Since Reddit’s creation in 2005, the platform has earned its title as the “frontpage of the Internet.” Reddit, a popular social networking site and forum, has over 300 million users, 140,000 active communities, and boasts over 14 million monthly pageviews (source). Considering this expansive reach, it only makes sense for marketers to wonder how they can use Reddit to their advantage.
In a recent blog post, we offered some tips on using Reddit to conduct market research. But, beyond that particular use case, marketers can also convert Reddit into a successful marketing channel.
If you’ve never considered incorporating Reddit into your marketing strategy, today’s blog post is for you. We explain why Reddit is useful to marketers, and offer several tips to best approach this channel. Let’s get into it!
How does Reddit work?
Reddit is structured like an elaborate message board, where users submit both links and text posts for other Redditors to comment on. Rather than one centralized location, Reddit is made up of hundreds of thousands of subfolders that act as individual forums—referred to as “subreddits”.
There’s a subreddit for just about every topic imaginable, but here are a few examples that might interest digital marketers:
Unlike most social media platforms, Reddit uses a voting system to sort posts. Instead of seeing posts generated by a complex algorithm, users can “upvote” or “downvote” posts based on how interesting, engaging and relevant they are.
Posts that receive many upvotes and comments rise to the top of their given subreddit. Meaning, the top post is the first thing a person sees when they visit the page—and the top post is also likely to garner the most social engagement.
Each subreddit has its own moderators and regulations, but there’s one common sticking point. Redditors value authentic content and interaction and detest overt self-promotion—which can put them at odds with marketers. But, as we’ll explain throughout this post, there are ways markers can use Reddit to their advantage—without violating the rules.
5 Steps for Successful Reddit Marketing
You may have been told marketers should avoid posting on Reddit—but that’s not the case. Rather, marketers must be careful and calculated with how they use Reddit. Let’s look at five important steps you must take to become a successful Reddit marketer:
1. Identify your target subreddits.
Reddit may seem like one massive community, but it’s more so a network of thousands of smaller communities—as each subreddit focuses on its own topic and has a dedicated group of unique subscribers.
If you’re using Reddit for the first time, the sheer number of subreddits can seem overwhelming. Once you create your account, your first step is to identify the subreddits where you’ll focus your marketing initiatives. Here are some factors to consider:
Relevance: It goes without saying, you should only post in subreddits that relate to your brand and products. For example, if you work for a software company, you won’t have much luck posting in a sports or entertainment subreddit. Search Reddit for industry keywords to locate the subreddits that align with the topics your brand covers.
Audience size: More general subreddits can have hundreds of thousands of subscribers, while more niche topics will have much smaller audiences. Both have their benefits for marketers—a successful post in a large subreddit will generate much more traffic, but you can establish a more visible presence in a smaller subreddit.
Activity: Not all subreddits are created equal—some have incredibly active subscribers who post and comment daily, while other subreddits are practically dormant. We recommend you avoid subreddits that garner little to no engagement, even if their focus is relevant to your brand.
Once you’ve zeroed in on a few target subreddits, the expansiveness of Reddit will seem far less intimidating. You can always venture into other communities, but having a core group of subreddits is crucial to creating a focused marketing strategy.
2. Post links to other websites.
This tip may seem counterintuitive—after all, if you’re trying to generate traffic to your website, why should you waste time posting other businesses’ content? But, hear us out. Reddit is unlike any other social platform—the success of your marketing efforts won’t depend on how many engaged followers you have. Instead, it’s your reputation that matters most—and on Reddit, that reputation is referred to as “Karma”.
Your Karma score represents your level of positive participation on Reddit and it’s measured by the number of “upvotes” you receive. If you frequently post high-quality content, your Karma score will rise. The higher your Karma score, the more visibility your future submissions will have. But, posting your own content too often can violate subreddit policies and result in your Karma dropping rather than increasing.
The best solution? Post content your community will find interesting. If you stumble upon a relevant new video or article, share it in one of your favorite subreddits to generate a conversation. Just remember to double-check that the content hasn’t already been posted by another user—as duplicate posts can also damage your Karma score.
3. Share valuable, non-promotional content.
Once you’ve begun to build a positive Karma score, you can start to post your own content within your target subreddits. But, as we’ve stated, you must be strategic with your approach to avoid any backlash. Redditors reject obvious promotion because the platform is built on organic discussion between human beings, not between marketers and customers. Make sure the content you post offers value and entices other Redditors to interact with it.
For example—sharing a link to a product page will signal that you’re a marketer who wants to promote products, not an engaged community member. On the other hand, a blog post about the benefits of a particular product will be more useful to your fellow community members and, as a result, is more likely to be upvoted and commented on.
You can even adjust your post titles to be more open-ended and encourage participation. For a post titled “5 Modern Tips for B2B Email Marketing”, you could title your Reddit submission “How has email marketing changed in recent years?” A more conversational and open-ended title will encourage people to comment with their own opinions. This additional activity will boost your post’s visibility and ultimately increase clicks on your link.
4. Invest in Reddit Advertising.
Throughout this post, we’ve stressed the importance of avoiding blatant self-promotion on Reddit. But, there is one way to give your posts an added boost without fear of repercussion—Reddit Advertising. Much like Facebook, Twitter, and other social platforms, Reddit offers its own unique advertising functionality for users who want to increase the visibility of their posts.
As with any advertising program, Reddit Advertising has a unique set of pros and cons. For one, it’s relatively inexpensive and can produce significant results thanks to the size of the Reddit community. But, Reddit doesn’t offer the same level of analytics and reporting as platforms like Facebook and Twitter.
Here’s how it works: Sponsored Reddit posts display at the top of the subreddits you choose to target. You pay for the specific duration that your post is pinned to the front page, and for the number of impressions you receive. This applies to both links and text posts.
Keep in mind, sponsored Reddit ads don’t look any different than traditional posts. So, you should follow the same posting guidelines we discussed in our previous point. Share content that you think your audience will want to engage with.
5. Create your own subreddit.
Our last tip will require the most time and energy, but if you’re successful, you can turn Reddit into one of your most valuable marketing channels. After you’ve built an established presence on Reddit, you can create your own branded subreddit for your audience to join. Think of a branded subreddit as a forum where your customers and prospects can directly interact with you and each other.
Here are a few key considerations to make before creating a successful subreddit of your own:
Promote your subreddit: There’s no way around it—in its early stages, your subreddit won’t garner a significant number of subscribers and engaged visitors. If you want your subreddit to grow into a legitimate channel, you’ll need to promote it heavily on other platforms. We recommend offering an incentive to those who check out or engage with posts in your subreddit.
Hold exclusive Q&As: One of the most popular forms of Reddit posts is an “AMA”, short for “Ask Me Anything.” This refers to a celebrity, influencer, or other high-profile personality using Reddit to respond to fan comments and questions. To drive traffic to your subreddit, consider holding an AMA featuring a prominent employee or influencer.
Offer customer service: When customers visit your subreddit, they’ll expect to interact with you directly. We recommend you pin a couple introductory posts to the top of your subreddit. These include a welcome message explaining the rules and purpose of your subreddit, an FAQ post, and a discussion post for questions, comments, and suggestions.
Of course, this list of key considerations is by no means comprehensive. Try out new ideas and get creative!
Key Takeaways on Reddit for B2B Marketing
On the surface, Reddit may seem like an obsolete platform for marketers. Given the site’s unique structure and posting rules, we don’t blame you for avoiding Reddit up until this point. But, we hope we have encouraged you to consider incorporating Reddit into your digital marketing strategy. Yes, it’s different than the other social channels you use—but it can also generate tremendous results.
And, the beauty of Reddit is how diverse and expansive it is as a social platform. You can use the site for years and still discover new subreddits and communities to use to market your brand. So, don’t be scared off by Reddit’s anti-marketing reputation.
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