Resources

Ultimate Guide To Reddit Advertising

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Chapter 1

Reddit 101

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Chapter 4

AMAs and other Reddit advertising products

Chapter 2

Reddit Ads

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Chapter 5

Budgeting

Chapter 3

Targeting and Building Your Reddit Advertising Campaign

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Chapter 6

Miscellaneous, FAQs, actionable next steps

Reddit is one of the most high-traffic sites online, which says a lot considering the fact that Google has indexed over 56 billion websites as of around the time of this publication. It’s unique for a social platform because it really is driven by interests over optics—unlike Instagram or Snapchat, there’s less concern over who your friends are. Reddit is the place where people can dive deep into all the topics they’re into.

 

With so many eyes on Reddit, a diverse range of interests and topics covered on the platform, and a youthful-skewing user base, it’s certainly an attractive option for advertisers. But for the same reasons, Reddit can also feel chaotic and difficult to navigate. 

 

Because Reddit is about what’s currently trending (or being “upvoted” in Reddit speak), one hurdle or conflict to consider is that conventional marketing of products or services might be frowned upon, and even considered to be a form of trolling. But if you take the time and effort to really understand “redditors” and the Reddit ecosystem, you can indeed turn the platform into a powerful advertising tool. We’ve used it to help many of our clients achieve great results (more on that in a bit). 

 

This guide to Reddit advertising aims to break down exactly how using Reddit as part of your marketing strategy can work, why it’s potentially worthwhile, and how best to take advantage of this sprawling yet community-oriented platform to get your message out there. 

 
Chapter 1

Reddit 101

  • Intro to Reddit

  • How people use Reddit

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According to Alexa as of February 2021, Reddit is the 18th-most-visited website worldwide and the 7th-most-visited in the United States. With over 50 billion monthly views, 430 million users monthly, and 100K+ active communities. the breadth and social reach of this megasite cannot be denied. 

50 bil.

Monthly views

430 mil.

Monthly users

100k+

Active communities

Reddit is a place for discussions on pretty much anything and everything across cyberspace and beyond, from fashion to anime to current events to cryptocurrency to minimalism to—right, you get the idea. The platform is broken down across 9 main verticals, which are then broken down further into 29 categories, each of which contains subreddits that act as a kind of directory for discussions of special interests within those categories.

 

Reddit users, or redditors, are passionate about the things they love (and hate), and engage with others on their passions by joining and participating in relevant, specific subreddits. Specificity is really important here—unlike other social media platforms, Reddit can be a bit more granular. So when thinking about it in terms of advertising, you’re not going to try and capture the lion’s share of Reddit users—that would never be a viable strategy, and in fact would likely backfire. To use Reddit well, either as an advertiser or just as a regular user, you’ll need to do some research and understand where your peers are and engage them on specific subreddits. 

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On a related note, as a marketer, simply being a Reddit user can be a great way to do some social listening as part of your research in developing a marketing and advertising strategy. Think about it—this is where you can potentially find and connect with your ideal target market and learn all about their passions and pain points, which you can then use to inform your overall messaging and strategy. We can go into more detail on social listening and strategy in another post, but let’s stay with Reddit here! 

 

The bottom line is that Reddit is a massive platform that sees constant engagement on pretty much everything under (and over) the sun. But the way it’s structured is quite specific, so if you’re not engaging on the right subreddits, your posts (whether they’re paid ads or just day-to-day user posts, aka organic social posts in marketing speak) will get lost, or even “downvoted” if fellow redditors find them inappropriate or pandering.

Think of the way that die-hard superfans of a sports team or a band take pride in their participation and fandom. This is the redditor mindset, too. Support the subreddit with quality, relevant content, and you’ll be rewarded (or upvoted). Act like a troll (or a hamfisted marketer) and you’ll be punished. Keep this in mind as you navigate the waters of Reddit and you’ll be just fine. 

If you want to hunt for your favorite topics, or topics relevant to a product or service you’d like to market, try using this link: reddit.com/r/YOURTOPICIDEAHERE or check out a site like http://redditlist.com/

Chapter 2

Reddit Ads

  • Is Reddit good for marketing?

  • How does advertising on Reddit work?

  • Are Reddit ads worth it?

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Is Reddit good for marketing?

If you’re able to use Reddit well and follow some of the strategies outlined in this guide, you can definitely see some great results. We can’t make any guarantees, as marketing successes or failures are driven by so many different factors. but we’re fans of advertising on Reddit where appropriate. 

 

Some brands and marketers see results by simply spending time on Reddit and engaging with the community as more of a long play to help drive engagement and awareness, not unlike being active in a Facebook community or on other channels. You don’t necessarily have to spend money to use Reddit as an effective marketing tool. 

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But most companies don’t necessarily want to tie up resources on spending the time and regular effort it takes to really stay engaged for the long haul. So paid advertising can definitely help to complement or supplement organic efforts. Or if you’ve got a decent budget, you can go all-in on paid Reddit ads in addition to your efforts on other platforms, or instead of them, if Reddit feels like the right place for you.

How does advertising on Reddit work?

Getting set up to advertise on Reddit is fairly straightforward. If you don’t have one yet, create a company profile and then use that to set up your Reddit ad account. You definitely want to be running paid ad campaigns on a business profile rather than a personal account. There’s no difference in terms of how you’ll initially set up an account, but we want to emphasize that it’s a good idea to keep your ad account separate. 

 

To create a Reddit account, all you need is an email address. Once you add your email, you’ll be able to select a username and a password. Get those set up and voila, you are now a redditor! 

 

Once you’re on Reddit, do your research to understand which subreddits your audience is engaged with. You’ll want to make sure that the subreddits you target are getting a good amount of interaction. We recommend seeking out subreddits with 5,000 subscribers minimum, and avoiding broad subreddits with a massive amount of subscribers—remember, Reddit is a super-specific platform, so you want to dial your audience in, and also make sure that there is an audience to advertise to. 

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Start building your list of potential subreddits to advertise on. When you’re feeling good about your targets, it’s time to set up your ads. To start, you’ll want to opt to advertise on Reddit, which will prompt you to add more info about your company, industry, and location. From here you’ll be taken into the ad setup area. We’ll get more into the specifics of Reddit advertising below, but essentially you’ll be able to implement different tools to set up different types of campaigns, depending on your goals. Over time, you’ll be able to use Reddit’s in-platform reporting and analytics dashboard to monitor performance and optimize your ads to improve results.

Are Reddit ads worth it?

Everyone loves to say this, but really, we’re all about transparency at Llama Lead Gen. We want to educate you and help you make informed choices when it comes to your advertising and marketing efforts, not give you pie-in-the-sky false hopes and BS guarantees. When it comes to Reddit ads, yes, they can be very effective, but it all depends on your business, how you use the platform, and what you’re trying to achieve. 

 

Super deep niches might not have tremendous volume when it comes to conversions, so in those cases, scaling can be difficult. But for the right audiences, Reddit can be a fantastic way to expand your reach and hit low-funnel, already engaged seekers rather than an audience of passive scrollers. 

 

As part of client onboarding at Llama Lead Gen, when we get started with a new client, we really work to understand the audience and do our due diligence to make sure that Reddit advertising can be an effective aspect of the strategy before we recommend it. For some clients, Reddit makes great sense, while for others we don’t feel that it will have a significant impact on ROAS. 

The most important thing to remember about making Reddit ads pay off is that you need to be authentic and transparent. This is a user base of passionate enthusiasts, so anything that feels remotely like trolling is frowned upon. Redditors can be marketing averse and therefore ready to call you out for BS, and downvote you, too. So be real and genuine, find your tribe, and you should be on the right track.

Chapter 3

Targeting and Building Your Reddit Advertising Campaign

  • How to get your ads set up on Reddit

  • Some tips on Reddit audience mapping

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Once you’ve set up a Reddit profile and an advertising account as outlined above, you’re ready to start building ads and using Reddit’s advertising tools. As a primary account user, you can also add other account moderators if you want to give access to anyone else on your team.

How to get your ads set up on Reddit

The simplest way to advertise on Reddit is via promoted posts. These posts look a lot like regular Reddit posts, but they’re clearly marked as “sponsored” so redditors know that they’re paid ads. Promoted posts are pinned to the top of the specific subreddit, or subreddits, that you target, so any user will see them first when they check out the subreddit.

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Note that Reddit offers two levels of advertising depending on your budget. For larger companies who can and want to spend $30K or more per quarter, there’s managed advertising, which includes advanced tools, a dedicated account manager, and more. For the purposes of this post, we’re going to focus on what’s called self-serve advertising, which is the more commonly used Reddit advertising method. Advertisers using self-serve can start with a budget as low as $5 per day.

 

Basic Reddit promoted posts include both link and text ads, which are exactly what they sound like. Link ads are either images or videos and include minimal copy (300 characters or less) along with a link to a website or a landing page. These should have a strong CTA appropriate for the target audience that (hopefully) drives traffic to where you direct them. 

 

Text ads can be a little more complex and are an opportunity to say more about what you’re promoting, and start conversations that drive greater engagement. These ads click through to a detailed Reddit post, where you can say as much as you want, and include multiple links. These types of ads usually get much more engagement (some sources say they get 3x the comments that link ads do), and if you make the effort to really create quality, targeted posts that the subreddit audience will be drawn to, and respond to their comments with patience and authenticity, you can really start to build awareness and drive traffic for whatever you’re promoting.

Here’s an example of a few ads we created for Ad Council, one of our clients:

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Very important! Your ads live and die by the way that your audience reacts to them. Redditors can comment, upvote, and downvote your ads, and the more upvotes you get, the more visibility your ads get, too. So your copy and your responses to user comments need to always be on point.

A common question we see is Can you advertise on specific Subreddits? We’ve already addressed this above, but yes, this is the bread and butter of Reddit advertising. 

 

Whether you’re looking for a new traffic source for your business or really trying to build awareness and drive trial for your product or service, it all comes down to identifying the subreddits that are being seen by your ideal audience—at the heart of any marketing strategy is knowing your audience, and with reddit this is so incredibly important because of how specific the channels can get.

Some tips on Reddit audience mapping

Hopefully, you know who your audience is and maybe you’ve even built it out in Facebook or on other paid social platforms. Start thinking about which topics on Reddit your audience might gravitate toward. By breaking these down, you can then search for subreddits that correspond to these interests. 


Take a look at the stats of the subreddits you find. Do they have 5K+ subscribers? How active are they? Spend some time narrowing down your list and finding the right subreddits. This isn’t unlike doing SEO keyword research in advance of content creation. Yes, it’s a bit of work, but it has a purpose, and it pays off if done right. A deep dive into subreddit research will likely lead to better-performing ads. Take it from HubSpot, too: They say that targeting subreddits is more effective than going after bigger, more general audiences.

Make sure that any design or other creative elements that work with your copy are also tailored to your subreddit, as this will give your ads a better shot at converting. This dad-focused ad we did recently is a good example we’re pretty proud of.

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Keep in mind, too, that Reddit’s core audience skews male and over 50% (according to Reddit itself) is between the ages of 18 and 34, with less than 20% of users over age 45. When you’re doing your research, it should be pretty clear if your strategy is going to work on Reddit, but it’s good to have a big-picture view of the Reddit audience landscape. 


At the end of the day, the most important difference when it comes to Reddit advertising is that trust is key. People are more used to being marketed to on other platforms, but Reddit is more like a safe haven for exploring passions and interests without being sold to. Skeptics abound and tone-deaf pandering is an offense that will get you downvoted and potentially even banned. This is why we encourage you to spend time engaging on Reddit as a user, to get a feel for your audience. You can even upvote and share content that isn’t yours, and get a sense of how people will respond. Get to know your subredditors and you’ll get better results when you start promoting your own posts. It’s really marketing 101—get to know your audience!

Chapter 4

AMAs and other Reddit advertising products

  • Why is an AMA so useful?

  • How do you successfully promote a Reddit AMA?

  • What ad products does Reddit have?

  • What types of ads should you run on Reddit? 

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One of the most popular ways to reach people on Reddit is by doing an AMA (Ask Me Anything) post. 

 

What is an AMA? If you’re not familiar, it’s a virtual event that allows your audience to engage directly with you (the brand, advertiser, influencer, etc.) in real time and ask burning questions they need answered. For authoritative businesses and subject matter experts, this can be a fun way to really connect and bring people value. 

 

To get an AMA set up on Reddit you will need a “proof” picture to show the community that it’s really you answering questions and that there’s no smoke and mirrors when it comes to your direct engagement with your audience. All you have to do is take a selfie with a sign that shows the date, your name, and your username.

Check out some of these great celebrity AMA proof pic examples!

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You’ll also need to pick a title for your AMA post and write a short intro statement. Your title should clearly explain who you are and what you’re planning to discuss, and should be no more than one sentence, ideally. It needs to include your name and that you plan to do an AMA. Here are some examples Reddit offers:

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When your proof pic, title, and intro are all set, you’ll send them to AMA@reddit.com. Reddit will then build you a custom link where you can review everything to make sure it looks good. When you click “submit” your AMA will go live! 

 

Soon, you’ll hopefully start seeing questions from redditors. Answer them! All you need to do is click “reply” under each question, and “save” when you’re done responding. Don’t be afraid to have fun with this, even if you get some offbeat questions. Reddit users want to know you’re real, so don’t focus on selling as much as interacting, adding value, and giving honest answers. This is a great way to build relationships and trust. Which is what can lead to sales and loyalty later on.

Why is an AMA so useful?

AMAs really build a connection with your audience, and because of their immediacy, they can also encourage conversions and drive CTAs in real time. As we’ve emphasized, though, you’ve got to be real with redditors. If you’re thinking of AMAs as a manipulative tactic to get people to engage with your brand, you’re thinking down the wrong path.

How do you successfully promote a Reddit AMA?

There are a few ways to do this. If you get really creative with your AMA proof photo, you can share it on social media in organic posts and use that to build some momentum leading up to the AMA. You can also use organic posts in general to create a bit of an AMA campaign in and of itself. If you’ve got a decent amount of social followers, tell them what you’re up to and plant some seeds for questions that people might ask. The more engagement you get on your Reddit AMA, the better!

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Pre-AMA

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Live (during AMA)

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Post-AMA

What ad products does Reddit have?

We’ve talked a little about promoted posts in the form of link ads and text ads above, and we’ll address them again here. There are also other specific products for advertisers to help you connect with your audience more deeply (and hopefully level up your results).

1. Promoted Posts (images and/or videos with comments on or off)

This type of Reddit ad is great for ongoing targeted engagement. These work well as text ads, like we described earlier. The idea here is to get people to respond, create comment threads, and build a steady flow of quality comments and conversation. This in turn gets more upvotes, which builds positive recognition, which fuels even more positive engagement among redditors, and so on and so on.

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2. Conversation Ads

This is a fairly new type of ad placement that Reddit launched as a kind of hyper-specific extension of Promoted Posts. These ads are seen just below the main Reddit post and above the 1st post comment, which gives advertisers great targeted visibility. 

 

Reddit suggests that these ads can help you reach users that you might not encounter via other ad methods, e.g., people who end up going straight to conversations from search. You’ve also got an opportunity to catch redditors when they are most engaged, and connect with them in meaningful ways by joining the conversation.

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3. Community Category Takeover (includes promoted post)

This type of Reddit ad is great for targeted, high-impact reach. Remember the 100K+ active Reddit communities we mentioned at the beginning of this post? Well, Category Takeovers allow you to own conversations in communities your company or brand wants to connect with. How does this work? 

 

First, you choose from the 29 possible categories spread among the 9 Reddit verticals (lifestyle, gaming, business, tech, entertainment, automotive, family and relationships, art and design, sports). Each category selection shows you a bundled list of the most active communities for a particular topic. 


Next, pick a timeframe. You can select a 1- or 7-day takeover, depending on your strategy and marketing budget.

You’ll now be effectively taking over the category you’ve chosen for the amount of time you’ve set. A Reddit takeover package also gives you a cross-platform promoted post. So you can use video, static images, text, and desktop banners to show off your brand. Reddit users will see your promoted posts when they visit any community in the category you choose to take over.

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4. Promoted Carousels

Carousel ads on Reddit allow you to have lots of flexibility in the way that you tell the story of your brand, product, or service. Swappable images and multiple destination URLs can be woven together in one post so you can really maximize your ads to your advantage. Carousel cards can help you to build out a more robust way of engaging with redditors without being too disruptive—every component of your ad is in one place for a seamless experience. You can also enable comments on carousels for increased conversation and interaction.

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5. Trending Today Takeovers

These ads come with a heavy price tag, but they also can bring you broad, high-impact reach. 

 

Trending takeover ads are live for 24 hours and show up next to the most popular conversations of the day. They will appear as the second post in the Trending Today area of the “popular” feed. They also show up as the second post of the Trending Today area of Reddit search (SHOW EXAMPLE?). When users click on these trending takeover links, they are taken to a dedicated landing page that highlights the paid promotional content and also aggregates conversations on subreddits that match your target keywords. Basically, you’re promoting your brand or product on the most-viewed parts of Reddit, and then against trending conversations that are directly relevant to your ad. 

 

Yes, we said that it’s better to get super specific when advertising here, but this type of ad can be seen as an exception to the rule. Brands have seen solid results using trending today takeover ads, but it will likely be cost-prohibitive for most companies.

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So, what types of ads should you run on Reddit? 

Ultimately, this comes down to your budget, how much you have and want to say in terms of complexity, creative assets, etc., your time frame, and your desired outcome. It’s tough to be prescriptive for a general audience, but no matter which direction you go, you’ll still need to do that up-front research to understand the landscape of specific subreddits and Reddit users you’re hoping to connect with. If you’re stuck in “analysis paralysis” mode and don’t know how to use Reddit to your advantage, feel free to reach out to us for further guidance.

Chapter 5

Budgeting

  • Important things to note about how budgeting on Reddit works

 

How much it costs to advertise on Reddit is as variable as other advertising platforms and factors in your total desired ad spend along with your bid on the particular conversion objectives of your campaign. You can start with a budget of as low as $5 per day, and set your bids accordingly. You can also set a lifetime budget for campaigns that have a defined end date. 

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When you log in to the Reddit ads dashboard and start creating a campaign, you’ll be given a set of objectives to choose from. These all have different pricing models, and different parameters for the types of ads you can build. 

  • If your goal is brand awareness and reach, you’ll be bidding on impressions, or CPM (bid per 1,000 impressions)

  • If your goal is to drive traffic, your budget will be used to bid on CPC (cost per click)

  • If your goal is conversions (which could be sales, email signups, or some other high-value action), you’ll also be bidding on CPC 

  • If your goal is video views, you’re bidding on CPV (cost per view)—pretty straightforward

  • If your goal is app installs, you’re again bidding on CPC

Important things to note about how budgeting on Reddit works

Just because you set a certain amount to bid on your objectives doesn’t mean your bid will be maxed out. Remember, you’re paying for clicks/views/engagement, but because it’s an auction-based platform, conversions aren’t guaranteed. Reddit uses what’s known as a second-price auction model, which essentially means that the highest bidder in an auction will pay one cent higher than the second-highest bidder (similar to other social media platforms). This encourages media buyers to bid as high as they can while de-risking against price gouging and keeping things competitive. 


For a full rundown of how to build out your campaign and set your budgets, we recommend reviewing Reddit’s comprehensive walkthrough on the subject as well as our own Budgeting Ultimate Guide.

 
Chapter 6

Miscellaneous, FAQs, actionable next steps

  • Reddit v Facebook/Instagram ads—which is better?

  • What’s a Reddit bot?

  • Can you self-promote on Reddit?

  • How do I go viral on Reddit?

Reddit v Facebook/Instagram ads—which is better?

While this is intended as an “ultimate guide,” if you’ve learned anything thus far we hope it’s that there isn’t a one-size-fits all approach. There’s no single paid social advertising strategy to rule them all, and that’s what in fact makes marketing so exciting. 

 

If you poke around online you’ll find advertisers who bash Reddit and say it’s not worth it, and advertisers who swear by it. Take all of this with a grain of salt—many if not most of these discrepancies are rooted in the advertisers’ individual experiences. The truth is that there’s no right answer or magic bullet and part of what we pride ourselves on at LLG is being open and transparent about how things really work. Reddit advertising can be super valuable depending on your audience and your particular brand or niche. It can really help to build awareness and deeper engagement, as well as drive warmer traffic. It’s also generally cheaper than advertising on Facebook. That being said, Facebook/Instagram is still the most popular avenue for paid social advertising. Facebook’s robust advertising tools and massive audience make it super valuable as well. It can be a little less hands-on than Reddit in terms of monitoring and responding to user engagement, and its targeting and retargeting capabilities are pretty amazing. But it also will likely cost more. 

 

Basically, there’s no such thing as “better”—there’s only what’s right for you and your objectives. That very well may include campaigns on both platforms. 

What’s a Reddit bot?

Reddit bots have been created to automatically monitor and perform tasks based on detected changes. Generally, they are scripts that run on a timer, querying Reddit at programmed intervals. Bots can be programmed to perform all sorts of tasks, including commenting and posting on subreddits. They can be used for good (helpful bots) or evil (spam bots), and we hope that if you explore using them, you’ll steer clear of the dark side. Some Reddit bots post comments well enough to fool users into thinking they’re human. 


If you feel like nerding out on Reddit bots, well guess what? There’s a subreddit for that. Enjoy.

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Can you self-promote on Reddit?

We’ve talked about this a fair amount already, but it bears repeating. Consider Reddit a (very large) circle of trust. Anything close to trolling or sneaky self-promotion is going to be frowned upon. If you’re on Reddit, even as an advertiser, you are part of a passionate community and you should behave as such. If you’re going to self-promote, share content around what you’re passionate about, and not just your own content. The best way to reap the benefits of Reddit is to participate authentically. 

 

Here is an excellent resource for deep info on using Reddit for self-promotion. 


We also recommend reading this “reddiquette” guide for general posting and commenting best practices.

How do I go viral on Reddit?

Viral posts—on any platform or medium—are a timely combination of the right audience, relevance, cultural zeitgeist, and that secret sauce that doesn’t have a replicable recipe. In fact, if you’re thinking about going viral as your top priority, you’re already on the wrong track. Successful posts can and should be strategized, but virality tends to be a byproduct of creating great content. 

 

That being said, it’s not all about just being lucky. There are some standards to follow and an art to creating posts that have potential to go viral. A lot of this is common sense, but if it were easy, then you probably wouldn’t be reading this. 

 

Perhaps the most important thing is having a genuine love for what you’re sharing. True enthusiasm is contagious, and it can’t be faked. In a world that becomes just a wee bit more jaded with every new scheme that shows up online, there really is no substitute for pure, unbridled excitement. 

 

If you love whatever you’re posting about, that’s going to take you part of the way toward having a popular post. And if you aren’t excited about it, start thinking of what needs to happen to build some enthusiasm! After all, Reddit is a place for conversation over communal passions. If there’s no passion for you in what you’re posting, how are the redditors viewing it going to feel? 

 

Stop worrying about going viral. 

 

Be human, be open, be present. Love your product or brand or whatever you’re posting to the point that it shines through. When people comment, don’t disappear. Engage, expand on the conversation, and be grateful by expressing thanks for watching, viewing, reading. Even if you get negative feedback, stay present and be honest. Defend and debate in a truthful way. Everyone will see this. You will earn their respect and be seen as a Reddit participant with integrity if nothing else. And maybe that will get future posts more attention. 

 

Also, always make sure you check the rules of your target subreddit so you’re sure they allow self-promotion. Otherwise, you’ll get banned, which is a huge problem as it can’t be undone. 

 

One last pro tip: Well-respected marketer Neil Patel suggests hiding email signup popups and widgets from visitors to your site that come by way of Reddit as this can feel a bit too aggressive for them and they may downvote your content. It’s a good idea to make your Reddit funnel or UX as clean and “sales-free” as possible. Remember that this goes beyond your Reddit ads themselves!

Conclusion

Hopefully, you’re feeling armed with everything you need to know to make an impact on Reddit while being sensitive to the particulars of the platform. And hey, if you’re looking for a partner to help with Reddit advertising or other paid social and other types of content marketing, we know a pretty good agency you might want to talk to 😉.  

 

Seriously, reach out to us anytime if you have questions or want to learn more about what it’s like to work with Llama Lead Gen. Good luck on your Reddit advertising journey!

Ready to take your Reddit digital marketing efforts to the next level? 

Struggling to gain quality leads, trying to kickstart your marketing efforts, or looking for strategic advice to market your product or service on Reddit? Save time, money, and resources by hiring Llama Lead Gen as your LinkedIn marketing expert.