6 Ways You Can Use Reddit to Improve Your Marketing

By on January 13, 2015
redditMarketing

Reddit cannot compete with social platforms like Twitter or Facebook in terms of sheer user numbers, but it gives marketers something which these other sites don’t – an opportunity to reach highly specific groups of people according to their interests, for free. Reddit is made up of thousands of categories called subreddits which are centered on particular topics which users can subscribe to. Whatever the sector, be it mainstream (or very definitely niche) there will most probably be a subreddit dedicated to it. This means that in the hands of a good marketer, Reddit can be used to drive traffic to sites and to build a fan base who are at the forefront of creating online trends. Here is where Reddit comes into its own – unlike Facebook and Twitter, Reddit makes it easy for content to be shared with the right sort of people who are in turn likely to share anything of quality with other engaged and influential users.

So how can marketers start tapping into Reddit’s huge potential?

Reddit at a Glance

Essentially Reddit is a content sharing site. Users share original and relevant articles, pictures, sites or questions on subreddits where other readers can then vote to promote or demote it. This egalitarian system means that the best content naturally rises to the top of the page where it will gain more exposure, and the most popular posts according to peer votes win a spot on the coveted Reddit home page. On the other hand, the system also means that poor quality and spammy content will gain negative votes so consequently become less visible.

Reddit is one of the easiest online platforms to join in on – anyone can sign up for an anonymous account without needing to link it to an email address. However any serious redditor would want to have their account validated with an email as this enables you to start gaining Reddit ‘karma’ by posting high quality links and commenting on others’ posts. A good karma score shows that you are a legitimate redditor and consequently gives any content you share more trust.

Finding the right subreddit is the key to using Reddit effectively, both for casual users and for marketers. As we have explained, Reddit is broken down into many thousands of categorised subreddits which users subscribe to according to their interests. Some cater to very niche interests, like this one featuring photographs of aesthetically pleasing floors which has just over a thousand subscribers. Others are dedicated to subjects that most people would be interested in, such as the /r/jokes subreddit for sharing jokes, which has almost 2 billion subscribers. The ideal subreddit to share content on will have a balance between relevance to your field and popularity to ensure a decent amount of exposure.

Once you have chosen an appropriate subreddit you can start sharing content that might be interesting to the subscribers.

Relevancy over Volume

Many Reddit marketing guides are focussed on exploiting the system in order to get onto Reddit’s front page, as getting content displayed there can attract so much traffic that websites can get overwhelmed and crash.

However, unless you are marketing for general brand awareness, getting your content to Reddit’s front page will be of little use, as most people will bounce off your site if your content is irrelevant to them. By placing your content on an appropriate subreddit, you’ll be driving smaller amounts of highly relevant traffic.

For example, if you were marketing a company that sells cycling accessories, an insightful article on cycling trends posted on the subreddit of r/cycling will be read by people who have an active interest in cycling and will be more likely to care about what you have to say and more likely to visit your site or buy your product.

Your Content Must Be Valuable

Research shows that the majority of redditors are educated, affluent and tech-savvy professionals, i.e. the type of people who can see straight through cloaked marketing tactics and are generally wary of these practices. Unsurprisingly, Reddit and its users have gained a reputation for being hostile towards marketing attempts on the site, to the point that the subreddit /r/hailcorporate exists only to mock brands’ attempts at marketing within the community.

Consequently, the only way marketing attempts on Reddit can ever be successful is when they are completely transparent and honest. As discussed above, redditors are seasoned to covert marketing tactics, and any posts that seem spammy will be downvoted. Rather, trying to offer something of genuine value to a relevant group will create a dialogue with exactly the type of people who you are trying to reach build relationships with. Reddit is the perfect forum through which to develop positive brand awareness by showing users you have something of value to share with them.

Of course every rule has an exception, and if your company is genuinely doing something newsworthy or interesting, Reddit users’ interests aren’t all as specific as the subreddits they subscribe to might suggest. A PR piece which shows something innovative or funny can be very successful. A great example of Reddit marketing is the Nissan/Amazon joint campaign which got onto the Reddit front page. Similarly, more traditional PR pieces like companies’ good deeds CAN do well if correctly placed and approached.

Tip the Scales

Reddit’s users are creating and sharing millions of pieces of content every day but unfortunately most of these are only seen by a small number of people. Getting exposure on Reddit is a bit of a chicken/egg question as the more upvotes a post gets the more it is seen, but in order to get these upvotes it needs to be seen by people in the first place.

That being said, all is not lost and there are still ways to maximize your content’s exposure on Reddit. Just as tweets and Facebook posts are scheduled to go out at particular times, the data we have can help clever marketers to maximize Reddit’s potential. The previously mentioned research shows that 65% of all redditors are American, and 48% of users are located on the East Coast of the United States. Try and post content when the majority of users will be active on the site, for example early evening on the East Coast of the US to give your posts the best chance of success.

However, no matter what the statistics say, you should study your chosen subreddits to see when they’re busiest and when posts seem to become popular. Anything you can learn about the culture of the subreddit you’re trying to reach could be useful.

Stick Around

Promoting content is a great way to use Reddit as a marketer, but it’s by no means the only way. Reddit is also useful as a place to gain inspiration for future content and to learn about what types of content do well, or not so well.

Reddit’s claim that it is ‘The frontpage of the Internet’ is well earned, as many of the most famous memes and other viral pieces which get spread across the internet were originally created for Reddit or found their first big exposure there. Redditors like to say that the things you see on the front page or Reddit today will be trending on Twitter tomorrow!

Reddit is literally the place that the internet trends all marketers wish they could predict are born.

Can Reddit Help SEO?

No matter what questionable SEO sites say, using Reddit to gain backlinks will probably be of very little benefit to you, and is probably not a great option to rely on for improving your SERPs. Still, as discussed above, being a legitimate part of the Reddit community with something of value to contribute will get your content out in front of the right sort of people. Reddit users are web-savvy and always looking for quality content to share with interested internet users on their blogs and websites. The vital part that Reddit and its users play in creating viral content means that sharing your content with the right redditors can be a great way to benefit your SEO through people writing about your content and building links to it. Web journalists and bloggers are constantly trawling Reddit for newsworthy or interesting content, so make sure your best stuff is on there for them to find and write about!

Putting Reddit into Practice

Hopefully this article has made clearer the workings of Reddit and how as marketers we can use it effectively. The best thing to do is just to get started and begin experimenting with how Reddit can be best used for your client or company.

Reddit takes some time to get used to so it is best to set up a personal account and play around to learn the ropes before having a go in your capacity as a marketer. The last thing you want to do is misjudge a piece of content and end up alienating Redditors.

If you’re a marketer who is already seasoned in using Reddit as part of your strategy, join in in the comments section and let us know your best Reddit tips!

About Scott Masson

Scott is a writer, internet marketer and all-round tech nerd. When he’s not writing about marketing, he enjoys playing music and learning Mandarin Chinese.
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