Doing The Impossible: How To Drive Marketing Success On Reddit




  • June 22, 2015

    Do you want to interact with a highly engaged audience?


    Do you want your story in front of millions of people for little cost?


    Do you want to be an authority figure within your niche and bring targeted traffic to your site?


    Have you considered marketing on Reddit?


    In this article, I’m going to show you how to successfully use Reddit and drive real results for your business.


    Reddit & Marketing


    Two words that, when placed in the same sentence, cause most marketers to become nervous or break out in hives.


    In reality, I understand why so many marketers are nervous to use Reddit as a channel for their brand, but there are tons of brands who have effectively cracked the Reddit Marketing code.


    The key to success is found in your ability to communicate authentically, and in your commitment to delivering value to the community. If you’re planning to use Reddit as a place to simply promote your brand and push your message, you will likely fail.


    Reddit calls itself the front page of the internet. In a nutshell, Reddit is one large forum (reddit) that has sub forums (subreddits) on every category and topic you can think of. Whether you’re interested in Paleo or Philosophy, there is a subreddit for everyone. Similar to any forum, users are encouraged to share content, ask questions and engage in dialogue on various topics throughout the site.


    If you’re planning to use Reddit as a place to add value to the various communities within it, and interact authentically and transparently, you’ll likely succeed. Or at least, this is the overall conclusion that I’ve come to while researching ideas for my book, Cracking The Reddit Marketing Code.


    Here are five steps to driving real results and building raving fans on Reddit:


    1. Create Your Brand Account

    You’ll find that there are some very straightforward and some very awkward usernames on Reddit. Some of the accounts have usernames as simple as mine: rsimmonds – while others are just strange: sendpicsofcheese


    For a business, the best approach is to be authentic and to use your brand name. That said, if you’re going to be acting as a spokesperson for the brand, you could use a name that is something like FirstNameBRAND or BRANDFirstName. As an example, Bradley Will could be BradleyLTB, or keep it basic as BradleyWill.


    Both options can work depending on your intention and strategy for engaging with people on Reddit. If you’re looking to form meaningful relationships and use it as a personal/professional account, your name will suffice. If you’re looking to use it solely for business, then I would recommend that you brand your account.


    Note: A branded account is going to create raised eyebrows immediately. If you want to avoid being labeled as a spammer or as motivated by corporate – deliver value and follow the steps in this blog post.


    2. Find Relevant & Active Subreddits

    A subreddit is a forum style community where a group of passionate people come together to share, discuss, and engage in topics surrounding their interests. Subreddits are the backbone of the entire Reddit community, and the conversations range from Comics and BBQ to World News and Bitcoin.


    After you create an account, you’ll want to visit: www.reddit.com/reddits/ and subscribe to reddits that are relevant to you and your business. You’ll already be subscribed to a few default channels, but visiting this page will allow you to uncover communities that are more specific to your needs.


    Reddit - Keyword Search


    Once you search for a keyword, Reddit will recommend the top subreddits that seem aligned with that word. From there, you should subscribe to the channels that seem relevant to your brand or industry, and to the type of content you could develop and contribute to the community.


    Vegan Subreddit


    It’s important to understand that each subreddit has its own set of rules and guidelines. If you’re planning to engage with the communities found here, it’s important that you follow their rules. As an example, these are the rules for /r/vegan – a subreddit all about the vegan lifestyle:


    Vegan Lifestyle


     


    These rules are pretty straight forward, but some subreddits have 10+ rules that you will need to follow if you want to last. A great resource for finding popular subreddits that are on the rise is RedditList, a platform that tracks activity, subscriber counts, and growth over the course of 24 hours.


    Reddit List


    There are three things you need to consider when identifying subreddits you want to invest your time into. In order of importance, I’d consider these three factors before committing to a specific subreddit:



    1. Relevance – This is the most important factor. If you’re a brand selling printers and you’re trying to build a following on /r/funny – you’ll likely fail. You need to find channels that are highly relevant and through which you can add value to the lives of its members by having a presence there.
    2. Engagement – Keep an eye on how often new posts are being uploaded and shared in a subreddit. If a community hasn’t had a new post in the last few months, it’s likely a ghost town and won’t drive much response. Look for communities that have had activity within the last 24hrs.
    3. Popularity – The number of subscribers found within a subreddit is also important. If the community has less than 10,000 people subscribed, I tend to look for something with more people engaged. If you’re in a niche industry, it’s likely that this requirement gets thrown out the window.

    3. Share High Quality Content To Engaged Subreddits

    Submissions to Reddit


    There are two types of posts you can share on Reddit: Links and Text Posts.


    If you’re sharing a link, you will be met with a dialogue like this:


    Link Post - Reddit


    The process here is quite simple. Add a link where it reads: URL, and then either add a title for your post or have Reddit suggest a title based on the title found in the link’s metadata.


    If you want to upload an image, it is Reddit best practice to use a site like Imgur for your upload. Imgur is a free service to share photos with social networks and online communities. You simply upload the image to their servers and then share the link directly to Reddit, like this:


    Image from Imgur to Reddit


    If you’re sharing a text post, you will met with a dialogue like this:


    Text Post on Reddit


    A text post is similar to a blog post. It can be as long or as short as you would like, and can include various hyperlinks and formatting throughout to make it more compelling.


    Both options are viable choices for brands, but it really depends on what you’re looking to accomplish.


    Submitting links is primarily used for brands or marketers looking to send Reddit users to an external link on their own website or to an image that is relevant to their brand.


    If you’re submitting a link to your own website, it’s important that you ensure that the content you’re sending users to is of high value and delivers community relevance. In some subreddits, it’s forbidden to submit your own content, so in those situations you’re simply out of luck and will need to look elsewhere.


    Example link post:


    Example Link Post


    In 2014, I published a blog post that include 8 reminders that people should consider when having a rough day. I pushed this post to a very relevant subreddit called /r/getmotivated and within seconds, it took off and became one of my most popular posts:


    Reddit - Blog Post


    Submitting text posts is usually used when you want to describe a specific topic in detail or ask a question of the community. Similar to the rules when creating great blog posts, it’s important that the content you upload via Text Posts on Reddit delivers value to your readers.


    Example text post:


    Example Text Post


    One of the ways to get a better understanding of what type of content will resonate with your audience is to scan the top content within a subreddit. For example, if I was working with a brand that was selling a subscription box with Vegan Goodies, I would visit /r/Vegan and sort the results by top content, like this:


    Vegan - Subreddit copy


    From here, I would identify a trend in the type of content that generates the most engagement. The top post Tough Life is a parody tweet suggesting that the hardest part about being vegan is having to wake up at 5am to milk all the almonds. The second most popular post is an instructional guide to create BBQ tofu. And the third post is a Dos Equis Guy meme that reads:



    “I don’t always mention I don’t eat meat or dairy. But when I do, everyone becomes an expert on protein.”


    In a fascinating study conducted by The New York Times Customer Insight Group, it was discovered that there are five key reasons people decide to share something with others:



    1. To bring value and entertainment to others – 94% of respondents suggested that they share content they think will be valuable or entertaining.
    2. Self-fulfillment – 69% share information because it makes them feel more involved in the world.
    3. To define ourselves – 68% of people share to give people a better sense of who they are and what they care about.
    4. To grow and nurture relationships – 78% said they share content because it helps them stay connected with others.
    5. Spread the word about a cause – 84% said they share to help support a cause or issue they care about.

    The top posts on every subreddit have traits that fall into some or one of these different categories. For the most part, the majority of content that is at the top of a subreddit delivers value and entertainment to others. If you can embrace that concept and create content that falls into that category, you will be successful in your ability to deliver content that resonates with the various communities and their members.


    4. Seek Out Advice & Feedback From The Community

    Reddit is filled with professionals from a variety of different industries and experts across hundreds of specialties. You will find everything from Rocket Scientists to PhD Students browsing and contributing to Reddit on a daily basis. As a result, Reddit has become a great place to receive insight, advice, and feedback from some of the best and brightest in the world.


    Similar to when you’re looking for subreddits to share your content, take the time to find communities where the experts are spending time. For example, if you’re looking for design advice on something you’re creating, you could submit a post to /r/minimalism or /r/design_critiques/ like the folks at Bloomfarms did here:


    BloomFarms Reddit


    The engagement and feedback you will receive from the community will help you to make better decisions.


    Subreddits can act as a low cost replacement for focus groups and arm you with insight and knowledge to help guide your approach (Tweet this). Beyond that, these simple posts can help win over customers and drive traffic to your site.


    5. Engage With Potential & Existing Customers

    Everyday there are millions of people spending time on Reddit, commenting and sharing content. Similar to the way brands monitor channels like Twitter, looking for a comment that they can turn into a sale, Reddit offers a similar opportunity. One great tool for monitoring Reddit is TrackReddit.com:


    Track Reddit


    TrackReddit is a tool that you can use to unlock amazing opportunities to engage with a highly targeted audience. To use TrackReddit, you simply upload a list of brand names, keywords, or domains that you want the site to monitor, and select the subreddits you’d like to track. For example, if you’re a marketing software company, it would make sense to track your brand name under the Subreddit /r/Marketing or /r/Startups.


    As an example, when a user made a post asking “Why is Beef Jerky so expensive?”, another user jumped in and explained the reason why.


    From there, the community requested a Reddit discount, to which the second user delivered and was able to drive a surge of new customers and new sales for their business.


    You can see the exchange here:


    Reddit Discount - Beef Jerky - Case Study


    Wrapping Up

    Reddit can be a tough community to crack, but it’s one that, if you follow these steps and make a commitment to adding value when you post, can drive real results. There are lots of naysayers and marketers who suggest that we should stay away from Reddit because it’s “too much work”.


    I’m of the belief that if you add value, establish trust, focus on relevant communities, and engage authentically, you will have no problem with Reddit.


    It’s not easy and it’s not going to happen overnight.


    That’s why I’ve taken the time to study those who have found success like Beardbrand, PowderCity and more. I’ve studied their approach, combined it with my own experiences and cracked the code in my latest book on Marketing on Reddit.


    What do you think? Will you give Reddit a chance for your brand? How have you used Reddit to drive results for your business?


    Please share in the comments below!

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