We have all come across the community forum site Reddit whether or not we can easily recall doing so. If you’ve ever searched your internet browser for a specific question, odds are one of the first few links giving you an answer comes from Reddit.
The site is made up of an overflowing number of ‘subreddits’ which are discussion pages for individual communities, each with their own moderators, rules and styles of communication. You can find a subreddit on anything from commonalities likes r/gaming and r/movies to topics that are esoteric or just plain funny such as r/britishproblems or r/talesfromretail.
It can feel chaotic at first, but it is not impossible to navigate through the site to build a successful campaign. You just need to have the stomach for it.
Before you eagerly embark on setting up a profile and attempting to market through Reddit, it is important that you first know the many ways to fail, so you don’t fall so easily into those traps.
When approaching a subreddit page read the rules and follow them. Unfortunately from a brand and marketing perspective, a rule that you will see time and time again, and cause the most concern is; no spam/advertising.
According to Reddit’s own guidelines for self-promotion; it’s perfectly fine to be a Redditor with a website, it’s not okay to be a website with a Reddit account [...] These guidelines are the same whether you run a major publication or brand or if you have a personal blog or project.
It doesn’t leave much room to find a grey area, and so enter Reddit’s Promoted Post option. The loophole allows brands to create and promote a post to either link to an external page or internal thread, thus not breaking subreddit rules.
This works because, in true Reddit fashion, your promoted post can be commented on by its users and doesn’t have the luxury of remaining at the top of its targetted subreddit page. Users can choose to either upvote the promoted content or downvote it. The latter means that it can be buried in a thread and may never again see the light of day - despite the paid spend you’ve put behind it.
A portion of why the site thrives so much is the anonymity of its users and a casualty of this sees a higher capacity for being trolled in the comments or seeing an array of difficult questions posed. These brutal but fair functionalities mean that Reddit can stay authentic by giving both brands and users what they want - even though it seems to favour one side more than the other.
It’s not all gloom and doom though. There have been several successful marketing campaigns that have taken off across Reddit.
A prime example is Nissan who, with the aid of their own marketers, who were also bonafide Redditors (Reddit users), asked the question; what would you order from Amazon? When people realised Nissan were fulfilling requests the thread was soon popularised until a massive Amazon box was seen driving around a sleepy American town. Inside, a car for one lucky Redditor.
Similarly, when Spotify hit the subreddit pages asking about which songs sparked different emotions, they were overwhelmed with response. The subreddit community themselves went on to create an epic playlist with Spotify going on to unveil their own custom playlists created from that campaign and directly inspired by Redditors.
What Nissan and Spotify got right is at the centre of how content marketing can succeed across Reddit. Don’t waltz in as a brand and expect the same reception you are used to getting from the likes of, say, YouTube and Instagram. On this platform, you need to be a part of the community and interact with the users in a way that is open and honest.
If they smell a marketing ploy you’ll be downvoted before your campaign has the chance to perform in the first act.
With over 430million monthly active users worldwide, more than 2.2million subreddits and Reddit users watching 1.4billion uploaded video content on the platform every month - there is a wealth of audience research and information to be sourced from the platform.
The key to content marketing on Reddit is to, not. Or at least pretend that you aren’t.
As a brand, it’s difficult to make much headway if you intervene on threads, instead keep to helpfully answering questions over brandsplaining. See Reddit for what it is: a running tap for conducting market research and keeping your finger on the pulse of trends, the competition and your own brand. All of it comes straight from the mouth of your target audience.
“Reddit is a community not a platform for self-promotion.”
The reason Reddit needs to be approached differently to how you typically would with other social media platforms, is because it’s not a social media platform. At least not technically.
Reddit may not be the most talked about platform when it comes to content marketing, due to how difficult it is to get consistent results, but it is still worth looking into. Relatively untapped in its true potential which is gaining a keen and organic understanding of your audience - it’s worth diving into.
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