Using Reddit for Marketing

Do you go to Reddit often? Reddit is a gigantic source of content, organized into smaller categories called subreddits. Users vote up content they like. Popular content can be seen by tens of millions.

Such a large site can play a powerful role in your SEO efforts. But there’s a right and wrong way to use Reddit. Here’s what you need to know about using Reddit as part of your internet marketing strategies:

Don’t be Deceptive

Reddit has a large community of users. A surprisingly high amount of users are very dedicated to finding hidden marketing efforts. These folks even have their own subreddit called r/hailcorporate.

Some common attempts at “guerilla marketing” include:

Personally, I recommend brands stay away from this type of undercover marketing. While you can probably gain a little traction with a post here and there, this strategy is usually a waste of time.

Most likely, Reddit users will eventually figure out what you’re doing. The resulting negative PR will likely have more of an impact than the positive PR you might have accumulated. The potential rewards are, at best, slightly increased brand exposure – which really isn’t worth the risk of what could be an internet brand shaming.

So, be upfront that you’re representing your brand. My personal philosophy is to be “upfront, but not obnoxious.” I usually create a Reddit account specifically for only brand related use. Whenever possible, I use the brand name in the account name as directly as possible.

There’s no particular reason to hide the account’s association with the brand. In fact, being upfront in that way actually seems less deceptive than any attempt to appear unaffiliated.

Develop a Customer Profile

In order to connect with your audience, you need to know who they are and what concerns they have. You’ll need to understand their “voice” and behavior online. The best way to get to know your customer is to create a Customer Persona.

This a fictional customer you base your marketing around. The profiles contains age, gender, interests, hobbies and other demographic info. If you need an overview of how to create a Customer (also called Buyer) Persona, check out The Power of Buyer Personas.

Find the Right Subreddits

There are two types of subreddits you’ll want to look for.

Subreddits Related to your Industry

No matter what you do, you’ll likely find at least one subreddit dedicated to your industry. You’ll want to subscribe and contribute posts (we’ll discuss that later) to any and all industry subreddits.

There are two ways to find them. You can use Reddits own subreddit search bar. This should give you a list of all relevant subreddits.

Personally, I find all of Reddit’s internal search functions to be a bit lacking at times. I recommend also using a major search engine as backup. Search for your industry plus “reddit. You might find something your other search didn’t reveal.

Subjects Not Related to Your Industry

This where your Customer Profile comes into play. You should have a pretty good idea of what other interests your customers have such as TV shows they like, music they’re interested in and other favorites. Check out what subreddits are available.

This can be a little tricky. While these subreddits likely contain people interested in your brand, you might not necessarily know anything about the topic. For instance, don’t pretend to be a huge Game of Thrones fan just so you can slip a product reference into something you post on r/GameofThrones. Redditors generally don’t go for any type of blatant promotion like that.

(To be fair, if you’re not a huge Game of Thrones fan, you should really check it out. It’s great!)

Connecting with Others

Alright, you’re now a “Redditor.” Your account is directly tied to your brand. Now you want to start interacting with potential customers. But you don’t want to just start selling.

Instead, you want to build a deeper connection with subreddits related to your industry. Feel free to join in on any discussions. Remain professional — don’t get into rude arguments with people, of course – but feel free to be yourself. Always try to be helpful and cultivate a reputation for industry know-how.

This helps your brand for a few reasons. Many subreddits, especially ones related to specific industries, are small enough that an interesting, frequent poster can become relatively well-known in the community.

Also, a profile with a lot of account karma is often taken more seriously. Accounts with almost no activity or post history are often treated with suspicion as marketing shells.

Generally, post on Reddit fairly often. Frequent Reddit use shows that you’re not just attempting to use the community to promote yourself. Instead, you’re a member of the community yourself. People will appreciate that more than a hard sell.

Host an AMA

This stands for Ask Me Anything and it’s one of Reddit’s most popular features. Even President Obama once held a record-setting AMA.

While your AMA probably won’t be busy as the one from POTUS, you still might be able to draw a sizable audience. The best bet is usually an AMA about your industry expertise. Offer the readers helpful tips and the potential to teach them something new. For instance:

“I’m a Professional Landscaper. AMA about Home Lawn Care.”

“AMA a Professional Dentist about How to Take Care of Your Teeth.”

Mention your brand in the initial copy at the top of the AMA. But mainly concentrate on providing helpful, friendly answers. If you create a popular AMA, your brand can gain a lot of good publicity.

Reddit is a Unique Place to Market with the Potential for Big Rewards

You can’t simply create a Reddit account and start dropping your brand name all over Reddit. The community will ignore you at best and, to be honest, possibly turn on you at worse.

But there are likely plenty of places on Reddit related to your industry or target audience where you can build relationships.

Develop an active Reddit profile over time and offer industry knowledge through posts and even an AMA. Done correctly, you can engage with an often dedicated and passionate base of interested customers.