Reddit is a hugely popular social media platform with almost 1,700 million active monthly users. Despite this, few businesses market on the platform — and with good reason. It is difficult to enter the community as a business, as users (or redditors) are against all obvious attempts to market to them. Furthermore, redditors are not looking to buy anything; rather, they want to be informed and entertained.
In other words, to be successful on Reddit, you need a strategy unlike what you use elsewhere.
Why Should You Want to Be on Reddit?
To appreciate why Reddit has great potential, you need to understand more about how it works. Unlike other social media platforms, redditors don’t follow other users much — they follow subreddits. Each subreddit has a different theme or area of interest. These are as broad as science and futurology to as obscure as “untrustworthy poptarts” and “accidental renaissance.”
Users can view just the subreddits they follow or check out “All” or “Popular” to see trending content. If something you post has enough attention to reach the main page, you can expect a huge amount of traffic. However, for almost all businesses, this is an unreasonable goal. It is far better to aim to gain the interest of users in a subreddit. By posting in appropriate subreddits, you can connect with users who have a passion for your niche, and then show off your expertise.
Creating a Strategy
Step 1: Set Up an Account
As Reddit is more about what you post rather than who you are (all but celebrities and brands tend to be anonymous), there are no separate accounts for businesses. This means you need to set up a regular account with your brand name.
To finish setting up your account, all you need to do is subscribe to subreddits. Consider what subreddits are likely to be popular with your audience and subscribe to these. This will give you a chance to start interacting with redditors and find out what people are talking about. You may well find inspiration for your content strategy.
Step 2: Ask Questions
On Reddit, you can post text, images, GIFs, videos, and links. To begin building rapport, it’s good practice to stick to text posts only. A top strategy is to ask your audience questions. Be sure to ask things you actually want to know. This way, you can learn more about users who make up your customer base.
Asking questions is a much better way to develop your brand image on Reddit than posting links to your website straight away. If it appears like you’re trying to make a sale, redditors will downvote you and ruin your “karma.” This has the same effect on the platform as poor SEO.
Step 3: Start Posting Other Content
Once you’ve built up a presence, start varying the content you post. Continue making it clear that you’re not self-promoting by posting links to other websites than just your own.
Step 4: Respond to Comments
On other social media platforms, it’s a good idea to respond to occasional comments to encourage engagement. However, it may not be a major part of your strategy. Reddit is different. Users expect you to form a part of the conversation, giving feedback and answering their questions. The platform is all about sparking discussions — even discussions within discussions.
Step 5: Throw in the Occasional Marketing Post
Whereas the majority of your content should entertain, you can occasionally market a product or service. Usually, you need to avoid making it obvious that you’re just trying to sell your own products. For instance, you can take the position that a blog post you wrote solves a problem and within the blog post you can mention your product.
If you have already shown that you are involved in the Reddit community — you post useful content all the time and converse with other users — you can also throw in promotional posts. Redditors often look favorably on big discounts and other offers.
Step 6: Don’t Get Banned
Each subreddit has its own rules. If you break these rules, you will be banned either temporarily or permanently. This means you’ll no longer be able to post or comment on the subreddit. Avoid being banned by reading the rules before you post anything and by making sure what you want to post is appropriate for the subreddit. If it isn’t, there’s no shortage of alternatives for which the content will be better-suited.
Furthermore, Reddit has no problem banning accounts from the platform entirely. This will happen if you act like a spammer — such as if you only post links to your website, if you post the same comment in multiple subreddits, or you are just too promotional with your posts. Worse still, if you are banned from the platform, links from your domain may also be banned.
Building a presence on Reddit takes time and effort. If you have patience and are willing to adhere to best practices (rather than diving in with the strategy you use for other platforms), you’ll likely find success. It’s a great opportunity to reach a huge number of users who may be active online for many hours of the day. Plus, if you are small or midsize business (SMB), there’s a good chance that none of your competitors are even on the platform, allowing you to stand out.