Not many people realise how much power Reddit has when it comes to being a platform that can be a hotspot for content and topics going viral on the internet. One look at the billions of visits per month that the social network gets, as well as 430+ million active users, and it's clear to see that Reddit is a platform that represents one of the most engaged online communities in today's digital age.
While businesses and brands should monitor brand mentions on Reddit, in an effort to spot both the potential problems and opportunities that the social network has, where does one even begin to use Reddit as a marketing channel?
The catch with this platform is, if you approach Reddit in the same way that you do on other social media platforms, you'll be in for a surprise. It isn't a one-size-fits-all platform, and in this blog post, we share the ultimate guide that you need to use Reddit for marketing on the platform.
What is Reddit?
The growth of Reddit
Is Reddit social media?
Why marketers should consider Reddit marketing
Why Reddit marketing isn't always easy
How to use Reddit for marketing
3 ideas for Reddit digital marketing
If you have never come across Reddit before, you might find navigating the platform more difficult than others. Reddit is essentially one part web forum and one part news website. But where does all the information on Reddit come from?
Well, Reddit users (or Redditors) publish original content to Reddit in the form of links, photos, or videos. Once shared, the posts and comments related to that content are then “upvoted” or “downvoted.”
The idea around the upvote system is that the "buzzworthy" content rises to the top while downvoted content, which is content that is usually irrelevant or spam, gets buried. Beyond Reddit’s front page, discussions on the platform are separated by individual communities (or forums) known as “subreddits.” A subreddit is like a chat room dedicated to a particular topic (ex. /r/todayilearned) where other Redditors can share content and comment on the conversation. Users interested in a particular subreddit have the option to subscribe (and unsubscribe) to the forum.
Reddit growth has also been on the rise in recent years. The platform revealed, in 2020, that it now has 52 million daily users, and growing. Reddit told The Wall Street Journal that the daily usage on the platform grew by 44% year over year for October 2020, a substantial increase that highlights how much Reddit is growing among its users.
To add to this, content that comes from Reddit tends to receive a large amount of engagement and buzz on other social networks. For example, look at how Wall Street Bets (WSB), a section of Reddit (or subreddit), sent global shockwaves and threatened to sink a $10 billion hedge fund. The conversation surrounding GameStop blew up on Reddit, with mentions of GameStop jumping from a few thousand per day in early January 2021, to a peak of over 900,000 per day before the end of the month. That’s an increase of over 3,000% compared to the previous month.
According to the Cambridge Dictionary, the term social media is defined as "websites and computer programs that allow people to communicate and share information on the internet using a computer or mobile phone", meaning, yes, Reddit would be considered a social media platform or channel.
However, Reddit isn't like other social media platforms, and has one feature in particular that differentiates it from other social media networks: Reddit is centered around the communities on the platform (i.e. subreddits) rather than people. So, it's more of an online forum with several attributes that are reminiscent of other social media networks. The forum-oriented approach to the platform makes the experience of using Reddit easier, especially when it comes to engagement.
And for brands looking to engage their online communities, Reddit offers a lot of opportunities for businesses to do so provided that they have a Reddit social media marketing strategy. Not sure whether or not your ideal target audience is on Reddit? Well, consider these statistics about the growing popularity and reach of Reddit: the platform has over 430 million unique visitors per month, 18 billion pageviews per month, and around 400,000 hours of video is watched on Reddit platform daily. Essentially, Reddit is an untapped goldmine of content for brands, and given the plethora of ways that marketers can use Reddit social media marketing today, now is the time to consider jumping on the Reddit bandwagon.
Marketers will always tout social media's potential to engage and empower online audiences. However, too often social media marketers' view of what constitutes social media is limited to big platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
These larger platforms have been seen as the only options that marketers have when it comes to social media marketing. But, while these platforms do provide some of the most advanced analytics that can help you calculate the ROI of your marketing activities, other micro-communities exist on the internet, and it's time that marketers looked to other parts of the internet to find them. Plus, given this bias towards the more established networks, marketers looking to implement a social media marketing strategy on Reddit may face less competition.
Reddit is perhaps one of the largest and most underutilized social media marketing platforms out there. It's a big platform, with constant traffic and activity from its Reddit users. And while you might want to jump at the opportunity to get started with Reddit marketing, and creating Reddit posts, and reaching the right subreddit communities, it's not as easy as you might think.
At first, you might think that Reddit is the perfect place for marketers and brands to engage with customers in a meaningful way, and while it can certainly yield these results, Reddit (just like any other social media platform) requires marketers to do more than just share the occasional link post and high-quality image if they expect to see any type of ROI.
The core of Reddit lies in it being a platform that thrives because of the number of communities you can find. Reddit users don't necessarily want to be sold to; they want to see you make a meaningful effort to contribute to their subreddit community. In addition, Redditors have a way of seeing through thinly-veiled attempts of promoting products or services — and they don't always take too kindly to this approach. This is why you'll see a number of subreddits having explicit rules that restrict or limit advertising.
This doesn't mean that you should count Reddit out as a social media platform to utilise for your business. Yes, the company and community have taken quite the stand on self-promotion on the platform, but there are some benefits to Reddit marketing. The key for businesses looking to thrive on Reddit is to remember to focus on the community relationships and the value you are contributing to the platform, rather than simply selling whatever service or product you may be interested in pitching.
Whether you plan on crafting an online presence on Reddit or want to tap into subreddits for market research purposes, having a clearly defined Reddit marketing strategy is a good idea for brands interested in exploring engaging on the platform. Here is how you can use Reddit marketing for your brand.
AMA stands for "Ask me anything", and these types of sessions are well known and loved on Reddit because they provide a fun way to engage organically with other Redditors. Giving your audience an opportunity to ask you questions openly allows your brand's personality to shine while shedding light on a product you may be marketing.
With AMA content, remember that this is about having a two-way conversation with your audience. Don't just talk about your next launch or product release; you really do want to make sure that your interaction on AMA content is meaningful and engaging to Redditors.
This is a tip that should be followed when posting across all social media networks! It's okay for brands to talk to their customers in an informal manner and without the use of heavy jargon that they might not understand.
Use your brand voice to engage with Redditors, and when you do this, try keep your tone approachable; this is a key to success on a platform like Reddit where authenticity genuinely matters. Keep your brand tone personal, and don't be afraid to get emotive. This type of engagement with Redditors is what will help you win them over — and get you the upvotes you need on your posts and content.
As we saw with Wall Street Bets and GameStop, Reddit, and the various subreddits that you can find on the platform, offers businesses the opportunity to tap into conversations relevant to their brands and industry.
From the trends that your audience is interested in to what people are saying about your brand, finding customer feedback on Reddit isn't a difficult task. However, in light of this, you should be focused on listening to what your audience has to say.
Keep an eye on the conversations that are happening about your products or services (or even your competitors) so that you can get an idea of where you stand with your audience, where you could improve, and how you can stay ahead of competitors in your industry.
In the example above, there is a personal finance discussion about IRA accounts. This conversation sheds light on real-world problems and concerns from potential customers. The commenters voiced their opinions on particular pain points and mention why a particular bank was preferred over another. It's conversations like this that you want to be on top of, and you'll be surprised to see how many of these discussions are happening on Reddit. Take a deep dive into some relevant subreddits to help you get a sense of what Redditors are taking about and the trends that are influencing their conversations on posts.
A good way to keep your eye on these conversations is through social listening tools like Meltwater. You'll be able to see original content and blog posts that you get mentioned in, which, with the right strategy, can be of great use in having actionable data and insights for your brand.
You'll find virtually any type of digital content on Reddit - video, photo, and text to name a few. However, as with any social media platform, there are certain content types or media formats that generate more engagement on Reddit. While original content that isn't focused on self-promotion is good 'Reddiquette', here are some other content types to focus on when using the platform:
Redditors love using GIFs because they quickly illustrate a point in a visual manner while adding a bit of humour to the chat. GIFs work well within subreddits that focus on sports, global events, movie scenes, animations, or references to pop culture. If your brand wants to add fun to its brand voice, try using GIFs.
In general, including video links to platforms like YouTube or Vimeo doesn't garner much post engagement as these links can either take too long to load or direct people away from the discussion. While this isn't true for every subreddit, it might be worthwhile creating a GIF based on a portion of the video you'd like to share instead, and then including a link to the full video in a comment. However, you can include video links into your post, just know they might not generate the same type of engagement you're used to seeing on other social media networks.
Still photos are mobile-friendly and can be easier to engage with than video content. And unlike Instagram, the photo does need to actually be a high-quality, edited image to entice Redditors and get your Reddit post upvoted. Again, the community on the platform has demonstrated a preference for authenticity.
You will find a number of subreddits that find success in almost exclusively sharing text-based posts and discussions. Subreddits that have more text in their discussions usually do so because of their in-depth content and ability to be thought-provoking.
When it comes to breaking news, Reddit can be a powerful way to spread an article or news story. In subreddits linked to timely updates (such as politics, video games, movies, or pop culture), sharing a piece of news can make you go viral and in essence, "break the internet."
When it comes to Reddit digital marketing, there are a number of subreddits marketers may be obvious threads to follow, but they often forget about one that could be of great benefit: r/Deals. The Reddit community naturally doesn't like to be sold to and it's very likely that you won't get as much engagement on Reddit content that has a call-to-action leading them off the platform (or if you don't offer the Redditor something in return).
If you are trying to run a special promotion on Reddit, you’ll get the attention of users within this subreddit. Here, Redditors are exploring any deals that brands or businesses may have, providing you with an opportunity to attract these users with the offer you have.
Use Reddit to observe the reactions of your target audience to, not only your brand, but your competitors as well. What does your audience want from your brand? What don't they like and how is your competitor staying ahead of you in their eyes?
Use the information and insights you gather from listening in on your Redditors to help you stay informed, and remain flexible with your Reddit digital marketing strategy.
Because Reddit is a community-based platform, you'll need to factor this in when creating content. As much as you want to create engaging content for your Redditors, how you engage also has an impact on your Reddit experience. Keep in mind that you can’t submit the same comment to different subreddits. If you do, the content will get flagged as spam and you can get banned. So, if you really want to boost your brand’s reputation through Reddit, be intentional and strategic with your content strategy.
This means taking the time to create a content calendar for Reddit. Plan what posts you will share, how much time you will spend engaging with your audience and how you'll manage activity on the platform. If you need more tips on how to successfully run your social media campaigns, including your content calendar, download our Ultimate Guide to Social Media Management.
The way that Reddit’s community is structured means that marketers need to take a community approach to their marketing strategy on the platform. From being able to engage meaningfully with Redditors to getting customer feedback on your brand, Reddit may be tricky but it is not impossible to master.
If you are looking to create a Reddit marketing strategy for your brand, get in touch with Meltwater today to level up your marketing this year.