Customer Engagement

The Power of Community: How B2B Brands Can Foster Growth and Engagement on Reddit

The opportunity (and risk) of Reddit for B2B brands

On platforms like Twitter and Instagram, brand-based marketing mingles comfortably in user feeds. Reddit has different rules. Among Reddit’s 430 million active users you will consistently find an anti-corporate leaning, and an aversion to brands on Reddit using overt sales tactics on their beloved social media platform. It’s a network where marketers should tread knowingly and lightly – some brand-based accounts, and even domains, have been banned for marketing in ways contrary to the community’s standards. Nonetheless, every B2B marketer should consider Reddit marketing as part of their marketing strategy – it’s too good of an opportunity to miss. 

With over 1.6 billion monthly users, Reddit is a highly popular social platform. But what’s truly impressive is the engagement rate of Redditors – the average user spends over 15 minutes on Reddit each day, compared to 11 minutes for Facebook and 6 minutes for Twitter. Reddit’s stickiness is powered by active communities made up of subreddits, essentially moderated discussion threads on a variety of topics ranging from, well, aardvarks to ZZ top. Reddit represents a place to connect with others who have a genuine interest in particular topics. The word “genuine” is key here – Redditors like their conversations unsullied by corporate sales pitches. This authenticity is the reason many people add “reddit” to the end of their Google search query in hopes of finding authentic advice from uncompromised experts. 


How to find the right subreddits for your brand

As a B2B marketer, there are two very important aspects of the Reddit community to understand in order to calibrate your Reddit targeting. 

  1. The cornerstone of the Reddit community is anonymity. Users rarely divulge their identity or other traits such as age, location, gender, etc., that are used in traditional demographic-based targeting. Most often, you’ll only know them by their user name.
  2. The most significant measure of popularity and influence, karma, is controlled by group dynamics. Redditors’ comments and contributions can be upvoted or downvoted by other users which sends their karma score higher or lower. A high karma score indicates someone is popular or respected in the communities they participate in. Also, Reddit promotes content that receives a lot of upvotes.
  3. Each subreddit has its own moderators and rules: It’s important to learn and observe these to avoid going offside. 

Bearing these cultural contexts in mind, you want to find subreddits where groups are actively discussing topics that are relevant to your business. Within these, you can examine the most active posters, see their karma score, and take note of what they say or do that resonates positively with others in the group. As you view their profile, you’ll have the option to follow them, and you can also see other subreddits they belong to that might be of value to you.

Redditors are almost as quick to downvote as they are to upvote – get a sense not only of what makes some users popular, but what breaches of “rediquette” have landed others in trouble. 

When looking for subreddits, relevancy is most important, but the size and activity level of the community is important too. Going straight for the biggest ones may not be the best strategy at first. Look for small groups with active members. 

Lastly, follow a variety of things that interest you, not just subreddits related to your business. You don’t need to disguise that you are using social media for business marketing, but you want to blend in with normal users and not appear as though your sole purpose is to market your company.


Wading in to Reddit communities: building trust and credibility

If it’s your first foray into using Reddit for business, consider having a few team members independently explore and assess opportunities for your brand. With platforms like LinkedIn, Youtube, or Instagram, it’s sensible to launch a new brand-based profile with a splash, but a more subtle and stealthy approach to using social media for marketing may work better on Reddit.

  1. Join some subreddits and observe: Nothing wrong with lurking. You can assess what types of content and comments are most popular within the subreddit. 
  2. Participate in the conversation: You want to build some familiarity and credibility before you make even the remotest attempt at digital marketing on Reddit. Use your expertise to offer help and guidance to others, without a sales pitch. They will thank you for it and you’ll likely see your karma score rising.
    After a short while, it’s okay to reference your job or employer, but do so in a way that offers guidance or advice to the community and the OP (original poster). You might say, “I work at (e.g. a telecom company), and when customers are having trouble with their wireless router, here’s what I recommend.” In this way, you’ve established expertise, introduced your company without a sales pitch, and helped the community.
  3. Post content in a subreddit: If you’ve spotted something of interest to the community, you can start a new thread in the subreddit, which is essentially starting a new conversation within the community. Now here’s a golden rule: don’t just post content related to your brand. Find useful and interesting content from other industry sites you can share. In fact, most experts recommend that just 20-40% of the content you share should be related to your brand. Also, don’t repost the same material to multiple subreddits – that’s another breach of rediquette.


Test Reddit ads with the Reddit ad platform: You’ll find that Reddit’s ad campaign objectives and targeting options are similar to other social platforms, but what stands out is the ability to target subreddit communities. Do you want to reach every 34-40-year-old male with average or higher disposable income, or do you want to reach everyone who devotedly cares about conversations related to your product category?

Try targeting your Reddit advertising to small subreddits and observe what works. A/B test multiple concepts until you can identify your best Reddit ads. Then take what you’ve learned and document Reddit ads best practices for your team.

Another option that is less direct than an advertising campaign is having other Reddit users endorse your company. When you find an influential member of a relevant subreddit, you can reach out to them and see if they might be willing to talk about your product.


Reddit success metrics: KPIs to track

We’ve discussed karma, and it truly is the number one metric for engagement on Reddit. But what other KPIs should be a part of your Reddit social media marketing business dashboard? Here are some to consider:

  • Followers of your Reddit profile: Don’t expect a lot of followers, but for each one gained you’ve increased the exposure of the content you share.
  • Branded / Non-branded posts created: Use this metric as a measure to ensure you’re not being overly promotional. Your Reddit content marketing plan should include content from a variety of sources. 
  • Comments received: In particular, take note of which posts or comments drive the most engagement.
  • Inbound traffic to your company website from Reddit: While direct referrals are valuable, avoid too frequently linking to your website in subreddits. Expect some of the Reddit-influenced traffic to come directly or from Google.
  • Advertising cost-per-thousand-impressions (CPM) rate: Start with small sample-sized campaigns until you learn what works best and can scale up with more predictable metrics.
  • Leads, and lead conversion rate: Strive for the highest lead conversion rate possible to ensure your ads are reaching the most relevant audience and creating minimal interruption for uninterested users.


Taking your B2B brand’s Reddit presence to the next level

Once you’ve covered the basics and built some trust and credibility, you can consider higher risk/reward tactics to drive brand engagement in Reddit communities. 

Creating a Reddit community for your brand: Think of this as a dedicated subreddit for supporting, informing and engaging with your clients or prospects. This is only worthwhile if your brand has sufficient clout to attract a sizeable community. You’ll also need to actively monitor the subreddit and be ready to respond quickly. But before you act on this, a few considerations:

  • If your brand is popular enough to support an active subreddit community, then chances are there’s already a subreddit similar enough that most users will be loyal to it.
  • Actively participating in non-branded subreddits allows you to reach more Redditors who may not be aware of your brand and products.

For these reasons, the best method for Reddit social media marketing may be to join in existing conversions rather than becoming the host of one. The same applies for creating Reddit business profiles. Most B2B marketers execute their Reddit marketing strategy in the context of individual profiles joining existing conversations rather than acting as a brand entity. When you put the brand profile forward, you run the risk of, in Reddit terms, “such nothing”.  

Conducting an AMA (Ask me anything) session: AMAs are a popular method of making experts available for live Q&A sessions on Reddit. Space X featured Elon Musk in a popular  AMA, and Audi hosted AMAs with celebrities as they sped around a race track. 


Optimize your Reddit effectiveness with SentiOne

The key to online business marketing and B2B growth marketing success on Reddit is a careful approach that involves some crucial up-front observation and listening. SentiOne Listen allows you to automate the effort, providing you with capabilities for analyzing and reporting on Reddit communities. You can configure SentiOne Listen to scan Reddit for phrases related to your brand, your product category, and your competitors. Your automated reports can be filtered based on recency and activity. Sentiment analysis lets you know at a glance whether content or comments are positive or negative. 

SentiOne Listen also provides a powerful layer of artificial intelligence to support your growth strategy and content marketing. For more information, a free social media marketing guide, or to book a demo, visit SentiOne.