By Henry Wang, Staff Writer
Before taking the plunge into Reddit, understand that it is unlike any other social network or bookmarking site. Its tight-knit community are wary of outsiders trying to sell or deceive them and can smell an intruder miles away. Reddit’s underdog attitude, sometimes scornful community and low-profile have positioned it under the radar of most marketers. Keeping in mind Reddit relies on authenticity and denounces self-aggrandizing submissions, marketers must abide by and know backwards and forwards the single most important document for joining: Reddiquette.
While the long list may be a bit overwhelming for beginners, you should still aim to abide by every bulletpoint – your brand image could be at stake. Adhering to Reddiquette and understanding the rest of this article will have you ready to expand your brand on Reddit. Below we’ve identified some tips and guidelines for adding value to the Reddit community:
Choosing a Username
If you’re wondering about what username to choose, go for something informal instead of your company name. No one wants to interact with an unidentifiable corporate worker. Take note from douglashanna and MattProspect19 who sponsored links for A Small Orange, a web-hosting company, and PosterBurner.com, a custom poster printer, respectively. Perhaps the best example of a Reddit name comes from Gabriel Weinberg, the creator of the search engine, Duck Duck Go — whose sponsored link drew nearly 700 comments. His username? yegg.
Engage in Community Discussion
Don’t be afraid to use the account to submit content and comment on things that are completely unrelated to your brand. Users often will scan your history in order to make a judgment on your personality and intentions. They will generally respond better to an older account with varied usage compared to a new account that only spouts corporate diction. For example, Weinberg’s yegg username has been active for over a year and has over 600+ link karma (derived from the number of up votes submissions receive) and 1200+ comment karma — signs of a genuine and capable user. Finally, get used to raw, uncensored, and sometimes not-safe-for-work content and conversations — Reddit is not for the overly sensitive.
Submitting Content (Free & Paid)
There are two options for introducing branded content to Reddit: submitting a link or using the self-serve advertising tool. If you just began exploring the site, I recommend submitting a link to test the waters and to get general feedback about your branded content. There are several options for links: linking to your site, linking to media content, or creating an IAMA — where users submit titles using “I am a _____.”
Regardless of whether you’re submitting a paid or free link, you must first have an intriguing title. Your best bet is to keep it succinct and sweet — short enough to be easily digested and charming enough to draw interest. For example: “What happens if you email the CEO of Valve software more than once?” earned itself over 2000 upvotes. While the site inundates you with similarily popular links and comments, don’t forget to dig up the unsuccessful ones. This is a great way to stay on pace with what content and dialogue the community rejects.
If you’re looking for a bit of a challenge (and monetary risk), it’s time to check out the self-serving ads. It works the same as submitting a link, except you can track the traffic throughout the day. Another difference: you’ve placed a giant target on your back for users. They will break down any and every aspect of your brand, website, and overall presentation. While a few feelings might be hurt, the raw, but often well-informed, feedback you receive is invaluable. Directly addressing those issues can make your brand or product undeniably good. If your ad meets user expectations, then you’re set – as Duck Duck Go and a few other companies have proven, 10% CTR and the support of a loyal community are well within reach.
Now that you know exactly how to approach and interact with users to expand your brand, it’s finally time to… sit around and quietly browse the site. Why? The content (stories, comments, memes, overall culture) is constantly shifting and difficult to track, so I recommend taking a week to casually browse and occasionally comment in order to catch up to the rest of the users. This will help you see how Reddiquette plays into the whole scheme of things and also put you into the shoes of the average Reddit user. Also, while I could write paragraph upon paragraph about how much the users value the community, you will only understand after observing others. Read up on Saydrah, a seasoned Reddit user and online marketer who broke the community’s trust. It’s very interesting.