Learn How to Market Your Brand on Reddit

Reddit is unlike any of the other popular social media platforms, and marketing on Reddit must be approached with that in mind.

Featuring vast, engaging, niche communities and high standards of moderation, it’s hard to come up with a topic that doesn’t fall within a Reddit community. A Pew research report puts Reddit as the 10th most-used social media platform in the United States, and as of January 2021, there were 50 million daily active Reddit users worldwide. That said, Reddit is unlike any of the other popular social media platforms, and marketing on Reddit must be approached with that in mind. Let’s look at the ways that brands are marketing and advertising on Reddit.

How Does Reddit Work? User-Generated Content!

Reddit users, often called Redditors, post content to Reddit in the form of text-based discussions, links, photos or videos, and other users are then able to comment on the post. Posts and comments related to the post are then upvoted or downvoted by other users.

The way the upvote and downvote system works is straightforward: The topical (upvoted) content rises to the top of the users’ feeds while downvoted content gets pushed down. While there is no rhyme or reason to what gets upvoted or downvoted, typically, interesting, relevant, funny and entertaining content is upvoted, and boring, irrelevant, distasteful or hateful content is downvoted (and often deleted by moderators). 

Aside from Reddit’s front page, discussions are divided into smaller individual communities that are referred to as subreddits. Users are able to view the top communities, as well as the fastest-growing subreddits. As of 2021, there were over 100,000 active communities on Reddit.

reddit communities

Reddit also features a “karma” system for users that validates the usefulness or relevance of a user’s posts — it’s a good gauge of how much a user’s contributions mean to the community. The amount of karma someone has is publicly displayed on their “profile” page, which, unlike other social media platforms, simply displays a user’s posts or comments that they have left on others’ posts. When a user’s posts or comments get upvoted, they gain karma points. Conversely, when a user’s posts or comments are downvoted, they lose karma points. 

Although Reddit isn’t technically a social media platform, the ability to upvote and downvote posts, post comments and publish content is similar to other popular social platforms. People regularly use Reddit to learn more about a topic from others who know it well, and that includes both peers and brands. According to Reddit, 90% of users trust the platform as a place to learn about new products and brands. Reddit users are generally well-informed consumers, and they are likely to recommend the products and brands they love to others.

Related Article: Deciding on the Best Social Media Platforms for Customer Connection

Marketing on Subreddits: Authenticity Rules

The first thing to keep in mind is that Reddit is a large community made up of many smaller communities. As such, members of each community tend to be supportive of those who post relevant content and dismissive or derogatory of those who post irrelevant, off-topic posts, which include spam, blatant marketing or advertising ploys.

Babar Khan Javed, the director of public affairs at Z2C Limited, a Singaporean accelerator for martech startups, told CMSWire that he views Reddit in a similar way to how he sees Twitter — as an essential customer insight and sentiment tracking data pool. “The communities and the comments within can be scraped by tools such as Walee to gather sentiments toward laws, proposals, product categories, business moves and prospective employers. The use cases are endless, and our usage of Reddit is based on engaging target audiences in a conversation, understanding where misconceptions lie, and driving a deeper understanding of the projects we are working on,” said Javed.

Joe Karasin, chief marketing officer at CircleIt, a generational platform provider, told CMSWire that Reddit is a great marketing channel and can work well when done right. “Brands that are successfully marketing on Reddit are finding the right subreddits to join and either posting from a branded account, or getting a team of savvy people to drum up organic conversations that can weave the brand into the discussion.” Karasin gave the example of a company that posted in a death-centric subreddit from a branded account. “The post was essentially ignored by the community. In contrast, we at CircleIt have also been active in that subreddit, but not as branded accounts,” he said. 

Karasin suggested that brands genuinely contribute to the discussion, often without mentioning the company name. He said that when his business does mention the company name, they do it tactfully.

“For example, a member posted a question to the group asking if they would want to receive messages from their loved ones that had passed away. I was able to contribute a personal story, as my mother had left me a letter to find after she passed on, but also was able to mention that our platform enables that type of communication.” Karasin said that this type of contribution to the discussion was well received, and that the company was able to attribute 90 new downloads from that post. “In order to be effective, you need to be authentic on Reddit. The moment you sound like you’re selling something, you will be called out and lambasted by the Redditors.”

Related Article: How to Make Your Social Outreach More Genuine and Organic

Advertising on Reddit

Reddit has many advertising options available and enables brands to target users that are in communities that share something in common with the brand. One example would be a brand that sells hiking shoes advertising in a Reddit hiking community. “As far as advertising is concerned, Reddit offers some very cool targeting options, where you can hypertarget ads into specific subreddits and hit a niche audience,” said Karasin. “Truly good marketing on Reddit takes time and energy.” Karasin emphasized that many marketers need to unlearn behaviors. “Because it is a much different audience than Meta platforms, for example, marketers can’t use the same tactics and expect the same results.”

For those interested in guaranteed outcomes without sacrificing traction, Javed said that Reddit offers the option of paid advertising using two types of ad units: auction and takeover. “Adobe has worked with Reddit’s KarmaLab to tap design talent straight from the platform, creating standout ads to win the hearts, minds, upvotes, awards and trust of Redditors while driving incredible business results.”

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