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How to Use Reddit for Marketing the Right Way

Jamie Landry
March 13, 2023
Last Updated On
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Reddit is a social and news aggregation platform with over 52 million users logging on daily, but is it suitable for marketing? 

In contrast to most social platforms, which are usually no-brainers for social managers to strategize and market on, Reddit is a bit different. Despite a high user base, the social platform can be particularly hostile towards brands and corporations. That doesn't mean social marketers can't take advantage of those opportunities. 

In this article, we discuss: 

  • What Reddit is.
  • Why brands should develop a Reddit marketing strategy. 
  • When to avoid the platform for marketing.
  • Pros and cons. 

Read on to learn more about the right way to incorporate Reddit into your marketing strategy.

What Is Reddit?

So, is Reddit a social media site? As mentioned above, although Reddit is considered a social media platform by many, it is specifically considered a social news aggregation, content rating, and discussion website. More sophisticated than an early dotcom chat room, Reddit brings people together across the globe to create discussion threads, live streams, and chats on several topics within forums called ‘subreddits.’ Users can also post directly to their accounts, which can be shared in different subreddits by the poster or another user. 

So, despite being a great media aggregator and host for forum discussions, Reddit is considered social media by many of its users.

What Is a Subreddit?

A subreddit is a forum dedicated to specific topics that appear within the platform in the format: /r/socialmediamarketing.  Chances are if you can think of it, there’s a subreddit for it.  

Subreddits also exist for popular but niche topics within the Reddit community that don’t necessarily have an audience outside of the platform — some of these include: 

It’s important to note that there are two sets of rules ‘redditors’ must pay attention to — the site rules and individual subreddit rules. 

Reddit’s site rules refer to their Content Policy. And like many other sites, Reddit’s site rules also include the following:  

  • Privacy Policy
  • Broadcasting Content Policy 
  • Moderator Code of Conduct 
  • Cookie Notice 
  • Premium and Virtual Goods Agreement 
  • Previews Terms of Use 
  • Guidelines for Law Enforcement 

For individual subreddit rules, each community (another way users commonly refer to subreddits) typically has a set of rules and moderators to enforce them and monitor subreddit usage. When it comes to Community Rules, these can be found in the right-hand column of the subreddit — here, you’ll find relevant information and links, and sometimes a list of recommended subreddits, which is a great way to find related communities your brand could join or monitor. 

Moderators can also find rules, updates, and tips for moderators in the /r/modnews subreddit.

Another interesting aspect about many subreddits is their ‘karma requirement’ to post on the forum — and it’s not the type of karma you might think. Karma, on Reddit, refers to the number of people that ‘upvote’ your comments and posts. If you receive a downvote on a post or comment, this is taken from your total karma. Many subreddits require a range between 50-150 karma to comment, which signals that you’re not a bot and you’re at least a semi-regular user. Negative karma can signal to other users that you’re a controversial presence on the platform — particularly important for brands to avoid.

Reddit Terminology 

It’s helpful to grasp common Reddit terminology that will help you understand its landscape. Some terms are used in other online spaces but can have a specific meaning within Reddit. 

These are some popular terms used in most subreddit communities: 

  • AMA: Ask me anything.
  • AMAA: Ask me almost anything.
  • FTA: From the article. 
  • Karma: Based on Reddit’s up and downvote system for posts and comments.
  • MIC: More in comments. 
  • NSFL: A spin on the well-known ‘nsfw’; this warning means ‘not safe for life.’ 
  • OP: Original poster refers to the person who made the original post. 
  • Power user: Recognizable in a specific community or users with high karma.
  • Reddiquette: Refers to the rules of a specific subreddit or Reddit itself.
  • Relevant username: A popular comment when someone’s username matches the spirit of their comment. 
  • SRD: Subreddit drama
  • Throwaway account: An account made for the sole purpose of sharing a singular post, different from an Alt count as its ‘single-use’ versus a consistently used alternative account.

Why Brands Should Develop a Reddit Marketing Strategy

While the audience can be hesitant to warm up to brands on Reddit, there are still many opportunities for brands on the platform, from UGC to Reddit for business to promoting valuable content in relevant subreddits. 

While there are subreddits with rules against self-promotion, there are often threads specifically for a promotion brands should take advantage of. 

Here are some of the benefits of creating a Reddit marketing strategy: 

  1. Very niche market: Due to the nature of subreddits, the communities get very granular with their interests. Because of this, there’s often more than one hyper-relevant place where users can benefit from your content. 
  2. Connect with a highly-engaged and passionate audience: This also ties into the specific nature of subreddits — your content can speak to several communities. For example, for beauty alone, multiple subreddits are dedicated to this topic, from /r/beauty, /r/BeautyAddiction, to /r/MakeupAddiction, /r/SkinCareAddiction, and more. 
  3. Lower competition: Since marketing on Reddit isn’t easy, many marketing teams miss the mark — If you get it right, there is lower competition for reach among hyper-niche audiences.

How to Properly Approach Marketing on Reddit

So, how can you properly approach marketing on Reddit and avoid looking out of place in a landscape that can be skeptical toward brands? 

Here are some tips for using Reddit for marketing: 

  • Find the best communities: Identify the best community for your brand to participate in. Posting in the wrong community is a great way to get flagged, downvoted, and possibly kicked out. 
  • Add value: Add value to subreddits by replying to posts where someone is asking a question about where your brand or product can solve the issue. If posting from a brand account, be transparent and communicate how your brand creates solutions that can address issues. 
  • Be human: Add value to subreddits by replying to posts with your industry knowledge to help problem solve. It doesn’t need to be a plug for your brand every time. This can help you build credibility in the forums.
  • Listen: Listen to the Reddit communities in your niche. Find out what people want, and use that information to improve your brand or product — and your messaging. 
  • Create a subreddit for your brand: If a subreddit doesn’t exist already, this is an excellent opportunity to create one. Try hosting an AMA with someone exciting or important within your company (the founder or CEO, perhaps) to host an AMA and promote your subreddit and your brand. If there are already communities centered around your niche, this is also an excellent opportunity for brands to conduct social listening
  • Create a support subreddit: If you want to take your Reddit marketing strategy to the next level (and you have the resources to answer quickly and efficiently), create a support subreddit where customers can reach out with questions or comments.
  • Give the people what they want: Another approach for marketers is to use Reddit for research. Search relevant communities for the most popular posts and questions — you can find ideas for social posts, blog posts, and other good ideas to incorporate into your content marketing strategy.

 What To Avoid When Using Reddit for Marketing

Many brands are new to marketing themselves on Reddit, so of course, it's important to be aware of what to do, but it's essential to know what not to do. The Reddit demographic is different from more traditional social channels, with a more anonymous crowd that isn't afraid to call out something they don't like. To avoid this happening to your brand, here are a few tips.

  • Self-promotional spam: Spamming subreddits with self-promotion will be sussed out immediately and will mean the end of your Reddit marketing strategy. Reddit can be ruthless, so post with caution.
  • Talking to communities instead of with them: Don't post without being an active community member — while a great source for UGC, Reddit is not a content aggregator, so brands should be mindful of spamming links or posting the same post in different subreddits.  
  • Ignoring posts or engagement: Keep a close eye on your posts or any AMA (ask me anything) threads you start. You might start receiving negative comments, and you won't be able to delete them, even if it's on a subreddit you created. AMA's, in particular, can be competitive due to the subreddit covering a range of topics and personalities, from brand founders to celebrities promoting movies. If you don't create an engaging space, you risk losing an audience to someone who replies more consistently. 
  • If you're unfamiliar with it: This might go without saying, but Reddit management is best left with someone who's either familiar with the platform or has the dedicated time to build an active account and learn the intricacies of Reddit etiquette. 
  • Not open to feedback: If you're not open to receiving (sometimes brutally honest) feedback, Reddit isn't the platform for your brand. Even heritage brands with years of experience under their belts aren't exempt from harsh criticism on the platform — and remember, Reddit posts can be shared between communities. If you appear unreceptive to feedback but want to benefit from posting in a Reddit community, this could be shared across multiple subreddits and hurt your brand's reputation on the platform.

Examples of Brands on Reddit

When it comes to brands on Reddit, many are great examples of marketing in an authentic way. Here are three examples of successful marketing on Reddit:

SpaceX

Despite their subreddit being run by fans, SpaceX is a great example of harnessing fan power on Reddit. The SpaceX subreddit has over 1.8M members, so it seems natural that co-founder Elon Musk would host an AMA here to promote the BFR rocket launch, right? Surprisingly, the brand hosted his AMA on the r/space subreddit (while there’s an /r/AMA community, many subreddits host their own AMAs), a community with 22M members, allowing their brand to reach new users.

Red Bull 

Red Bull is another excellent example of a brand that makes the most of its Reddit presence. For instance, they have separate subreddits for F1-related content (which is immediately presented in their description, so users who are looking know where to go), and it’s home to an active community of users who share UGC and feedback on their products. 

It’s also a great brand example of how to engage with relevant communities to build relationships and increase brand awareness. They host a Starcraft gaming event and use RedditAds to remind users of the event.

Apple

A few user-ran subreddits are dedicated to Apple and Apple products, including: /r/apple, /r/applehelp, /r/iphone, /r/ipad, /r/AppleWatch, and more. Apple has its own user account, which makes use of Reddit for Business advertisements in relevant communities like /r/Technology. They know they have an already-thriving community of users, and rather than disrupt these communities (and potentially waste their own team’s time), they focus their attention on paid advertising.

Pros and Cons of Advertising on Reddit

There are pros and cons when it comes to using Reddit for business or even just engaging on Reddit as a brand. Here are some benefits and downsides to marketing on Reddit: 

Reddit Advertising Pros 

Pros of advertising on Reddit include: 

  • No doom scrolling: ‘Doom scrolling’ isn’t how typical users interact with the platform. Even ads have an opportunity to garner positive engagement and visibility for brands. 
  • Target the right audience: According to the platform, 90% of users trust Reddit to discover new products and brands. Reddit’s home to multiple communities for similar topics, which gives marketers a direct line to the most interested potential users. 
  • Cost-per-click: According to Agora Pulse, Reddit ads not only outperformed Facebook ads in terms of clicks (70% higher) and impressions (491% higher), but they also had an overall lower CPC (42.11%).

Reddit Advertising Cons 

Cons of advertising on Reddit include: 

  • Comments off advertising: Like many other platforms, advertisers on Reddit tend to turn off comments to avoid negative conversations from starting. If you’re seeking engagement, Reddit ads might not be the best tactic for your brand. 
  • Skeptical audience: Ever heard of /r/HailCorporate? This subreddit is where users call out brands for seeming disingenuous, hiding ads and promotions in organic-seeming posts, or even just users who post too enthusiastically about a product or brand. This is just one community (with 208K members) who are hesitant to engage with branded content, and this culture permeates Reddit.

Find Out What Reddit Thinks of Your Brand With Dash Hudson

In April 2022, Reddit saw over 2 billion visits from users searching on Google or Yahoo. Despite being a social media website, Reddit is used by many online users to find first-person information they deem authentic — whether this is news, reviews or general knowledge about something, even Google has noted the prevalence of their search engine to find results on Reddit. For brands, this is an incredible opportunity to see what Reddit users say about your brand — and what others find about your brand. 

Dash Hudson’s AI-powered Social Listening can pull in brand mentions and other terms that are important for your team. Tap into Reddit forums using our Topics tool to surface authentic conversation around your brand or products, helping you keep on the pulse of what your community thinks or identify any potential PR opportunities.

FAQs

How can brands use Reddit?

While some of the ways brands use Reddit might be different than other social platforms, there are numerous ways for brands to use the platform — these include: 

  • Sharing content or new products in promotion threads on relevant subreddits. 
  • Participating in AMAs (ask me anything), a question-and-answer-style format where users are free to ask anything.
  • Creating either Takeover Ads or Promoted Posts.
  • Starting a support subreddit for your brand. 
  • Social listening and gaining valuable feedback. 

Why do brands use Reddit?

Brands use Reddit to speak to niche audiences and reach more users — Reddit is perfect for UGC (depending on the subreddit rules), advertising opportunities, and sharing useful, informative, and interesting content in different communities. 

How is Reddit used for marketing?

Reddit is used for marketing in a number of ways — these include: 

  • Posting on relevant subreddits.
  • Creating a Reddit for business account and incorporating paid advertising in your marketing strategy. 
  • Promoting personalities, roles, and products from their brand in AMAs, or within their own community. 

How do brands advertise on Reddit?

Brands advertise on Reddit using either Takeover Ads or Auction Products. 

Takeover Ad packages include a few different package types: Premium Takeovers, Reddit Takeovers, Front Page Takeovers, Trending Takeovers, Category Takeovers, First View Takeovers, and Auction ad units. These packages all contain different options for budget, where on Reddit the ads will appear, and who they’ll reach. 

Auction Products require your team to specify how much you want to spend, who you want to reach, how many people you want to reach; and these ads compete against other advertisers in similar spaces, and you only pay when your ads are shown.

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