Reddit for Ecommerce Marketers: Dos and Don’ts
Reddit is a thriving social community based around sharing content. With more than 113 million monthly unique users, you may think this would be the perfect place for ecommerce marketers. But very few utilize it.
Reddit users, known as Redditors, prize the strength and purity of their community above all else. They despise blatant marketing messages cluttering up their forums and are suspicious of sales messages. That said, if you were willing to put in the time to listen and learn and tread very carefully, your efforts would likely be rewarded.
What Is Reddit?
Reddit is a community built around sharing content and voting it up or down. Each submission has a comments function so the content can be discussed and debated. The content submitted is generally a link to a page, a video, or a photo, although you can also submit text.
Beyond the basic mechanics, Reddit gets more complex. Redditors are not one tightly knit group, but rather a disparate collection of communities clustered around individual topics. Look beyond the front page and you’ll see these communities, or “subreddits,” range from generic subjects such as news and comics to highly specialized niches. You’ll find a subreddit for just about any group you can think of, from soccer fans to watch specialists to search engine geeks.
The more specialized the area, the more knowledgeable and tightly knit you’ll find the community. The more popular subreddits typically are much more generic.
Here are the top five subreddits are (see the full list at redditlist.com).
- AskReddit. Users pose questions to the Reddit community.
- IAmA. Ask Me Anything sessions consist of someone posting an “I am a” statement, with other people then asking questions about that person.
How Does Reddit Work?
The functionality of Reddit is straightforward. To get started, sign up for an account (be sure to choose a user name you like as you can’t change it) and then start to build authority through submitting content, engaging in discussion, and voting on other people’s content. The more authority you build the more badges you earn and the more trusted your account becomes.
To submit a link, find a compelling piece of content, give it a good attention-grabbing title, and then sit back and watch the reactions roll in.
Upvotes and comments mean more visibility; downvotes or no interaction mean less. The more upvotes you accumulate, the higher your profile score and the more trusted you become. You can also vote on comments, so engaging in discussions on other people’s content can be just as valuable as submitting your own.
Submitting Links on Reddit
Before you start spamming Reddit with links, remember that Redditors will push back on blatant advertising and spam. Here are five tips to keep your account in good graces.
- Research first. Take the time to find the most relevant subreddits for your business. These may not be the communities with the biggest audience, but you have a better chance of being noticed by people that actually care about your topic.
- Listen and learn. Don’t jump in and start submitting content without getting a sense of the community etiquette. Follow the discussions in your subreddits and take notice of the types of submissions that get a good reaction, as well as what does not.
- Honesty is the best policy. You can’t fake Reddit. Be honest about who you are. That doesn’t mean your user name has to be your brand, but you should disclose up front who you. For example, if you find a relevant question about your industry, answer it with a disclosure of who you are and what your connection is before launching into a well-informed response. Full disclosure like this earns you more credit than pretending to be an impartial bystander.
- Give the people what they want. Answering questions is a great way to build up your reputation on Reddit through adding value to the community. Take this to the next level by offering up a key person for an Ask Me Anything session, these work particularly well where a person has a strange or rare job they can talk about.
- Tread carefully. When it comes to submitting content to Reddit as a marketing tool, be very careful. It’s much safer to pay for a sponsored post than risk the backlash of the community. But you can minimize the risk by following these steps.
- Post promotional content sparingly. Promotional content is any content from your own site. Push it too far and you will be called out and likely kicked out.
- Emphasize the title. The title is the key part of your submission. No matter how great your content is, if you don’t write an eye-catching title, few will click it.
- Post at prime time. That’s 4 p.m. Eastern U.S. Time on weekdays and Sunday evenings.
- Start a conversation. Comments matter just as much as upvotes. So invite discussion by phrasing your submission as a question.
- Don’t beg. Asking for upvotes is tacky and asking for trouble.
- Follow the rules. Each subreddit has its own rules and etiquette; make sure you review these before you hit the submit button.
Advertising on Reddit
If natural Reddit promotion is not for you, the good news is Reddit has a cost effective ad platform that you can test for as little as $5. It’s an easy way to reach Redditors without the threat of a backlash. Although you will still need to do your research and position your ad in the right way, it’s a lot less time consuming than building a natural presence.