Reddit for entrepreneurs, marketers and start-ups. A Guide.
What is Reddit?
Reddit is the largest forum on the internet. Users (known as redditors) are considered to be some of the savviest internet users. It has hundreds of subreddits (sub-forums) which are created by redditors to discuss topics they’re into it. Subreddits are endless and ultra-targeted. Communities like r/mechanicalkeyboards are dedicated to the discussion of everything that has to do with mechanical keyboards. Not even all keyboards can be discussed in this ultra-targeted subreddit. Only the mechanical kind are discussed. However even this seemingly niche category enjoys over 430,000 users at the time of writing this. That is 430,000 users dedicated to discussing everything that has to do with mechanical keyboards. The size of reddit’s user base allows even the most niche subreddits to gather thousands of members. This is a dream come true for marketers or business owners as their target market has essentially sorte themselves into a related subreddit. However, due to the nature of the forum, and the fact that reddit tends to attract the most tech-savvy and “product-smart” consumers it can be difficult terrain for new companies and marketers to navigate. If done correctly, Reddit can be the most useful tool for validating your product, receiving brutally honest feedback, growing an audience of loyal first adopters and raising awareness amongst some of the most influential online forums. Done incorrectly and it could be a marketing disaster.
How can I use Reddit to promote my product or service?
Be cool (don’t be douchey):
Be prepared to be brutally honest, open and transparent about your product or service. Obvious sales pitches, gimmicky marketing and any attempts to “low-key” promote your company will be recognised and devastating for your company. Redditors are not easily fooled and only genuine attempts to approach, help and grow within the community are appreciated.
The best way to get the community to respond positively to your brand is to actually provide something useful to it. If you have a product that will provide real value to the community, the more likely the community will embrace it. Be appreciative and offer redditors some exclusivity (early access/ discounted rates/ free access) in return for their precious feedback.
Be part of the community:
It is important that you immerse yourself in the community. Take part in discussions, contribute and you will gain a better understanding of the community’s underlying ethos. Shallow attempts to use the community just to market your product or service are unlikely to go well (unless you have the cure to a disease or something equally awesome ).
Be open to criticism:
Be prepared to be transparent about your business and open to brutal criticism. Reddit for businesses is the equivalent of a gladiator entering an arena to engage in battle. Honesty and a product which delivers actual value will go a long way. Take any criticism as a lesson and use it to improve your business.
Listen to the community:
The Reddit community is tech-savvy , market smart and influential. If you pass the reddit test you are more likely to succeed in the marketplace.
Ask the mods:
ASK THE MODS before posting anything on a subreddit. Read the rules, be polite and courteous and explain what you are trying to do/ how you would like to involve the subreddit and why you think it could be of value to them.
Pay for ads!
Support the online community by paying for ads. Redditors respect companies supporting the community and not expecting everything for free so if you have the budget for it — pay for ads.
Warnings: Redditors are a smart crowd. They’re smarter and more internet capable than most audiences out there. They will see straight through any superficial or cheap marketing gimmicks / pitches or sales and will rip you apart.
Companies that successfully reached out to the reddit audience.
The Razer case study:
Razer recently took to Reddit in a bid to get feedback from a subreddit devoted solely to mechanical keyboards ( r/mechanical keyboards). By approaching r/mechanicalkeyboards, Razer (one of the world’s best known manufacturers of gaming mice and keyboards) is similar to a mainstream EDM DJ turning to a Berlin based, seasoned, “techno aficionado” crowd and asking for feedback on their latest track. However by engaging in open, honest and transparent communication and appreciating the crowd’s know-how in the field they managed to overcome any snobbery and got a huge amount of invaluable feedback data for their new product (from one of the most technically knowledgeable and influential communities online). The crowd appreciated the move so much that the comment was massively upvoted and even gilded.
Note the approach:
We come in peace — we recognise we’re in potentially hostile ground
We recognise and appreciate this is your domain
We respect your opinion — this is why we came
What did Razer gain by approaching Redditors?
Well apart from the obvious benefit of having tens of thousands of keyboard aficionados check out their new product; Razer also got invaluable feedback about their products straight from the most discerning and critical consumers inthe industry. And we’re talking about detailed and technical advice from people who live and breathe mechanical keyboards — not just vague comments and opinions. This level of customer feedback could have cost thousands of dollars and taken months to orchestrate. But proper understanding of the Reddit culture paid off big for the peripheral company which received thousands of comments in feedback and research and development advice in just a few days.