Reddit has been practically exploding in popularity ever since its inception over 13 years ago in 2005.
This open forum has always been geared towards the techie types and even to this day, it still carries that singular aspect of charisma and charm thanks to its primary audience demographics.
So, if you’re a business that isn’t familiar with what is quite often lovingly referred to as the “front page of the Internet”, then now is the time for change, my dear friend.
This feed of insanity has quickly been gaining traction with mainstream audiences and was most recently ranked as the 4th largest social media platform in the US by Alexa, just behind Facebook, YouTube and Google.
Did we mention the platform also boasts the highest daily time spent on the site when compared to the other aforementioned three platforms as well as significantly higher daily pageviews per visitor?
In fact, the daily time spent on the Reddit and the number of average pageviews per visitor completely knocks every other top performing platform ranking on Alexa out of the water with the exception of two (Salesforce.com and Xvideos.com).
It even tops Craigslist – which is it’s closest losing contender.
So if you’re a business trying to figure out how to navigate the strange and uncharted land of Reddit, then you’re in luck, because this guide will give you a specific and actionable strategy to get on top of the Reddit trend for your business.
This guide can be followed to a T, or simply used to incite inspiration within the context of your particular situation. So buckle up, enjoy the ride, and let’s get one thing straight – this platform is not for the faint at heart.
1. Understand Reddit’s primary user demographics
Of course before you go throwing your content up on any platform, you need to fundamentally understand the website’s primary user demographics. Reddit’s are pretty stereotypical when you think of it within the context of a social media platform geared towards techie types.
The above graphic is the most recent one compiled based on past year’s data in 2016.
However, within just that short amount of time, some of the statistics have changed tremendously.
For example, from the end of 2015 to 2017, Reddit rose from the 9th largest site in the US to the 4th largest.
Men make up more than two-thirds of the site, with 69% of Reddit users being male (up 16% since the end of 2015) and 58% of Reddit users are between the ages of 18-29.Based on data, the average Reddit user is a young (approx. 35-year-old) college educated male with a median income of about $68,000.
Users have been skewing younger in more recent years and according to Pew Research Center, users tend to “self-identify as liberal at higher rates than the overall public”, with 47% of male Reddit news users identifying themselves as liberal.
These guys are also heavy internet users, with 47% of male Reddit users reporting that they are almost constantly online, compared with just “21% of US adults overall”.
Again, Reddit boasts the highest time spent on the platform according to Alexa, with the exception of the two mentioned earlier.
Reddit users spend 52% more time per day on Reddit than the average individual does on Google (7min27sec), 47.57% more time than the average user on YouTube (8min16sec) and 33.62% more time than the average user spends on Facebook daily (10min28sec).
2. Know the Reddit ropes before you post
Reddit is a hybrid of sorts, serving as a social media, discussion board and messaging service all in one.
Users submit posts which can be anything from links, outside content or original content.
Outside content makes up approximately 62% of posts on the website.
Posts don’t automatically generate as they do on other social media sites, however, they have to be approved – a tactic which helps the platform keep a handle on its essence and keep user etiquette in check.
Posted items can be commented on and rated by “upvotes” and “downvotes”, the total sum of which equals the post’s overall rating.
This is how the platform’s algorithms get the most popular content to the front pages and users can rest assured it’s already been validated by other users.
As you can see, topics such as sports rank high in comments and the subreddit r/IAmA does very well as it’s meant to highlight the unique and interesting aspects of users’ lives.
r/IAmA also requires users to submit proof and documentation of their identity to the community or moderators if they wish to remain private.
Every post also gets classified under a “subreddit”, which can be viewed at as a niche community. In these subreddits, posts with the highest scores don’t always rank at the top, due to the platform’s time decay algorithm, which favors fresh content.
However, scores can be extremely useful in identifying the most popular forms of content and content trending themes within the platform.
Even more interesting is the fact that an August 2017 report found that 31.1% of organic searches using the term “Reddit” were a part of the search phrase “Game of Thrones Reddit”.
This shows the importance of the platform in discussing pop culture events.
Users can also accumulate Reddit karma in the form of both link and comment karma.
This number pretty much scores goodwill and offers no overt influence or benefit other than trust.
It shows other users that you add value to the community – a scoring card which is extremely useful in today’s world where organic and authentic connections are paramount to success in any marketing efforts.
3. Brush up on your “Reddiquette”
Businesses and marketers especially need to be wary about jumping in and engaging on the platform without first knowing the rules of “reddiquette”, also a subreddit (r/reddiquette).
Moderators are encourage to moderate based on quality, not opinion and users are encouraged to source original content, engage in intelligent discourse, avoid rabble rousing, posting personal information of any kind, trolling or hurling insults.
Common reddiquette includes tasteful promotion of posts, remain impartial with regards to upvotes and downvotes and user canonical and persistent URLs when possible.
The list is actually quite detailed and extensive, often with many suggestions listed for the purpose of helping to improve your engagement levels.
It’s also worth mentioning that subreddit reddiquette can be found on the right sidebar of the niche community pages.
Everything from community rules, to information on contacting the moderators, to help with making memes and suggested subreddits are included in these sidebars.
New users should keep in mind that they contain a wealth of information on the tight-knit community’s common practices and as a result, should be considered thoughtfully and carefully so as to avoid being awkwardly pegged as a careless or self-promoting noob (i.e. newbie).Did we mention there’s a r/noob subreddit for that too?
4. Get your meme game strong
Did we mention Reddit is not for the faint at heart – or the Amish?
All jokes aside – while the majority of the platform’s content isn’t categorized for it’s NSFW nature, the truth of the matter is that the NSFW and controversial content is wildly popular and thus gives the platform a reputation laden with infamy.
One thing is for certain – Reddit users love a good laugh, even if it borders on the slightly to highly inappropriate scale.
Memes are insanely popular and there are endless amounts of subreddits catered to memes of every type.
In fact, memes are such a popular form of content that you can find several suggestions on meme generator sites in the sidebar notes.
If you go the meme route however, just keep in mind that you can’t go crazy posting them any and everywhere on the platform you please.
That’s just not how it works. There are guidelines people.
5. r/gifs – Funny animated images for your viewing pleasure
GIFs are definitely another insanely popular type of content on the platform, with endless subreddits full of various types of Reaction gifs, especially.
However, if you post a gif in the r/reactiongifs, your gif must actually contain some sort of reaction and the title often contains the abbreviation “MRW” (My Reaction When).
There are subreddits ranging from everything from r/educationalgifs (an example of which can be found in the McLaren screenshot below) to r/chemicalreaction gifs, r/catreactiongifs and more.
Remember how we mentioned that Reddit wasn’t for the faint at heart?
Well, this example of one of the most popular subreddits on the site holds true to this sentiment.
r/gonewild is a self-described place for “open-minded Adult Redditors” to exchange their nude bodies for karma; showing it off in a comfortable environment without pressure and believe it or not – it’s insanely popular – for obvious reasons.
So how does a business get on top of a trend that is insanely inappropriate and by very definition NSFW? I call it the “Mars Company Approach”.
Feel free to quote me.
Remember those M&M ads that were insanely popular for their largely adult-themed humor?
By poking fun of adult-themes in a PG manner.
For example, I created this techie meme which hits the nail on the head and harnesses a the popularity of a subreddit that every Reddit user knows is insanely popular and all while keeping it PG-friendly. #winning
When you run into issues with the nature of popular or trending content on the platform, businesses and marketers really just have to get a little creative.
7. r/cringepics – When it hurts just to look
The Cringe Pics subreddit is definitely a well-known and popular niche content community that can often border on the absurd, wildly inappropriate or strangely bizarre.
The point of the subreddit is to promote content that depicts “an embarrassing interaction between two or more people”.
With this particular community, however the platform goes on to elaborate that “No disgusting, rage-inducing…NSFL content” or personal information is allowed.
Oh, “NSFL” for those of you who don’t know is “Not Safe for Life”. Not exactly sure you’ll want to research what that entails but – good to know it’s banned nonetheless.
Much of the content is based on awkward romantic encounters or blasting text message conversations from unrequited love interests or embarrassingly aggressive or forward individuals.
The above image screenshotting a Washington Capitols retweet is just one hilarious example of how businesses gain popularity on the platform.
This post was so popular that it gained attention from several media outlets including the New York Daily News, Complex.com, Sports Illustrated and countless others.
I think it’s safe to say the publicity was well-worth it for the Caps.
This subreddit is geared towards interesting ,funny, informative and scientific content. As a result, it’s a perfect popular choice for businesses and marketers looking to make an impact on the social media platform.
Harvard University is one organization that does a stand-up job of promoting on Reddit and their post on physicist Lene Hau performed extremely well, while simultaneously redirecting traffic to their YouTube page.
If you’ll notice, the YouTube post which the content was pulled from was actually old content from 2011 that was repurposed and marketed on Reddit.
The Pokemon subreddit is a highly popular page as well for obvious reasons.
Several businesses and entrepreneurs have come up with interesting and creative ways to market their services and products on this subreddit.
Individual small-business owners especially can find success in marketing on subreddits as such by appealing to the desires of this wildly popular niche community.
For example, Cupcakedex promotes their baking services on this particular subreddit and has come up with a genius idea of baking backsides of popular Pokemon characters for fun and attention.
Cupcakedex promotes this content on their Reddit page as well as their Twitter and Tumblr, amongst other popular visually-driven platforms.
This is just one of several examples of ways in which businesses can get the attention of various demographics on the popular social media platform by engaging them based on their self-reported interests
I have to say that out of the endless amounts of subreddits on the platform, r/mildlyinteresting is one of my personal favorites.
This platform is full of eccentric, random and interesting little tidbits that users find in their personal lives and decide to share.
The content is much less shocking and inappropriate in nature when compared to the countless other profanity and NSFW ridden subreddits and also happens to often have an educational aspect to it.
When it comes to creating interesting content on Reddit, many businesses and marketers will find that opting for the educational approach proves to be a very fruitful endeavor.
However bear in mind that the platform frowns upon duplicate content, so you’ll have to get extra creative with any potential repurposing efforts.
Oh -- the news.
This is by far the most popular community on the Reddit platform.
Exactly how popular, you ask?
Well, according to the Pew Research Center, more than 7 out of 10 users (78%) on Reddit visit the website for their daily news content and a higher number of these users self-identify as liberal when compared to the general public.
There are also countless popular subreddits such as r/inthenews, r/politics, r/worldnews and more. Businesses looking to remain socially-conscious will benefit from posting content on these classes of subreddits.
However, it’s worth mentioning that the content that tends to perform best is negative in nature and as a result, adding a little witty sarcasm or humor to a post will often work to your benefit.
One awesome YouTube post from Mashable explains that for many businesses, Reddit’s languages, customs and user etiquette can feel like foreign land of uncharted territory.
However, this social media platform is an essential resource for any company looking to stay competitive in the digital realm and its self-regulating marketplace of ideas provides a goldmine of knowledge and insights.
This is why more and more businesses are seeing the value of Reddit and its impact on their social media and online strategies.
Use this guide as an actionable strategy that you can begin implementing immediately, or simply as a loose guideline to help inspire you and keep your creative digital marketing juices flowing.
Just keep in mind that Reddit is a tight-knit and closely monitored and moderated community which seeks to keep the user experience as organic as possible.
Shameless self-promotion will often be marked as spam and users with low karma scores show a lack of meaningful contribution and as a result, don’t fare nearly as well as those who add valuable contributions to the site and users.
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