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8 Reddit Marketing Tips to Help Marketers Avoid Downvotes and Maximize Traffic

An example of a content marketing subreddit.

Reddit is one of the most popular websites on the web, and its subreddits are thriving communities where dedicated members meet to share, discuss, and curate content on a daily basis. It’s also a marketers dream since subreddits exist for just about every niche imaginable. Unfortunately, Reddit can be a rough place for a marketer, as redditors have incredibly high standards for who and what they’ll allow to take hold in their communities. Just making an account and posting some links is not even close to enough to succeed. Here are eight important tips that marketers can put to use to ensure their efforts on Reddit have a high chance of success.

Redditors Hate Being Sold To

This is the first tip because it might be the most important thing marketers can know about using Reddit as a tool. Reddit is a community, and redditors take that community very seriously. They hate the idea of their meeting place and community being used as a sales tool, and they can smell marketers and thinly-veiled promotional posts from a mile away.  Marketers should always keep this in mind whenever they turn to Reddit to try to promote something.

Choose Subreddits Wisely

Subreddits are the niche communities within greater Reddit. There are subreddits for just about everything a person could possibly imagine, no matter how weird or unbelievable. These subreddits are home to the audiences that make Reddit an attractive niche marketing tool. Unfortunately, subreddits have gatekeepers, both in the form of moderators and the community’s ability to downvote posts into oblivion. It’s incredibly important to select the correct subreddit if a post is to have any chance of taking hold and generating traffic as a misplaced post likely won’t be allowed to live for very long.

Deliver Exceptional Quality

Quality is important on Reddit because the entire site is based on community vetting of content. When a post is made on a subreddit, it becomes subject to judgment by the members of that community. Upvotes help to keep quality content near the top of the page where it will be seen, and downvotes serve to push unworthy content out of sight. Providing content of exceptionally high quality maximizes the chances that Redditors will choose to endorse a post with an upvote, giving it longevity and maximizing the amount of traffic it can produce.

Time Your Posts for Maximum Exposure

Redditors hail from all over the world and live in a multitude of time zones, but there are ways marketers can time posts to maximize the chance they’ll be seen by the greatest number of eyes possible. It might seem totally counterintuitive, but the best time to post to Reddit is in the early hours of the morning in the Eastern time zone. The goal of this timing strategy is to put up posts at a time that will minimize the volume of competition for space on the first page so that they will be front and center when a massive chunk of North American web users wake up and log on for their daily morning fix.

Make Sure to Actively Participate

Redditors are suspicious people, and a surefire way for marketers to give themselves away is to have an account that posts infrequently and only offers up content that reeks of a sales pitch. Marketers looking to make effective use of Reddit need to actually participate in the communities they’re trying to sell to so that their posts aren’t written off when it does come time to make a pitch. It isn’t necessary to spend hours a day posting in target subreddits trying to build a reputation, but hit and run accounts stand out and make upvotes harder to come by.

Let Others Do the Reposting

It’s thrilling when a Reddit post pays off and web analytics show a spike in traffic for what amounts to a few minutes effort. It can be so addictive that many marketers fall into the trap of attempting to repeat that success by reposting the same links or content over and over. Redditors generally dislike reposts. Posting something that the community has already seen is viewed as lazy, and the same account constantly reposting something is sure to result in the posts being washed away by a sea of downvotes. The key is to make content so shareable that once a marketer floats it out to the community, the membership will do the reposting themselves. It might still be seen as an annoyance, but it won’t result in the same level of backlash.

Get Your Title Right

Titles are important on Reddit because, without a catchy headline, posts get lost in the noise. A subreddit is literally a page of titles, and while upvotes will determine the order the posts are shown in, titles are what draw in users and create traffic. Posting a link or piece of content to Reddit takes seconds, so there is absolutely no excuse for marketers to not spend some time figuring out a great title. Failing to catch the attention of the community will sink even the best content as newer, catchier posts push it off the first page and into the abyss.

Don’t Get Discouraged

This is a big one. Reddit can be a rough place, especially if its users get a sniff that they’re being overtly sold to or used as a promotional platform. Successes can be few and far between and the reaction from the community can sometimes be downright nasty. The key is to let the failures go, ignore the negative comments, interact with the positive ones, and keep trying. It only takes a few seconds to a few minutes to put a post up on Reddit, so a failure isn’t exactly a catastrophic loss of time or effort. Marketers need to approach Reddit knowing that most of their posts will not gain traction and will be ignored or downvoted into obscurity. The light at the end of the tunnel is that the ones that do establish a foothold can generate more than enough traffic and interaction to make the failures worthwhile.

Reddit can be an outstanding source of free traffic for web marketers, and the countless subreddits the site hosts offer numerous opportunities for niche targeting. However, marketers can’t just dive in and start spraying promotional posts, as the nature of Reddit and its users make it very hostile to overt or thinly veiled sales messages. Instead, marketers have to carefully target and cultivate the subreddits and users they plan to promote to, taking special care to play by the written and unwritten rules established by each subreddit community. Following the eight tips provided here will help marketers avoid the common traps that are most likely to sabotage their efforts, increasing the chances of their content taking hold and generating the strong, qualified traffic Reddit can deliver.

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