Whether you work in marketing, tech or the public sector, you should be on reddit.
Reddit is one of the largest online communities to date. In May 2015, reddit had 172,710,261 unique visitors hailing from 215 different countries. Put simply, the site contains an impressive amount of diverse information that is applicable to any possible demographic or audience. Completely generated by user content with text posts or direct links, the site is used for entertainment, news and networking. A large amount of celebrities are active “redditors” (reddit users) for personal and promotional use. Snoop Dogg, who is also an investor, is incredibly active on reddit along with Scrubs star Zach Braff.
With such a large audience looking to engage and interact with others, why wouldn’t all companies be flocking to this unbelievably popular site to market their brand? The reason is because the reddit community is one of a kind – not to mention they shut down blatant marketing attempts and take a strong stance against promotional spam.
As a marketer, you have to conform to reddit if you want to effectively engage the community. Just as it is easy to spot a tourist in a foreign country, redditors can spot a non-redditor right off the bat. Reddit is also great about posting the rules and best practices for self-promotion on the site.
For any first-time user, reddit can seem very overwhelming. There is an array of terms, best practices and guidelines to reddit that can be confusing to sort through. After a quick run-down of fundamentals and a little practice, you’ll become a redditor in no time.
Think of reddit as a city. There are thousands of people that live in different neighborhoods, shop at different grocery stores and attend different schools and jobs. All of these places we visit expose us to different information. These places are just like subreddits. Subreddits are topic-based communities where users submit posts, which can then be commented and voted on. Users can also create and subscribe to any subreddit, allowing users to easily follow the information they are interested in.
Subreddits are very important to marketing on reddit. Each subreddit is unique in its following, culture, rules and content. In its entirety, all redditors may not care about your brand, but there are specific subreddits filled with supporters that will go nuts when they hear from you.
Anyone can vote for (upvote) or against (downvote) any post on reddit, giving the post a positive or negative score which affects its position in a subreddit thread. While votes do matter, comments are much more valuable from a marketing standpoint.
Comments are the royalty of reddit. Comments are where you will find the feedback (and criticism) as well as valuable ideas, advice and information. Redditors are very comment-oriented, often sharing personal experiences, links to additional information, photos and additional questions. If a post is being downvoted like crazy, review the comments and replies for insight.
How to Engage Customers on Reddit
There are multiple avenues to reach potential consumers, share your story and one-up your competition on reddit – everything from doing an AMA to answering a question on AskReddit.
Ask Me Anything (AMA)
The AMA subreddit can be an incredibly successful awareness tool. These threads begin when someone shares a personal aspect or story, initiating a conversation where redditors ask questions via comments. The goal of AMA is to gain a sense of transparency with the person and the company they work for or with. One very important aspect to note is that AMA truly stands for ask me anything. That means the good, bad AND the ugly.
A great example of marketing through AMA is astronaut Chris Hadfield. In his introduction he narrows in on a specific aspect of his job and mentions the avenues through which users can support space exploration.
Hadfield answered questions openly and honestly, even if they didn’t have to do with his current mission. And though there is no guarantee, it is presumable that reddiots at the very least clicked on the link, if not began following his Twitter and Facebook accounts.
For an example of what not to do on AMA, we have Brian Krzanich, CEO of Intel, who attempted to follow Bill Gates successful AMA debut. Within a few minutes, redditors were not happy with Krzanich, who only answered questions in which he could comment positively about Intel and ignored all other questions – which was too easy for his audience to see through. For more examples of what NOT to do, check out Mashable’s 7 AMAs That Went Horribly Wrong.
There are thousands of subreddits, including some dedicated to marketing. But the biggest benefit of subreddits for marketers is the opportunity to share expertise (thought leadership), gain feedback and expose your brand – all absolutely free! A fantastic example of classic reddit marketing happened in 2014 when a man posted in the Android subreddit about his Galaxy S4 catching on fire. Samsung failed to send him a replacement phone as promised, and that is when HTC swooped in to save the day.
Smooth move HTC, smooth move…
AskReddit is designed for users looking for answers, recommendations, tips and more from the reddit community. Consider it your very own focus group. The trick with AskReddit is to not ask brand-specific questions. For example, this thread asked what not to eat at fast food restaurants rather than what people would like to see on Wendy’s menu. Asking more general, open-ended questions will spur better ideas and feedback, rather than short, straight answers.
It’s no secret that journalists (like the rest of us!) love reddit. It allows brands to interface with not only those using products, but also those talking about products on other channels. Most of the viral content you see on your Facebook feed from sources like BuzzFeed and Huffington Post was on reddit about a week before. Some of the web’s most popular viral memes were born on reddit as well, like the Overly Attached Girlfriend. Bottom line: if you’re a content marketer looking for viral content, you should already have reddit up in another tab.
Reddit has a huge presence worldwide and ads on the site are viewed by thousands everyday. Ads are sold on a CPM (cost per thousand impressions) basis, which means you are charged a flat fee for every 1,000 impressions. Rates vary depending on target audience, which are offered by interest group, subreddit, country and U.S. city. With prices starting at $0.75, it is reasonably affordable to advertise on the site. For more information on advertising options, click here.
Reddit can be a gold mine for marketing opportunities for the right brands. To see if it’s a good fit for your business, create an account and follow subreddits relevant to your organization or industry. After you’ve spent some time listening and getting familiar with the rules and best practices, ask yourself if reddit is a good fit. If so, use it sparingly to engage customers, learn what they’re thinking and for crowdsourcing ideas.