Reddit is like the Wild West. Regarded as the “front page of the internet,” it’s comprised of links and discussion boards where 234 million users curate posts through a series of upvotes and downvotes. With the users—called “redditors”—calling the shots, it’s inherently rough terrain where marketers seemingly seldom tread.
At Voxus, we’re all about embracing novel ways of generating buzz for clients, be it sharing their unique insights—like iovation commenting on the EMV card switchover in CNBC. Or having them jump into trending topics—like WatchGuard Technologies discussing the latest data breaches in SC Magazine. And lately, we threw caution to the wind by plotting a course into an uncharted frontier: Reddit.
Here’s what happened.
Why post to Reddit?
Recently, a company asked Voxus to secure news coverage around the launch of its new travel-related app. Pulling out all the stops, we got mentions in outlets like Forbes, The Los Angeles Times and Lonely Planet. Striving for more, we decided to post about it to Reddit.
The goal was to give the app more exposure, and possibly get it noticed by journalists. After all, it’s well documented that reporters trawl the website for content. Even its users have taken notice. We also saw an opportunity to create fans and drive website traffic and downloads.
Our Reddit marketing approach
Wanting to get the most bang for our buck, we first looked to post to one of the website’s default subreddits. Subreddits are smaller communities on the website focused on a specific topic, and the defaults are ones users are automatically subscribed to. This makes for large audiences.
We first targeted the default subreddit r/LifeProTips. As the app helps travelers, the thought was it would be a good travel tip for the sub’s 6.8 million subscribers. Unfortunately, the sub automatically blocks referral links thwarting our efforts. Our perfectly crafted post linking to an article about the app was neutered.
The lesson here was to review all of a sub’s rules, and have a plan B, C or even D. We quickly shifted focus—posting to other smaller, more targeted subreddits.
Posting instead to r/apps and r/travelhacking, we started seeing some traction. The post performed best on r/apps, getting 12 upvotes and eight comments. Outperforming many of the sub’s other posts. The sentiment even leaned positive, with one user immediately identifying and espousing the product’s benefits on our behalf. r/travelhacking saw some traction, but fewer engagements overall.
As result, we were able to 1) generate awareness, 2) gain feedback, and 3) tweak messaging before posting to other larger subreddits. We can’t say for sure that we drove more news coverage, but it did help get the app more eyeballs and possibly downloads. With lessons learned, our next step is posting to r/iphone and r/android.
Below is a suggested approach to posting about products to Reddit based on what we learned.
8 steps to successful Reddit marketing
Step 1. Join Reddit
You’ll need a Reddit account to post links and make comments. For your marketing efforts, it’s recommended to create a new one. This is because if you accidentally break a subreddit rule your account might get banned from it.
It’s best to create a new account, and not risk your own personal one.
Step 2. Find relevant subreddits
Each subreddit has a specific focus. Identify one or more that are relevant to your product or service. To reach the largest audience possible, target subs with the most subscribers. If in luck, this just might be a default sub with millions of users following its content. You can easily search different subs here on Reddit.
Ideally, you’ll have about five subreddits in mind as they each have their own mores and norms. This way, if you make a misstep and get banned you’ll have a backup.
Step 3. Get acquainted with the community
Before posting, get a better feel for your target subreddit. This means reading other posts, commenting and even sharing a link. Doing this will give you familiarity with the sub and make your post seem more “authentic.”
Also be sure to review all of subreddit’s rules. Following them will help ensure you don’t get banned. And review proper reddiquette.
Step 4. Post about the product
Finally, share your product on targeted subreddits. Consider linking to either a news article or product website. Generally, an article might perform better as it’d come across as something someone happened to find. If an article, make sure it’s recent and positively positions the offering.
As for the post, craft it around the subscribers’ interests. Also, find your product’s fun or catchy angle. Fun or helpful posts tend to perform best.
Step 5. Enlist the help of “friendlies”
Get an initial boost from other known redditors. Getting a couple friendlies to upvote the post can give it a nudge into the right direction.
This may appear somewhat underhanded, but it feeds into Reddit’s hive mind mentality and can prime the pump for further positivity.
Step 6. Engage with comments
A compelling post will get comments. When this happens, upvote positive ones and downvote overly negative ones. You will also have the opportunity to respond to any skepticism by addressing concerns. But as the saying goes, “Don’t feed the trolls!”
Step 7. Gather feedback
Reddit can act like a focus group with users providing feedback. Note what others say so you can adjust messaging as necessary. These comments will often be blunt but provide valuable insight.
Consider asking for feedback directly. If you’re an app developer, for example, it might be worth seeing what redditors think about a product or idea.
Step 8. Adjust and x-post
After testing the waters in smaller subs, you might want to try out a bigger group. To do this, first adjust your messaging according to feedback. For instance, if users are unsure about an aspect of your product, address it in your next post. Once adjusted, feel free to cross post, known as an “x-post.”
Before x-posting, repeat steps above: assess the sub, review rules, post beforehand and enlist friendlies.
A few notes about Reddit
Posting and commenting on Reddit is fun. It’s a vibrant active community. Despite this, it’s recommended to not post too frequently about a brand. Consider only posting about a product to a targeted sub once every few months. And mix it up with a different article if you can.
Learn more about Reddit at the sources listed below:
- Voxus blog post about whether to host a Reddit “Ask Me Anything” (AMA)
- Hear about Reddit from astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson and its founder Alexis Ohanian on StarTalk Radio
- Post about how Reddit and authenticity are intertwined