Recently, I started learning music theory through a book called How to Really Play the Piano by Bill Hilton. The book is somewhat vague about how to practice the concepts it presents, so I went to /r/Piano for advice.
This was my post:
I received some great answers from the community there, but later that night I also received a private message from /u/danthecomposer. He saw my post and messaged me to tell me about his YouTube videos that help people like myself learn to play the piano. Here is our back and forth:
So now I am watching his videos on YouTube and learning some great stuff. Someday, I may purchase one of his advanced courses. This worked because /u/danthecomposer has a product that solves my problem for free, but unsolicited private messaging on reddit is a risky strategy.
While it worked in this scenario, we do not recommend private messaging as a marketing strategy. We recommend that you post a comment instead of sending a private message. Private messages should be reserved for when you need to discuss something private or something that is only relevant to a single user. In the scenario above with /u/danthecomposer, his message did not fall into either of these categories so it would have been better to post his message as a comment.
Private messages insulate your from feedback and exposure. You need to post your messages out in the open so the community can evaluate them and benefit from them. If you are posting something that the community feels is spammy, it is good to know that so you can learn. The feedback will teach you when it is okay to promote your links and you will get more exposure as a result.
Likewise, it is very easy to report a user for sending spam in a private message. Many redditors view marketing via private messaging as an intrusion and will therefore report your message as spam. This can lead to your account being banned. We recommend that marketers be very careful with reddit’s private message feature and only use it when something private or highly specific to a single user needs to be communicated.
TL;DR (Too Long; Didn’t Read)
Private messaging users on reddit is a risking marketing strategy that we do not recommend. Private messages should be reserved for communicating sensitive information or information that is only relevant to a single user. Instead of sending a PM, post a comment so it can be seen by the rest of the community.