The Internet is vast universe of information constantly expanding at an exponential rate. Like debris out in space, information travels across the web in a seemingly untraceable manor. When you experience a new meme for the first time, do you know its origin? Probably not. Information travels virally from one website to the next, and from device to device. Although a meme’s creation may never be discovered, there is a good chance that it originated at the center of the deep dark depths of the Internet; also known as a website called Reddit. Not long after Reddit was founded in 2005, it began to receive a strong cult following. As the website began to grow in popularity, more and more subpages, known as subreddits (i.e. /r/TodayILearned) began to emerge. Subreddits are specialized pages focusing on a specific topic area using their own moderators, set of rules, and etiquette. As the website has grown over the years, many companies have attempted to market their products via Reddit but have failed because they lacked the necessary information to get in on the action.
Brands need to consider their target demographics before attempting to utilize Reddit (or any other Social platform) as a marketing tool. Thanks to bluefountainmedia.com, we are able to see the demographic breakdown on Reddit. More than half of all Reddit users are between 18-34 years old and have some college experience. Roughly 65% of users are males, while 35% are females. Users are also more than likely to be in lower income brackets, which makes sense. The majority of Reddit’s users have some college completed, and one thing that most college students lack is money. What this means for any marketers attempting to expand brand awareness on Reddit is they need to seriously consider their target audience before they begin to post. For example, luxury and sports cars on /r/cars may receive lots of up votes, but the users are not likely to have the money to afford the cars for a long while. Building brand awareness within a demographic that has no chance of converting to a sale is much less effective than targeting an audience that has higher potential for ROI.
Don’t Be a “Bandwagoner”
Viral content on Reddit today may be considered old and overused just days after its creation. This is one of the reasons why Reddit is such a difficult platform for marketers to advertise on. Companies attempting to use a specific meme to their advantage need to make sure that they use the meme properly, and while the meme is still relevant. Once users have seen the meme used multiple times, they tend to lose interest in the message and begin to find it annoying. No brand wants to be considered annoying in the eyes of potential consumers.
The best way to ensure that your brand isn’t seen as a “bandwagoner” is to keep up with the subreddits that you intend to use. A subreddit’s culture and content will evolve over time, causing old posts to lack relevance, and sometimes to violate upgraded subreddit regulations. About a year ago, /r/cringepics consisted mostly of pictures of people who were considered “cringy” by the way they dressed or carried themselves. Pictures similar to those seen on PeopleofWalmart.com flooded the subreddit. However, in a year’s time, the culture of the subbreddit has changed. Now, redditors focus more on awkward Social Media conversations than individuals in real life.
Pick the Right Subreddit
Relevance is key. When Redditors find a post to be irrelevant, they overlook it. There are thousands of subreddits that receive constant traffic. Many subreddits focus on pictures, video, and audio. Some, like /r/funny can be utilized by brands that want to use humor to reach an audience. Electronic brands will find /r/technology and /r/science to be a very useful branding subbreddits. Redditlist.com tracks the number of subscribers for the top 5000 subreddits. Here are the top ten subreddits:
Post Relevant Content
Posts need to seem authentic and interesting. Redditors will not click on anything that appears to be an advertisement. The Reddit website allows for users to see the thumbnail of posted content before they click on the material, so create something that is likely to get them to click on the thumbnail. A post that appears to be a branding effort will receive heavy backlash from redditors, who will pick apart any content with ease, so tread lightly.
Reddit remains to be a valuable opportunity for marketers, provided they can crack the nut of how to best advertise on the platform. While other Social Media platforms are quickly becoming inundated with paid advertisements, Reddit remains a mostly advertisement-free platform. With this in mind, any brave marker looking to forge their own path through Reddit, be aware of your audience, and make your content timely and relevant.