An excellent post caught my eye recently that took on the hairy topic of Marketing to Reddit. It outlined the steps and provided an excellent case-in-point with a beautiful infographic that fared quite well under the scrutiny of the downvoting hoards. Seriously, all I could think when I saw this was: “Damn, that’s awesome but SO ballsy!” And so it’s time to unpack that. Why is marketing on Reddit such a scary thing?
Reddit is an attractive target
Put simply, it has a huge readership of influential people, making it the primordial soup from whence springs viral content.
Because reddit is a news/information hub for thousands of tastemakers online, the content that appears on reddit enjoys wide syndication across blogs and other online (and even offline) publications. For those whose primary goal is linkbuilding, this is a notable and important advantage. –BlueGlass Blog
But trying to market on Reddit is a little like this:
How I learned to stop worrying and love social news
You could be strapping yourself to a 10 megaton bomb and yeeehawing your way all the way into brand suicide if you don’t take precautions.
Respect the community
The idea of “community” is stronger here than many places you’ll go online. At first blush, you see content and hundreds or thousands of comments about it, all from seemingly disconnected usernames. It looks a lot like YouTube comments to the uninitiated.
Don’t be fooled. Especially in smaller subreddits the users “know” each other. To come barging in with something that might even be interested in could absolutely be met with outright hostility. It’s like showing up to a costume party, even with a really great costume, that you weren’t invited to, and jumping into the conversation. Eating all the pizza rolls. Not cool man, not cool.
Be a person, not a marketing robot
Even worse than showing up and eating all the pizza rolls is showing up and handing out advertisements for a different brand of pizza rolls. Man, you really suck at parties.
Engage with people, but not before hanging back a bit to understand the personalities and mood of the subreddit you’re interested in.
If you’re lucky, you’re doing marketing for an industry you’re interested in. This makes it easy to be a person instead of a marketing robot- be YOU, the person interested in fitness, the person interested in cooking, the person interested in homebrewing. Listen, help, provide value and you will be valued.
Don’t force it
Don’t be the guy in the room that keeps trying to turn the conversation back to how much he can bench press. It’s obnoxious and you will not get very far. Comments and posts on reddit that are off topic and don’t contribute to the conversation will just get downvoted. It will just be like they never existed. Except…
Reddit doesn’t forget
Elephants don’t usually forget, but they also know how to check your comment history.
Your posts will not have credibility if your account is new, so it behooves you to keep one account (or two, or possibly three) and nurture it. Take care of it and use it. This will give you karma, which other users can and do use to judge your content and comments, but it will also give you a history.
If you start acting like a marketing robot, someone’s gonna notice, and the proof that you’re a shill is just a click away. So don’t be a shill and don’t post things you don’t want scrutinized and then put on display.
Social News is a valuable way to reach a very targeted audience, provided you take some steps to avoid the most common pitfalls. If you do, you can participate in online communities and earn trust and respect that should not be squandered. As long as you’re providing actual value, it’s hard to argue with using Reddit as a marketing tool.