The Complete Guide to Marketing Your Business on Reddit

reddit marketing bubble

Why is Reddit important to your marketing strategy? In a word, traffic. On Alexa, Reddit ranks 26th globally, and 11th in the United States. Reddit is often the birthplace of all kinds of memetic content — typically, when something hits the front page of Reddit, it ends up spreading way past Reddit. This is both because of the site’s popularity and because of the demographics of its user base. Most people using Reddit are fairly Internet-savvy individuals, and so if they see something that makes them laugh, or otherwise impresses them, chances are it’s going to be shared with many, many other people.

Likewise, as is the case with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr, there are a lot of “influential” people who use Reddit, who are often scouring it for content for their own sites.

Getting on the frontpage of Reddit is like hitting a homerun. The amount of traffic — and awareness — you will give whatever thing you’re linking to is absolutely incredible. We’re talking anywhere from 100k – 1 million hits (if not more). Likewise, while that’s immediate traffic generated, don’t forget that there will be a persistent bonus as well!

Here’s the thing, though: when you engage in Reddit marketing, you aren’t just counting on that big home run — in fact, you can get your product out there successfully without ever seeing the front page. That’s because…

The Two Ways People Use Reddit for Marketing

When you go to Reddit, you’ll see a frontpage with a handful of “default” subreddits. These are, as the name implies, the subreddits that the site will show you by default, without any customization enabled. As of now, that means you will see content from these subreddits:

announcements, art, askreddit, askscience, aww, books, creepy, dataisbeautiful, DIY, documentaries, earthporn, explainlikeimfive, fitness, food, funny, futurology, gadgets, gaming, getmotivated, gifs, history, iama, internetisbeautiful, jokes, lifeprotips, listentothis, mildlyinteresting, movies, music, news, nosleep, notthonion, oldschoolcool, personalfinance, philosophy, photoshopbattles, pics, science, showerthoughts, space, sports, television, tifu, todayilearned, twoxchromosomes, upliftingnews, videos, worldnews, writingprompts

While some people never customize their, er, “Reddit experience,” many do. Reddit gives its users the ability to select the subreddits that they see — allowing them to create a page that tailors content directly to their interests.

A more experienced user might have a browsing experience that focuses on a specifc niche, likes cars. That means that while they might not follow any of the default subreddits, they'll be active in cars, Subaru, justrolledintotheshop, and rally.

Other people will follow all of the default subreddits plus one or two others that highlight some interest that they have. Why is this important? While getting on the frontpage is nice, it isn’t necessary in order to nab some good traffic. The “cars” subreddit still has 157,000 active users for example. The “coffee” subreddit has 98,326 active users. Sure — that isn’t much compared to the six million plus of the default subreddits, but it absolutely will give you a noticeable boost.

How to Actually Use Reddit Marketing to your Advantage

First off, you need an account. If you want to go hard on Reddit, you probably need more than one. After all, your client that sells lube probably doesn’t want to be affiliated with your other client that sells fax machines. Second, you’ve got to use the damn thing — and you need to use it honestly. Just like every other social media platform, if you are constantly spouting off “Hey! Look at this product!” everyone is going to know what you are, and no one is going to like you. Likewise, if it’s obvious that you are an “outsider,” you probably won’t make much new ground.

So, in short, use the account. Find subreddits that are relevant to your clients and relevant to your own interests. Likewise, find out what people are saying about your clients. Have there been missed opportunities in the past? Are you being mentioned at all?

On your personal account, you should do your best to legitimately interact with a community of your choice. Not only will this give some legitimacy to your account (for when you post a link to something you’re trying to market), but it will also give you a better idea of what works and what doesn’t work on Reddit.

How to Post a Link that Generates Traffic/Buzz

Want to make sure your content makes it to the top? Follow the steps below:

  1. Before you post any content, you first have to find a community that’ll dig it. Look at what’s being shared there. Does it look like your content? Does it feel like your content? If so, you’ve find fertile ground.
     
  2. Post your link between 1 a.m. and 7 a.m. (EST) — links posted at this time do better than ones posted at any other time, because these links tend to be in prime position to be tackled by Americans as they wake up and go to work. Likewise, before 9, there isn’t as much competition, meaning that your content has a much better chance of rising to the top.
     
  3. When you post your link, you need to understand that you are vying against everyone else for position on the subreddit you’ve just posted it to. On an active subreddit, things are being constantly submitted, and if something doesn’t pass a certain threshold of upvotes in a certain timeframe, then it’s likely your content will disappear and no one will ever see it.

     

    How do you prevent that? Easy — make sure you’re posting good content. Seriously, this is as obvious as it sounds. If you’re posting something good, chances are it’ll ride the wave all the way to the top. If what you’re posting is just pure product promotion, then chances are it will languish in a pit of downvotes for all eternity.The key to Reddit marketing isn’t to sprinkle some magic fairy dust on your post and then count to three before letting it make the rounds — it’s just to post damn fine content. Like the saying goes, if you build it, they will crash your server with a tidal wave of traffic and make your web team angry at you (or that’s what I’m told).  

  4. Want to help give your post a boost? Don’t be afraid to share it with your friends. While having your friends upvote the post is against the ToS (and won’t make you a very popular person on Reddit), it’s completely okay to see if they’d like to comment on it. While a few comments might not seem like much, they generate weight, which helps links move up the page. Just remember: no begging for upvotes.

We can't emphasize enough how important it is to play by the rules — a key to successful Reddit marketing is to avoid trying to steal honey from the hive. It might work once or twice, but eventually you’ll end up like The Atlantic. You don’t want your PR on Reddit to be generated by a story about how your company got its hand caught in the cookie jar.

reddit marketing professional

How to Spot Marketing Opportunities on Reddit

When it comes to Reddit marketing, not every PR opportunity is going to revolve around posting content. In addition to posting stuff you think adds to the conversation, it’s a good idea to periodically search Reddit for people talking about your products. For example, if you’re marketing a dating app, you’re probably going to want to keep an eye on the dating subreddits, doing a search every so often for users talking about your product (don’t forget to search for acronyms, shorter versions of your product/company name, and competitors names — you never know what you might stumble upon).

If you spot a user talking about your product, consider chiming in with something relevant. Are they talking about how much they like your product? Let them know you appreciate it! Are they talking about a feature that they want to see? Let them know their feedback is being directed to someone that’ll be able to use it.

Of course, not every mention of your product is going to be positive. While this is a bit of a danger zone, don’t be afraid to join the conversation if you really believe you might be able to do a little cleanup work.

With that said, remember that this is the Internet, and there totally will be users salivating at the chance to take down someone like you. Be honest with yourself: does the risk look like it’s worth it? Are you turning something into good PR, or are you tossing up a softball to a troll who is only looking for a fight?

Yes, that’s a risk of all social media marketing avenues, but Reddit is just a bit different, and if you accidentally step into the bad stuff, you might find yourself (and your client) in a lot of pain.

Which brings us to…

Reddit Loves Reddit, Hates You (And Reddit Marketing)

Reddit does not want your advertisements on Reddit. Like, really. It really hates you. It hates when you try to be cool. It hates the very concept of Reddit marketing, or any company in general trying to promote itself on Reddit. It will — quickly — sniff out accounts that exist solely to post “marketed” content. Companies trying to “subtly” post memes will get caught — and laughed at. There’s even an entire subreddit dedicated to this sort of stuff.

You don’t want to be that brand.

Paradoxically, though, while Reddit hates being advertised to, Reddit loves when advertisers “get it” — or, alternatively, when they basically aren’t hiding who they are or what they are doing. Take Nissan, for example — they had a huge, obvious Reddit campaign in which they very clearly identified themselves. It worked. The end result of the campaign went viral, and it gave them a ton of good press.

A smaller example is something like Transamerica, who knocked it out of the park with an excellent example of Reddit marketing. Essentially, they went into the finance subreddit, and posted Reddit-targeted financial advice, along with something that introduced “them” as “friends” of the site (for details, go through the slides found here).

If you keep an eye on the frugalmalefashion and malefashionadvice subreddits, you’ll often see fashion-specific brands popping their heads in from time-to-time. They’ll usually open with something along the lines of, “Oh, hey! We just happened to notice we were getting a lot of traffic from Reddit lately…”

Once again, they will mention how much they appreciate the community, and then they will offer the community some sort of “Reddit-focused” deal. Not only does this situate them as a cornerstone product within that community, but it also allows them to come back at a later date, perhaps setting up another post, or a series of posts down the road.

Other Ways to Make Reddit Work

If we’re being honest, Reddit has a bit of an image problem. “Redditors” are frequently seen as white, male, and usually in their late teens or early twenties. If you spend some time on the site, you’ll often find this stereotype confirmed over and over. Of course, if that isn’t your key demographic, Reddit marketing can still work for you, you just need to do a little extra research first.

While the techie-dude vibe is strong on Reddit, it certainly isn’t the only demographic. Reddit is a bit more diverse than just a couple of dudes sporting fedoras and talking about Linux.

MakeupAddiction is probably one of the most popular makeup forums on the ‘net. There’s a good chance a popular product will be gone from your local Sephora’s shelves if it’s making the rounds on MUA (which, by the way, is almost certainly a case of some crazy Reddit marketing magic going on). Fitness is a huge workout community, and XXFitness is the same, but targeted toward women. If you spend any time on Reddit, you’ll see the line thrown around that there’s a subreddit for everything. While that might sound crazy, well…

By now, you should be getting the picture: Reddit is a pretty diverse place.

That diversity should also help you out a bit, as it can often give you a good idea of what’s popular with the demographic you’re trying to market to. Before we pitch an article on a subject, our first stop is often Reddit. We look to see what people are talking about — or, sometimes better yet, what they aren’t talking about. A successful campaign that revolves around Reddit marketing starts with a lot of research. Reddit is smart — if your link is visible for any serious amount of time, it’s going to be researched and pulled apart in all kinds of ways. You want to make sure you — and your content — is prepared.

Even if you don’t have a brand account you can swoop in on to take advantage of some thread that has to do with your product, you can see the sorts of things you need to be covering. What guides would hit with this community? What products would? What tone would? All of this can help you build a better campaign — not just for Reddit, but in general.

reddit marketing toolbox

A Few Handy Reddit Marketing Tools

If you’re looking to get your brand into Reddit marketing, there are a few tools and links that might help you out.

  • For one, don’t just trust the Reddit search to find subreddits. Instead, try browsing through a list of the top 5,000 subreddits. With this list, you can spot subreddits that might be worth your time — even if they don’t have that many subscribers at the moment. Another tool for finding subreddits is Metareddit, which will show you subreddits related to any other subreddit.
     
  • Snoopsnoo is another good tool, especially if you use it on other marketing accounts. With Snoopsnoo, you can get a handle on what content works best, and maybe more importantly, what content doesn’t work.
     
  • Finally, an absolutely must have — the Reddit Enhancement Suite. RES, as it is known on Reddit, is incredibly useful. Not only does it make your browsing experience a lot smoother, it allows you to tag users, allowing you to note who has positively responded to your posts in the past.

If you're looking into Reddit marketing, the best way to start is, well, to start. The sooner you get your hands on Reddit, the sooner you'll be able to interact with the community without seeming like an outsider. Just beware — there's a reason why Reddit has grown so fast, and if you aren't careful, you might find all of your time sucked away by the productivity vortex that is Reddit!

The title of this guide isn't accidental, as Reddit is always changing. Have you had success with Reddit marketing, or have we left something helpful out? Let us know in the comments!

Interested in developing a social media strategy for your company? Shoot us a line, and we'll get started on a campaign that will drive traffic to your business.

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