Most marketers nowadays use social media as a part of their strategy, but many still exclude reddit. This is a shame, to say the least – it’s one of the most visited websites in the world, it’s patient zero for nearly all viral content (meaning journalists are scouring it all the time), it has an audience for every niche, and it holds more data than any other platform. It truly is the front page of the internet. So, if you want to know what’s happening on the web (which, as a B2B social media agency, we certainly do), then you need to be on reddit.
Reddit doesn’t have the most user-friendly interface, and it isn’t built for marketers. But if you can get it right, it’s worth incorporating into your marketing and PR strategy. Here’s a short guide on how to use reddit for marketing, complete with tips on the best subreddits to join for marketing tips and guidance.
Get to know subreddits
Reddit is made up of subreddits (or subs). These are dedicated channels on topics where you can post links, images or create a self-post to discuss whatever you like. You can subscribe to subs if you like the topic, and all posts from that sub will show up on your homepage. If you’re unsure what subreddit you’re looking at, look at the part that comes immediately after the r/ at the end of the URL (for example, https://www.reddit.com/r/books/ is a sub on everything related to books). Anyone (with an old enough account) can create a sub on any topic they like.
The best way to identify whether a sub is worth joining is to look at the following:
Member count: A large sub doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s the best one (smaller subs can have higher engagement), but it’s a good sign of whether the content posted is relevant.
Engagement level: You can measure how engaged members are in a sub by looking at the number of upvotes and comments on the top posts from the past year.
Whether it’s international: Reddit is a global website, but some subs are very US-centric (which is fine, depending on the subject and what you’re looking to get out of it).
Active moderators: Active moderators (or mods) keep the subreddit on-topic and rule-abiding. Weekly updates/sticky posts are usually a sign of an active mod team.
Rules: There are rules laid out in reddit’s rediquette that all subreddits have to obey, but mods can also impose their own rules. Higher quality subreddits tend to have stricter rules regarding the quality of posts and replies, which help keep the sub on topic.
Some rules for reddit marketing
Reddit marketing works a little differently to other platforms, mainly because it has been built to thwart overt marketing and advertising posts, rather than welcome them. It has a particular etiquette (outlined in more detail in its Rediquette, as mentioned above) that abhors direct advertising but rewards conversation. Outside of sponsored posts, you have to make sure that what you’re posting is authentic, exciting and rule-abiding. If you push a product or service, you will be thrown out or downvoted into oblivion. Some rules to follow include:
1. Sign up as a member and lurk. The best way to get used to reddit is to use it! Sign up using your brand name and your first name (or another human name, if you don’t want to use your own). This adds legitimacy that you are, in fact, a real human being, which will be helpful when it comes to posting.
2. Find relevant subs and follow them. As mentioned, reddit is full of subs on all subjects, so start searching for those that are relevant to you. And remember, it doesn’t matter if it’s a small sub, as they can be some of the most engaged groups. It is worth noting that you need to read the posts on the sub to make sure they’re what you think they are – for example, those looking for news about the Superbowl might be disappointed by r/superbowl, which is a sub for pictures of superb owls.
3. Start up and downvoting and commenting. Just like any other platform, reddit will reward you for being an active contributor. Commenting will also increase your karma score, which will come in handy once you start creating your own posts.
4. Abide by the rules of each sub. As mentioned, the best subs have active mods, and said mods will remove your post if you don’t stick by the rules. Rules can be particular (see r/BreadStapledToTrees for reference) so take the time to read them before you post anything.
5. Share unique content that starts conversations. After lurking for an appropriate amount of time, you’ll notice that the following content tends to perform well:
First-person stories (but only if they’re interesting and authentic – you willmget called out of it’s a thinly-veiled ad)
Videos (bonus points if your brand appears in it)
Gifs (as above)
Memes (as above)
Images (bonus points if it’s a cute animal)
News (similar to Twitter and Facebook, being the first to share a piece of news can get you a lot of upvotes)
Start with one of these if possible to give your post a chance to perform well. But don’t panic if it doesn’t get much traction – practice makes perfect.
6. Respond to every comment on everything you post. Even if you only get one or two comments on your post, take the time to reply to all of them.
7. Don’t just post a link to your blog. Redditors do not like this – as mentioned before, they don’t want to be advertised to or used for traffic. You can instead paste the text from a blog into a post (if it’s genuinely good content).
8. Consider hosting an AskMeAnything (AMA). An AMA is a reddit-hosted Q&A that is open to anyone with an interesting story to tell. You’d be in good company if you did one – Barack Obama, Bill Gates and, erm, Cookie Monster (who, just so happened to be involved in a charitable competition at the time). The r/IAmA sub is dedicated to them, but smaller, more specific subs will often host them with relevant people, too. You’ll have to prove to the mods that you are who you say you are and you’ll need to be prepared to answer anything.
Pro-tip: Download the Boost app if you use Android or the Apollo app if you use iOS – they’re much better than the official reddit app.
Using reddit for research
One of the best ways to use reddit is as a market research tool. We like to keep an eye on subs that are relevant to our clients so that we can remain up to date with what their potential customers are talking about. This helps to inform thought leadership, survey questions and our overall strategy. We also keep tabs on marketing and PR subs (some of which are listed below) to stay on top of trends in our industry.
Unsurprisingly, the r/bigseo sub is for all things SEO (and ‘all disciplines of inbound marketing that get shuffled under the title, SEO’, according to the sub’s description). You can ask questions, pick up tips about new resources and generally keep up to date with SEO trends.
The r/content_marketing sub is a wonderful community of content marketers who give feedback, advice and share tools of the trade with each other. The mods are active and stop promotional posts, and there’s a real community feel to the sub.