As Reddit is rapidly expanding its base (and including more functions that are marketing and advertiser-friendly) our hipper, more internet savvy clients are going to start looking into it. And if our clients are looking into it, that means we should have looked into it three months ago and prepared an upsell.
Reddit is unique as a social media platform. Its community-based and its users are very, very protective over it—they do *not* want to get spammed with obvious marketing content. So, obviously, you can’t post there the same way you would for your client’s Facebook and Twitter accounts or you’ll get flamed off the site.
I’m going to take one of my clients—a workout and wellness app—and try to briefly come up with a campaign strategy that will bring their brand to Reddit naturally. Why did I choose them? Two reasons: one – because the client and creator of the app want to be positioned as a thought leader and grow his community, and two–because a thriving workout community already exists on Reddit.
Reddit is not unconquerable, brands have done it before; see this story about how Nissan appealed to Reddit detectives with a stunt that involved a mystery package being driven around a small town in Wisconsin. It can be done, but you first have to accept that the Redditors are in control.
The first thing I would do is make a profile under my client’s name, not the name of the product. Let’s call him Shawn. Using Shawn’s identity, and maybe even let Shawn handle some of the interactions, I’d enter threads that focused on exercise as well as threads about mental health, PTSD, or discussions related to service members. Shawn’s app is a workout app on the face of it, but the focus is on rehabbing first responders.
The key to achieving success on Reddit is being natural, engaging, and most importantly, transparent. Do not, under any circumstances, try to conceal that you’re a brand. Both because that’s ethically shady and because Reddit users will find you out and reject you.
Do something to catch their attention and get them to actively participate. Maker’s Mark succeeded by creating a fun thread where users named fake liquors after horses who were racing in the Kentucky Derby that year. Just because you’re interacting with an audience that’s younger than you does not mean you need to be constantly posting edgy, disruptive content. In the parlance of the millennial Redditor: that’s cringe.
I would market Shawn by offering his time. Let him advertise himself as a fitness and recovery expert. Host AMAs (Ask Me Anything) and have him give his unique insights into stress relief, pain management, and proper exercise. Build up a community of people who use his app with separate threads for each program where you can do weekly check-ins for customer service purposes or just make sure everybody is handling their program well.
New platforms are all about dedication and experimentation. Look at what other people are doing and see how you can implement that into a long strategy. Looking at other examples isn’t cheating—it’s planning the best course of action for your client’s campaign.