Marketing on Reddit.
Three words that invoke fear and aversion. As marketers around the world scream that Reddit is a place that brands need to avoid – it sounds to me like it’s the perfect opportunity. As brands are rushing in herds to chase the latest apps, a handful of brands are sitting back and enjoying a constant revenue stream from their efforts on Reddit.
Following the crowd into trying whatever app is new and exciting is another way of saying, I’m too lazy to find or create my own path. It wasn’t long ago that Reddit had more than 168 million unique visitors lurk, engage and post content online. In comparison, according to Statista, Pinterest had 50.5 million unique visits from the US in January 2015.
But Reddit is still ignored like the plague… Why?
Because brands don’t get it.
Marketers don’t get it.
Yet, cracking the code to Reddit is as simple as understanding the difference between how marketing is done today vs. how it was done in the past. For some reason when brands jump on Reddit, they forget about the importance of authenticity and delivering value and start pushing posts like this:
You wouldn’t want a post as silly as that showing up in your newsfeed. So why do you think Reddit users would be okay with it?
The first comment speaks for itself:
“Pen sucks, poster sucks, everything about this sucks.”
The same philosophies that can be applied to creating great content can be applied to creating quality content on Reddit. Last year, I studied the top posts on Reddit while also interviewing some of the brands that have been able to achieve meaningful and real results on Reddit. I did this to create an eBook that unlocked the Reddit Code once and for all.
I should note: I’ve created multiple posts that have made the front page of the site and multiple posts that have made the front page of their respective subreddits.
I also want you to know that as an active user of Reddit and one of the sites biggest fans. The strategies I’m going to share aren’t spammy tricks. They’re genuine, authentic and should only be used if you’re committed to adding value to the various communities within. Through my research and experience, I’ve realized a that many of the core values that any great content marketer would understand can also be applied to Reddit.
Here are 4 tips that can help your brand achieve success in doing what many believe is impossible:
Create Content That Helps People
Two of my favourite subreddits subreddits include /r/Entrepreneur and /r/FantasyFootball. As someone who visits both of these subreddits daily (yes, even when the NFL season is over) there is a definite trend the type of content that rises to top. The best content on these subreddits include posts where users offer content that help people build better businesses or make better fantasy football decisions.
On /r/entrepreneur you’ll find that the top posts are users like me describing how to grow an Instagram account to more than 70K followers or others who share marketing tactics that helped them generate $50k in monthly revenue. The posts that generate the most love through upvotes and comments are those that deliver true value to their audience.
When you’re thinking about the type of content you should be creating and submitting to Reddit, think about the questions that someone would ask an industry expert. If you’re a company that sells software to developers; write a post that will help them with their career. If you’re a company that sells toothpaste; write a post with life hacks for better oral hygiene. If you’re a company that sells dog treats; write a post that tackles the vegan dog debate.
Create content that your audience actually wants to read. Create content that your audience will be happy to have found and eager to distribute and share.
Distribute Relevant Content To Subreddits
A subreddit is a forum style community where a group of passionate people come together to share, discuss and engage on topics surrounding their interests. Subreddits are the backbone of the entire Reddit community and the conversations range from Comics and BBQ to World News and Bitcoin. Practically any topic you can think of has been or is being discussed somewhere on Reddit.
Brands should look for Subreddits that are both active and relevant. During my interviews for my book on Cracking The Reddit Code, I chatted with Katie from the PornHub marketing team. Regardless of whether or not you’re a fan of PornHub, the site is doing some amazing things as it relates to content but also as it relates to Reddit.
The Pornhub team had one of the most active Ask Me Anything campaigns by any brand generating more than 15,400 comments and 3000 upvotes. When I asked Katie about their success in various Reddits she summed it up nicely:
“Don’t market to Reddit. If it’s one thing they collectively hate as a community, it’s having people try to advertise them…Join the community, engage with other users and share content in relevant subreddits in an authentic way.”
In a nutshell, you can’t go into Subreddits with a sales pitch. You can’t go into subreddits trying to game the system. You have to go into subreddits understanding that each of them have rules, following those rules and making it a commitment to deliver value to the people who have built the community. The RedditList (see above) is a great resource for finding the most popular Reddits and keeping an eye on the subreddits that are growing quickly. It can also be a great tool for finding Subreddits that are relevant to your business or content.
Put In The Work To Build Trust
If you create a post that generates buzz within a community, don’t just post and walk away. Take the time to respond to users as they comment on the post and ask you questions or offer feedback. Similar to the way you should respond to comments on your blog posts or infographics, you should respond to comments on Reddit.
Pact Coffee, a London based online coffee start-up was able to generate more than 650 upvotes and 1250+ comments on their Reddit post and their ability to engage afterwards helped drive their success. When they held a follow up AMA on Reddit discussing their ad success, a user asked them about what they saw as the driver of success and they responded:
Join in. Enjoy yourself and show that you’re not a corporate drone.
And when someone asked them about their time commitment and how often they checked the thread:
Throughout the day and sometimes at night! We’d spend an hour here, an hour there catching up on comments. We replied to most comments within a few hours and nearly all within 24 hours I think.
In a nutshell, Pact Coffee and their success shows the importance of demonstrating that you care about the communities and embrace the idea of two way dialogue. You can check out their post here to get a better understanding of how they were able to crack the code.
Monitor Subreddits For Relevant Conversations
Everyday there are millions of people spending time on Reddit commenting and sharing content. Similar to the way brands monitor channels like Twitter looking for a comment that they can turn into a sale; Reddit offers a similar opportunity.
Karmalytics is a tool that you can use to unlock amazing opportunities to engage with a highly targeted audience. To use Karmalytics you just upload a list of brand names, keywords, or domains you want them to monitor and select the subreddits you’d like to track. For example, if you’re a marketing software company – it would make sense to track your brand name under the Subreddit /r/Marketing or /r/Startups.
Marketing on Reddit comes down to your ability to create content that is relevant and valuable. If you can do that alone, you’re two steps ahead of the average brand attempting to crack the Reddit code.
From there, it’s important that you view your approach as being isolated in the sense that this isn’t a channel where you can pay to play. If you want to be effective, you need to be able to live up the idea that your brand is actually delivering value through content and your product.
I’d love to hear more about your thoughts on what you think could and has worked well on Reddit. What Subreddits do you frequent and browse?
At Foundation, we’ve even published an entire report on best practices surrounding Reddit Marketing. The report highlights insights surrounding: the best headlines for subreddits, most viral content formats on Reddit and even the topics that resonate best inside different communities.