Despite being significantly smaller than Facebook or Twitter, Reddit is still one of the most popular and important social platforms on the web, with 56 billion page views a year. However, the value Reddit has doesn’t lie with the size of its user base, but with the way it segments those users.
Reddit is made up of hundreds of thousands of subreddits: communities, which discuss one topic or interest. There is a subreddit dedicated to pretty much every interest or niche you could imagine, as well as interests you probably didn’t even know existed.
The real value of this is that marketers working in almost any industry or niche can find and directly communicate with an active, engaged user base who actually care about what they have to say. This means that, when used intelligently, Reddit can drive large amounts of highly targeted, relevant traffic, as well as help a marketer build a community around a brand or company. This guide is going to give you an overview of some of the ways you can strategically use Reddit to spread brand awareness and connect with potential customers who care about what you do.
An Introduction to Reddit
Reddit is essentially a social content sharing platform. Its users share and create content, which is then judged by the wider community through Reddit’s voting system. Good content is voted up, which gains it more exposure, whereas spammy, uninteresting content is downvoted into oblivion. Anyone can sign up for a Reddit account and you don’t even need to enter an email address, although it is a good idea to do so, so that you can build up “karma” by contributing to the site. Good karma on your user profile shows other users that you are legitimate.
Reddit is comprised of countless subreddits, each of which is dedicated to a specific interest or topic. Some topics are incredibly niche and only have a couple of thousand subscribers, such as this subreddit dedicated solely to pictures of squirrels eating unusual things. However, more generic subreddits, like /r/funny have well over 7 million subscribers.
Once you’ve signed up to Reddit, you can start sharing things you think your chosen subreddits will value, such as links to interesting articles, infographics and pictures.
Driving Traffic from Reddit
When a piece of content gets enough upvotes, it will land on the front page of Reddit. Getting a link onto the front page of Reddit can drive server crashing amounts of traffic.
However, unless you’re concentrating solely on brand awareness (or your product has an almost universal appeal) driving this kind of traffic to your website will just result in a high bounce rate as what you have to offer will be meaningless to the vast majority of users.
Instead, you should be concentrating on driving highly targeted, relevant traffic, which will be engaged with what you have to say, and more importantly, sell. This is why subreddits are so important to us as marketers, as it allows us to attract very specific audiences.
For example, let’s say that your client is a web based sports memorabilia store. By posting interesting pieces or noteworthy stories about old sporting personalities in subreddits like /r/NFL or /r/baseballcards you can drive huge amounts of visitors who are very likely to engage with your brand, or even buy from you. For this reason, finding relevant communities and becoming part of them is an integral part of any Reddit marketing strategy.
Be Upfront About Your Marketing
According to research done by MVC 88% of Reddit users are university educated and many work in creative, web based industries. In other words, they are exactly the sort of people who are very aware of how Internet marketing works and are very sceptical of it.
Reddit has something of a reputation for being very hostile towards marketers attempting to use the platform, which you can see for yourself on the Hailcorporate subreddit, which is dedicated to mercilessly mocking marketing campaigns.
Black hatters can’t even spam the site; thanks to the clever anti-spam measures it has in place. As a result, the only way marketers can succeed on Reddit is by using it honestly. Hard sells and boring marketing content is always downvoted until it is removed, so the only way you can use Reddit to get traction for your content or product is by providing the community with real value and cultivating relationships with your potential audience.
Marketers are wrong when they think Reddit is inherently hostile to all marketing. It isn’t – it’s just hostile to crap marketing!
For example, Amazon and Nissan got great results out of this fantastic joint campaign, similarly stories of companies doing heartwarming things or talking about interesting facts also perform well. On Reddit marketing isn’t forbidden, it just needs to be positioned cleverly.
The sheer amount of content that gets created and shared on Reddit everyday means that some things are inevitably going to get buried, and will never get the chance to be upvoted. To be in with the best chance of performing well, your content needs to get infront as many people as possible, as each person who sees it is a potential upvote.
However, just like the way you time your Tweets has a huge effect on performance, posting at strategic times on Reddit can give your content a boost. The MVC research shows that 65% of Reddit users are from the US, and 48% of the total active user base are from the East Coast of America.
Therefore, it would make sense to time your posts to go out when it will have the biggest audience, such as early evening EST.
That said, you shouldn’t base your posting strategy entirely on that statistic. You should keep track of the response your content gets so that you can spot any patterns of behaviour.
Use Reddit to Listen
Reddit users that simply read the content and never post any of their own are known as “lurkers”. Just lurking, without posting anything at all, can be just as valuable for an online marketer as promoting content.
Reddit’s slogan is that it is the “front page of the internet”, and this boast is entirely justified. A lot of memes and content which goes viral originates on Reddit, and the Reddit community have a lot to do with way content gets spread across bigger platforms like Facebook and Twitter. There is a saying amongst Redditors that what we see on the front page today will trend on Twitter tomorrow, and Facebook a fortnight later!
As content creators, we need to stay up to date with the latest internet trends, and Reddit is pretty much the internet’s trendmaker! As well as this, the Reddit voting system gives you an opportunity to sit back and see how different kinds of content perform, so it can be a great way to gain inspiration for your own content and gauge how that content will perform across other platforms too.
Build Links with Reddit
A lot of (bad) marketers use Reddit as a place to pick up links, and while Reddit links can be “do-follow” once they get voted beyond a certain threshold, they certainly aren’t going to make a massive difference to your SEO performance. However, being part of the Reddit community can put your content in front of influencers who can help promote it and build natural links to it.
The links that will really count moving forward are organic, editorial links which are naturally earned on the merits of your content and products. Reddit is full of web-savvy influential people who run their own blogs and websites and have large social media followings. Redditors are the prime audience for your content if you want it to grow and build links. The fact that so much of the content which comes out of Reddit goes viral just shows that there are many internet tastemakers using Reddit.
Looking at Reddit’s link profile also shows us just how many web journos, bloggers and huge newspapers use the site to find newsworthy content. Therefore, it follows that sharing your content on Reddit is a fantastic way to help get it infront of the kind of people who can literally make or break a story and give you high-powered, contextual back links.
Tying it all Together
This article has hopefully given you a brief insight into Reddit, and given you some strategic ideas for using it as part of your marketing mix. However, the only way to really get to know a site as varied and big as Reddit is to jump in and get involved!
Before you start using it to market yourself or your clients, I suggest you set up your own personal account and spend a little time exploring what it has to offer and getting a sense of how the Reddit community works. The last thing you want to do is dive in, misjudge your target community and alienate yourself from thousands of potential customers!
If you’ve already had a lot of success using Reddit in the past, get involved in the comment section and tell us what tips and tricks you’ve found useful.