[No fancy Unsplash photo for today – this is a more laidback article.]
Out of all social media websites, Reddit is easily the hardest to crack. It’s community naturally filters out ads, and is quick to attack any potential promotions. So, how do you use Reddit as a business?
For 99% of businesses, the answer is simple: You don’t. In comparison to targeted Facebook ads or SEO writing, Reddit is a stubborn block that can certainly lead to massive rewards, but is more likely to lead to nothing. The time commitment to advertising on Reddit is intensive, and requires a very good sense of… not advertising.
Why is this, exactly? Unlike other social media, Reddit is community based, rather than individual based. In an individual based social media, the social media only goes as far as the individual builds it. An individual has friends and groups that they follow, and these may or may not interact with one another very deeply. In a community based social media, everything is intertwined. Communities are the main focus rather than profiles, and communities are built by many different individual contributions. Because of this, the curation and quality of the community is paramount — and this means no free ad space.
So, what about paid ad space? Well, this is also rather complicated. While those on individual based social media might be neutral towards ads, community based social media hate them. When you think about it, there’s some logic there — if you’re browsing a community, and see a post which you think is an endorsement by the community, only for it to end up being an ad, wouldn’t you be mad too? Because of this, Reddit ads get among the lowest clicks of all the social media platforms.
Alright, so things are looking bleak. However, all of that isn’t to say that advertising on Reddit is impossible. In fact, those who post often on communities become one of the most trusted sources, thus bringing their posts to the top.
Of course, becoming trusted means building trust in the first place. That means helping out often, posting links that likely don’t directly relate to your business, and (if the subreddit is particularly popular) constantly monitoring new posts. All this time, arguably, is better used on your other social media marketing campaigns.
I also won’t discount the virality factor on Reddit, however. You can easily bypass all this time intensity by posting something people naturally upvote — yet once again, Reddit’s natural sniffing out of marketing will filter out anything that’s too obviously backed by a business.
Overall, Reddit isn’t for everyone. It’s not “hackable” in the same way that something like Instagram marketing or SEO is. Yet, if you’re already putting in the work for a community, or find it enjoyable to post, why not try it?