. There’s a ton of lingo that users, or “redditors,” throw around.
Here’s some of the more common terms:
A subreddit is a small community of users discussing a particular topic or subject. You can identify them by their slug, where there will be an “r/” in front of the name.
This subreddit will host conversations about the National Football League. Not every subreddit is as straightforward though. There are more obscure, niche subjects also.
This one is dedicated to sharing emotions or secrets that you wouldn’t dare tell to the people you actually know.
Subreddits are often viewed as “rabbit holes” because it’s easy to scroll the same subreddit for hours on end or wind up clicking from one to another to another until you wind up looking at pictures of birds with arms.
Mods, or moderators, are volunteers who manage subreddits. They can edit their respective subreddits’ appearance, content rules, and even remove posts and ban users from the subreddit.
A thread, or discussion, on Reddit begins when you publish a post in a subreddit. Other users can then engage with your thread by commenting or voting on it.
An upvote occurs when you click the up arrow next to a post. By upvoting, you’re increasing the post’s visibility and popularity. You can also upvote on user comments.
It’s the equivalent of “liking” a post on Facebook or Instagram.
Downvotes are essentially the opposite of upvotes. If you think a particular post isn’t that great, downvote on it and push its ranking lower.
Users have a certain amount of karma attached to their account. When other users upvote or downvote on your comments, it affects your karma.
For the most part, karma is really only for popularity points. The higher your karma, the higher your standing.
This acronym stands for “original poster.” Kind of self-explanatory, the original poster is whoever posted the content originally.
“Today I learned” is often used when a user is posting on an observation or realization they’ve made over the course of the day.
A popular thread on Reddit, “ask me anything” conversations allow users to ask the person of interest anything they want. The subject is allowed to answer in any way they want.
How to Search and Engage
If you know what you’re looking for when you enter the world of Reddit, then you’ll likely have an easier time navigating it than going in blind.
It’s not a site where you can really “search” for things. You can search for ideas, topics, and conversations and browse through the content that falls under those subreddits, but you can’t expect it to function like a search engine.
Not unless you want to scroll for hours to find that one post you want.
Using all of the elements of subreddits, upvotes, and downvotes together will actually get you started on engaging within the community pretty quickly.
Why You Should Be Marketing On Reddit
Ok, so far Reddit sounds like a fun place to pass the time and get lost. But how exactly does marketing come into play here?
Considering the sheer volume of people on the website, getting your brand into the mix of content will benefit your business immensely.
Here are the two top reasons why you should have a marketing strategy for Reddit:
Access to Niche Markets
Remember how we discussed how there’s pretty much a subreddit for everything? That means for your target market too.
Somewhere, deep in the nether, there’s at least one subreddit that will be interested in your product or service. Honestly, the chances are that there are three or four at minimum.
Going for more specific subreddits instead of the default ones increases your chances of actually touching qualified leads.
If you’re familiar with your buyer personas and target audiences, then you’ll be able to benefit quite a bit from investigating different subreddits that are primed for your business, especially since most users participate in several subreddits.
Front Page Fame
Tapping into the more niche subreddits, you’ll have a greater chance of receiving more positive engagement. The more upvotes you get, the higher your karma.
When other users see that you’re considered pretty cool, they’ll jump on board too.
Next thing you know, your content is on the front page. The front page features all of the most popular posts of the day, and it’s one of the first things that site visitors come across.
That’s some serious advertising space.
Reddit Marketing: 6 Steps to Get Started
Redditors are incredibly protective of their communities, so coming on too strong for the sake of trying to make a sale will backfire pretty strongly.
There’s a certain finesse to Reddit marketing. You have to be a part of the community, be original, and provide actual value. It’s a lot of pressure if you don’t know what you’re doing.
As a map to the minefield, here’s how to get started:
1. Create an Account.
Registering for an account is free and easy to do. You’ll need it to be as real and authentic as possible, or else other users are going to view you as a pest from the get go.
A useful practice is to run your account from a marketer’s seat rather than a company’s. Construct your username of an industry keyword and a person’s name (ideally, whoever will be handling the account the most).
If the account feels like it’s attached to a person rather than some distant brand, redditors will be more willing to engage with it.
2. Research Your Audience.
Identifying which subreddits you should tap into is critical to the success of your marketing efforts on this site. There’s quite a few tools you can use to help your hunt, like TrackReddit, which alerts you when specific keywords are used on the site.
Otherwise, it’s a straightforward investigation. Start in some default subreddits related to your industry.
For example, if you’re looking to sell auto parts, then you’d want to start in the r/car subreddit.
From there, you can post valuable content and start building a rapport within the community. You can also look at what other subreddits users in that conversation are active in, which is a path into more niche subreddits. That’s where the real market is.
3. Build a Quality Feed.
Part of learning what to post is looking at what’s already been posted. Browse your feed and take note of what earns a lot of engagement in the form of upvotes and comments.
Once you’ve got a pretty good idea of what content interests your target audience, you can join in.
Be wise in your posting though. Your content needs to be relevant and valuable to other users; otherwise, it’s going to flop. This sounds kind of like a given, but Reddit is pretty picky about what it lets flourish.
If you post great content, it’ll take off on its own. If not, you’ll never be able to redeem that piece of content.
Keep in mind that different subreddits have different rules. Depending on the community and the mods, different post types and topics fare better than others. Make sure you’re never breaking any of the regulations in place.
The goal should always be sharing valuable, original, and authentic information.
4. Practice Consistency.
This should go for any sort of content marketing that you engage in, but it’s especially true for Reddit marketing.
Redditors are a suspicious group who are always on the lookout for unwanted, spammy marketers. Being consistent and genuine will help them trust you.
Speaking of spam, you should never just flood a subreddit with your marketing. That will get you banned in an instant.
Consistency does not equal spam. It means being active in both posting and engagement. Interact with other users’ content and truly participate in the community.
You won’t see immediate return, but if you build a presence in the community, you’ll see some positive ROI in time.
5. Identify Opportunities.
Advertising is only one piece of marketing and it doesn’t fit in every channel you’ll want to use.
Fortunately, Reddit does have certain spaces for boosting your content and bringing to the front of the line. Ads on the site take the form of either link ads or text ads.
- Link ads: Redirect users to your company website or blog. This method is great for driving traffic.
- Text ads: Link to a Reddit post that contains related, branded content and links. This is best for boosting engagement.
Remember, Redditors don’t like marketing schemes, so it’s always safest to be upfront and honest if you’re going to post an ad. Make it clear that the content is brand related and explain the value they’ll receive from interacting with it.
Only use ads when you see a good opportunity for one and if you know it’s not going to negatively impact your reputation or presence in the subreddit.
It’s recommended that you don’t start practicing this until you’ve built up some trust first.
6. Leverage User Comments.
Asking for feedback on Reddit could potentially key you into some complaints or compliments that you’ve never encountered before, especially since the site’s users are notoriously honest and forthright.
Ask questions that will help you better understand your audience, what they’re looking for, and will build awareness for your brand.
Make them sincere and open so that users will feel comfortable answering you honestly.
Even if you’re not quite right for raw honesty, you can still do some research on what your ideal customers are saying their interests are in their comments on others' content.
5 Brands That Win the Reddit Marketing Game
There are already quite a few companies who have started using Reddit to drive marketing results, and the community has embraced them. Clearly, it’s all in how you go about it.
Here are some of our favorite brand strategies right now:
Audi took advantage of Reddit’s popular AMA thread while using the site’s streaming feature. They created a web series where celebrities answered Redditors’ questions while speeding in Audi’s latest car.
At the time, the streaming feature was still pretty new. The auto company made a brilliant play of leveraging the novel of streaming and pairing it with the general community’s favorite content piece.
Not every person that engaged was probably into cars, but a ton of people sure love watching celebrities in crazy situations.
In the Formula 1 subreddit, Toyota promoted a video showcasing two Supras racing it out. While the content wasn’t specifically about Formula 1 cars, it was still pretty relevant to the community’s interests: souped up cars going fast.
The video told a story of racing and competing that spoke directly to the subreddit’s participants. If it had been a more straightforward ad, it probably would have been rejected pretty quickly.
Instead, because Toyota chose a niche subreddit that had a singular interest in fast cars, it was received pretty well.
3. Maker’s Mark
Maker’s Mark took a shot at posting an actual ad, but they did it smart. They used the r/ads subreddit and targeted the Reddit community specifically.
With “Let it Snoo” as the tag, the bourbon company made a joke about the site’s alien mascot, Snoo. It made users chuckle instead of groan, which is why many deemed the ad as “ok” and acceptable.
Maker’s Mark did their research and aimed to engage the community on their level. It clearly worked in their favor.
Another great example of sourcing customer feedback from comments and replies, Spotify was able to create a unique campaign.
The streaming platform asked several questions pertaining to songs and the feelings attached to them. Redditors found the line of questioning intriguing, connecting different emotions to different songs. Eventually, they had compiled a playlist of over 10,000 submissions.
Spotify took all of the positive brand engagement and turned it into several Reddit-inspired playlists. It was such a great strategy that they won Reddit’s “Community Brand of the Year 2014” award.
Nordstrom started their own subreddit where users can discuss products, seek customer service, and share experiences with each other.
This might not seem like a big deal, but with 472 members dedicated to talking exclusively about Nordstrom on the page, the company would likely consider it a win.
Their bold move has made it clear that there is space for brands and business on the platform if the priority is user engagement.
Nordstrom doesn’t use their subreddit to just push ads and make sales. They tune into their customers’ needs and foster a sense of community.
Is Reddit Marketing Right for You?
It’s always important for you to research a channel before investing time and resources into engaging on it. It’s got to match your business and brand and support your company’s goals.
If it fits your audience, though, it’s important to be tactful and focus on delivering value, not just trying to sell yourself.
Reddit’s a tight-knit community, so you’ve got to be strategic about your marketing. If you do it right, though, you’ll be reaping some pretty great rewards.