Rules for Reddit: 9 insights for B2B marketers

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NOTE: This is part two of our Reddit primer. Check out part one, Rules for Reddit: B2B intro to the world’s most influential discussion forum.

You know that guy at the dinner party who can’t stop talking about what he does and how important it is and how good he is at it? If you’re leading your engagement by being a brand and talking B2B products and services … you’re that guy, on Reddit. Do you want this to be you? If not, these nine tips may help you avoid awkward marketing situations:

1. Is your content exceptionally interesting and completely devoid of self-promotion? If the answer is no, don’t look to do anything organic with it on Reddit. If you’re not sure, don’t do it.

2. Why? Firm policies about blogspam and self-promotion. Also, Redditors are intolerant and merciless. Ok, Redditors are us, but this is a useful frame of mind for a marketer to adopt when contemplating Reddit. Tread very lightly.

3. There is a business section, and a significant number of business-related subreddits. There are probably conversations going on about things related to your business. But do not join them and immediately start talking about your brand. You’ll get ignored, or booted pretty quickly for astro-turfing. Join to participate in the discussions, or don’t join.

4. You can buy targeted ads. This is the safest course of action. It may not be organic content marketing, but it also won’t get you banned.

5. While it’s owned by Conde Nast. (Yup, the home of Vogue and the New Yorker), make no mistake, the community rules Reddit. And the best way to market to and engage with a community is to participate first. Find a couple of relevant subreddits, join, lurk for a bit, see if you can actually add something of value. Be candid that you are a first-time poster and ask for feedback. All these will ease your entry.

6. After longtime GM Erik Martin left, so did the new CEO after a dispute over office space (update: it was burnout). It is likely not easy bridging the cultures that produce the uncensored chaos of Reddit and the lovingly crafted sentences of the New Yorker. While Conde Nast has worked to protect the Reddit culture, senior leadership struggles may indicate this is increasingly difficult and changes are coming.

7. It’s 84% men.

8. Did we mention no self-promotion and don’t post your own content?

9. If you are going to try content marketing on Reddit, spend at least a month being actively involved on the site and make sure your content is highly interesting and devoid of self-promotion. You can also try an AMA but caveat marketer.

The best advice is this: be genuinely interested. You can’t fake wanting to be a part of the Reddit community. Random posts about products are like walking into a cocktail party, handing out business cards, loudly, and leaving. So if you don’t plan to participate, maybe you should consider a different approach.

Your best use of Reddit as a marketer might be sourcing interesting news for your industry; videos and content goes viral on Reddit before the mainstream media pick it up. If your audience research indicates your target audience is very active there, get involved in active conversations or ask a savvy digital strategist to help you figure out an approach.

So will someone post this to Reddit for us? Come on, just a little love …

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Jennifer Evans

Jennifer Evans

President at B2B News Network
President, @B2BNewsnetwork (launched Nov 2014). Content, community and analytics obsessed. Inventor @squeezecmm. Past chair, @itac_online @whiteribbon
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