Reddit is one of the largest social media outlets online, and they have an incredible potency in terms of traffic and focused, interested users. They also have high-profile visitors, including many celebrities and stars from all walks of life. Just look at some of the AMAs they’ve done for an idea.
All of this combines to make Reddit one of the most potent possible sources of social marketing… if you can pull it off. That’s really the trick, isn’t it? Reddit, you see, has a vendetta against marketing. They have rules against self-promotion and marketing posts, and you can very easily find your account banned for being too promotional. Try it too often, be banned repeatedly, and you’ll end up blocked permanently from the site. You might even find your URL added to a filter to keep anyone from even discussing you.
To the uninitiated, Reddit can be somewhat confusing. What’s up with all the weird staggered indentations? Where do you go to post what you want to post? How come there are sections dedicated to one or two posts, while other sections have hundreds per day?
Picture reddit as a field full of holes. Some holes only go an inch or two into the ground. Some are barely more than indentations in the surface of the ground. Some are deep pits that may as well have no bottom. Each individual hole is a “sub-reddit.” Each sub-reddit is dedicated to a specific topic. Some topics are incredibly general and vague, like everything related to video games, or everything related to movies. Others are incredibly narrow, like gifs of tires doing strange things.
Obviously, the bigger the sub-reddit, the more people there are participating, and the better it would be for marketing. So, there’s goal #1: locate the appropriate sub-reddit for your message.
Posts on Reddit are sorted by a vote system. Individual users can choose to upvote or downvote a given post. A post with too many downvotes will drop below a visibility threshold. Posts that are voted up are sorted such that the posts with the most votes rise to the top. It has nothing to do with number of replies, beyond the fact that a thread with good replies will tend to receive more upvotes over time. So goal #2 would be to make sure your posts are upvote-worthy.
Users on Reddit also accumulate something called Karma. On the site, your Karma is an indication of the general quality of what you post. Earning upvotes by posting quality content will earn you Karma, and an account with high Karma will tend to receive the benefit of the doubt in disputes. So goal #3 would be to grow your Karma.
There are other aspects to consider, like the premium Reddit Gold, a paid version of Reddit. Gold allows you to see new comments since your last visit highlighted yellow, it allows you to track visited links across multiple computers, it notifies you when you’re mentioned in comments and it comes with a bunch of other benefits. These are not necessary to success on Reddit, but they make life more convenient. Being a Gold member won’t protect you from being banned, however, so don’t think of it as a shield.
According to Ignite, Reddit is dominated by males between the ages of 25-44, skewing slightly in the older direction, above 35. The median income levels hover under $50K annually, though the average user has a college degree. Also, Reddit is heavily US-centric. That said, individual subreddits can be skewed very differently, such as sections dedicated to predominantly female topics, or sections dedicated to higher income issues.
Appealing to these users can be tricky. Most of them spend a lot of time online, so they are well aware of most of the common tricks used to gain attention. You have to be subtle and clever, and your offering has to be unique.
Oh, and one side-note; Reddit doesn’t particularly like URL shorteners. There’s no character limit, and users like to see the site they’re visiting before they click. A shortened URL is liable to be downvoted or ignored.
Before you dive into posting on Reddit, take the time to lurk. Lurking means watching, reading, learning the rules and etiquette before you begin to post. You don’t want to make mistakes and get off to the wrong foot.
You should also take the time to establish yourself as a person. As the Reddit rules themselves say; it’s okay to be a redditor with a website; it’s not okay to be a website advertising on Reddit.
So, locating sub-reddits. First, identify any broad topics into which your industry falls. For example, a blogger might be able to post in various writing, copywriting, marketing, blogging and general Internet sub-reddits.
Second, search for any applicable sub-reddits. Chances are they exist; you can even try to guess their names by typing something like www.reddit.com/r/yourkeywordhere/.
Third, monitor and lurk in these sub-reddits. How much traffic do they see on a daily basis? Who are the primary influencers posting new content? Who are the people most frequently commenting? These people are doing something right, so study how they act.
If you have something particularly interesting to post, you can also find general interest sub-reddits, like /r/todayIlearned or /r/IAMA, which is “I am a:” Q&A specialized board.
The first thing you should know is that Reddit is the king of clickbait titles. The site is where they essentially emerged, and it’s not uncommon to see a bait-and-switch clickbait title leading to a video or gif that subverts expectations. That does not mean, however, that you can bait-and-switch into an ad, or that you can post blatant advertising as long as it’s clickbait-styled.
Another thing to keep in mind is that, while Reddit loves memes, businesses and memes often don’t mix. It’s hard to keep in touch with the modern memes (Advice animals have been outdated for months now) and posting an old meme comes across as trying way too hard. It can and will result in downvotes and mockery.
In general, focus on posting interesting content.
Posting good content and becoming a contributing member of the site is essential. It’s a good idea to allow your community manager a free hand to be a real person, rather than a corporate spokesman. Redditors can look up your post history – it’s all public – and if you’ve done nothing but be self-promotional, you’re going to face the music of bad Karma.
One trick you can use is to reward users for their beneficial comments with Gold, which can be bought for other users for $5. It’s a cheap way to reward your advocates, and it can encourage positive communication.
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