woman smiling while holding phone
Reddit doesn't have the reputation of being an obvious marketing platform, but savvy business owners can reap benefits from using it. — Getty Images/Deagreez

A common perception of Reddit is that the platform is home to two things: memes and trolls. As a result, few small businesses consider Reddit as a potential marketing channel. However, with Reddit’s community being both vast and active, the opposite is true.

Statistics show that Reddit is the sixth most visited website in the United States. Users spend an average of nearly 12 minutes on Reddit, compared to less than 10 minutes on Facebook. Learning to market your business on Reddit could lead to big business results. Here’s what you need to know.

Understand the purpose of Reddit

Reddit is unique among social media platforms. It’s a niche community made up of other niche communities. Though the platform bills itself as the “front page of the internet,” Reddit can be viewed as a combined social news site and discussion forum. Communities of varying interests come together to upvote or downvote content, thereby promoting different topics and conversations already taking place on the internet.

Reddit also doesn’t rely on algorithms in the same ways that Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram do. It is an anonymous platform where users tend to speak casually, and business owners can learn from user’s opinions and experiences.

[For more on social media marketing, see: Marketing Your Business Using Social Media.]

Target subreddits where your customers congregate

Reddit works similarly to an internet forum, with thousands of “subreddit” message boards combining to create the Reddit ecosystem. Subreddits are forums dedicated to a topic, idea, fandom, or random query. Some can be fairly general (e.g., “/r/gaming”) while some are very, very specific (e.g., “A Subreddit For People Who Want To Survive The Zombie Apocalypse”).

Savvy small business owners can use these subreddits to their advantage. Depending on your business, there’s a good chance your target customers and buyer personas have already self-selected into subreddit communities. With a little research, you can almost certainly find a group of individuals who will be interested in what your business can offer. This will save you money in your marketing budget and allow you to target your promotions.

To stand out and get more upvotes on Reddit, don’t be afraid to get creative with your posts.

Craft your messaging carefully

Once you understand how Reddit works, you can begin to add content that will help raise awareness and educate customers about your product. This can be tricky for some brands, as users on Reddit tend to be unforgiving toward marketers. Promoting your business outright can lead to downvotes and drive away potential customers.

Instead, focus on providing helpful information and building trust within the Reddit community. Some small business owners offer free trials of their product or service. Others send them to their website or YouTube channel to provide more resources on a given topic. The key to getting your name out there on Reddit is to focus on the customers’ issues, rather than self-promotion.

Get creative with your content

To stand out and get more upvotes on Reddit, don’t be afraid to get creative with your posts. Get people’s attention by using GIFs, memes, videos and other media. To see what’s worked in the past, go through some subreddits and look at top performing posts. This type of evergreen content gives you a sense of what stands the test of time.

Overall, marketing experts say the value Reddit lies in its community participation. Host an “Ask Me Anything” (AMA), solicit suggestions on new product launches and ask for feedback as much as possible. Build trust with Reddit users, and they will reward you.

CO— does not review or recommend products or services. For more information on choosing the best social media management tools, visit our friends at business.com.

CO— aims to bring you inspiration from leading respected experts. However, before making any business decision, you should consult a professional who can advise you based on your individual situation.

Published May 28, 2019