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5 Examples of Marketing on Reddit That Actually Works

October 1, 2013 Stephanie Fisher

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You've heard of utilizing social media platforms such as Facebook or Twitter to enhance your marketing campaign, but Reddit? Is it possible to use the "front page of the internet" as an effective marketing tool?

Sure, you've heard of Reddit, but do you understand what it is and how to use it? Essentially, it's a message board where users submit links, and the content is shaped and curated by the community. Users "up-vote" and "down-vote" content, making Reddit the most democratic of social media platforms.

Proceed With Caution

This close-knit community can turn on you like a pack of rabid wolverines if they get even a whiff of insincere marketing jargon from you or your post.

Try to familiarize yourself with Reddit norms and the culture. Become an active member—maybe start by commenting in addition to up-voting and down-voting other posts. Be yourself, and allow your fellow "Redditors" to get to know you. (And if you're not comfortable there or you don't want to commit yourself to a new social network platform, find someone on your team who has the knowledge already.)

Look to these case studies for examples of successful marketing experiments on Reddit (as well as the challenges and disasters that may await you).

1. Entrepreneur's Experiment

Marketing-savvy experimenter Wilson Hung decided to see if he could grow his email subscriber list by engaging Reddit users in some gentle, authentic marketing techniques.

He combed the archives to find posts that were relevant to his site and recurred with some frequency; he created an automated system that would allow him to track and comment on recent posts, and from there he would drop in and ask permission to include a link to his website.

His findings? "Commenting on posts relevant to your business in subreddits with your target demographic is an effective early-on marketing channel. The most effective method is to follow permission marketing techniques."

2. Retailer's Big Reddit Haul

Fashion retailer Uniqlo decided to market directly to the millions and millions of Reddit users; e-commerce manager Arielle Dyda used her personal account, tagged as an official company representative, and spent time each day answering customer service questions and keeping tabs on the conversation.

Dyda invites users to Uniqlo meet-ups, and posts product launches and deals on Reddit, and maintains a light but professional tone. She engages users in a way that makes it apparent that she is one of them—she can use the platform in the way it's meant to be used, and she's not overtly promotional.

The company has seen results; of the 3% of social media driven sales, 64% of these came directly from Dyda's interactions on Reddit. Dyda stated, "I’m savvy with the Reddit lingo and that makes me one of them. I’m not just Uniqlo, I’m midnight1214, and I understand the jokes and I understand frustrations, but I’m going to be here to help you when you need it.”

3. Put the FUN in Top of the Funnel

Some advertisers are fearful of Reddit's rowdy reputation—not without reason—but you shouldn't allow the potential for failure to prevent you from marketing to this huge, targeted audience. Reddit is tailor-made for TOFU; you can get a great deal of exposure to a specialized target audience for a bargain.

If you're wiling to learn about the platform and if you're creative in your approach, you can have access to a receptive group of potential leads on a shoestring budget. Reddit ads are $.75 CPM, which will get you 1000 views. (Compare that to Facebook's $1.25 for the same number.) Each campaign must spend a minimum of $5, and you can pay for up to 3 months.

Truly, inbound marketing and Reddit go hand in hand; Redditors respond to good content, which is the backbone of inbound marketing. If you can come up with something clever and relevant to the subreddit that pertains to your product, you might just find success. Read this for a good tutorial on creating a good Reddit marketing campaign.

4. Drive Traffic

Faithbox, a subscription service that provides a hand-picked selection of items that are meant to strengthen faith through the month, used Reddit to increase their brand awareness and increase subscriptions. They targeted subreddits that they felt would be receptive to their service, and created copy and a coupon code that they hoped would encourage users to sign up.

While they didn't generate any direct sign-ups, they were pleased in general with the traffic the advertising generated. Again, Reddit's low cost and high user numbers make it an attractive (and wildly underutilized) option for marketers.

5. Finding Your Groove

We keep mentioning the deeply distrustful nature of Reddit users, but it bears repeating—these folks REALLY don't like obvious, direct marketing. This article suggests deep diving into Reddit and reverse engineering your campaign.

Ultimately, generating quality content that can be shared in a subreddit is the best, most authentic way to appeal to a Reddit audience. And, hopefully, your occasional Reddit submissions will encourage more "Redditors" to follow your work and share it on Reddit, creating an awesome circle of marketing.

Warnings and What Not to Do

  • Reddit hates marketers and blatant advertising We hate to harp on this, but it's something you must keep in mind at all times when you choose to engage with Reddit. Focus on quality, not spam.

  • Know the risks Not every foray into Reddit is successful. Jerry Stritzke, the CEO of REI learned this the hard way. He participated in an Ask Me Anything (AMA), and while it started out well, it quickly devolved into an indictment of REI's employment practices and working conditions. Just because you're willing to engage with Reddit doesn't mean that Reddit will play nicely.

  • Be authentic Sincerity is key when you're marketing to "Redditors". If you're not completely up front about what you're doing, you'll get nowhere. The Reddit community is smart and sophisticated, and they'll spot your BS a mile away.

  • Don't crap on Reddit It's a really great community, and if you're not awesome, you should probably just take your marketing elsewhere.

  • Fertile field for content If directly advertising or sneakily marketing on Reddit isn't appealing to you, you can use it as an excellent tool for idea generation for content. With thousands and thousands of subreddits, you'll surely find something that will work for you.

Have you used Reddit to advertise? Are you interested in trying? Talk to us in the comments below!

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Stephanie Fisher

Stephanie Fisher

Steph leads our client delivery team and is obsessed with delivering quality work, creating an efficiency machine, and mastering the tools and disciplines to achieve success for our heroes. At home, she loves listening to true crime podcasts, playing with her daughters and two pugs, and singing in a local rock band with her husband.

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