Reddit is a strange and funny corner of the Internet where — in theory — content marketing should reign supreme. With almost 8 billion page views per month, why wouldn't a website devoted specifically to sharing content be the perfect place to promote your brand?
Well, as it turns out, it can be a little dicey. Redditors are a choosy, cynical bunch, and they have no patience for promotional advertising. If they sniff out a marketing ploy, your content is sure to sink to the bottom.
Reddit Marketing Success Stories
So can you advertise on this platform? Redditors seem to think so, but with one huge caveat. When asked how marketers can be successful on Reddit, mtjess60 commented:
More so than any other social media platform, Reddit requires authenticity, engagement, and an awareness of the site’s unique culture. As a marketer, it’s a fine line to toe — but if you get it right, the rewards can be great.
Let’s take a look at some Reddit marketing home runs and why they worked.
Guardanis: Reaching a Niche
Reddit is infamous for its something-for-everyone approach. The community revolves around subreddits — aka subtopics — for users with special interests. Guardanis, an app development company, targeted the Lucid Dreaming subreddit, where users gather to discuss their experiences with and advice about lucid dreaming.
With the input and expertise from forum regulars, the developers released Lucid Dreamer. The app plays stereo tones to help users experience lucid dreams in their myriad forms. It also provides a dream journal, so app users can document their experiences. For the developers, the Lucid Dreaming subreddit was a crucial component in conceptualizing, creating and marketing the app — which goes to show how important it is to know and capitalize on your niche.
Spotify: Bringing People Together
Music streaming service Spotify won Redditors over by involving them in the creation of community playlists. It all started with a simple request:
The suggestions started flowing immediately, and Spotify continued asking questions about songs that evoked specific emotions. With queries like “What song was your graduation anthem?” and “[What was] that song when you wanted to stage-dive[?],” Spotify representative and Reddit user JesseAtSpotify gathered more than 10,000 song submissions to create a multitude of community playlists for users to enjoy.
Reddit now has a Spotify subreddit for users to share playlists they’ve created, request playlists from others, and chat about how to get the most out of the service. It’s been a major success for Spotify.
Bridgford Foods: Saying Yes
Bridgford Foods, a premium cured meat company, had amazing success — almost by a fluke. When a Redditor complained about the price of beef jerky, user timothyjwood responded by explaining that Slim Jims are cheap because they’re mostly made up of byproducts, but that quality beef jerky is more expensive for a reason. He validated his comment by explaining that his parents were the owners of a beef jerky company.
Another Redditor responded, “Beef jerky company, eh? Reddit discount?” As a result, Bridgford Foods delivered. Reddit users received an exclusive discount on high-quality cured meat products, and Bridgford gained not only brand visibility but also a lot of loyal followers.
Giordano’s Pizza: Paying It Forward
Where the rest of the world practices random acts of kindness, Reddit users practice Random Acts of Pizza. It’s a community for users to post pizza requests and for givers to meet them. Anyone who’s down on their luck can provide a request for any reason — whether it’s been a tough month financially or because their cat ate their dinner (yes, seriously).
In the case of Redditor Traveleravi, a Chicago pizzeria called Giordano’s Pizza came to the rescue. “I’m broke,” the user lamented. “Help me celebrate the Cubs beating the Cardinals with a pizza.”
How You Can Make It Work
As with any other social network, it takes work to achieve business on Reddit. Because Redditors are particularly selective about content, it’s important to make sure any post with your brand’s name on it contributes something positive to the community. If you think you’re up to the test, heed the site’s rules and regulations; avoid spam and stay relevant. You may find unexpected success.
Adrienne Erin is a freelance writer and designer based in Pennsylvania. She has been passionate about career development ever since her college years — all four of which she spent interning in her college’s career center. Now that she is her own boss, she shares the practical advice that she finds works in her own life. To see more of her work, visit her design blog.