Business Guide to Reddit – Part 2 – Best Practices
Most local businesses now have a pretty decent understanding of how to use Facebook and Twitter to promote their content. Reddit is now slowly becoming part of the non-redditor consciousness. It is quite a different animal, and if not handled properly, reddit can easily backfire on your marketing efforts. Before you get started on this guide to local business best practices on reddit, make sure you’ve read through our reddit basics guide.
Reddit is a community of smaller communities (called subreddits). Earlier this year, it was getting 112 MILLON unique monthly visitors who submitted and commented on videos, blog posts, news sites and more. Although Reddit is a site where you are encouraged to share; unlike Twitter, Facebook, and Google+, broadcasting is NOT encouraged.
As a local business, you’d be doing yourself a disservice not being on reddit. It is a great place to keep up with your industry, find out what your competitors (and customers) are up to, and to find out what is going on in your geographical area.
THINGS YOU NEED TO WORRY ABOUT
1. Mods: reddit’s communities (subreddits) have moderators who set the rules of the subreddit. They are also in charge of keeping up the quality of the community. This means mods can ban and shadowban (ban people without their knowledge) users from reddit. Mods are not employees. They do this task for free. This should give you an idea as to their passion for the community. Don’t mess with them.
2. Redditors: They are quick to call bs and are liberal with their downvotes. They are also quick to react in the real world – it is not uncommon for redditors to band together against someone who they are unhappy with. They’re also tech savvy – so take heed.
BEST PRACTICES FOR BUSINESSES USING REDDIT
1. Be Respectful: The most important thing is to have respect for the reddit community. Don’t think that you can spam them or trick them into liking, engaging, sharing, or clicking through to your content.
2. Be Honest: Create an account on reddit and when posting something about your local business, be transparent that you are either the business owner or community manager. When posting, start off by saying who you are, and why you’re posting. The community manager for a bar in Hoboken, NJ posted their anniversary party in the city’s subreddit. They were vigilant, answered questions, and the bar was packed that night.
3. Be Clear: If you are unclear whether you are being too promotional, message a mod directly to ask. Be honest about who you are, what content you want to push and ask if it is ok. Keep in mind they may tell you no. If they tell you know, take it gently. This could help you build a relationship of trust with this mod who may allow you to post content later.
4. Be of Service: Reddit is not a platform for self promotion. It is a community of communities. As such you should be pushing out content to help the community, not just trying to promote yourself. Say, for example that you are a local business owner in Hoboken who has joined the r/Hoboken community. Post useful articles about parking changes, community events that are not related to your business. Build your reputation as a trusted member of the community and engage in conversation. This will make it so that when you do post that special event at your place, people will already know who you are AND that you are not there just to spam them with your deals.
5. Offer reddit exclusives: One of my favorite businesses in the r/NYC subreddit is Professor Thoms (a sportsbar in NYC). Somehow, their specials always end up in the subreddit and the place is constantly packed full of redditors. You could set up a redditor night and offer a special discount.
6. Read the Rules: Each subreddit has its own rules. Read them carefully before posting anything to make sure you aren’t violating any of them.
7. Keep a Private Account: reddit is awesome. You’ll probably want to spend lots of time there and you will probably end up commenting on things that strike a personal chord. Your reddit history is public. This means that anyone can go back into your history and see everything you’ve posted, commented on, upvoted/downvoted. It would be smart to keep a business account and a personal so as not to offend your potential customer base.
8. Join the right communities: Start off by joining the subreddit for your city/neighborhood/state. Own a restaurant in San Francisco – join r/sanfrancisco. Have an airbnb to rent out during sxsw? Join r/austin. Then start looking for other subs that could work for you – in the case of the airbnb owner – you could join r/sxsw. Say you are a local children’s apparel shop that offers shipping…join r/parenting. It’s up to you to figure out which subreddits will work best for your local business. You’ll figure out the right subs as you truly become a part of the community. You can also create your own sub – but we recommend you wait on that until you’ve gotten a feel for the community.
HOW TO POST ON REDDIT
1. Use effective titles: The title of your reddit post can make or break you. Make your title funny, engaging, or a little weird to encourage people to click thru.
2. 9:1 Posting: In order to ascertain that you are not being spammy, only 1/10 posts should be your own content – I’d be even more conservative still.
3. Pick the right subreddit: A local business may be tempted to only post to their city/neighborhood subreddit. This may not always yield you the best results (and it may appear to be super spammy).
4. Share quality content: Think outside the box, don’t just share a page to your website with boring text to your special deal. Create a funny youtube video, or maybe a podcast. If the content is not shareable, reddit will most likely ignore it. You could even do an IAMA…but that deserves its own blog post.
Reddit takes work, I’d say more so than any other social network out there. Don’t expect your content to resonate if you are not a part of the community. As part of the community, make sure to follow the rules and provide quality content that is not all yours and not all promotional.