Throughout history, marketing has been present in many different forms, and advertisers have historically wanted to strike a chord with their audience. Being able to play to your brand’s strengths and target the right people are two of the fundamental pillars of good marketing, and the internet has made this easier than ever.
Social media, in specific, allows marketers to get closer to their audience than ever before, and Reddit is one of the most flexible social media platforms for marketers. What may at first appear to be a relatively insular community is a veritable treasure trove of potential consumers.
This guide will cover everything you need to know about advertising on Reddit, from how you can establish your presence as a first-time user to eventually creating your brand’s own subreddit. While there are plenty of potential pitfalls when marketing on any social media platform, Reddit offers immense potential rewards to savvy marketers.
What is Reddit
At its heart, Reddit is a content aggregator website. Technically, this means that most of the content on Reddit shouldn’t be unique to the site and should mostly consist of links to other places on the internet, but this isn’t always the case.
Reddit is split into smaller communities known as subreddits, and each of them has its own rules about the kind of content they accept. This means that one corner of the site can consist solely of user-created text posts, making Reddit a blend of its own unique community and a content aggregator.
Even though the site’s main demographic consists of college-educated white males between the ages of 18 and 29 years old, even that can vary considerably between subreddits. Unlike many other social media platforms, this means that Reddit requires considerable knowledge about how the site works on the part of the marketer.
How Does Reddit Work?
There are many different parts to Reddit, but the basic functionality is relatively simple. Users create posts in subreddits, which can consist of links, photos, videos, gifs, or text posts, and they are then either upvoted or downvoted and commented on by members of the community.
Posts that get more upvotes and comments will naturally rise to the top, while ignored or downvoted posts will die before they make it to the top of the subreddit. Each upvote or downvote will add or subtract one point of karma, and posts with more karma will typically be bumped higher.
Reddit Post Sorting Algorithms
Reddit users can also select how they browse each subreddit, with several different ways to sort through posts.
In most subreddits, the default method of sorting through posts is the hot setting, which pushes posts that have seen more upvotes and comments in a short period of time to the top. While this lets you see the most popular content on a subreddit, it also means that you won’t see many recent posts unless they immediately gain traction.
Many redditors prefer to sort by new. This setting shows the most recent posts on the subreddit, regardless of how many upvotes or downvotes they have. While this setting allows a user to see everything posted to a subreddit, you may also have to wade through a lot of reposted content, spam, and other low-effort posts.
When sorting by the top posts on a subreddit, Reddit will display the posts with the highest amount of karma within the chosen time period. You can pick between the top posts right now, today, this week, this month, this year, or of all time.
Rising is similar to hot in that it displays all posts that have recently gained traction, but whereas the hot sorting method will count posts throughout the day, rising focuses on posts within the past few hours. This is one of the more recent sorting methods added.
This algorithm is only used on a user’s home page, and it sorts through the top posts for each of the user’s subscribed subreddits based on their preferences. This ensures that users see the kind of content that they’re interested in when they first open up Reddit, provided they’re signed in.
Subreddits help divide Reddit into disparate communities that are based around shared interests. The smallest subreddits can consist of a single user, while the biggest one, /r/announcements (a community designated for announcements from Reddit’s admins), currently sits at over 63 million subscribers.
Subreddits can either make life easier or harder for marketers, depending on the kind of audience that they’re targeting. Brands looking to appeal to a very specific demographic will likely appreciate the fact that their potential target audience is already divided into groups for them.
Keep in mind that each subreddit will also have its own unique user demographic, separate from the overall user base of Reddit. Communities like /r/makeupaddiction have far more female users than the site’s overall demographics would suggest, so always do your research about the subreddit you want to advertise on.
Posts are the content and lifeblood of Reddit, and they come in many different shapes and sizes. These posts can come in the form of gifs, videos, links, photos, or text.
Like we discussed earlier, each post filters into the “new” sorting area of each subreddit, and whoever sees it and thinks it contributes meaningfully to the subreddit upvotes it or comments.
Irrelevant posts and low-quality content inevitably get downvoted and filters itself out of the discussion, but this system doesn’t work as flawlessly as it may seem. The very nature of Reddit’s upvote and downvote system makes it difficult for controversial posts to thrive and fosters more of an echo-chamber than an area for back-and-forth discussion.
This is neither positive nor negative for marketers, but it must be kept in mind when working on the site. It helps to go with the flow of the subreddit when making posts instead of trying to foster conversation by going against the grain, especially if you’re representing a brand.
Comments make up the other half of Reddit, and they add lively discussion to each of the posts on the site. Redditors will come to the comment section to praise the original poster for their contribution or perhaps even correct a detail in the title or content of the post.
Even though subreddits tend to be made up of like-minded individuals, some posts can create fiery debates in the comment sections, and it’s typically wise for marketers to avoid getting embroiled in them. That being said, the comment section can prove to be an excellent resource for advertisers.
Being able to engage with your target audience on an intimate, one-to-one level allows you to build up a level of trust with them that would otherwise be impossible. However, this goes both ways, and you have to understand both Reddiquette and redditors’ expectations of marketers to flourish.
Reddit Comment Sorting Algorithms
Much like with the posting algorithms, users can choose the method that is used to sort through the comments on a post. Keep in mind that subreddits can also select the default comment sorting algorithm for every post, and moderators can even change the default one used for individual posts on the subreddit.
This algorithm is relatively new and was implemented after Reddit’s admins noticed a few flaws in how the “top” algorithm tended to favor comments that were posted earlier. This system instead uses predictive calculations to determine which of the comments should be at the top.
Instead of favoring comments that have a higher number of total upvotes, the “best” algorithm prefers comments that have a higher proportion of upvotes to downvotes. This works better because comments that are upvoted early in a post’s lifespan tend to be at the top for a longer time and will see more total upvotes, creating a feedback loop.
This ensures that relevant comments that are posted later on are able to reach the top as well as the well-received comments that were posted earlier on.
This system was the old preferred comment sorting method, and it instead works with raw numbers, taking the total number of upvotes for each comment and subtracting the downvotes before ranking them.
While this system is relatively simple and effective, it can also fall prey to the flaws that we discussed in the section covering the previous algorithm, namely, favoring comments posted early on.
Much like with sorting posts by new, this will show you the most recent comments on each post without organizing them based on their total karma.
Some subreddits will use this mode for their discussion posts, where members of the community have a single post to consolidate their opinions about a recent release or event in their community.
Sorting by new creates more fluid discussion instead of nesting most comment threads under the highest-voted comment.
Controversial sorting ranks each comment by the total number of upvotes and downvotes it receives, with a heavier bias towards downvotes so that it’s not just a repeat of the “top” algorithm. While this algorithm allows you to see dissenting opinions, controversial comments are also littered with spam and off-topic contributions.
Sorting by old is the inverse of sorting by new, showing you the first comments that were made on a post before the latest. This algorithm allows a user to see how the conversation around a post developed if they weren’t there to see it before it reached the top of the subreddit.
The final comment sorting method will show all comments that the OP (original poster) replied to. This is frequently used in the AMA subreddits if users just want to see the topics that the poster acknowledged. This sorting algorithm is rarely used outside of AMA or IAmA sessions.
The Front Page and Default Subreddits
When you first arrive on Reddit, either through typing the URL into your browser or by finding it through a search engine, you’ll be brought to the front page. The front page of Reddit consists of the top content procured from Reddit, excluding everything that originates from NSFW (Not Safe For Work) subreddits.
Taking a glance at the front page of Reddit will typically show you a mix of political posts, news, and memes, giving you a taste of everything that the site and its community have to offer. Many of the posts on the front page will originate from default subreddits, which are the ones that new users are automatically subscribed to.
Keep in mind that you can unsubscribe from any of the default subreddits at any time, and they just exist as a way to guide new users through where they can get started using Reddit. Examples of default subreddits include staples like /r/funny and /r/pics, both of which boast some of the highest subscriber counts out of any subreddit.
Karma is the name given to Reddit’s point system. Reddit defines itself as a platform where the users decide which content rises to the top, and this wouldn’t be possible without karma. Each user has an overall karma score that shows their overall standing and the average quality of their contributions.
Posts, comments, and users can gain or lose karma based on whether their post has been upvoted (which adds one karma point) or downvoted (deducting one karma point). Each post on Reddit starts off with a single karma point, as each user automatically upvotes their own submission.
While karma makes it easier for high-quality submissions to rise to the top, it is often misused by the community, particularly the downvote button. Many redditors use the downvote as a “disagree” button. In reality, the downvote is meant to be used on posts that don’t contribute to a discussion.
Since many users misuse their downvotes, Reddit is susceptible to the echo-chamber effect, where only posts that the community agrees with make it to the top. Of course, this also depends on a wide range of other factors, like the divisiveness of the content and the quality of the moderation in the subreddit.
Admins and Moderators
Of course, Reddit isn’t just the wild west where anything goes, as the site itself is run by admins, and the individual subreddits are controlled by moderators. The degree of control that moderators have over subreddits tends to vary, but they usually just keep things in order and help get rid of spam, though some have been known to succumb to power trips.
Despite redditors’ frequent criticism of subreddit moderators, they are all volunteers, working unpaid to ensure that the communities they support don’t spiral out of control. If a community gets too toxic or starts breaking Reddit’s rules, an entire subreddit may even be banned by Reddit’s staff: the admins.
Reddit admins are typically paid employees that represent the company, and they do what moderators do on a larger scale, keeping things running and ensuring compliance with the rules.
Over time, Reddit’s admins have been given more and more power, and this makes sense when you consider how massively the platform has grown. Thankfully, Reddit is now closely watched for any signs of illegal content sharing or hate speech, which used to fly under the radar surprisingly often before Reddit was popular.
Reddit Coins and Reddit Premium
Reddit coins are a relatively recent addition to the site, and they’ve replaced the older system of Creddits. Coins give the site’s creators a way to monetize it, and users can use their coins to give an award to posts or comments that they think merit the additional recognition.
While the awards started off relatively simple, with silver, gold, and platinum options, with the latter two providing the user who posted the content with a certain duration of Reddit Premium. Along with their Reddit Premium subscription, these users will also receive a small stipend of coins for themselves.
Over time, Reddit has added many more awards, some of which are even related to current events or even pop culture. While some users buy their Reddit coins directly, many redditors get their coins through Reddit premium, which provides users with 700 coins for every month that they’re subscribed.
Reddit Premium is the replacement for the old Reddit Gold program, which caused too much confusion with coins and gold awards and had to be renamed. While the name has changed, Reddit Premium still features many of the same advantages that came included with Reddit Gold.
The most significant difference between Reddit Premium and the basic user experience is that redditors will not see ads. As we mentioned earlier, Reddit Premium subscribers will also receive 700 coins per month that they can use to gild posts with their award of choice.
Along with these benefits, Reddit Premium users also have access to the /r/lounge community, which is exclusive to Premium members. Aside from these benefits, Reddit Premium offers few significant advantages over the base Reddit experience, and most of the site’s users don’t subscribe to it.
Rules and Reddiquette
Reddit has eight cardinal rules that all users need to follow, ranging from respecting your fellow redditors to not posting illegal content. If any of these rules are broken, redditors may be shadowbanned or have their accounts completely suspended, especially due to repeated violations of these policies.
Along with the essential Reddit rules, there are also a set of guidelines known as reddiquette, and they help describe how you should post and communicate with other members of the Reddit Community. Among other things, Reddiquette encourages original posters to find the original source of the content they’re submitting and credit the creator.
Users are also expected to perform at least a cursory search of previous posts to ensure that the content they’re submitting isn’t a repost.
There are many other nuances to reddiquette, but most of it is based on common sense. If a new user ignores reddiquette, the community will be quick to point out their error, so save yourself some embarrassment and give it at least a cursory read-through.
AMA stands for Ask Me Anything, and it’s a specific type of post on Reddit that combines both marketing and community outreach. In most AMAs, a celebrity or someone who works in a unique field will make a few hours of their day available to answer the questions of the community at large.
Most AMA participants will give the post an hour or two to gain some traction before they start answering questions, as this allows the most relevant ones to rise to the top. Much of how an AMA is undertaken is left up to the participant, and they’re free to answer questions as they see fit.
This means that AMA participants aren’t forced to answer every single question, but keep in mind that silence can speak as loudly as words if they fail to answer a particularly pressing question. While AMAs can be an incredibly useful marketing tool, they can also be a potential pitfall for a brand or individual.
Reddit still hasn’t forgotten the fiasco of Woody Harrelson’s disastrous AMA, so if you’re planning on using one to market your brand, make sure you understand how it works.
Why Market on Reddit?
You may be wondering what advantages Reddit offers over other forms of social media from the perspective of a marketer. If you have the budget for it, you’ll ideally be marketing on multiple social media platforms, but if your resources are limited, why is Reddit the one that you should pick first?
There are a few factors that make Reddit a better choice than Facebook or Instagram, including isolated communities with relatively similar demographics, the site’s high traffic, and more. Here are some of the reasons why marketing efforts on Reddit tend to be more successful than on other social media platforms.
Large Amounts of Traffic
Reddit has more traffic than many other sites in its category, and it is one of the top social networks on the internet, coming in at rank 20 for overall engagement. Along with the huge number of visitors that the site sees each day, it also has better secondary statistics than many of the competition.
Reddit’s bounce rate is about 5% lower than their competitors, meaning that fewer visitors will browse a single page and then leave the site. This statistic is relatively surprising when you consider that there is so much to see on the main page of Reddit, even if you don’t click on anything else.
With a daily time of nearly six minutes on the site, Reddit has users that tend to engage with it for a decent amount of time each day. Reddit power users can spend several hours scrolling through their feeds, exposing them to plenty of marketing opportunities over the course of the day.
Communities Already Divided into Niches
The subreddit model also makes it much easier for marketers to expect the kind of audience that they’ll be working with, especially if they choose to market to subreddits directly. Since each community is composed of like-minded individuals, you can be sure that the people seeing your ads are the ones who are most likely to show more interest.
However, the differences between subreddits can also make Reddit more of a challenge for a marketer, as it’s essential to get to know a subreddit before you try to sell them on something. Many communities have their own unique identity, and getting to know them and understand them can take plenty of browsing and preparation.
However, if a marketer does their research about a particular subreddit and understands its dynamic, the potential results of even a single sponsored post can be astronomical. Most advertisers will start off by browsing several subreddits that are related to their interests, distilling them down until they find the perfect one.
Plenty of Cross-Posting Between Reddit and Other Social Media Platforms
A good thing about Reddit’s community is that they’re adept at spreading posts far and wide across the internet. Much like how content flows into Reddit from countless other sites, it also flows out of Reddit, back to other social media communities like Twitter and Facebook.
This means that a single successful post on Reddit can save you from having to make an identical one on other social media platforms, and it will be more organically spread by the community. This adds legitimacy to the product or service, as it’s being marketed more indirectly.
Of course, this typically only applies to actual Reddit posts instead of sponsored submissions, as it’s unlikely that someone will share an obvious advertisement on other social media platforms. Being creative and subtly integrating your brand into an otherwise interesting post is often the best way to chase this kind of success on Reddit.
Homogeneous User Base
Even though the users on individual subreddits can vary considerably when it comes to demographics, the overall user base of Reddit is still relatively homogeneous. If you’re trying to market on the front page or other areas that are seen by the largest number of users, this can make your task a little bit easier.
Knowing that your target audience consists of college-educated white males who are still relatively young means that you can focus on making your ads more appealing to them. Of course, you’ll also have to deal with Reddit’s distinct dislike of marketing, especially if it’s obviously pandering to them.
While the demographics of individual subreddits won’t necessarily match those of the site as a whole, things also tend to be relatively uniform within the subreddits themselves. Since each subreddit is composed of like-minded people, it’s relatively likely that they’ll be similar in more than just their opinions and interests.
It’s as Addicting as Other Social Media Platforms
Another advantage to Reddit is that it tends to suck in users and keeps them coming back, much like other social media platforms. Some redditors may find themselves typing the address into their search bar at the start of their morning so they can get their fill of info for the day.
Others will browse Reddit while they’re bored, scrolling through their front page for hours at a time, giving them plenty of time to be potentially exposed to your sponsored posts. Redditors tend to be dedicated, with some of the most frequent users boasting tens or even hundreds of thousands of karma points.
While the Reddit community may be relatively insular, they’re also dedicated to their platform, and they’ll be sure to come back day after day. Along with the site’s users who return to it daily, Reddit’s user base keeps growing faster, ensuring that you’ll always have new eyes going over your sponsored posts.
You Can Engage With Your Customers Directly
As on other social media platforms, brands have the opportunity to engage with their potential customers directly on Reddit. This creates a more personable image for a brand and allows them to answer questions and potentially convince people who are on the fence about the product or service.
Like with many other parts of Reddit, this has both advantages and disadvantages, as engaging with trolls or other disingenuous users may weaken the appearance of your brand. This is why many sponsored posts have the comments turned off. While this is safe, this doesn’t show that the brand is confident marketing on Reddit.
You’ll see many brands who truly understand Reddit marketing leaving the comments on their sponsored posts open and receiving a surprising amount of praise from the Reddit community. Don’t expect things to be this simple if you’re just getting started marketing on Reddit, but all it takes is research.
Two Different Approaches to Marketing on Reddit
Brands that choose to market on Reddit have a few different choices about how they’re going to spread the word. The first choice is to focus on marketing to individual subreddits, where they know a niche exists. On the other hand, they can try to advertise to Reddit as a whole by putting their ads on the front page.
Most of the time, Reddit marketing campaigns will implement elements of both of these forms of marketing when just getting started to see which one has better results. Once enough time has passed to have concrete data to work with, marketers tend to focus on the option that works better for their product or service.
Prioritizing Niche Subreddits
This is perhaps the easier method of the two, as it allows marketers to know exactly what they should expect from their target audience. Creating ads for subreddits within a certain niche allows marketers to target their efforts more precisely and create less generalized ads. This helps because Redditors tend to like ads that understand them.
Of course, this technique doesn’t restrict you to a single subreddit, and it often won’t work well if you just focus on one slice of the Reddit community. It’s essential to find a group of subreddits that have a certain overlap and consist of members who are more likely to see some use in what you’re marketing.
For example, Reddit’s gaming subreddits are the ideal place to market gaming peripherals and other equipment, but subreddits like /r/buildapcsales may also be the right place for a brand like that.
When looking for the ideal niche subreddit to market your goods on, you don’t always want to look for the most subscribers possible. Smaller communities can sometimes offer better results, provided they’re active enough to see at least a few posts per hour during the daytime.
Trying to Market on the Front Page
If you’re trying to get your ad seen by the largest possible number of people on Reddit, then you’ll have to aim for the front page. These ads will be seen by more people, but the demographics are less likely to line up with what would be ideal for you unless you’re offering something that everyone needs.
Keep in mind that redditors tend to be well-informed, and ads that are pushy or otherwise deceptive will get torn to bits on the front page, particularly if you leave the comments on. It’s essential to be informative without trying to trap redditors with old-school marketing techniques that they’ve seen thousands of times before.
If you’re going to market on Reddit’s front page, you’ll need to be personable, engage with the community, and be honest about your product instead of pacifying the masses with platitudes. While front page advertising is typically more difficult, it has much higher potential rewards for marketers.
Getting Started With Reddit Marketing
If you’ve decided that marketing on Reddit sounds like a good idea for you, then you may be wondering how you can get started doing so. While it may be a little surprising, the best place to start is by registering a username and email and getting to know the site a little bit before you dive right into marketing.
Create Your Account and Choose the Right Name
When you first get started with Reddit, you have the choice of starting a personal account and then using it for marketing or starting a marketing account right off the bat. While it may surprise you, many marketers (particularly for smaller brands) prefer to start off with a personal account.
If you’re not representing a Fortune 500 company, then you’ll have a bit of freedom to make your advertising approach on Reddit a little more personable, and a personal account is the first step toward this. Using a personal account as if you’re a normal redditor without any dreams of marketing a product is the best way to get used to the site and build up a name for yourself.
Speaking of names, selecting the right username is essential. You’ll typically want to combine a keyword related to your business (like its name) with something a little more personal and unique. The second half of your name can be something as simple as your real name or a handle that you’ve used for a while.
Use RES or TrackReddit to Improve Your Reddit Experience
While Reddit is a hugely successful site, its platform is still a little dated, and it can sometimes leave something to be desired. This is when things like the RES (Reddit Enhancement Suite) and TrackReddit come in handy, as they allow you to optimize your experience while you’re on the site.
RES provides you with many ways to improve your experience on Reddit, allowing you to filter out subreddits from your feed, save comments you find helpful, and much more. Perhaps one of the most helpful features for marketers is the ability to create custom, color-coded tags for other redditors.
This means that you can tag notorious trolls and ensure that you don’t engage with them further down the line. You can also add tags to the names of people who have previously shown interest in your product or service. RES is a powerful tool, but the functionality you get out of it depends on just how much you’re willing to use it.
On the other hand, TrackReddit allows you to set email notifications for certain events on Reddit, including when your comments or posts are replied to. This can help ensure that you’re always available to reply to a redditor who may have a question about the goods or services that you’re trying to sell.
Subscribe to Subreddits that Genuinely Interest You and Are Related to Your Product or Service
When you’re just getting started on Reddit, things may seem a little overwhelming, and you may spend a few days just browsing the default subreddits and getting a feel for the site. Unfortunately, due to the massive popularity of the default subreddits, they don’t exactly give you the same experience as more niche communities.
Take some time to explore the subreddits on the site and find communities that interest you personally. After using that criterion to find subreddits, search for the ones that you think would be related to the type of thing you’re trying to market. Even tangential associations with your product or service can make a subreddit the right place to advertise.
Keep in mind that Reddit’s search function is disappointingly outdated, so you may wish to search for subreddits using a search engine. This is one of the hardest parts of getting your account set up, as it’s often difficult to tell if subreddits are the right place to market or if they’re even active enough to get some engagement.
Spend Some Time Lurking and Learning How Reddit Works Before You Start Posting
It’s also essential to take time to learn Reddit separately from your goal as a marketer, as that will put you in the mindset of the average redditor and make it a lot easier to make a connection. When you understand your audience, your marketing efforts will be much more likely to succeed.
Lurking is when you browse a subreddit and its posts, reading through comments and potentially contributing an upvote or two but not directly engaging with the community. Most new Reddit users go through a period where they lurk on the site so they can learn the basics of reddiquette and the dynamics of a particular subreddit.
Also, be sure not to spend your time browsing only your front page, as that will only condense the top posts from your subscribed subreddits. If you want to see every contribution, both good and bad, go to the subreddits themselves and browse them directly. You may even wish to sort by new to see what kind of contributions members are making before they make it to the top.
Don’t worry if it takes some time before you feel fully comfortable using Reddit, as some users may even lurk for years before they make their first post. Unfortunately, you don’t typically have that much time at your disposal if you’re using Reddit for marketing purposes, so you’ll need to be a quick learner.
Start Off Your Contributions by Commenting
Once you feel like you understand a particular community, start browsing the posts and looking for opportunities to contribute to them. If you’re looking to build up your karma levels, you may want to look for relatively recent posts that have made it to “hot,” as these will likely see far more viewers throughout the day.
One of the best ways to build up karma as a beginner is to make lighthearted jokes that are relatable, as these tend to swiftly rise to the top of a post’s comments. A few strategically-placed comments can secure you thousands of karma, but the timing will have to be right, and you won’t want to force it.
As long as you can build up enough comment karma and enough of a history to show other Reddit users that you’re serious about the site, you should be able to move on to the next steps. You’ll have to be patient, however, as redditors will be able to tell when you’re trying too hard to farm karma.
Creating Your First Post
When you’ve got the hang of commenting, and you’ve built yourself up a nice little reserve of karma, you may feel like you’re ready to create your first Reddit post. Much like with your first few comments, pick the subreddit that you’re most comfortable with and which matches your interests, considering what you can contribute to it.
Redditors tend to like original content, so if you have anything fascinating or funny to share with your subreddit, that may give you a chance to make it to the top. Realistically, your first few posts will likely see little engagement, but that’s fine because it makes your account look like more than just a front for a marketer.
When other redditors go through your comment and post history, they’ll see that you’re dedicated to the platform and that you’re one of them. This will help establish a deeper connection and more trust between you and the people that you intend to market to. You can’t create the illusion of being a Redditor; you either are one or you aren’t.
Start Posting More Regularly
When you feel like you’re getting more comfortable in your chosen subreddit, you can start branching out to different communities, as most redditors will comment and post in a variety of subreddits. Restricting yourself to a single subreddit may make things easier, but it also won’t give you the experience you need to interact with different kinds of redditors.
Seeing the dynamics in other subreddits allows you to anticipate how the community at large will react to one of your sponsored posts. Also, consider the content of the post itself and how easy it is to consume. Most redditors won’t be interested in reading a wall of text, but they may be interested in a meme.
Always keep in mind that there’s a difference between low-effort posts and posts that are easy for your audience to consume. A low-effort post is something like a repost or sharing someone else’s work without trying to credit them. These can hurt your reputation as a redditor, so always try to abide by reddiquette.
Keep Posting to Reddit Naturally and Consistently
A lot of marketers make the mistake of treating Reddit like it’s a job, but you need to implement it into your daily life and (ideally) enjoy it when you browse the site. Sooner or later, you may find yourself becoming a redditor, and you may even want your own personal account that you can keep separate from your business.
If you don’t end up taking to Reddit like a moth to a flame, make sure that you don’t make it obvious that you’re treating it like a job. Redditors tend to be rather intelligent and observant, and they may note that you only take the time to post on the site between 2:00 and 3:00 every Wednesday.
Make your comments and posts sporadic, and browse Reddit on your downtime, much like one of the site’s users would do. Remember that the content on the front page refreshes relatively frequently, especially if you follow a larger number of subreddits, so keep coming back to see which posts are starting to gain traction throughout the day.
Tips For Effectively Marketing on Reddit
If you’re looking to crack the code and market as effectively as possible on Reddit, you’ll have to master a few skills that make you one of the community. Due to Reddit’s insular nature, they think that marketers are an intrusion on their site, and they would do away with them altogether if they could. It’s your job to prove them wrong.
To get the best results out of a Reddit marketing campaign, the account behind it needs to be integrated into the Reddit community. Redditors will be much more likely to respond favorably to an advertisement if they feel like it’s being marketed to them by a fellow redditor who has gone on to start a business.
Keep Your Tone Personal and Natural
Unlike when you’re marketing on other platforms, you typically don’t want to be too formal when you’re addressing potential customers on Reddit. Of course, the exact tone that you use will depend on the kind of brand you’re representing, but you should always use a more familiar tone than on your other channels when working with Reddit.
Your replies and advertisements should also have the bare minimum amount of scripting, as you’ll want everything to flow naturally, and you’ll need to be able to improvise to market on Reddit. You’ll also need to know when to reply to comments and when to avoid them, assuming you’re willing to reply in the first place (which you should be).
For example, you should never engage with trolls on Reddit, as that will merely weaken your position and give them an opportunity to make you look bad. On the other hand, genuine inquiries and other comments from potential customers should always get a response from you.
Focus More on Contributing to the Reddit Community than Marketing
When marketing on Reddit, it’s possible to focus entirely on marketing while avoiding the rest of the platform, but this will almost never get you the best results. If you want to make the most of Reddit marketing, you’ll need to play to the platform’s strengths, and that means acting as a redditor more often than you do as a marketer.
The majority of your contributions to the site should be personal ones, including comments on subreddits related to your interests and posts that community members will find interesting. The rest of the time, you can market your products but try to integrate them into your posts and ensure that they flow as naturally as possible.
For example, if you’re selling skateboards, you may want to film one of your staff members doing a trick on the board and make sure that the focus of the post is the trick itself. If it receives enough traction, a redditor will eventually ask what kind of board was used in the video, and you’ll have a natural opportunity to market your product.
The Best Subreddits Aren’t Always the Most Obvious Choices
Someone who’s just getting started with Reddit marketing may assume that the most populous subreddits are the best ones to market on, but this isn’t always the case. Since the default subreddits are often the most popular, it can be difficult to gauge their demographics as they consist of mostly new users of various interests.
Even the biggest subreddits within your particular niche may not always be the best place to market, as subreddits with fewer users will likely give your posts more of an opportunity to shine. Don’t overlook smaller subreddits, as the number of subscribers isn’t as crucial as the number of active users.
Some subreddits have 10 times more users than their competitors, but they still struggle to see the same number of quality posts on a daily basis. For every meaningful contribution that one person makes, the next ten people will either post reposts, spam, or other low-effort content that can clog up a subreddit and make it harder to get recognition.
Get Adept at Using Pop Culture and Memes to Your Advantage
If you want to market on Reddit and you want to integrate yourself into the community, you’ll have to get comfortable using memes and pop culture references whenever possible. Unfortunately, this is typically something that you either “get” or you don’t.
While it may be possible for anyone to make a meme, redditors can sniff out when the meme has been made by someone with a passion for internet culture or just someone looking to make a quick buck.
Head to /r/fellowkids, and you’ll be sure to see plenty of redditors mocking companies’ clumsy attempts at making themselves seem more hip and with the times by trying to blend memes and marketing. Using internet culture in your advertising requires careful consideration and a willingness to flaunt the traditional norms of marketing.
Many brands have trouble fully committing to making their memes stand out, instead choosing to play it safe, but this can backfire immensely on a platform like Reddit. Ideally, your memes should be made by someone who has experience working in Facebook Groups or other places where you need a firm grasp of internet culture to operate.
Consider Hosting an AMA
Reddit’s AMAs give people a platform to answer any question that the community may have about what they do. The most popular AMAs typically involve famous actors, astronauts, scientists, or just people who do jobs that sound cool, like laser calibration specialists.
If you do something that Reddit would potentially be interested in, you can always host an AMA, and this is one of the few cases in which marketing is to be expected on the site. Most celebrities will do an AMA as a way to plug their newest movie or book, and you can do the same with your brand as long as you don’t make it the whole focus of the AMA.
Of course, you shouldn’t expect your AMA to get the kind of traction that an astronaut’s would (unless you do something really unique), but even a bit of engagement can help spread the word about your brand.
Include Links Organically and Don’t Spam Them
The worst thing you could do to represent your brand on Reddit is to spam subreddits with links. This typically won’t get you outright banned from the site, but it can earn you a shadowban, which is something like a ban, but you won’t even know that your account is affected by it.
When you’re shadowbanned, the only people who can see your posts and comments are subreddit moderators, and admins are the only people who can potentially reverse a shadowban. There is a lot of doubt and many questions about how the shadowban system works, and Reddit admins like to keep it that way.
If you’re going to include links to your product or service, be sure to only do so when you’re asked about it, and make sure you’re in compliance with the subreddit’s rules. Providing public links on some subreddits may not be allowed, and it may get your entire post deleted, so you may even need to private message your products to people who are interested in them.
Using Reddit Communities to Guide Your Marketing Efforts on Other Platforms
One of the best things about Reddit is that it allows you to see what your target demographic thinks and the kind of content they appreciate. By browsing through the top posts for a particular subreddit related to your niche, you can get a feel for what the people you’re marketing to are like.
You can then use this information to improve your advertising efforts on other parts of the internet. For example, if you sell home insurance, and you see people on the personal finance subreddit asking about the various types of home insurance on the market, this can clue you in to the content you should create.
For the above example, a blog post describing the various kinds of home insurance can help improve your rapport with potential clients on other platforms. You can then bring it full circle and link that content in a Reddit post and get even more engagement with it.
Post Early in the Morning (Between 1 AM and 7 AM EST)
Most redditors make the mistake of assuming that the first 24 hours is the most crucial time for a post, but the window of opportunity on Reddit is even shorter than that. Within the first six or seven hours of a post going up, it will be decided whether or not it can expect to see the light of the front page.
This is why you need to ensure that you time your posts so that as many users as possible can see them for the day. Research has shown that the ideal time to post on Reddit is in the morning, particularly between 1:00 AM and 7:00 AM EST, as this will catch most people before they go to work.
That boost in upvotes early on in the day will give you a leg up over the rest of the competition and will maximize the exposure of your post as well as the amount of karma you get from it. Both of these factors can go a long way towards making your brand have a more legitimate presence on Reddit.
Give Incentives for Engaging with Your Posts
If you want to increase the number of users who see your posts, you can also give the community a reason to engage with them. One of the most popular ways to incentivize redditors to get involved with your brand is to host giveaways, though they’ll often have to be approved through the subreddit moderators.
Since many subreddits have rules against self-promotion, you’ll either have to find a subreddit that is willing to host your giveaway regardless or create your own subreddit. Of course, to host a giveaway on your brand’s subreddit, you’ll have to build up a bit of a following first, as a giveaway isn’t exactly thrilling when there are only three participants.
Other than giveaways, you can create contests where redditors can comment on your post for a chance to get gilded, winning them 7 to 30 days of Reddit Premium. Finally, you can also include discounts and coupon codes for your goods in your Reddit posts, though they should be added as bonuses and not the main focus of the post.
Keep an Eye Out for Users Discussing Your Product or Service and Engage with Them
When browsing Reddit, you’ll also want to make a cursory overview using the search function every once in a while. While we’ve already discussed the inefficiency of Reddit’s search feature, it will still allow you to make a few sweeps of the site for your brand name and see if anyone’s discussing you.
If you can’t find anything in your search, try arranging the spaces in the brand name differently (if applicable), or try to abbreviate the brand name and see if anything shows up. You’ll typically only want to comment on posts or comments that have been added relatively recently, as you’re unlikely to spark a discussion in a dead thread.
This is why you need to be searching for your brand’s mention every day on Reddit, as seeing it even a day too late means that it will have already fallen off of the subreddit’s hot page.
Keep Current with Internet Culture
While we already mentioned the importance of being able to create quality memes, if you want to market on Reddit, you’ll also need to have an ear to the ground about what’s going on around the internet. Redditors like to use meta humor a lot, and a lot of this involves prior knowledge of what the joke’s about.
Even on Reddit itself, you’ll often find other posts that parody an extremely popular one for the next few days. This is why you need to immerse yourself in Reddit culture, as even a single day spent not paying attention to the platform can leave you out of the loop. Thankfully, there’s a subreddit that can help you catch up conveniently called /r/outoftheloop.
Due to their status as a relatively insular community, redditors aren’t used to having to explain jokes to outsiders, so it’s often best if you educate yourself before replying to jokes you don’t understand.
Using Reddit to Learn More About Your Customers and How Your Product is Received
Reddit also allows you to conduct market research by going over the related interests of the people who engage with your content and show some interest in your products. Every one of your posts and comments can be seen by others on Reddit unless you choose to hide them, and this can give you an idea of where there’s some overlap between your product and others.
For example, if you notice that most of the people who are interested in your product are also subscribed to /r/PersonalFinance, then you may want to focus blog posts and marketing efforts in that direction. You can also get a more direct idea of what consumers think of your product by searching for reviews or initial thoughts about the thing you’re selling.
If someone makes a post about your product or service, you’ll be able to see what they think about it, but you’ll also be able to get some info about what the commenters think about it. Some comments will give you an idea of what undecided buyers are thinking before they buy your product, while other comments may come from customers who had a different opinion.
This is why Reddit is such a useful tool for companies that don’t even do their marketing on the platform, as they can get a better idea of what the average consumer thinks about them. As an added bonus, you can engage with the community and answer any questions they may have while doing your research.
Starting a Subreddit for Your Brand: The Dos and Don’ts
If you find that Reddit’s working well for your marketing efforts and the community is receiving you well, you may want to take things a step further. When you’ve established a bit of a name for yourself and the community is fond of you, it may be time to start up a subreddit for your brand.
This will provide customers and potential buyers with a place to discuss your products, but you’ll have to be in good standing with the overall community. If you have a bad reputation on Reddit and you decide to start a subreddit, you’ll likely spend a lot of your time dealing with trolls and other people who will make your moderating experience miserable.
This section of the guide will discuss everything you need to know about establishing a subreddit for your brand, namely the things you should do and the things you shouldn’t. Keep in mind that there’s a lot more to running a subreddit than we can sum up in a brief section, but these are the most pressing concerns.
Know When the Time is Right to Start a Subreddit
If you’re planning on starting a subreddit for your product within your first few days or even weeks of using Reddit, then you’re probably going about it the wrong way. To get the ball rolling for a subreddit, you’ll need to have a group of users that is interested enough in your product to band together.
It doesn’t exactly reflect well on your brand if you have a subreddit that’s a ghost town, because people will think that your product isn’t popular or worth talking about it. Surprisingly enough, in these cases, having a subreddit will often look worse for your brand than not having one at all.
Of course, you also don’t want to start a subreddit too late. If you notice that you have a large following on Reddit, hurry up and start your own subreddit before the community does it for you. You can also rely on a community-run subreddit if you want to reduce your workload, though you’ll have less direct control over it.
Don’t Make it Exclusively About Marketing Your Product
While this may seem counterintuitive to running a subreddit about your product, you’ll need to lay off on the marketing side of things. Subreddits should never be exclusively focused on advertising, and they should instead provide a place for redditors to discuss and share everything about the product or service.
90% of the content on a brand-based subreddit should be user submissions and questions about the product or service. The other 10% of the content should consist of product announcements and other subtle forms of marketing that don’t make it obvious that you’re using the subreddit for advertising.
The minute redditors think that a community they’re in has switched over to focus on marketing entirely is the minute that they start abandoning ship. If you don’t want your subreddit to bleed subscribers until there are none remaining, make sure you don’t make this crucial mistake.
Keep it Well-moderated
The thing that keeps subreddits alive and kicking is a moderation team that treats the subreddit like a second job. While you can’t expect to have this kind of dedication from every moderator you have, they’ll at least need to keep things tidy around the subreddit. A good moderation crew will go over comments and posts to ensure that everything abides by Reddit’s rules.
Poor moderation can even result in a subreddit being shut down by Reddit admins, so you’ll want to keep a close eye on how your brand subreddit is being run. Most companies will only allow employees to moderate their subreddit, as that means they don’t have to rely on exterior help.
Spam will be the main thing that moderators need to filter out of your subreddit, but it’s also the easiest. The harder part is going through the comments and ensuring that any hateful speech is removed. However, this is more of an issue in political subreddits or other places where divisive issues are frequently brought up.
You also want to make sure that your moderators aren’t being too heavy-handed with their deletions, as it can make you look extremely bad if you get caught deleting criticism from your subreddit. Instead of having moderators delete any comments with negative opinions, reply to them and try to offer a solution.
If you don’t intend to offer a solution to negative reception, then you might as well not even reply to it since redditors expect brands to take action when they reply to them. While this may sound like redditors are entitled, they’ve just come to expect a higher level of customer service from marketers on their platform.
How Do Promoted Posts Work on Reddit?
Direct advertising on Reddit is done through promoted posts, and they allow you to skip all of the nuance and learning required to advertise more organically on the platform. Keep in mind that redditors’ disdain for marketing on their site makes sponsored posts the targets of derision and makes them less effective than a well-thought-out organic marketing campaign.
However, if you don’t have the time to devote yourself to learning Reddit, and you just want to get your brand out there, using sponsored posts can help make things easier on you. Reddit uses an auction-based system to determine which advertisements will show up where, and high-demand parts of the site will require a higher cost.
Reddit charges marketers per 1000 impressions, and you let them know the rate that you’re willing to pay and the max budget that you’re willing to contribute towards it. You also have a wide range of options at your disposal when it comes to how your ads are targeted and where.
This section will go over the basics of using sponsored posts to improve your brand visibility on Reddit, and it will also cover the various types of ads that Reddit allows advertisers to use.
Get to Know the Basics
To create a Reddit advertisement, all you’ll need to do is create a Reddit advertising account or link your existing personal account to the business that you want to market. You’ll then need your ad’s headline, a thumbnail image with a maximum size of 140×140 pixels, and an image card with a size of 1200×628 pixels.
When you’re on your Reddit advertising dashboard, you’ll be able to name a campaign and then get into the details of how it’s going to be managed. You can then add the methods that you use to target your audience, including their interests, the subreddits the ad should run on, and even the time of day.
You then move on to setting your budget, choosing a maximum bid per 1000 impressions, and a limit for your budget over a certain period of time, like each day. At the end of the process, you’ll add your headline and image or video, depending on the type of ad you decided to run.
What Kind of Ads Can You Run on Reddit?
There are three main types of ads that Reddit accepts as sponsored posts, and they include direct links to the product or service’s site, videos, or even just text. Link ads tend to be the most popular on Reddit because they instantly redirect potential customers to a place where they can purchase the product or service.
For a site that’s built around sharing links to other websites, sponsored posts containing links tend to be the most natural option for marketers. Along with funneling traffic to exactly where you need it, a link ad has the benefit of fitting in much better with the rest of the posts that redditors see on their feed.
It can even lead to people mistakenly clicking on the link, thinking that it’s a part of their usual feed, particularly if it matches their interests well. This can lead to them seeing more of your product and deciding to purchase it if they end up liking it. Sponsored link posts are where most Reddit advertisers will start when marketing through the platform directly.
Video ads are another way to spread the word about your brand on Reddit, and you can include a call to action at the end of the video, theoretically combining the best of a link post into your video. Unfortunately, video ads tend to be a little less effective on Reddit since most redditors don’t open videos that don’t immediately interest them when browsing through their feed.
Many subreddits are inundated with videos, and if redditors don’t want to spend their whole day browsing through a bunch of them, they start to automatically filter videos, especially ads. Unless your video advertisement is an interesting video first and an ad second, it likely won’t be as well-received as a link.
Text ads are much like standard text posts, consisting of writing with a call to action potentially included somewhere in there. These ads are typically less popular than link ads too, but that’s just because they often can’t accomplish that much more than a sponsored link post would have been able to.
This is because most redditors will give sponsored posts only the most cursory glance, and they’ll be unlikely to open them up to read more. This means that your headline is the most important part of your advertisement, and that’s also present on link ads, where you don’t have to rely on the redditor clicking to expand your post and read it.
Reddit gives you the option of selecting various campaign objectives based on what you’re trying to accomplish through your advertising. They can range from spreading awareness about your brand and reaching out to customers all the way down to maximizing the number of redditors who install your app.
Brand Awareness & Reach
The brand awareness and reach campaign objective prioritizes people getting to know your brand and spreading the word as far and wide as possible. This is ideal for businesses that are just getting started and would like to get as many people talking about their products as possible.
As you would expect from the name, the traffic objective will try and get as much traffic to your selected page as possible. This objective is only accessible if your advertisement is a link or video, as it will not work with a text post. This is ideal for internet-based businesses that would like to increase the number of hits they get.
Conversions will try to prioritize redditors taking a specific action once they’ve arrived on your landing page, typically purchasing a product or subscribing to a service. This kind of objective is only available for link and video texts, as well. Businesses that have already established themselves tend to pick this option over the brand awareness and reach objective.
As you can expect, the video views objective is only available for video ads, and it prioritizes redditors contributing to the total number of views of a particular video. This is a great way to grow a streaming channel on a platform that you’re just getting started on.
The final campaign objective that you can set when creating a sponsored post on Reddit is to encourage app installations. Link and video posts can both be used with this kind of objective, and either the link or the call to action will typically lead to either the app’s App Store or Google Play Store page.
There are also several methods that Reddit can use to target your ads, ensuring that the best possible target audience gets to see them. Of course, every business will have its own ideal target audience, so there are many methods that allow you to pick that audience, including by subreddit, location, device, interest, or time of day.
One of the most common targeting methods used on Reddit is targeting potential viewers by the subreddits that they’re subscribed to. This is considered more effective than targeting users based on things like Facebook likes because subscribed subreddits tend to represent the current (and not past) interests that the user has.
Location is another crucial targeting method that marketers can use on Reddit, as it ensures that their target audience is in the same area of the globe. This is particularly useful for businesses that are selling physical goods online, as they likely won’t be prepared to pay for shipping from the US all the way to a place like Australia.
The interest ad targeting method is similar to the subreddit targeting in that it is based on what the target cares about, but it’s a lot broader than confining itself to a single subreddit. If you select an interest like gaming, then an ad will be likely to show up on a wide range of gaming-related subreddits instead of just /r/gaming.
As you would expect, this targeting method prioritizes the people who are seeing your ad based on the kind of device they’re using. You can choose between various smartphones, or you can even target users who are on their PC instead, though keep in mind that the majority of Reddit’s users are frequently on mobile.
Time of Day
Finally, one of the more specific targeting methods is picking the time of day that you can expect your ads to show up. This is ideal if you’re trying to ensure that as many people as possible see it, and popular times tend to be in the morning before work or in the evening after the workday has ended.
Tracking Ad Metrics
Reddit has many ad metrics available to the people who use their platform for marketing, though these are only available if you’re creating sponsored posts. If you’re using a more organic marketing method on Reddit, then you’ll have to compile your own metrics, and many of these stats won’t be available to you.
Reddit allows you to go through things like the total number of impressions you’ve made but also how much money you’ve spent, how many clicks your ads have received, and much more. They’ll even calculate the effective cost per 1000 impressions and the cost per click for you, allowing you to determine how well your campaign is working.
Video metrics on Reddit go even deeper, allowing you to see the points at which viewers stopped watching your videos and even the average cost per view for each video. There are plenty more metrics than the ones we’ve discussed here, so feel free to take a look at Reddit’s ad metrics page.
Setting an Ad Budget
Deciding on the right budget for your marketing campaign is a matter that’s entirely up to you and the amount that you can afford to spend on your brand. Many advertisers choose to start off slow on Reddit, but that often won’t show you what you can accomplish with a full-fledged marketing campaign on the platform.
Other marketers on Reddit will start with a moderate campaign to test the waters and give the platform a chance to work out for them. If they like what they see, then they’ll start regularly spending money on sponsored posts on Reddit and perhaps even increase their marketing budget for a particular campaign.
Like we mentioned earlier, you can choose to set your budget per 100 impressions, which is part of the auction process that determines whether or not your ads or someone else’s show where you want them. You can also pick the max amount of money you’re willing to spend for a daily, weekly, or monthly period.
For advertisers who want to test the waters of Reddit, test campaigns are an excellent way to see if Reddit fulfills their needs without having to keep track of everything themselves. Reddit recommends that test campaigns be run for a period of at least one month to get an adequate sample size to draw conclusions from.
It’s also a good idea to group your ads into groups to see which of them gets the most traction. For example, you should keep your sponsored link posts in a group of their own while your sponsored video posts are in another group, allowing you to compare and contrast the two methods.
Keep in mind that Reddit limits each ad from being shown too many times in a day, so if you’re trying to make the most of your test campaign, you should include multiple ads in each group. This will also ensure that redditors are seeing a carousel of different ads instead of the same thing over and over again.
Add a Call to Action (CTA)
Reddit gives you the choice of several different CTAs when you’re creating an ad, and you can optimize them for the kind of ad that you’re airing. For example, if you’re trying to get people to subscribe to a service, then your call to action button can say “sign up” and lead users to the registration page.
Other options include “play now,” “install now,” and many more options that can fit with almost any kind of add. You can add CTAs to link posts as well as video posts, but the way they appear is a little different. For a link post, the CTA will appear at the bottom of the post, near the right side of the card.
On the other hand, CTAs will only appear in video advertisements once the video has ended, and the ad card has popped up. This often means that redditors will be less likely to see your CTA in video ads because most of them don’t have the patience to stick around until the end of the video.
Ways to Establish Yourself on Reddit Before Using it For Marketing
If you plan on using Reddit for more than just its sponsored posts and you want to integrate organic marketing into your advertising plan, you’ll need to integrate yourself into the Reddit community. We’ve already discussed things like reddiquette and the rules, but there are a few things that you only learn from experience.
This section of the guide will cover the most useful tips for a Reddit beginner to get their account up to par and ready for marketing. Some of the crucial things include adopting healthy and regular posting habits and building up your karma reserves, so you don’t look like you’re only interested in Reddit as a marketing opportunity.
Comment on “Hot” Posts Early On
One of the best ways to start building up your karma is to know the best time to comment on posts. If you see a post near the top of your feed and it was posted relatively recently, then Reddit’s algorithm thinks that this post is going to be successful, and you can use it as a quick opportunity for some karma.
Take a look at the post and think of a quip or joke you can include in the comments that would likely go over well with the rest of the members of the subreddit. If you don’t want to use humor, you can also ask a question that stands out, and you’ll likely be upvoted by people with the same question.
Of course, just because a post shows up in hot, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you should drop everything and comment on it. Make sure that the post aligns with your interests and the kind of image you want to develop for your account. Keep in mind that people will likely browse through your previous posts and comments.
Browse News and Other Popular Subreddits
Some of the best places to start building up your karma are news subreddits since it’s relatively easy to make a contribution to them. You just need to find a news article that hasn’t yet been posted on any of the major subreddits and submit it before someone else jumps on the opportunity.
Keep in mind that posting in the main news subreddits is relatively competitive, so it may be hard for you to get the timing right. If this is the case, don’t be afraid to switch over to a less-populated subreddit that still gets a decent number of upvotes on new posts, as you’ll want to ensure that you get as much karma as possible.
If you aren’t interested in sharing news articles, you can also make jokes on /r/funny, submit memes to one of the countless meme subreddits, or just contribute to one that you’re interested in. There’s no secret recipe to being successful on Reddit; it just takes a lot of time spent browsing the site and looking for opportunities to gain more karma.
Don’t Be Afraid to Lose Karma, but Don’t Make it a Habit Either
Another problem that many new redditors have is that they’re petrified of losing karma, and they act like it’s the end of the world when they do. If you feel like there is a point to be made and that it will lose you karma, you can feel free to go ahead and post it as long as it won’t reflect badly on your brand.
People frequently assume that just because Reddit as a group has a certain opinion about something, they’re wrong to think otherwise. This couldn’t be further from the truth, and you can sometimes distinguish yourself and your brand by going against the grain and making your voice heard.
That being said, you don’t want everything that you post or comment to be controversial, as that will merely weaken the image of your brand. Try to minimize the amount of karma you lose for saying things that the community isn’t likely to agree with, but don’t stop yourself from speaking out entirely. It can sometimes reflect better on your brand to take a stand for what you believe in.
Post Often but not Excessively
You’ll also want to make sure that you’re posting often enough to look like you’re a typical Reddit user. Of course, the amount that each user posts varies based on their free time and how they like to use Reddit, but if you’re looking to establish your brand, you’ll want to post a little more frequently than average.
One or two posts per week and a few comments per day should be enough to steadily boost your karma numbers until you stop looking like your account just exists to market your product. Of course, the amount of karma that you get with each submission will also factor into how long it takes your account to look established.
Keep in mind that users can also see your account age on Reddit, so you won’t want to look like you’ve been trying to boost your karma in a short period of time. Posting throughout the day is fine, but don’t make a comment every five minutes that’s clearly pandering for additional karma, because redditors will be able to see that from your post history.
Take Your Time to Get Used to a Subreddit’s Unique Culture Before Posting
Just because you’ve gotten used to one subreddit, it doesn’t mean that you’re ready to start marketing your goods like an expert on every subreddit on the site. Keep in mind that there are plenty of distinctions between subreddits, even though they may seem like they’re outwardly similar.
Wait until you have at least a week lurking in each subreddit before you start posting, at least the sub is notably different when compared to the ones that you frequent. Get to know the unique jargon and culture of the subreddit that you’re on so you can fit in just like you’ve been there all along.
While this may seem time-consuming, it can help you ensure that your advertising efforts are taken seriously instead of ridiculed on the sub that you want to post to. Keep in mind that this only applies to organic Reddit marketing, as you won’t have to worry too much about how a sub works if you’re just publishing sponsored posts.
Get Friends to Comment on but not Upvote Your Posts
The Reddit terms and conditions make it clear that you’re not allowed to use your friends to boost your posts by getting them to upvote them. However, they are notably silent about your friends commenting on your posts, so if you’re looking to get the ball rolling, that’s a perfectly valid strategy.
Instead of having your friends make typical comments like “That looks great!” or “I need one of those!” try and get them to spark some conversation in the comments. Questions are a great way to get the rest of the community to engage with a post, and if redditors see that there are already a few comments on a post, they’ll be more likely to engage with it.
Of course, you don’t want to make it too obvious that you’re using your friends to start conversations on your posts, so ensure that the same accounts aren’t always commenting on your posts. This is crucial if you’re posting on multiple subreddits, as it raises doubts when the same account is subscribed to all the same subreddits you are.
Reddit is Hostile Towards Marketers Who Don’t “Get It”
By now, you may have noticed that Reddit isn’t the friendliest place to advertisers, as we’ve mentioned several times throughout the guide. Redditors tend to be more intelligent than many other social media users because of their higher education, and this means that they can often see through the falsehoods in most marketing campaigns.
Because Reddit’s users have seen many marketers try to take advantage of their platform and fail spectacularly, they’ve come to expect advertising on their platform to be dated and poorly-made. It doesn’t help that it takes so much effort to market effectively on Reddit cutting down on the number of marketers and ensuring that many of the ads on the platform are poorly-made, creating a vicious cycle.
However, this also means that redditors have an immense amount of respect for advertisers who they see as intelligent as themselves and who understand how to market to them. One of the most important things is being transparent with your audience when you market on Reddit, and this is a huge shift from marketing on other social media platforms.
At the very least, you want your target audience to think that you’re being as transparent as possible with them, and the best way to do this is to actually be that way. Focus on the parts of your product or service that you can praise, and be entirely honest about these parts of your business.
However, you also won’t want to try and deflect any criticism or comments about how your brand could be better. You’ll want to make it clear that redditors are having their voices heard when they engage with you, and the user base of Reddit has come to expect that marketers take action instead of making empty promises.
If someone tells you that they purchased a defective product, offer them a replacement, provided they have their proof of purchase. If a user mentions that your product is too expensive for them because they have limited income, potentially provide them with a discount code to show that you contribute to the community.
Use Reddit’s Search Function, but Know its Limitations
You may have also heard us mention the many shortcomings of Reddit’s search function, but it can also be incredibly useful. Like we said earlier, it can help you find any mention of your product’s name so you can reply to customers who have questions or criticism directly.
However, finding those posts in the first place can often be a challenge because of the poorly-designed search algorithm that Reddit uses. Don’t expect to see very relevant results when you search on Reddit, and expecting the search to show you posts with related keywords is far beyond the site’s search capability.
This means that you’ll have to make multiple searches for every possible way you can spell your brand name every time you want to see if anyone on Reddit has mentioned you. Redditors are aware of how bad their search engine is, and even they often recommend that you search for posts on Reddit using Google instead of the official function.
Be Sure to Identify and Avoid Trolls
One of the most important things for any brand to do when operating and advertising on the internet is to stay well clear of trolls. Trolls are individuals who merely exist to make everyone else’s life miserable on the internet, and they somehow derive entertainment from this. Unfortunately, trolls can also cause lasting damage to a brand.
Engaging with trolls and getting into an argument with them can undermine your brand significantly, as redditors will assume that you’ve never dealt with detractors on the internet before. The best thing you can do with Reddit trolls is to ignore them until the downvotes eventually hide their comment.
One of the best things about Reddit is that the community automatically filters out poor-quality comments and contributions, ensuring that you don’t have to deal with trolls too often. When they do slip through the cracks, always make sure that you don’t give them the platform that they so desperately desire.
Reddit Terminology Glossary
If you’ve never used Reddit before, then you may be bewildered by the wide range of terms and jargon that redditors tend to use in their posts and comments. This section is by no means exhaustive, but it will cover some of the essential terms and abbreviations that you should know if you’ll be marketing on Reddit.
TL;DR stands for “too long; didn’t read.” A TL;DR is essentially a summary of what the post or comment says, summed up as succinctly as the commenter or poster can manage to. These aren’t included with all posts, but it’s considered common courtesy to leave a TL;DR at the end of long-winded posts and comments.
A repost is a post that has already been submitted to Reddit before, especially if it was within the past year or so. Older reposts tend to be somewhat accepted by the community, but egregious ones include reposts where the OP can’t even be bothered to change the title from what it was originally.
By Reddit’s very nature, content is bound to be repeated, but users can do what they can to minimize the number of reposts. It is even included in the reddiquette guidelines that users should perform at least a cursory search to determine whether or not their piece of content has been posted before.
X-Post (or Crosspost)
While crossposts used to be manually denoted in the title or comments, Reddit recently started making the crosspost an official feature. If you see something on a subreddit that you think would fit well in another sub, you can crosspost it and essentially have it posted to that other community.
Keep in mind that the ability to crosspost is at the discretion of the subreddit’s moderation team, and some moderators will limit crossposts on their subs so they can reduce the number of low-effort submissions. Subreddits tend to prefer original content to crossposts, as it’s possible that users are already subscribed to the other subreddit, and they’ve already seen the post.
OP stands for either original post or original poster, depending on the context that it’s used in. The original poster is the person who created the post, and the original post is self-explanatory. These terms are typically used in the comments so that commenters can refer to the person or post that they’re discussing.
OC stands for original content, and it’s defined as content that has been created by the redditor who posted it. It can range from a work of art to a piece of music, and it can even be something as simple as a text post. OC is typically valued by the community more than shared content, especially if it’s high-quality.
A throwaway is an account created for a single purpose, so Reddit’s users can’t trace the post or comment back to your original account. Many users will create throwaway accounts so that they can make personal admissions that won’t be traced back to them. Other redditors use throwaway accounts to lie and spin tall tales, so your mileage with throwaways may vary.
An abbreviation for “Today I Learned,” TIL usually precedes posts that include a fun fact or a shocking revelation that isn’t exactly common knowledge. An example of a TIL post would go something like this, “TIL that some ships have double hulls to prevent sinking if the outer layer is damaged by an impact.”
ELI5 is another common abbreviation used in the /r/eli5 subreddit and in comments all across the site. ELI5 stands for “Explain Like I’m 5,” and it’s essentially a request for someone to explain something in the simplest terms possible. This can help a layperson grasp what others are talking about when the subject is suitably complex.
What Kind of Content Should You Post to Reddit?
If you’re new to Reddit, you may be wondering exactly what you should post to get started. The answer is that you can post nearly anything as long as it’s within the rules of the subreddit. Be sure to go over each sub’s rules and note the differences between them, as many may have unique guidelines for their posters.
Keep in mind that some subreddits also restrict users who are below a certain karma threshold from commenting or creating a post. This is a technique that they use to limit posts from spam accounts, as spammers will have to work to reach the karma threshold before they can clog up the subreddit with more of their junk.
There are many different things that you can post to Reddit to potentially boost your karma and improve your brand recognition, but some tactics work better than others. There are many different forms of posts that Reddit accepts, so let’s go over how they differ from each other and how you can expect them to be received.
Photos are some of the most common posts on Reddit, and they were traditionally hosted on Imgur since Reddit had very little self-hosting when it first began.
Since then, Imgur has become a lot less integral to posting images on Reddit, as they have implemented their own image hosting. Despite this, many long-time redditors still prefer to post their photos and albums on Imgur.
When posting an image on Reddit, be sure that you choose the preferred hosting method for the subreddit that you’re on. If posting to /r/pics, you’ll typically want to make sure that the content of the photo is what will draw people to it instead of the caption giving it a context, as you’ll find that members of that community take that rule seriously.
Much like images, videos on Reddit used to have to be hosted using third-party services like Youtube. Unlike images, the video player that Reddit has implemented on their own site is one of the worst you’ll find on such a popular website. Even the Reddit community tends to prefer posting their videos elsewhere and then linking to them.
When posting videos on Reddit, you’ll have to consider that most redditors will scroll right past them, especially if they don’t immediately grab their attention. Shorter videos tend to be preferred by redditors, because most of them would rather keep scrolling through their feed instead of stopping for 20 minutes to watch an in-depth video.
GIF files straddle the line between images and videos. GIFs tend to be small enough to easily share because they don’t feature any sound, and they can be saved just like images. They can also be viewed in most modern image viewers, ensuring you don’t need the right codecs like you do for videos.
This has naturally made GIFs popular for sharing short clips on Reddit, especially when sound isn’t required. However, GIFs are growing less and less popular over time with the advent of other easily-accessed video types, like HTML video and .webm. Despite its waning popularity, the GIF is a proven way to upload short clips without resorting to a whole video.
While text posts weren’t initially very popular on Reddit, there are now entire communities that revolve entirely around text posts. This is often because moderators notice a large number of memes and other low-effort posts on their subreddits, so they convert the submissions to text-only mode.
Beyond those few cases where subreddits are restricted to text posts, these kinds of Reddit posts allow users to share their opinions without having to comment on another post. While it may seem strange for a content aggregator website, some text posts are far more popular than links or videos because they’re often easier to digest, and you don’t have to leave the site or app.
Of course, the bread and butter of any content aggregator site like Reddit are the links that are shared on it. Links can lead to anywhere on the internet, provided the site isn’t filled with viruses, scams, or spammers, and they can apply to any subject, but they’re usually related to the subreddit they’re on.
When sharing links, try to make sure that the resource you’re linking to hasn’t already been shared on Reddit. You’ll also want to ensure that your link lines up properly with the interests of your fellow redditors, otherwise, it will be likely to die in new before ever reaching the top of the subreddit.
This guide has covered everything you need to know if you’re going to get started marketing on Reddit. First off, you’ll need a firm grasp of the site’s basics and what you can expect from the users as a marketer. We’ll repeat our suggestion that you should experience the site as a user before you start marketing on it.
Taking your time to get to know Reddit will allow you to take advantage of the site’s unique culture while making your brand fit into it. While you may have to take a slightly different approach to marketing on Reddit compared to other social media platforms, it has the same astronomical potential as the others.
A lot of advertisers get scared away from Reddit because of the outwardly hostile community, especially towards marketers, but that’s only because they don’t understand how to market to redditors. Dealing with the site’s denizens can be admittedly frustrating, but if it pays off, you’ll find that they’re some of the most loyal followers on the internet.
When Redditors like a product, they’ll cling to it like it’s a plank in a shipwreck, and they’ll defend it to the ends of the earth if you show them that you support your community. The opposite is true if you try to treat Reddit like any old marketing opportunity, and you don’t care about how the site works and what its community thinks.
Time and time again, redditors look back at the times that AMAs have gone horribly awry because marketers didn’t understand the point of an AMA. The amount of work it takes to advertise properly on Reddit also has the benefit of reducing the amount of competition that you have to deal with.
From unique terms only used in their corner of the internet to a brilliant method of dividing the community into subreddits, it’s plain to see why Reddit has had so much success over the years. This allows the site’s users to overlook persistent flaws like a poor search algorithm and a somewhat dated interface.
We hope that this guide has provided you with all the info you were looking for about marketing on Reddit. We wish you luck in your next marketing campaign!
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