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Reddit - A Tech Marketer’s Box of Delights

If you’re not using Reddit for marketing - or Reddit has been confusing the heck out of you, then we’ve written this just for you. Because Reddit is continuing to grow, and grow quickly. In April 2018, there were 1.52 billion visits to Reddit. And the subscribers just keep on coming. An article by Statistica describes the growth as “explosive.”

But what exactly is Reddit? Reddit is a platform - a giant forum of news and views which represent every imagined area of interest - where subscribers do ‘have their say’ on every topic known to humankind. Reddit itself looks much like a traditional forum in terms of posting topics and leaving comments all in the form of a digital discussion, but it’s divided into subtopics called ‘subreddits.’ Subreddits are individual message boards or sub-communities with a specific topic. Every single subreddit is hosted by a moderator, and every moderator has come up with his/her own rules for posting and general behavior.

Yes, this is a super strict system, but it is way popular!

There are currently over 1.2 million of these subreddits. That number speaks for itself. The top subreddit is ‘announcements’ with over 21 million subscribers.The old saying “there’s an app for that” can now be replaced by “there’s a subreddit for that.”

And here’s why it matters: when used strategically, Reddit is the platform with a self-generated market to tap into - that can rock your strategy in marketing; it is an outstanding platform to promote your clients’ everything. Consider Reddit to be your new favorite tool in your marketing tool chest. But beware! It’s not as easy as it sounds.

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How Does Reddit Work?

You don’t have to subscribe and create an account to look through Reddit; in fact, we’d advise that before you wade in - get used to the Reddit community and their way of doing things. Being a ‘Reddit lurker’ can be very useful in assessing your audience.

When you are ready to subscribe, you create an account. You can then subscribe to specific topics and post comments. Creating an account is pretty straightforward, and one of the features of Reddit is that you can create a pseudonymous identity.

Once you have a Reddit account, you can subscribe to subreddits, begin building your ‘karma’ points by commenting on other posts, ‘upvote’ and ‘downvote’ posts and comments. And once you have enough karma points, you can even start posting yourself and create your own subreddit - if you have the time and energy since it’s not an insignificant amount of work!

A shout out to marketers, there’s a lot for you on Reddit; so let’s get started.

The Dark Side of Reddit

What is so dark about Reddit?

Every Reddit and subreddit is run and policed with super strict rules about posting and proper conduct on the platform. If the subreddit moderators don’t call you out, the subreddit regulars will, and there are few second chances here. If you are a rule breaker, the consequences will likely include negative comments, downvotes, muting, or blocking.

Worst Case Scenarios:

  • Being banned can be time-limited or forever. When you join a subreddit, take the time to read the rules; each subreddit has its own set of rules. Clickbait will get you banned - so be sure not to even go there!
  • Watch out for the dreaded ‘subreddit AutoModerator bot’ - a machine-based system that uses rules to spot misuse.  
  • The much feared ‘shadow ban’ is a site-wide ban typically used on those deemed to be spammers. It is the marketers’ hell. You can still post and make comments, but unknown to you, no one else can see them. If you ever suspect you have been shadow banned, check out this tool.

Long story short: Redditors are very finicky about their rules and guidelines and don’t like users that don’t follow them. Don’t mistake Reddit with other social media channels such as Facebook or Twitter, where basically everything is allowed.

The Bright Side of Reddit

The seemingly strict nature of Reddit is also the reason for its rise in popularity. And the benefits stand out here too. Functioning more like a community than a corporation, discussions are both serious and fun which makes it easier to reach out and draw in your target audience.

The ‘Home’ page of Reddit is the marketers’ dream place and goal. Content that is deemed the best from the other million plus subreddits will be placed on the home page for subscribers to see. The content is subscriber-dependent, so you only see content you are interested in. So, for example, if a person is subscribed to r/cybersecurity, r/privacy r/technology their home page will show the most popular posts from those subreddits on their homepage.

If used strategically, Reddit will become your next favorite marketing tool to increase your website traffic. If you choose your subreddits well, the Reddit users you are involved with will be those who are genuinely interested in your target area. As is always the case, a great post will engage that audience and build your profile and karma. But with Reddit, you have direct access to your audience and have the potential to become an influencer within that community.

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So What’s the Secret Sauce to Promote Your Client’s Content?

Our Top 9 Tips to get Reddit right

  • #1 Become a “Redditor”

Build up your voice slowly - and deliberately - over time. To become a ‘Redditor,’ you should start off by making comments on others posts and upvoting before posting yourself.

Research and subscribe to subreddits that your audience is involved in. Your goal is to become known as a domain expert and influencer with your insightful comments. Let people come to you.

  • #2 Know the reddiquette

Here’s what you need to know:  

#1 If you want to post something, make sure someone hasn’t already posted the same thing; repeated posts are absolutely a no-go.

#2 You can cross-post on multiple subreddits, but only if it is relevant to everyone.

#3 Reddit defines spam as anything that is repeated, unwanted, and/or unsolicited actions. Even posting articles from the same source is considered spam - making it very easy to be banned. If you post, for example, different company blog posts all originating from the same source - even a week apart - you will likely be spammed; we learned this the hard way.

  • #3 Know your relevant subreddits

The search: With 1.2 million subreddits to choose from, the biggest hurdle to maximizing both your marketing content and influence is to pick your subreddits wisely.

The right choice: Once you find a list of seemingly appropriate subreddits, check them carefully to be sure that the content is relevant, there are plenty of subscribers, and the group is active.

  • #4 Share your knowledge through comments

Make useful, engaging comments to get upvoted. This will not only feed into your karma but will win you ardent followers.

  • #5 Share your knowledge with owned content

The golden rule on Reddit about sharing content is the 1 in 10 rule: only share content once in every ten submissions. Sharing external content is the goal - so make it relevant and anything but ‘vanilla’ in flavor to the audience within the subreddit.

  • #6 Boost your karma

Karma is king on Reddit so work hard to gain karma points. Karma is achieved through posting, comments, and being upvoted. But other unknown factors are also thrown into the mix – check out the post on rule updates.

Getting an upvote will increase your karma; you need 30 karma points to start your own subreddit. To increase your points, post in subreddits with a larger number of subscribers and as appropriate, use images to get noticed and upvotes.

  • #7 Choose the right post type

Posting on Reddit is simple enough - with 3 basic types of posts:

  • Text posts – continuing text only
  • Visual posts – containing videos and images
  • Link posts – which link to either other internal Reddit pages or external web content
  • #8 Advertise on Reddit

It happens - we know. When organic traffic isn’t enough for you, Reddit Advertising is your starting point for creating paid ads. Reddit offers paid targeted marketing which helps build campaigns based on your audience. The ads pop up on the side of the subreddit communities you target. Choose from:

  •        Brand awareness and reach
  •        Traffic
  •        Conversions

Tailor the ad by location, interest, and subreddit. You can also target the device used and the time of day. The rest is up to you to make the ad what it needs to be.

  • #9 Post, analyze, test, repeat

Using Reddit for successful marketing is all about experimentation and analysis. Don’t worry if you get banned once, or even twice – you usually will get reinstated quickly. The important thing is to learn from your experiments. A general rule of thumb is to:

  •        Build landing pages with relevant content that you can send to your Reddit audience.
  •        Use with Google Analytics to make sure that your Reddit audience is engaging with the content.
  •        Use A/B testing to make changes to the content to see what works best. Check it against various subreddits to see which audience is most engaged.

What to Remember About Reddit

With few second chances on Reddit, go with our deliberate posting rule: post content with caution and intention.

Let’s agree that it’s not the easiest of platforms to use, but, if you master Reddit, it holds a veritable mine of golden opportunities to build relationships with your customers and create a killer brand.

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