6 Ways to Use Reddit to Grow Your Business

social media how toHave you used Reddit?

The popular website Reddit goes by the slogan, “The front page to the Internet.”

It has earned this name by creating a platform that allows users with similar interests to discuss and curate the best content on the web.

Let’s have a look at a few popular communities on Reddit.

reddit

Reddit is a popular social news platform where users submit and comment on content.

What Is Reddit?

Reddit is a social news platform that allows users to discuss and vote on content that other users have submitted. To help police the site and prevent spammers from bombarding readers, Reddit came up with “karma” points.

Users get karma by their comments and links being up-voted by others in the community. If you spam post your unrelated content to Reddit, you are sure to get down-voted consistently by other users. This in turn means Reddit begins to limit how often you are able to submit content to the site.

The great thing about Reddit is there are small communities called sub-Reddits that bring people and their interests together. These sub-Reddits range in topics from how to teach English to juggling.

The following is a list of strategies used by popular sub-Reddits to build their community.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Our readers have come forward to say that the sub-Reddits mentioned in this article are run by fans of brands and not the brands themselves. We have edited this article accordingly.

#1: Encourage User Submissions

Reddit is not a platform to shout your message at your fans, but rather a place to interact with them.

Along with calling their followers “petrol heads,” the sub-Reddit of the popular car show Top Gear drives engagement with their followers by encouraging them to submit their favorite car pictures.

Each week, this sub-Reddit group selects the best picture and features it along with the name of the person who submitted it in the sidebar of their sub-Reddit.

This gives followers a sense of ownership in the community. Giving followers this voice increases the interaction in the community and is more likely to create brand advocates.

top gear

The Top Gear sub-Reddit showing how to encourage user engagement by having customers submit photos.

#2: Customer Service

Popular brands will have customers who need help.

The Xbox 360 sub-Reddit has done a great job providing a place for people to discuss this popular product. The sub-Reddit funnels Microsoft customers with questions into the right channels to get resolved.

By redirecting users with product issues to the proper channels, this increases customer service and allows Redditors to discuss and share photos, videos and experiences they had with the Xbox product.

This sub-Reddit provides customer service by doing the following:

  • Clearly identify the purpose of the sub-Reddit.
  • Create sections of helpful links.
  • Outline directions on the best ways to get fast customer service.

It costs less to maintain a customer than to acquire one through other marketing channels. A big benefit of improving customer service is that it helps keep customers happy and wanting to stay with your brand.

xbox

The Xbox sub-Reddit shows how to use Reddit for customer service.

#3: Create a Network

Anyone can create a sub-Reddit, and with the right strategy you can easily build a network (several interlinking sub-Reddits) around an idea.

This is what the SFW Porn Network has done. They created a network of interests like nature, cars and cities for people who are “addicted” (hence the “porn” in the name—it’s not actually explicit material) to discussing these types of images and posts.

The following helped them create this strong network:

  • Have a common naming convention (subject + porn).
  • Have a common navigation that links all of the sub-Reddits.
  • Monitor to make sure the images and content are high-quality.

If you have one popular sub-Reddit, it’s easier to get those followers to go to another sub-Reddit on a similar topic. The benefit of creating a network is to amass a large following inside the growing and active Reddit community.

water porn

The Water Porn sub-Reddit showing how to create a network on Reddit.

#4: News and Calendar

It’s simple. Brand advocates and followers always want to know the latest news and upcoming events.

For example, fans of the Philadelphia Phillies baseball team want to know the game schedule, the team’s standing in the NL East and other vital information. The Phillies sub-Reddit does this by having an updated calendar and league ranking board in the sidebar.

Consider using some of the following in your sub-Reddit sidebar to ensure your followers stay in the loop.

  • Have a calendar of events.
  • Display company news.
  • Increase the percentage of a goal reached.

The benefit of displaying news and events to your followers is that when they visit, they are immediately updated with important facts and status.

phillies

The Philadelphia Phillies sub-Reddit showing how to display news and events on Reddit.

#5: Perform Interviews

The Breaking Bad sub-Reddit got its fans involved by holding interviews with the cast of the show. The actors themselves answered the most popular questions that Redditors wanted to ask.

Doing this consistently not only grew the size of the community but also brought it closer together by eliminating the wall between actor and fan.

The benefit of this approach is again to allow the community the opportunity to be heard and interact in a memorable way. Facilitating the opportunity for fans and celebrities to communicate is a great way to create a strong memory for those fans.

breaking bad

The Breaking Bad sub-Reddit showing how to use Reddit to interview people.

#6: Creating a Community

Out of the many sub-Reddits I’ve searched through, none compares to the community built by the Game of Thrones sub-Reddit. The group does not do just one thing right, but has taken several steps to create a strong, tight-knit community.

Below are the different strategies they used to really make their community stand out.

Get Everyone Into Character

The best part of joining a community is connecting and talking with others with the same interests. Beyond the amazing look and feel of Game of Thrones sub-Reddit, here are a few things they’ve done to make sure followers get into character:

getting into character

Game of Thrones sub-Reddit showing how to get followers into character.

Spoiler Control

There is nothing worse than finding out the final score of the big football game before you are able to watch it. Just like how co-workers can spoil things around the water cooler, someone can easily spoil the ending of a Game of Thrones episode on Reddit.

The Game of Thrones sub-Reddit has taken the following steps to ensure that their followers don’t get their favorite show spoiled.

  • Have a posting policy.
  • Create theme modes (Normal, Talk Only, Mute Talk, Show Spoilers).
  • Create a spoiler guide and link to it often.
spoiler alert

Game of Thrones sub-Reddit showing how to control spoilers on Reddit.

Conclusion

Creating a community on any platform takes a lot of time and hard work, and Reddit is no different. If you have a product or brand that thrives on interacting and gaining feedback from people, Reddit is a great place to do it.

What do you think? For those of you who have never tried Reddit, what questions do you have? Leave your questions and comments in the box below.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

About the Author, Ben Beck

Benjamin enjoys blogging about social media on his blog and will soon launch Slice of Social where he interviews marketers. Benjamin also enjoys helping fellow marketers so connect on Twitter and G+. Other posts by »




More Info
  • http://www.EntrepreneurOnFire.com/ John Lee Dumas

    Interesting topic, Ben. And, they say Karma just went digital!  

    It makes me wonder if I need another social media platform to manage, because with the way you put it, I might just end up signing up for an account. Way to go!Just one question, how will Reddit help an aspiring podcaster like me reach out to more listener?Thanks Ben! Keep up the good work SME team! 

  • Benjamin Beck

    Hi John, 

    Thank you for reading and the kind words. Hopefully i’ll see you around Reddit.

    The great thing about Reddit is that they love giving feedback! If i were you i would do an AMA (ask me anything) about being a podcaster. 

    This will allow you and the Redditors to get to know each other and they can then suggest what sub reddits to be apart of.

    Hope this helps, let me know if you have any further questions.

  • Teresa

    I just began learning about social media a couple weeks ago. I wanted to say, “Thank You”. This is very helpful information, that I believe I will also be able to apply in other places, not just reddit. Thanks again for the information!

  • Benjamin Beck

    Hi Teresa, Glad you found this helpful! 

  • http://twitter.com/R_McBurney Ryan McBurney

    Great article, Benjamin! I have to say though, marketers need to be very, VERY weary of doing any marketing on Reddit. The Reddit community is incredibly/oddly unique and intelligent, and if they sniff out any attempts at marketing, they will destroy it and mock the effort… thus making it a negative experience for you and your brand. And let’s not forget about grammar. Oh man. If you make any grammar mistake, any at all, they will eat you alive… in the cutest, most cat-tastic and pickachu-related way possible. Marketers be warned.

  • http://www.convinceandconvert.com/ jaybaer

    Super terrific post Benjamin. Nice!

  • http://zemmez.com/ Todd Stewart

    I was just saying the same to my co-workers.

  • Sarah Bauer

    I have to agree with Ryan McBurney here.  Reddit hosts a very close-knit, savvy community of users that do not appreciate being “gamed” by promotional material or marketing ploys. This makes it tough for smaller businesses ( even those that thrive on user feedback), to crack into.  Breaking Bad and Game of Thrones are popular entertainment ‘brands’ in their own right, so it makes the transition into Reddit territory pretty seamless. Any tips for smaller, less-known companies to expand awareness on Reddit? Or is brand presence something that should be built elsewhere online first, before cultivating a community on Reddit?

    Cheers,
    Sarah Bauer
    Navigator Multimedia

  • Benjamin Beck

    Hi Ryan, 

    Thank you for bringing up this point!Reddit is definitely a unique and passionate group, which is why I really like them. The problem most marketers have on Reddit is that they try to go into the big popular sub-reddits and spam people. Like most people, Redditors don’t like this and they let you know about it. As for grammar if you have a brand that you are promoting the spelling should be correct anyways.Lastly if you notice each of the examples in the article are examples of brands building a community on their own sub reddits. Like any other platform it takes a lot of work to get a following.

  • Benjamin Beck

    Jay,

    Thank you! Honored that you noticed and liked it.

  • http://twitter.com/rongiordan Ron Giordan

     I was just thinking this for the small brands I manage. I am unsure how they would benefit from Reddit unless I went in as them and posted questions or links on sub-reddits…and then that would seem like spam.

  • Benjamin Beck

    Hi Sarah,

    Great question!

     I think that to be successful on Reddit your goal should not be to spread awareness of your business or product, but instead to add value to the Redditors.

    Top Gear – Providing a place to discuss cars and share photos
    Philadelphia Phillies – To talk about the games, the players, etc

    If you have a small business find something around your business that people would like to be apart of a lively discussion instead of a one-sided lecture.  

  • http://www.thesmallbusinessideassite.com/ Dave MacKayu

    Ben Thanks for this sharing this information, this is really interesting.

  • http://twitter.com/R_McBurney Ryan McBurney

    Well said. Thanks for the response, Benjamin. Marketing on Reddit is certainly possible through clever maneuvering. I just made my comment to help prevent marketers from going in there blindly. I recommend they take a few months to get more familiar with the characteristics of the community before making any drastic moves.

  • Benjamin Beck

    My Pleasure!

    Glad you liked it. 

  • April

    Thank you for this article!  I am a relatively new Redditor (mostly lurking, Aww, and TIL) and recently was looking for an outlet to encourage and discuss gourmet and/or healthy eating in a social media setting other than Facebook or Twitter.  I love the vibe of Reddit and I appreciate your suggestions on utilizing it for Marketing and creating connections.  

  • http://www.morethanpepper.com/ Tom@morethanpepper

    have neglected engaging this site will have to change that 

  • Benjamin Beck

    April, Thank You! Look forward to hearing about your success on Reddit. If you have any questions feel free to hit me up on Twitter or LinkedIn.

  • Loi Hoang

    thanks you for your post

  • http://www.engage-2012.com/ Kevin Dolby

    Very interesting post that includes lot of helpful and insightful information. Furthermore, I think that these advises are not applicable just to Reddit, but to other social networks as well.

    Thank you for your post, Ben.

  • http://www.thetist.com/ Sv Newman

     Its a great deal of information about reddit.
    i also want to know about stumbleupon and digg. share it if you can

  • Pingback: Top Online Marketing News September 21, 2012

  • jelenawoehr

    Do you have any evidence that any of your examples are actually brand interaction, rather than fan-led communities? Using subreddits created by an already thriving fan community as examples of brand interaction on Reddit is like presenting a popular Harry Potter fansite to show that J.K. Rowling is a clever Web designer. The AMA suggestion is good, but keep in mind that r/IAMA is not for relatively ordinary things like “I have a podcast” or “I have a German Shepherd and blog about him.” There’s r/casualIAMA for that and now r/InternetAMA for people who are only “Internet famous.”

    Better advice than this on using Reddit: If you want traffic and attention from Reddit, start by buying an ad on Reddit and think up a clever way to present it to their audience. They have very, very affordable advertising options for smaller brands, and the community is friendly to brands that support it so long as you make your ad funny and interesting. DuckDuckGo’s dontbubble.us site and their Reddit ad campaign supporting it provide an excellent example of acceptable, overt, informative brand interaction using Reddit. If Reddit responds well to your ads and you’re able to interact successfully in comments, THEN maybe think about an AMA post or getting involved in other ways.

  • Pingback: » Five Things You Might Have Missed! - ibrandcasting.com

  • Benjamin Beck

    Glad you liked it Kevin, Thank you for the kind words!

  • SecretAgentMang

    Benjamin,

    I am the top moderator for /r/Topgear and would love to discuss your thoughts on this.  Please send a message to SecretAgentMang on reddit.

  • anusha govindan

    Hi Ben,
    Impressive article!! I hardly knew Reddit has so much potential for budding businesses before reading this article. The article was quite informative. It is high time for many businesses to tap such potential to the fullest.

  • http://twitter.com/bloodyfknmess BloodyFknMess

    Being a Moderator of http://www.reddit.com/r/breakingbad, I feel like you might be mistaken. 
     With the exception of TownIdiot25, the most recent addition to the mod team(about a week), none of us are employed by AMC or Breaking Bad.  We worked very hard to secure the interviews with the stars of the show.  We do not profit from the page.  

  • Benjamin Beck

    I definitely am thankful that you brought it up. People need to be aware not to spam on Reddit

  • Kriptiik

    Kriptik here , moderator from /r/gameofthrones (i see my name in the article image!). Anywho, we are completely fan-based and are not affiliated with or part of George R. R. Martin or Game of Thrones. Just wanted to clear that up.

  • http://www.twitter.com/lgdrew Drew Rose

    Adding value to the Redditors is a great point as opposed to spreading awareness. Let us not forget Woody Harrelson’s AMA.

  • http://twitter.com/bloodyfknmess BloodyFknMess

    Same goes for r/BreakingBad.  

  • http://twitter.com/bloodyfknmess BloodyFknMess

    r/BreakingBad is fan based, and I feel like you are not giving credit where credit is due.  We (mods) worked very hard to organize the AMA interviews, they were not organized by AMC or Breaking Bad.  We are not paid  for our work, we do it for the community.  I feel like you writing that r/breakingbad is affiliated with or ran by AMC is damaging to our online reputation.

  • Benjamin Beck

    Hey SecretAgengMang,

    I really appreciate the hard work and great things you are doing on your sub-reddit. I’ll be sure to message you. Probably not until tomorrow. 

  • Benjamin Beck

    Hi Kriptiik,

    I love what you and the whole team have done in your Game of Thrones sub-reddit. It is simply amazing and a lot of my co-workers were so excited when I showed it to them!

    I apologize if the article came off as portraying you as an affiliation of Game of Thrones instead of a fan based community. Let me know if I can do anything to help you guys out. 

  • Benjamin Beck

    Hi BloodyFknMess,

    Thank you as well for jumping in here and clarifying that the r/BreakingBad is not an affiliate of AMC or Breaking Bad. I sincerely apologize for any confusion and for any damage that has happened to your sub-reddits reputation. 

    I’ll be sure to message you on reddit as well, probably tomorrow. I would love to talk and learn more about how you run such a great sub-reddit and were able to get AMA’s from so many of the actors. 

  • Benjamin Beck

    Great Point! I don’t know how many people know about that, but it is a great example.

  • http://cindyking.biz/ Cindy King

    Thank you for bringing this to our attention, Jelena!  We’ve edited this article as relevant.

  • Pingback: How to craft a B2B social media strategy |

  • http://www.seogenx.com/ Nandkishor

    Recently American President, Obama has engaged a public session discuss with people, which was being run around half an hour.

  • Pingback: 6 Ways to Use Reddit to Grow Your Business « B-Gina™ TechNews Report

  • Avonladygwen

    Hi Benjamin,  This looks like a good way to connect to my brand customers. I think I need a “how to” presentation/video on how to get started.  Is there some instructions on Reddit on how to get started? 
    LMK, thanks!

    Gwen

  • Benjamin Beck

    Great example, Thank you for sharing!

  • djemir

    So many social media apps so little time. I think I might already have an account as I probably do for almost every social media outlet out there including Bebo.  After reading this post I’m thinking I might need to pay a little more attention to my Reddit account! Thank you for the reminder and kick in the butt :)http://www.djemir.com

  • Benjamin Beck

    Hi Gwen,

    Good Question, here is a link to a great help page on Reddit. Hope it helps.

    http://www.reddit.com/help/faq

  • Pingback: Internet Marketing Update

  • Pingback: Weekly Link Round Up – 09-21-12 | Social Media Marketing

  • Pingback: Words On My Radar (Issue 4) « Courage 2 Create

  • Pingback: Online Marketing News: Twitter Upgrades Profiles, Google Snaps Up Photo Editor, Apple Copies App?, META Tags Are Back - mySMP Web Design

  • Arielle Caitlyn

    How would I go about creating a Reddit/Sub-Reddit page for a broadcast business?







Check out the Social Media Marketing Podcast!
Join our Social Media Marketing Networking Club
Download the free Social Media Marketing Industry Report