In terms of advertising, Reddit is one of the hardest platforms to tame. At least that’s how the popular magazine Digiday describes it. With 52 million daily users, Reddit truly represents great marketing potential on a global level. However, there are few brands that have managed to use this potential. To understand why we must first understand Reddit.
Let’s start with the basics.
Subreddit represents a community of people gathered around one topic. We can look at them as huge, global forums specialized in a specific niche. Let’s say r/cars is a place where discussions about cars take place. From experiences with certain models and failures, to purchase recommendations. In addition, we have a subreddit dedicated to gaming, sports, cosmetics, space … basically everything.
Every subreddit, every community, has its own rules. And moderators (abb. mods) will make sure these rules are respected. They have the power and the right to ban the user and delete the post (thread).
Also, each community decides about interests and disinterests, and has very powerful weapons in its hands: Upvote (equivalent to like) and downvote (dislike). The Reddit algorithm works by picking up posts with a lot of upvotes and making them visible while burying the opposite ones in a sea of content.
When a post has a lot of positive reactions, it becomes popular and ends on the front page, which is where ordinary content turns into viral content. When a user has a lot of positive reactions to posts or comments, his/her karma increases.
Instagram is focused on photos, TikTok on video format, Twitter on ego…while Reddit focuses on the discussion. Each post has an aim to become a thread, i.e., to trigger the interest of users so they take part in the discussion.
Unlike other social networks, on Reddit people like to take time to read and check miles of comments on topics they are interested in.
Reddit followers like it when someone shows passion and expertise. on the other hand, they don’t like when brands are trying to get into Reddit communities, especially if they do it on the wrong basis. The comment with the most downvotes in the history of this site was written by a brand profile (Electronic Arts, video games production company).
How to become successful on Reddit?
We are not quite sure there’s an exact recipe but we can analyze successful examples and try to learn from them.
One of the ways for a brand to gain karma is to follow relevant subreddits and respond to organic posts of other users, showing its expertise and passion for the specific niche. Moreover, it might happen that some of the users mention your brand during the discussion. This would be a great opportunity to start the discussion, but it is needed to pay attention so your answers should be in accordance with the general spirit of the community. Otherwise, you might get into the same position as Electronic Arts company.
A great example is an action taken by HTC in 2014. One Reddit user complained his Samsung Galaxy S4 broke down, and the company ignored his complaints on all public channels. Then HTC offered a free phone to this user, organized a humanitarian action, brought karma to its profile, and positive associations to its brand.
Nordstrom is a chain of luxury stores, they initiated their own subreddit, and have been using it as an open-source customer center. People talk about products and offers there, and from time to time, a company’s representative answers inquiries. It is important to point out they fully understood the nature of Reddit, so they don’t remove posts that represent them in a negative light, they rely on discussion and community management.
The biggest ones are lucky to have someone who created a subreddit about them. For example, r/photoshop is a forum that gathers more than a million users of this program to exchange experiences on a daily basis. Adobe fits the community in a fabulous manner, listens to its users, and even starts the threads to ask people about the possible upgrades.
AMA (Ask me anything) is another term well-known to the Reddit community. It assumes the author of the post is ready to answer all questions. People like Bill Gates and Elon Musk used this type of post to promote their organizations. Sports clubs build their brand by introducing their stars to fans. Different companies managed to get closer to their audience thanks to this approach.
This approach should respect the nature of this network, AMA should be straightforward and honest, otherwise, everything could turn out to be counterproductive. Nissan exposed its CEO to Reddit in order to build a close connection with the audience. The company didn’t want to take any chances so they prepared smooth, PR questions apriori.