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Chapter 5 by Lily Cichanowicz

As the Internet becomes a more pervasive part of our lives, it means that online marketers must cater to the Internet ‘lifestyles’ and personas of their target audiences. There is an enormous opportunity for those who are willing to get creative beyond typical banner ad campaigns. Doing so will allow your ecommerce business to stand out while also attracting just the right traffic to your site. Reddit couldn’t be a more ideal environment for targeting a customer base that is specifically invested in the things you have to offer.

Reddit is a website that functions as a massive network of forums where feeds of discussion grow from posts centered on just about every topic under the sun. The threads typically stem from a question or link to another site, image, or video. With 71 billion page views annually, Reddit is certainly another untapped resource for getting noticed as an ecommerce business. It’s an especially excellent place to start for those who have just opened up shop and don’t yet have the biggest customer base or social media presence to draw upon. Reddit provides direct contact and exposure to audiences that have already been weeded out based on their interest in products like yours.

How It Works:

Using Reddit can easily backfire if you don’t do your research. Redditors are notorious for snuffing out ‘Reddit marketers’ and self-promoters. The Reddit site guidelines even state, “It’s perfectly fine to be a Redditor with a website, it’s not okay to be a website with a Reddit account.” Not only will posting blatant ads in Reddit feeds do nothing to increase traffic on your site, it could actually damage your credibility with any potential customers that view the feed.

That said, learning to successfully navigate this virtual terrain is still worth the payoffs. In fact, business strategist Ariel Rosenstein points out that, “According to research by Shopify, although Facebook drives more sales than any other social networking site, Reddit dominates electronics and appliances ecommerce, accounting for 31% of social media-referred electronics sales.” So how do you reap the benefits of Reddit marketing whilst also avoiding the pitfalls?

Making Your Campaign:

Like other forms of content marketing, you want your posts to be useful to your readers, and let’s be honest; simply self-promoting isn’t doing much for other Redditors. Being disciplined in keeping in line with typical Reddit etiquette is one of the keys to developing credibility as a regular user and not a marketer.

Act as If…
A key to getting this tactic to work is to act as if you are yourself are a seasoned Redditor. Don’t immediately jump into a feed ready to promote, even if you’re doing so through thoughtful content. People will check your post history to see if you just jump from feed to feed looking to attract attention to your site, and it won’t reflect well. Always be open about who you are. A simple way to do this is by choosing a username that accurately represents you and your brand.

Once you get your account set up, have fun with this part of the process and research relevant subreddits where people might be most interested in your ecommerce business. Note that this doesn’t have to be an all-consuming project, either. Just spending a few minutes of your day on Reddit will yield positive results.

Crafting a Post
The next step to successfully marketing through Reddit is to create your post. One approach is to simply fill in the gaps in existing subreddit conversation, proving your ecommerce site’s credibility by displaying that your own expertise on the subject. Do so by contributing useful advice and information about the topic at hand.

You can also take this strategy and start your own thread in the ‘Ask Me Anything’ (AMA) section of the website. This is an excellent way to be transparent about your standpoint as the owner of an ecommerce business, portraying your partiality in a positive light. If, for instance, you sell beauty products, you could open up an AMA where people ask you questions about different brands of mascara. You could aid those interested in comparing prices, quality, and staying power of the various types available on the market. Here, it is appropriate to direct commenters to your site to purchase the mascaras discussed because you will have already won them over with your honesty and knowledge base about what you’re offering.

Another way to provide your fellow Redditors with something of value is to announce promo codes and sales through your Reddit posts. This technique also works best if you create your own thread rather than plugging your sale on existing subreddits, but it’s always a matter of using your judgment. On a logistical note, schedule your posts for peak traffic times. On Reddit these include Sunday evenings, and weekdays at 4pm EST.

Interacting on the Site
Aside from creating your own posts or contributing content to subreddits, there are other ways to solidify your persona and to draw more people to your site. Be sure to respond to other Redditor’s comments and questions regarding your posts. Even the criticisms you receive can serve as a great opportunity to display humility and receptivity to feedback. In addition, replying to people’s comments will compound the activity that your post is receiving.

Keep in mind that Reddit marketing actually works best if you’re willing to let sleeping dogs lie. The ideal scenario is that subredditors up-vote and share your posts for you. Who knows, maybe your content will even get featured on the site’s “front page” thanks to other Redditors.

Measuring Success:

The final step to Reddit marketing is to figure out how best to assess whether you’re reaping the best possible results. Many pro Reddit marketers simply observe the correlations between the times they post to Reddit and the increase of traffic they receive on their sites. Better yet, you can often measure this in the number of people who sign up for your newsletter or even begin making purchases there.

Helpful Resources:

Cracking Reddit: How to Get Thousands of Visitors to Your Campaign with Reddit Marketing

The Marketer’s Guide to Reddit

10 actionable tips for using Reddit for marketing

Everything About Reddit Marketing in One Book

next: Chapter 6

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