As is the case with anything that is unfamiliar, heading over to reddit.com for the first time can leave even the most seasoned digital marketers left scratching their chins. Having grown up in the age of social media, it’s fairly easy for me to grasp most things on the Internet. I immediately became the go-to source for explaining anything emerging in my first job at a city office. “How do we advertise on Facebook” or “how do we get more Twitter followers” were common questions. When our site received over 4,000 visits in one day from reddit, my boss asked me to explain “just what the heck is reddit anyway?”
reddit (always lowercase) is a combination of a social-networking site that doubles as a news and entertainment service. In other words, it is a central hub for virtually anything you’d want to find on the Internet: facts and discussions pertaining to topics of interest, funny pictures and .gifs, collections of the foulest images that exist digitally and everything in between.
One of the most popular sites on the Internet, reddit boasts 112 million monthly unique visitors who flock to the site from 196 different countries. What’s more, the largest demographic of visitors to the site is the coveted 18- to 29-year-old male category, which collectively accounts for 15 percent of all visitors.
If you’re a business owner or a marketer, learning how to navigate reddit might be challenging to begin with. Once you get the hang of it, though, it’s as easy as riding a bike.
A social media network that is composed of Millennials who are just starting to take over as the majority of the workforce, the average redditor might be an ideal persona for a marketer to target. With that in mind, let’s explore five ways marketers can use reddit to spark some social-media creativity and generate traffic to their websites and social-media profiles while increasing interest and brand awareness.
1. Figure out where to search. First things first: Navigating through reddit can be tricky to begin with, so the first thing marketers should do is familiarize themselves with the site itself. Find out which subreddit, or category of posts, you should be visiting frequently.
If you are in the technology industry, for example, it then follows that you’ll likely find a home on the technology subreddit. Once you are there, you can navigate through a slew of posts to see what is trending, to see what material is resonating most with users of the site. Once you have gleaned that information, it’s likely you will be inspired in some regard when considering how the popular material could subsequently be repurposed for your own social-media pages.
Many businesses that look at their promotion efforts through the lens of a traditional marketer will crash and burn on reddit. Here’s why: traditional marketers do not understand how to sell by helping or sell by impressing.
Let me give you an example to clarify. Take this Amish outlet store and think of a way to market them on reddit. What would you do? Post their product page to a subreddit about furniture? That will just be marked as spam and your account might get deleted – or worse, the site will get blacklisted.
On reddit, you really need to think outside of the box. This Amish store is family-run and their furniture is handcrafted. Take pictures of the wood crafting in progress and post an album to the wood crafting subreddit. Or consult one of them on interior design tips and translate those tips into a guide for the interior design subreddit. Go even further and rally one of the wood crafters to join you in answering questions and responding to comments on the album. This gives the subreddit community value, a cool experience – not just blanket advertising.
2. Learn to understand the average redditor. It’s important to remember that not everything on the Internet should be taken literally. In fact, especially in places like reddit, the average poster could maybe be described as snarky and sarcastic. While that is the Internet persona that person hides behind, odds are that the user is intelligent and is not living hand-to-mouth, but in fact has some disposable income.
Once you learn how the average redditor acts, you could try to adopt a similar persona and take that to your own social media profiles. By learning to speak the language of this particular species of Internet users, you can connect with a whole new market — one whose purchasing power continues to increase every day.
3. Find out what’s popular and leverage it. Because of the viral nature of topics on the Internet, figuring out how to capture the topics that are on the tip of everyone’s tongue could help you realize substantial increases in Web traffic.
Chances are that if something is going viral in any corner of the Internet, reddit is all over it. If you stay on top of the content that is getting posted on reddit and are quick to leverage it, it is likely that you will benefit from increased traffic and attention on your social media profiles.
4. Tap into your sense of humor. Internet users of every variety enjoy humor. redditors in particular are fond of hilarious memes, for example, or any kind of content that can elicit laughter. Don’t be afraid to take chances and push the envelope a little bit — as long as you’re comfortable doing so.
If you can cultivate a humorous persona and spread the word about it, odds are you’ll reap considerable benefits. One example of a brand that really “gets” meme humor is Havahart. They’re rocking social media by creating funny memes of animals, which relate to their brand, and cross-posting them on twitter, facebook, and reddit. Ex:
5. Host your own AMA. As more and more people find out about your company and what you are all about, why not take part in a classic reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything)? Such events consist of celebrities, business owners, or even people who are freemasons, for example, letting the reddit community ask them anything they want. It’s up to the host to choose which questions to answer.
By tapping directly into the pulse of reddit, you can learn more about the average redditor and thus what that person is interested in. While you’re hosting the event, not only are you raising awareness about your brand, but you are also gaining beneficial information about what your audience is interested in. Take the insight you gain from such an experience to your social media profiles and earn more followers.
With all the talk about how important social media is for marketers, it’s kind of funny when you step back and think about the lack of talk surrounding reddit. Users of that site are very engaged and very committed to the community.
Sure, marketers can’t neglect Facebook and Twitter. But reddit might very well be the final frontier in the world of social media marketing.