I’ve been inspired to do a post about Reddit marketing ever since I had a discussion with a failing business owner a couple of months ago. A failing business owner who works in a lucrative niche that’s very prevalent on thousands of subreddits right now.
I gasped when this guy told me “Yeah I’ve got a Facebook page that gets some visits once in a while” after I’d asked him if he did any online marketing. This fella is my age and spends most of his day sitting behind the counter at his store browsing the Internet and whining about how slow business is. He’s at least two years behind on his taxes too, as I found out after learning the government was the recipient of all his debit/credit card transactions!
This guy has issues, running a storefront thinking customers would just walk in off the street like they did back in the 90s, with zero online presence for his business. Worse, he works in the vaping industry and independents like him largely make their money in selling their own proprietary ejuice blends to online customers.
The guy had no clue what Reddit was when I told him that all his closest competitors had active subreddits and regularly contributed to other subreddits including AskReddit which are just teaming with eager customers willing to buy from the right marketers. The sight has a whopping 250 million users, 8 billion monthly pageviews, with the majority of users spending at least 13 minutes on the site every time they visit.
Reddit users are drawn to the site like gamers to a console — they simply can’t resist their compulsion to visit, read and post!
However, marketers are the bane of the Reddit community; you have to know what the heck you’re doing and how to get through to the them in order to profit. Reddit is perhaps the only remnant of the old-school forum marketing days of 2005 – 2009, with perhaps a few other niche exceptions.
Here’s my best tips to make bank on Reddit without alienating this very tempestuous and angry community of consumers:
1. Join Reddit and verify your email.
An obvious first step is to join, using a username that identifies your brand name without making you look like a diphead marketer. “Lovelylacegowns” is great — “Buylovelylacegowns” just sounds cheesy and too sales-driven. The fact that your email is verified will be showcased on your profile page, which interested users will read, so don’t skip this step — credibility is very important on “The Frontpage of the Internet” that is Reddit.
2. Start posting in subreddits where your authority will shine.
Do NOT start posting links to your site! Every comment you make, every link you post, every subreddit you start, will be stored on your profile page for all to see. As a new Reddit member or someone who hasn’t posted much yet, you need to build up credibility with upvotes and karma points before actively marketing anything.
I’ll go deeper into this in a minute, but for now, you’re going to build up trust by answering questions, making relevant comments, and by considering to start interesting subreddits of your own to gain sway in the community. Link out to content relevant to the subreddits you’re posting in, which answer burning questions that are being asked within the community.
3. Start your own subreddit without marketing your brand.
Understand your audience before posting something though:
- Reddit users are male.
- Ages ranging between the ages of 35-44 (with 25-34 year-olds not far behind).
- Users have average income levels between $25,000-$50,000 per year.
- Most active users have a bachelor’s degree or some college.
- The majority of Reddit users are located in the U.S., with most coming from the San Francisco and Seattle area, with UK and Canada following close behind.
You have to be very careful. They’re smart, averse to direct marketing, and quick to downvote your posts. Once this starts to become a trend with you, your account will be destroyed as the pack mentality that exists on the forum systematically seeks to destroy your reputation (karma) and chase you off the site forever. You’re not ready to even start marketing your brand yet!
Post content that’s relevant and hasn’t been done to death. Make sure it’s long, engaging, and very thoroughly researched unless you’re posting funny stuff — which can also resonate with the group. Use AskReddit to identify what people are asking about and try to find content that satisfies those burning questions.
4. Start a subreddit for your brand.
Next step, after you’ve spent some months building your account reputation, you can start an official introduction/review thread or AMA (Ask Me Anything) related your brand or industry. It’s important to look at brands in your niche and how they conduct themselves in these types of threads, there’s this little thing called “Reddiquette” that can make or break your first attempts at gaining subreddit subscribers, karma points, and ultimately paying customers to your website. Basically, tell everyone what you do, how to get in touch (your website’s link), invite questions, offer a special Reddit-only discount or similar incentive, and invite reviews from customers.
Don’t ask for upvotes or karma and always respond to all questions and comments with the utmost professionalism. Remember, there’s a crowd mentality going on here. Once one person starts flaming you, it will be very hard to recover. Treat this crowd like you did the popular kids on the playground when you were in public school — make them angry and you’ll be getting picked on until you graduate college!
5. Follow the 20:1 rule for direct linking to your brand.
Unless you’ve established a massive pool of karma points — and established yourself as a regular user first, and an occasional marketer of your ‘trusted’ brand second, NEVER attempt to double dip the proverbial chip that is the link to your brand’s page! Once you’ve established a great intro/review thread and it doesn’t get downvoted into the pits of hell-fire, let that thread do it’s job and promote your brand. You can link out to your page in other subreddits (including AskReddit) but you have to be very careful not to do it often.
Twenty regular, relevant and non promotional links for every one promotional link is a great strategy for not getting kicked out of the community. You can link out to guest posts you make on blogs or social posts, or the occasional non-promotional link to content on your own blog, but you have to be careful. Reddit users are always looking to sniff out a rat and start a riot, and will scan your posting and link history looking for patterns that indicate you’re a greedy marketer looking for traffic and signups.
Once you develop a loyal follow of brands like Coca Cola, L’Oreal, Marvel, Ebay, and many others on the platform, you’ll be granted much more leeway — but treat it like a marriage for now (ie., it takes years to develop a great, lasting relationship).
Marketers: Be VERY careful on Reddit!
If you follow the steps listed above and spend lots of time establishing your credibility by adhering to the written and unwritten codes of “Reddiquette” on the site, you will one day be successful at marketing on Reddit.
Just make sure you never forget that its users hate marketers. You really only get one shot — don’t get greedy and jump right in with the hungry sharks. Take your time and never stop researching ways to connect with the crowd and increase your Reddit karma!
Main Image Credit: Petr Sejba/Flickr