Social media has evolved from just memes and humble brags to become legitimate sales channels. Facebook and Instagram are now widely accepted ecommerce outlets that offer new and unique ways to get products in front of potential buyers.
This has expanded to other platforms, including Reddit — the community of networks that brings a lot of people with similar interests together under one site. With 430 million monthly active users — also known as Redditors — it’s one of the largest online communities in the world.
It also offers new selling opportunities and potential customers for ecommerce businesses. That is, for the sellers that understand what Reddit marketing is and what audience it attracts.
Should You Sell Your Products on Reddit?
Reddit calls itself the “Front Page of the Internet” but, as a sales channel, it is still in the development phase compared to other social media sites. Early adopters, however, stand to gain more value in their marketing strategy than those that wait and see how this arm of the site evolves.
While the decision to sell on Reddit or not needs to be decided based on your circumstances, the site offers unique characteristics that separate itself from other digital platforms.
Ways to Sell on Reddit
Reddit offers three paid options for reaching users, each of them engaged and based on specific interests. The site offers options on the Reddit.com desktop site as well as through a mobile app.
Much like Facebook Ads, Reddit Ads offers paid space to promote products or services. These are limited to the fairly spartan design of the site (part of its appeal), but enables ad buyers to define the audience they’re trying to reach and leverage basic art, including video, to attract views. You can schedule by specific dates or campaign budget and then build an ad that fits into Reddit’s parameters.
Another option under Reddit Ads are promoted submissions, which are found in specific subreddits. They appear like other text posts, but include a clear tag that it is part of a paid promotion.
Premium — or trending — takeovers place ads on the site’s “Trending” tab for a specific period of time, typically in the second slot. They are clearly tagged as promoted and push users to a unique landing page on Reddit. Here, there will be further promotion content and discussions.
Product-focused subreddits (Reddit communities focused on a single topic), like r/deals, are communities looking for buying opportunities. By understanding these and cleverly introducing your products (without spamming them), you have an opportunity to advertise for free.
Start your own Subreddit.
Developing a company- or product-specific subreddit designed to bring your customers under one roof is a great opportunity to build a community. Here, you can create your own evangelists that will do your selling for you.
Emerging communities tied to new businesses around the blockchain, cryptocurrency, NFTs or startups can be very effective. Crypto in particular has used the site effectively.
Run subreddit-specific contests.
Contests with rewards build engagement on your site and encourage users to regularly check in.
Sell via comments.
There is an art to selling through comments, where you’re selling without selling. Engaging with a community and then occasionally slipping in references to your company is the best way to create trust.
Ask Me Anything (AMA).
AMAs are rare opportunities where all eyes are on you. As long as you don’t go into shameless shill mode and act like a regular poster, these are great opportunities to reinforce your message.
Tips for Selling on Reddit
Reddit is a large community with its own rules and regulations. Failure to understand this will only attract flames (some of them might be NSFW) and undermine your efforts on the site. Following these tips encourages engagement and, ultimately, sales.
Act like a person.
Reddit doesn’t react well to being directly sold to. You don’t want to come off as a generic marketing bot or someone that is inauthentic. Human-centered language that makes you sound like an actual human being is far more effective.
Contribute to the community first.
Don’t come into a community and start marketing your products. Become part of the community first by being an actual contributor. If a subreddit views you as one of their own, they’re much more likely to respond well to your pitches.
Provide valuable, useful content.
Don’t be a generic troll and actually be a positive contributor to the community. Establish credibility as a source of knowledge and members will be more receptive to your messaging.
Know the rules.
Before you dive in, familiarize yourself with the unique rules of the community. Each subreddit can establish its own rules and you should fully understand them before engaging.
Pictures/video are king.
Much like other social media platforms, posts with graphics are more likely to push engagement. A catching picture or a short video makes your post or ad stand out.
Write eye-catching headlines.
Think like a newspaper. What would get you to read a story or, in this case, check out your ad. Be clever and engaging. They should also be optimized for search, similar to Amazon listings. Reddit has a powerful search engine that should be considered for getting lifetime value.
Upvotes are important.
Upvotes help with the visibility of your post and impact where it appears in the list of posts. Content that encourages upvotes will perform better.
Glossary of Reddit Terminology
Reddit has its own language. It may not back sense outside the site, but within the community, these phrases are common.
Reddit’s version of Facebook likes. The more upvotes, the more likely you’re getting positive engagement and visibility.
The opposite of upvotes. These are “dislikes” and being overly promotional is likely to invite a flood of downvotes.
Karma is the amount of upvotes you have versus downvotes. A higher score builds trust within the community and makes it more likely users will trust you and your intentions.
This is the premium reddit tier that includes additional features. It can be purchased or gifted to a user for being a particularly good member of a community.
Reddit’s “police.” They keep subreddits from devolving into something unmanageable and ensure that community guidelines are followed.
OP (Original Poster).
The person who starts a thread.
A post that is simultaneously posted across multiple related subreddits.
Posting something to a subreddit that has already been posted. Try to avoid doing this.
The portion of a page appearing on the right-hand side. It typically includes important information like guidelines, moderators or FAQs.
Users who read a subreddit, but don’t post. This can be useful for understanding a community before posting.
OC (Original Content).
Content that is unique to Reddit and isn’t pulled from another source.
IRL (In Real Life).
The offline world compared to Reddit’s online community.
TIL (Today I Learned).
Something a user didn’t know until they read something often found on the Internet.
AMA (Ask Me Anything).
An invitation by a user for a community to ask them, well, anything. These are often held by subject matter experts and can be used for promotional reasons.
A way of banning someone from a community, without the user knowing they are banned. They will still have access to the subreddit, but anything they post will be invisible to others.
Something added to a user’s display name. This signifies what kind of poster you are.
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The Final Word
Reddit may not seem like an obvious sales channel, but if done properly, it can be an especially effective one. With the size of the user base and how engaged they are, leveraging the site in an authentic way is a valuable social media marketing strategy.
It just has to be done in the right way.