A Marketer's Guide to Reddit

By Tim Bosch

Marketers have been trying to figure out Reddit, the site where memes and news stories often gain viral momentum well before hitting mainstream social networks, for a long time. But Reddit is not a particularly welcoming place for brands: Redditors are extremely suspicious of any marketing activity on the platform. However, the power of Reddit’s hyper-engaged 18 to 39 year old male demographic is hard to ignore. Here are a few ways for marketer's to tap into Reddit without getting down-voted into oblivion.

Lurk Strategically

Reddit can be a great tool for research. By tracking trending subreddits, you can see what people care about, what resonates and what Reddit's lucrative demographic finds entertaining. This is a great way to bolster your creative strategy, which leads me into the next piece of advice…

Create Funny Content

There’s a certain type of content that will almost always make it to the front page of Reddit: hilarious GIFs and bizarre adverts. If you can create funny content, Reddit will do a lot of the work for you. After you've figured out your Reddit-worthy, very lightly-branded piece of content, you need somewhere to put it so it will likely be shared on Reddit. I recommend posting to Imugr, Gfycat and YouTube. 

Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything) 

If your company has a well-known figurehead, Reddit’s AMA feature may be a good fit for promoting your brand. While fielding questions from the Internet can obviously be risky, it also proves that you are willing to confront sensitive topics without hiding behind your company's PR department. (Even President Barack Obama did an AMA!)

While there may be opportunities to dabble in existing subreddits or create your own subreddit, in my opinion the risks outweigh the returns (at least for the majority of brands). Of course, all this goes out the window if you’re promoting a popular TV show, book or movie worthy of discussion. (The Game of Thrones subreddit is one of the most active on the network.)

My number one piece of advice is to create content that people want to share. Do that, and the Redditors will do the work for you.

What are your thoughts on using Reddit as a marketing channel? Let me know in the comments!

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