Leveraging Reddit for Marketing

Reddit can be a powerful part of your digital marketing strategy, especially to reach an audience that may not be active on other social media platforms

Leveraging Reddit for Marketing
Adriana Lacy Consulting
A version of this article first appeared in the Media Minds Newsletter. Subscribe today and get the newsletter delivered to your inbox twice a week.

They’re engaged, curious, and tech-savvy, and you may not be marketing to them effectively – or at all! They’re Redditors, users of a social media platform that focuses on information-sharing and discussion.

Reddit is a message board, founded in 2005 and acquired by Conde Nast in 2006. It can be a powerful part of your digital marketing strategy, especially to reach an audience that may not be active on other social media platforms. 

Reddit is a good tool for marketers who want to reach an engaged, tech-savvy demographic famous for problem-solving and deep involvement with various issues and interests. People use Reddit to build communities based on common interests, crowdsource information, problem-solve, and spend time with like-minded people.

Conversation threads within subreddits — a forum within Reddit on a specific topic —  build on each other, and comments can be “upvoted” or “downvoted” based on fellow users’ reactions. This can make positive feedback more impactful, knowing that negative feedback would be a problem. Reddit communities range from political subreddits to technology and the arts – if you can think of a topic, chances are there’s a subreddit for it! With 1.6 billion registered users and 2.1 billion global monthly visits, Reddit is a vast platform with great potential reach for your brand, especially with the right strategy.

Redditors’ engagement and independent-mindedness can make them excellent potential sources of word-of-mouth campaigns, but they can also be wary of brands engaging on the platform. The most downvoted comment on the entire platform was a comment by the video game brand EA – Redditors are very sensitive to perceived inauthenticity or pandering, so it’s important to design your strategies with that in mind. Not all buzz is good buzz, and Redditors are famous for making what they see as insincere or “cringe” go viral – and not in the way a marketer would hope!

With all these considerations in play, how can people in the marketing industry use Reddit most effectively and professionally, getting the most out of the platform and avoiding the wrong kind of attention? How can you use Reddit to make your brand stand out?

Reddit’s largest audience is men (62% of the platform’s audience is male) between the ages of 18 and 29, but the platform has users of all ages from a wide variety of backgrounds. Targeting your efforts to specific subreddits and audience segments will ensure that you’re making the highest impact with your campaign.

Marketers who want to use Reddit have a number of tools at their disposal. If your brand has a compelling story or a charming spokesperson, you might benefit from setting up an AMA. AMAs are “Ask Me Anything” question and answer sessions with brand representatives, celebrities, and everyday Redditors who have a unique or distinct experience. These are worth planning in advance, but best to keep as genuine as possible. 

Remember, AMAs aren’t necessarily revenue-focused marketing, but powerful brand-building tools! It’s important to set goals and boundaries, too – you may get quite a lot of responses, some more beneficial to your brand than others. For these, it’s important to have some behind-the-scenes help if you can to filter questions, compose answers, and keep everything running smoothly. One well-run AMA can take lots of people’s input!

There’s other lingo to know too: OP means "original poster" or the person who created the original post or started a thread, and ELI5 is "explain it like I'm five" or use accessible language. TL;DR: "Too long didn't read" is a shorter summary of a long post, and TIL is “today I learned,” which means a user found a way of presenting a new fact or some interesting information.

You can also take advantage of brand subreddits for community support, especially if your product inspires strong feelings of loyalty and personal engagement. If you build a community for your customers, it can help your brand connect with them emotionally. The benefits of this can be practical: helping your customers find out the best uses for your products, troubleshooting, and connecting with support staff as needed.

You can also take advantage of paid ads, promoted posts, and custom audience targeting. These are all potential tools for your Reddit campaign, but you’ll get the most out of them with focused research into specific subreddits as part of your planning. Target your ad budget on carefully selected subreddits so that you get the best return on your investment!

Get creative with it! Use memes and casual language, get playful, and have fun! If you have someone on staff who is familiar with Reddit, now is the time to pick their brain. If not, it’s best to spend time getting to know the platform instead of diving right in. This is true of any platform, but especially one where user reaction can turn negative very quickly. If something does go wrong, facing the negative feedback head-on is best – learn from the criticism and feedback you may get from Redditors and incorporate it into your future efforts.

Remember: discussion comes first on Reddit, so depth of knowledge, wit, and authenticity are all key to success on the platform. Use other brands’ pitfalls to avoid making some of the same mistakes, target the right audience, and above all, keep it fun, funny and authentic!

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