With more than 542 million monthly visitors, Reddit is by far one of the most popular websites on the planet. Given the thousands of niche subreddits that exist for almost every conceivable category, it is also a fantastic platform for marketers and business owners to reach out to their target audience.
But marketing on Reddit can be a tricky process. Reddit users, or Redditors as they are called, can be extremely skeptical about marketers and there are examples of hundreds of brands that have burnt their fingers trying to reach out to their target audience on Reddit. But having said that, there are also examples of popular websites like Imgur that owe their very existence to their popularity on Reddit. Marketing on Reddit thus needs to be a carefully orchestrated process.
Understanding What Redditors Want
One of Reddit’s site guidelines read, “It’s perfectly fine to be a Redditor with a website, it’s not okay to be a website with a Reddit account.” In other words, it is perfectly alright to talk about your website or business once in a while. But if the sole purpose of your presence on Reddit is to spam about your site, then not only is your post likely to get downvoted, your account may also get suspended by the admins.
Reddit is a community of people who like to discuss and debate. Quite naturally, your marketing should be aimed at fostering discussion and engaging the community. Lily Cichanowicz writes in her ebook on marketing channels about the effectiveness of starting an AMA thread. AMA, or Ask Me Anything, is a popular Reddit discussion format where community members can ask and get answers to questions pertaining to topic areas of interest to the thread creator. For instance, if you own a shampoo brand, you could run an AMA thread on the HairCareScience subreddit about topics related to hair care. This invites a targeted group of Redditors to your thread who may then be exposed to your brand. But as it is with anything, be prepared to face cynical questions and those who hate your brand. How you deal with these questions can make or break your campaign.
Reddit has an entire subreddit dedicated to identifying shills who are paid to submit off-hand comments advertising businesses. Brands that are ‘caught in the act’ can have their brand equity ruined on the community since paying Redditors to subtly advertise your business is not looked upon favorably. One of the key elements for success in Reddit marketing is to be honest about your intentions while talking about your product. This way, you may protect your brand equity even if your marketing campaign itself does not succeed.
While marketing on Reddit generally requires a fair understanding of the community, there are a couple of marketing options for businesses that want to advertise explicitly. The organic way to do this is to make use of subreddits that are dedicated to coupons and freebies. The /r/coupons subreddit is home to over 50,000 redditors and is a fantastic platform to bring new customers to your business. While /r/freebies is nearly ten times as bigger, you must also know that users interested in freebies may not always turn out to be profitable customers. That’s a thin line you have to tread.
CEOs with an advertising budget may make use of the Reddit self-serve advertising platform. Reddit advertising works on a CPM (cost-per-thousand impressions) model and businesses can get started on advertising for as little as $5 a day. Businesses can pick and choose the subreddits they want to target and this gives businesses a great targeting platform for their products. All said and done, it is important to know that success on Reddit depends on how well you integrate with the community and engage with your fellow Redditors. If you are not an avid Redditor yourself, it is a good idea to hire someone who is already a highly active user to take care of your marketing efforts. This is extremely crucial for success in what is perhaps the most active online community.
This is a guest post. Andrew Morris is the founder and CEO of Flicmedia, a UK based small business marketing automation service. He is a regular blogger and has had his work previously published on outlets such as Entrepreneur, TheNextWeb and Business.com.