Why marketers should use reddit
It is time to clear up the confusion and myths surrounding reddit marketing. Valuable conversations are happening every day on reddit and marketers need to be involved in these conversations. When marketers engage reddit the right way, they enhance the conversation and are rewarded with opportunities to promote content and receive customer feedback.
What marketers are doing wrong
Each month, reddit receives millions of unique visitors and billions of page views. Many marketers see these numbers and try to game reddit with unethical marketing schemes. This type of thinking is short-term and unsustainable.
Instead, marketers should take a long-term approach to reddit marketing. It starts by learning about the reddit platform, the rules, and the communities (subreddits) that are relevant to your brand and then becoming an active member of each community. On reddit, contributing value while being honest and accessible leads to meaningful results.
What is reddit? How does it work?
Reddit is a link sharing, discussion, and community building platform. Reddit is made up of “posts”, which can only be submitted by registered users (redditors).
A link post consists of a title that links to any page on the web (including links to other pages on reddit).
A text post consists of a title and body of text.
Both link and text posts have a comments section where other users can discuss the post.
Posts are voted “up” and “down” by redditors. Posts that receive more “upvotes” rise to the top of the page and become more visible to other users. The up/down voting feature is what sets reddit apart from traditional forums and social media because it allows the community to filter content for itself.
What is a subreddit?
Every post on reddit is submitted to a subreddit. Subreddits are the communities on reddit and each subreddit is dedicated to a singe topic. Redditors subscribe to subreddits related to their interests, allowing them to follow specific types of content more closely.
Subreddit names are often prefixed with “/r/” to match the URL structure that reddit uses. So the “News” subreddit is often referred to as “/r/News” (read as “r news”) and can be found at reddit.com/r/news.
Understanding subreddits is key to successful marketing on reddit. Each subreddit is its own community with unique demographics and interests. While the general reddit audience might not care about your brand, a specific subreddit could be filled with fans that want to hear from you.
Choosing a reddit Username
Choosing a reddit username is an important decision to make and it is necessary to register as a user before you can engage redditors on the platform. Here are a few tips for choosing a username:
- Humans communicate on reddit – not companies or brands. Every username should attempt to contain a human element. We recommend including the name of the employee and/or title in your reddit username (e.g. ‘John_Company_CEO’)
- You may need to create multiple user names. If different leaders in your organization are engaging redditors they should communicate using their own username.
- You can use your personal reddit username (if you have one) but keep in mind that users can view the history of your activity.
- Don’t overthink it. Reddit usernames are largely unimportant compared to the actual content that you post. Almost any type of username will work, so feel free to be creative.
How to create a reddit username
Note: Only registered users are able to vote, post submissions, comment, and advertise on reddit.
Go to reddit.com and click “create an account” in the top right-hand corner. This will bring up a pop-up window where you can enter a username, password, and your email address (required if you want to create ads). Click the “Create Account” button and you will re-directed back to the front page of reddit. If you entered an email address, you will receive an email with a verification link.
The first thing you should do after creating your username
You need to subscribe to subreddits that interest you. After creating your account, the front page of reddit will show you the “hot” submissions from the default subreddits (subreddits that you are automatically subscribed to when you create your account). You can edit your subscriptions by clicking on “My Subreddits” in the top left-hand corner and then scroll down to “Edit Subscriptions”. We recommend unsubscribing from every subreddit that is not related to your business.
Then go to reddit.com/subreddits and search for keywords that are related to your business. Reddit will provide you with a list of subreddits where those keywords are mentioned. View the subreddits that peak your interest and subscribe to the ones that you want to stay up to date with.
Now when you log on to reddit, your front page will be filled with popular links and discussions that are targeted to your interests.
How Voting Works on reddit
You can vote up or down on every post and comment on reddit. This voting mechanism is what makes reddit so special and useful to marketers. The voting gives you additional feedback on every post and comment you make, allowing you to gauge how you are being received by other redditors. It is also useful when you ask a community for feedback as you can easily tell which responses are supported by the community and which ones can be ignored.
Redditors vote up and down for a variety of reasons, but in general you should upvote things that add value to the conversation and downvote things that do not.
Karma can be thought of as your personal reddit score. You receive karma every time someone upvotes your submissions or comments. You lose karma when you are downvoted. One vote equals one point of karma. Other users can view your karma by clicking on your username (or navigating to reddit.com/user/username).
The original purpose of karma was to encourage users to submit content to reddit. Now it is something that most redditors do not care about. Instead of worrying about your overall karma score, pay attention to the scores of your individual posts and comments to assess how your content is being received by the community.
How to comment on reddit
Commenting is the first way you should engage redditors. Scan your front page or visit a subreddit you follow and start reading the posts. Find a post that interests you and consume it to determine if you have something to say that adds to the conversation. Before commenting, read through the existing comments to make sure you are not repeating what someone else has already said. By reading the comments, you can also find opportunities to reply to other comments and add value to the discussion.
To find new posts that have not been commented on yet, click on the “new” tab. This will display the most recently submitted posts and opportunities to provide value where no one else has commented yet.
Note that comments can either be made in response to the post itself (top-level comment) or to a comment already made by another user. When you are commenting, make sure that you are adding a “top-level” comment or replying to the appropriate user.
If you are trying to comment or vote on a post, but reddit won’t let you, it means that the post is archived (old) and no longer accepts comments or votes.
How to submit a new post
Navigate to the subreddit where you want to submit a post (reddit.com/r/subredditname). Look at the top of the right sidebar and you will see two buttons: “Submit a new link” and “Submit a new text post”. Note that some subreddits may use different wording or they may only offer one of the two options.
Click the appropriate button to make your submission. If you are submitting a link, you simply need to paste the link in the link field and then add a title for the submission. If you are submitting a text post, you need to add your title and body text. Your body text may contain links to external websites.
Click submit and your post will be added to the subreddit. You can confirm your submission by viewing the “New” submissions in the subreddit.
Submit links that promote your own content with extreme caution. Promoting your own content on reddit will make some redditors suspicious of your intentions. Make sure you are honest about who you are and only post your own content if it adds substantial value to the community. If you are submitting a video or image, link directly to the media instead of a blog post that has the media embedded. If you are submitting a blog post, post the full text as a text post and add a “source” link at the end of the post.
Messages and the inbox
Messages on reddit can be a post reply, comment reply, or a private message. A post reply is a top-level comment left on your post. A comment reply is a direct reply to one of your comments. A private message (PM) is a message sent from another user that only you can see.
The inbox is where all messages are stored and can be accessed by clicking on the envelope icon at the top right of every page.
If the envelope icon is orange, that means you have unread messages.
Click the icon to view unread replies and PMs. You can reply to comments directly from the inbox or click on the “context” link to see the context of the comment before replying.
When you create a new post on reddit, there is an option to “send replies to my inbox” and by default it is checked. If you do not want to receive replies in your inbox, uncheck this option before creating your post (users will still be able to leave comments). If you have already submitted a post, go to it’s comments page and click the “disable inbox replies” link under the post to disable inbox replies. This can be helpful if a post gets highly upvoted in a big subreddit and your inbox is being flooded with messages.
Moderators (or ‘mods’) are important members of the reddit community.
It is the moderators’ job to maintain the spirit and purpose of their subreddit. They control the content in the sidebar and they can even add custom design features to the subreddit.
The most important function of a moderator is to moderate the content of the subreddit by removing off-topic submissions, inappropriate comments, and spam. They also have the ability to ban users from their subreddit.
As a marketer, it important to be respectful of the moderators and their rules. If you are ever unsure about a rule or want to ask the moderators a question, you can contact them by locating the “message the moderators” link in the right-hand sidebar of any subreddit.
Learn to speak reddit
Below is a list of basic terms and abbreviations that you will encounter on reddit.
AMA – Ask me anything
DAE – Does anyone else…
ELI5 – Explain like I’m 5…
FTFY – Fixed that for you
IAMA – “I am a…” (also the main subreddit for AMAs)
ITT – In this thread…
Lurker – A person who frequently visits reddit, but does post.
NSFW – Not safe for work
OP – Original poster (user that created the post)
PM – Private message
Repost – Content that has already been posted to reddit
Self post – A text post
Throwaway – An account made by a redditor who wants to keep their identity anonymous/separate from their normal account.
TIL – Today I learned
TL;DR – Too long; didn’t read
Troll – A user who does/says something just to get a rise out of people
Xpost or crosspost – Something that was posted to one subreddit then posted again to a different subreddit.
Reddiquette for marketers
Redditquette (reddit etiquette) should be followed because it is a fundamental way to contribute value to every community you engage. All of the guidelines of redditquette were created for a reason and by respecting them, you help make the community a better place.
You can read the official reddiquette guidelines here.
Here are some additional guidelines specifically for marketers:
- Be professional. As a marketer, remember that you represent a brand and the way that brand interacts with individuals.
- Familiarize yourself with the subreddits you are engaging. Check the sidebar for specific rules and guidelines before submitting content.
- Be accessible by responding to comments and private messages. It is especially important to make sure you respond to comments that have been upvoted by multiple users. Ignore comments that are inappropriate.
- Do something on reddit that isn’t about you on a consistent basis. Share someone else’s content or answer a question that has nothing to do with your business.
- Always contribute value. This is the only way redditors will welcome you into their communities.
Reddit can be a difficult platform to grasp for beginners, but the information in this guide will get you started on the right track. Through experience you will come to understand reddit, learn how to contribute value, and produce meaningful marketing results.