The Complete Guide to Marketing Your Business on Reddit
No matter what business you are in, the market is more competitive than ever. Every day, there are new companies emerging, each better than the last and possibly – better than you. It’s understandable why that would give a business owner a hard time and why it might make them feel just a little bit anxious. But instead of panicking, what you need to do is rise to the occasion. Two can play this game, and you can be just as competitive as any hot, young thing that comes out of the woodwork.
So the journey towards making your company attractive in the eyes of potential customers begins. The first step you need to take is finding new and innovative ways to market your business. Before taking a look at what you can change about the company, before adopting a new strategy, before anything else – look for new avenues of marketing and promotion. The easiest way is to take advantage of the internet; where can you find large congregations of people who might make a perfect target audience?
Of course, several answers are possible, but today, I want to focus on one in particular: Reddit. Reddit, which calls itself “the front page of the internet” is a very popular site that brings together groups of all kinds, whether for news, memes, or shared interests, like TV shows, music, politics, history, or literally anything else. If it exists, it probably has a board on Reddit.
It seems like the perfect marketing opportunity: just identify your target audience, and hit them with the marketing. Not so fast – there’s a catch, and that is that marketing on Reddit is a bitch. Why? Because Redditors hate it. Then again, most regular people say they do, and that never stopped anyone before, so let’s take a look at what you can do to get into the good graces of the good people on Reddit.
Step 1: Lurk and do your research
First thing’s first – you have to learn to crawl before you learn to walk, so in the beginning, stick to lurking in the shadows and doing research. Take the time to check out new subs, notice traffic patterns, see what the community is like, and take note of what flies and what doesn’t. If you’re there for enough time, there’s a big chance someone else will make an attempt to market themselves on the site, and you will have ample time – and a front row seat – to notice whether they succeed or if they’re ripped to shreds. I’m going to warn you right here that most of the time it’s the latter.
But that’s okay; it’s better to learn from others mistakes than from your own. Analyze their approach and see what went wrong. What was the kind of criticism they received?
- Too obvious?
- Too spammy?
- Too boring?
Anyway, you should spend days, or even weeks, observing from a (relative) distance and identifying your people, so to speak. Once you’ve secured your “target”, you can move on to the next step in your grand master plan.
Step 2: Be an active Redditor and engage with the community
Okay, so now you know which subreddits to target and where you are more likely to gain the most traction with your posts. That’s great! Now, you have to descend among the people and start mingling. Being an actual active user on Reddit is one of the most important aspects of this game plan, because it eliminates the possibility of you being flagged as a spammer or downvoted for being yet another douche who is just pretending to be part of the community, when their account has only existed for five minutes, and they’re already trying to sell something.
That means that you have to play the long con with this one and actually become involved in the community you are targeting. Read posts, comment, engage with other users, and gain their trust. You must establish yourself as part of the sub, not just a newbie with a hidden agenda. The benefits are twofold: a) people get to know you, because they’ve seen you around, and b) you acquire comment karma, which proves that you’ve been around for a while, people upvote you and you’re not a troll. This is essential.
Step 3: Don’t be cute; it’ll come back and bite you in the ass
Now I want you to pay attention to this part – you may be tempted to think that you can just shove your marketing pitch into a meme of some sort and elicit some laughter while selling your product or service. No, sir.
- Don’t be cute
- Don’t be a smart-ass
- Don’t use bad puns
- Don’t use memes
- Don’t piggyback on someone else do promote yourself
- Don’t make bad jokes
Each and every one of these things will fail miserably and you won’t get anywhere with your goal. Instead, you will annoy everyone and will reveal your end game (badly). All of these attempts are too obvious and they WILL backfire magnificently. You have been warned.
Step 4: Don’t underestimate the Redditors’ intelligence
This one goes with my previous point, but we need to really drill it in there, so you never do it: never underestimate the intelligence of Reddit users. Never. What I mean by this is that you shouldn’t treat them like you would regular people and plug your business wherever you can, thinking they won’t notice or they won’t care.
There is nothing Reddit users hate more than being tricked into clicking things, being marketed to under the pretense of some innocuous post, or being treated like they’re too dumb to recognize a sales pitch when they see one. Try any of these things and they will downvote you into oblivion, my friend, and it’s been nice knowin’ ya!
What you need to remember is that this bunch is not like others; most users on this website are college-educated, with at least a Bachelor’s Degree under their belt. This isn’t their first rodeo and they’re internet-savvy, so don’t treat them like you treat your Facebook audience, for example. Redditors are not very patient and they can be downright vicious with stuff they don’t like. There is a very specific set of things that “fly” on Reddit, and that’s what we’ll talk about in a second.
Step 5: Respect the rules of conduct and Reddit etiquette
While we’re at it, when you become active on Reddit, you can’t just do whatever you want; there are rules here, and you’d better respect them. Otherwise, you’ll get your ass handed to you so fast, it’ll make your head spin. Moderators are not shy about banning users for behavior that goes outside the Reddiquette. You’re probably thinking that you’re safe, because you’re not a troll, so there’s nothing to worry about, but think again – that’s not the only thing to look out for.
Every sub will also have their own specific rules that can get you kicked out, which may or may not include behavior towards other members, mentions of illegal activity, and even promotional content. This means you have to be extra careful as to not attract the wrath of the ban hammer.
Step 6: Present yourself in a different, unique way
So, you think you’re ready now. You’ve been lurking for a while, and you know everything there is to know: you’ve learned the ropes, you know how things work, you’ve identified your main subs, you’ve blended into the community, and now you want to step up and start doing your thing. Not so fast – making your regular presentation won’t cut it, here. You will either get ignored, or worse – downvoted, flagged, or even deleted. What you need, to attract the right kind of attention, is to make your marketing pitch in a unique way that will appeal to your fellow Redditors. Here’s what works:
- Genuine stories
- Artwork or photography
- Educational content
- Interesting or shocking facts
If you can frame your marketing content to be related to one of these things, you’re golden. Otherwise, I’m afraid you might not have a lot of luck seeing the light of day. Another aspect that is very important is what your business concerns itself with. What field do you operate in? If it’s something related to these things, you might just have a chance:
- Video games
If your company is already related, that’s the best case scenario. If it’s not, you can always present your content in such a way that it creates a connection to one of the most popular subs and to a popular form.
Step 7: Treat your fellow Redditors right
Treating them right starts with showing respect, which we covered under Reddit etiquette, and continues with not downvoting for no reason and, most important of all, not being stingy with the Reddit gold. Offer gold to the users who consistently show support for your company, because that will work out in your favor in a lot of ways, not least of which is the fact that you will increase loyalty among your fanbase. Reddit gold is just $5, but it makes a very good impression.
At the same time, if you conduct any sort of studies, polls, market research, etc. on the community, in order to use it for your company’s interests, be upfront and honest and be kind to the users. It’s a decent thing to do, but also a smart one, because you might impress them so much, that they become loyal to the brand.
Step 8: Purchase Reddit Ads
It’s a no-brainer, but Reddit Ads should be a given for anyone who is looking to market on this website. Why? Because they have a lot of exposure, and you get an increased chance of people clicking through to take a look at what you have to offer. There are plenty of people who are doing Reddit marketing right and who are selling products on Reddit. Keep an eye out for the ads that show up at the top of a sub and take a look at what they’re doing and what they’re offering. Just like you can learn from the mistakes of others who have failed before you, you can learn from the success of others who struck gold.
Moreover, Reddit advertising allows you to either restrict your ads to the subs that are your main targets, if your product is a niche one, or you can advertise to the whole of Reddit, if your company lends itself to that. That’s a lotta pairs of eyes that get to see your ad, and that major exposure can translate to:
- A wider following
- More clients
- Increased revenue
- More publicity
Step 9: Take the community head-on with an AMA (Ask Me Anything)
Finally, Reddit offers a unique kind of feature where it allows someone to conduct a questions and answers session with the Reddit community – AMA. So, you can present yourself as the representative for your company and open yourself up to questions of all kinds. If done right and with honesty, this can be a huge marketing boost for your business. Engaging with the community has a positive outcome 90% of the time, so take advantage of this excellent opportunity.