With 71 billion page views each year, Reddit is one of the largest online communities. So why aren’t more businesses using it to boost their traffic?
Since it was founded in 2005, Reddit has become a phenomenon. Its busy, nondescript landing page receives more than 234 million unique users a month and it is currently the seventh-most popular website on the net.
But even with such huge traffic, and backing from high-profile individuals like Barack Obama and Bill Gates, businesses still give it a wide berth. To find out why, let’s review the fundamentals.
What is it?
Reddit is the self-styled “Front Page of the Internet”. And in many ways it deserves the accolade: news, memes, and trends all tend to appear on Reddit long before they do on other social networks. For all intents and purposes it is a glorified bulletin board, one that has gone largely unchanged for more than a decade. Its users, known as ‘Redditors’, submit content to subreddits, a microsite based upon a niche topic (more on that later).
So if Reddit is so popular, why don’t more businesses use it? Short answer: Redditors are allergic to marketing. If you’re caught selling content or products, you’re going to get down-voted – which impacts your user ranking or ‘karma’ – or your post will be removed altogether. The worst-case scenario is that your profile will be deleted.
But there are still ways of promoting your business on Reddit.
Start on the right foot
A good place to start is with the aforementioned subreddits. Spend some time thinking about the relevance of your article or post within a specific subreddit. For example, if you sell toasters, you might want to visit the r/ToasterRights subreddit, a community aimed at making the world a better place for toasters.
The secret to success is to think like a Redditor.
Who should use Reddit?
If your target demographic is young men, you’re in luck. Almost 71% of Reddit users in the USA are male and aged between 18-29. Not the most diverse mix admittedly, but if your business fits into categories such as education, photography, politics, videogames, technology, science, music, food, or fitness then you’re probably in luck.
A good example of a business using Reddit is when Nissan got two Reddit community managers to ask people about the crazy things they could buy off Amazon – then actually went ahead and bought them. One commenter requested a car. Sure enough, a large Amazon cardboard box containing a Nissan was soon being delivered to a Wisconsin town. Not the subtlest way to curry favour from an audience, but it worked…
It’s not just about gimmicks though. Many editorial businesses trawl through Reddit looking for viral stories. Gawker famously fell out with the site’s community as there was a perception the website relied too heavily on Reddit content. Time Magazine recently announced an official partnership with Reddit.
Create your own community
While it’s possible to hit a home run with a single Reddit post, you might find greater success in setting up a subreddit of your own. First, you should make sure you have an account with a decent amount of karma, so that Redditors accept you as a genuine poster. One of the best ways to build karma is to leave comments on rising r/askreddit submissions, which often explode in popularity, alongside your well-timed comment.
The next step is to set up a subreddit. It’s common to see a subreddit based upon community posts, so if you are an engineering company you might consider a light-hearted subreddit for architecture and fixtures that look like faces. The sidebar in turn would display helpful information from your company. You get the picture.
Ultimately there’s no easy way to find marketing success on Reddit. It requires in-depth knowledge of the platform and its users, a creative approach to content, and an abject hatred of anything that is overtly salsey – and that’s a good general rule for content creation anyway.
Here’s the thing: if you can make it on Reddit, you can make it anywhere. And those that hit the front page not only get huge swathes of traffic, but a secret invite to the r/eternity club. That’s the gold medal for content marketers.