Reddit Marketing for Brands: What You Need to Know in 2018

February 15, 2018

When it comes to Reddit, most marketers are either shaking in their boots or scratching their heads. Why? Reddit is one of the toughest social media nuts to crack. However, it can be done.

Reddit users, known as redditors, don’t usually welcome marketers to the site. Back in 2014, AdAge published an article that proclaimed, “Reddit Hates Marketing. How to Market on It Anyway.” Further down the post they warned, “Face it: You’re probably not going to be able to hack it on Reddit.”

Not much has changed since 2014. As recently as November 2017, Electronic Arts used its brand account to respond to comments about its pricing scheme for the “Star Wars: Battlefront” game. TechCruch reported that the brand’s response has become the most downvoted comment in Reddit history.

Some subreddits (niche forums within Reddit) explicitly state rules about banning people who post links to their own sites. Here’s rule number three on the Business subreddit: “By posting here, you agree that you have no connections to the site of the articles you submit. If you do, we will instantly ban you.” With all that said, a brand can win on Reddit with the right approach.

Get to know Reddit

Reddit describes itself as “the front page of the Internet” and is among the most visited and influential websites. The site consists of over 45,000 subreddit communities where redditors discover, share, rate and discuss in real time. According to Reddit, it is the fifth largest site in the U.S. and received 270 million unique visitors during the month of January 2017.

Who’s using Reddit?

Reddit’s published information on demographics is sparse. According to the company, the redditor population is:

  • Primarily American: 54% of users are from the U.S., 46% are international
  • Young: 63% of redditors are under 25; 87% are under 35

As far as interests go, Reddit attracts people with a variety of interests from cats to business to NSFW (not safe for work) categories. Chances are there is a niche audience for your brand on Reddit.

Reddit do’s for 2018

If the first part of this post caused you a bit of concern about getting involved with Reddit, that’s good. You really need to weigh the pros and cons before you get actively involved in this platform. If you decide to venture forth, do…

Lurk before you leap

Spend time on Reddit reading what other redditors are saying. Visit your target subreddits. Pay attention to their rules of conduct. Feel it out before you start posting.

Learn from what redditors share & discuss

If you aren’t quite ready to dive into active participation on Reddit, the site can still be a treasure trove of information. Check out relevant subreddits to monitor brand mentions, competitor mentions and trending topics. The right subreddit can be a gold mine of blogging and keyword ideas.

Work on your karma

If you want to be accepted by the Reddit community, you need to build your karma, Reddit’s way of measuring your reputation. Your karma score can help you gain respect and trust. The best way to gain karma is to post valuable content and commentary. Think about the value you can provide to fellow redditors; valuable content and engagement helps you gain upvotes from other users to build your karma.

Share your own content sparingly

People who blatantly promote or sell are reviled by redditors. Prove your value to the community and build up your karma before sharing your brand’s content. Once you’ve established yourself as a authentic member of the community, share your content — if the subreddit allows it. Each subreddit has its own rules, so know the code of conduct before you post.

Think about experimenting with Reddit Advertising

Reddit has a self-service advertising platform. Test the waters to reach your potential clients on Reddit. Of course, this isn’t a decision to make without real consideration. Reddit, in many ways, is a wild frontier that sometimes includes content that you may not want your brand associated with.

Reddit don’ts for 2018

If you are ready to dive into Reddit, terrific! You have a potential windfall of traffic heading your way, as long as you don’t…

Don’t act like a marketer or salesperson

We can’t stress enough that Reddit is a community of like-minded individuals who want to discuss and share their ideas and opinions. They don’t want you in there promoting yourself or your business. Self promotion can cause redditors to lash out against you and potentially get you banned.

Don’t ask for upvotes or clicks

While that may not necessarily make you seem like a marketer, it will make you sound annoying and desperate. Let the value of your post speak for itself. If you wouldn’t give it an upvote, why should someone else?

Don’t post the same comment in multiple subreddits

Redditors will sniff you out and expose you for the lazy Reddit marketer you are.

Don’t assume every subreddit has the same rules

Different communities on Reddit allow/tolerate different behaviors.

Don’t ignore other redditors

Other community members like to see comments and interactions with the content they share, too. Be thoughtful and engage by commenting and voting on other people’s posts.

Don’t share content that is a promotion disguised as education or information

Before you share something to Reddit, ask yourself, “Does this help the community or does it only help my sales team if someone clicks through to buy?” Sure, you want the sale, but remember that you are interrupting redditors with your message. Make it useful to them, not just advantageous to you.

Learn more with Digital Summit

As you may have figured out, Reddit isn’t for the ill-prepared or faint of heart. If you don’t have the time to invest in developing your Reddit presence, Reddit probably isn’t the right messaging channel for you. However, don’t discount it as a source of information to help inform your content strategy.

Ready to tackle more social media marketing topics? Digital Summit events bring together the world’s leading executives, entrepreneurs, web strategists and bloggers to discuss the latest in digital marketing. Join us at a Digital Summit event near you.