Rebel Insights

How to Grow Traffic for Your Brand With Reddit

boost traffic with Reddit

Best Practices to Maximize Impact With the Social Community

The Reddit sales team joined Search Engine Journal for an informative webinar on maximizing brand impact with the ever-growing social platform. There’s a delicate balance between making meaningful contributions to the community and promoting your business. We'll help to navigate that.

Key insights from this webinar included:

  • Get to Know Reddit First: To truly have success, you need to understand the platform and its communities, which can vary in nature from one subreddit to the next.
  • Don’t Spam: Number one on the list of what not to do: Don’t spam. Just don’t.
  • Secrets to Success: Find your passion, build up karma, comment first, and eventually post. Create a subreddit for your brand if one doesn’t exist.
  • Advertise With Reddit: If organic efforts have failed or if you want to go to the next level and have a budget for it, advertising on Reddit can be highly effective.

We’ll walk you through each of these topics, like we did with YouTube best practices.

Get to Know Reddit First

Reddit has had rocketship growth in 2024, thanks in part to partnerships with OpenAI and Google. Search Engine Journal Managing Partner & Co-Owner Brent Csutoras set the scene with some mind-blowing stats on that growth:

  • 83 million daily active users as of Q1 2024; 306 million weekly
  • 37% YOY growth on search
  • International growth (50% non-U.S.)

Csutoras said it’s quite simply the biggest social community on the web with 100,000+ active communities, something no other website can say. “People want to talk to other people,” he said, summing it up well — and a refreshing sentence in this age of AI and ChatGPT.

As the internet has evolved, it’s led to a problem: Too much content, not enough answers. Reddit solves that, and by nature it weeds out low-quality content with users voting up and down and moderating themselves. “Searches have to really search for answers — they’re finding those answers on Reddit,” Csutoras said.

One clear signal that users find what they’re looking for on Reddit: The rise in search queries with the word “reddit.” People simply add “reddit” to their existing search queries because they know it’ll have the answers they seek. Check this out from Google Trends (2004–2024):

Reddit searches on Google Trends since 2004

Perplexity has noticed this, too, and they’ve added functionality for a “reddit only” search.

So Reddit is where people go to get answers to their problems and all kinds of questions. It’s where people talk to people. And it’s a community that polices itself through a voting system and other moderation tools built into the platform (including AutoModerator).

You need to keep all of this in mind to have success on the platform promoting your brand. You need to be solving problems or questions, participating in genuine conversations, and making sure to follow the rules that exist on each subreddit (specific communities). Rules are different from one subreddit to the next, so get to know them, and only then participate.

The other fun thing about Reddit: Users are typically anonymous. People can speak their minds and it leads to lively discussions. Being genuine and authentic, participating in communities you’re passionate about and are knowledgeable about, are some of the keys to success.

Now that you have a general understanding of Reddit, let’s talk about what not to do.

Don’t Spam

Don’t even try it. Spamming goes against everything that Reddit is, humans talking with humans about things they care about. Reddit cares deeply about every user, with its mission statement defined as “bringing community and belonging to everyone in the world.”

What is spam exactly? Csutoras says it’s whatever the moderators say it is. So again, a reminder to familiarize yourself with the rules of whichever subreddit you’re participating in.

Generally though, spamming includes behavior like:

  • Submitting unrelated/off-topic posts
  • Submitting too much
  • Submitting the same content across Reddit
  • Trying to subvert subreddit rules
  • Going against the community tone
  • Posting but not commenting (commenting is part of the community)

If the moderators don’t catch you, AutoModerator will. The automated moderation tools at Reddit have gotten better over time, and they’re quite good at weeding out bad content and spam.

One rule of thumb is the 9:1 rule. Csutoras explained this as “for every self-promotional post, have nine that are non-promotional.” Be a part of genuine, authentic conversations so that you, too, can be a part of the spirit of this rule.

Reddit also has tiers of contributor quality. If you have a legitimate email, you actively participate, and you’ve used the same account for a long time (account history), these factors can play in your favor, leading you to a higher tier. Your posts are more likely to be seen then.

Secrets to Success

Sometimes it’s not what you say, but how you say it.

Reddit Sector Business Lead Chris Khosrovani had a good example. Say you’re on a personal finance subreddit and someone is looking for a new 401(k) platform. Your brand has a solution! Khosrovani says this is a good opportunity to come in and say, “Hey, we’re the team behind X. Here is a link to our platform, here are all the benefits that you’d be able to take advantage of.”

Notice how that is worded. It’s personal, it’s genuine, it’s authentic. It’s not “Go to this link.” It’s adding value to the community, while still working in a link to drive traffic to your brand.

Reddit Director of Mid-Market Sales Leah Smith had another gem of advice, be an active listener before you post anything at all: “Really engage and kind of listen to the conversation on Reddit before you actively start interacting with everyone.”

That’s how you’ll know what does well on the platform, what doesn’t, the way people converse, how threads unfold, and so on. Then you’ll be informed to be active yourself.

Csutoras had some other great secrets to success:

  • Find Your Passion
    • Follow things you’re knowledgeable about
    • Have something to add
  • Build Your Karma
    • This is your reputation score
    • Upvote/Downvote
    • Comment on upcoming posts (“Rising”) that may get more visibility
  • Comment First
    • Learn what types of comments get engagement
    • Understand community interests and opinions
    • Provide value and be a person first (never be a company)
  • Then Submit
    • Once you get a feel for the platform, find the right subreddit, and familiarize yourself with its rules
    • Post what is most useful to that subreddit, things that add value
    • Check existing Top Posts for the past year to get a feel for what does well
    • Post at the right time — between 7am–9am ET is ideal, hitting multiple time zones, including internationally
      • Content usually fades within 24 hours
    • After you post, monitor activity, vote on comments, and respond to comments (have natural, human conversations)
  • Incorporate Your Brand
    • As long as it’s in line with the rules, work your brand in when you can, in an authentic way
    • Some subreddits don’t allow links at all, so really check the subreddit rules
    • Create a subreddit for your brand if one doesn’t exist already
      • Especially important with the growing connection to search
      • You can have whatever tone of voice you want, but pick the right moderators (people who understand Reddit)
      • Accept critical comments/posts

Case Study: Advocate.com

RebelMouse-powered Advocate.com is active on Reddit with their own user profile that shares links on relevant subreddits like r/lgbt that generate discussion and votes.

Advocate on Reddit case study

They have their branding with a logo and profile cover photo on their user page, and have generated 28,474 (and counting) post karma by using Reddit the right way, adding value to the communities they serve. They also have a verified email which gives them more credibility. In addition to posting, they post comments with how they’re approaching certain stories and ask questions.

Have you done all of the above, and you’re still looking to do more with Reddit?

The next logical step is to advertise with Reddit. There are some great case studies that you can use as inspiration for your own campaign.

“No matter what the size of the advertiser, a large-scale or a niche advertiser, or a small business advertiser, like a landscaping company — there’s an opportunity for you on Reddit,” Smith says.

The one thing that’s really unique about advertising on Reddit is that all of the ads are like posts. You can drive traffic with them or raise awareness. You can close the comments if you wish, but it’s best practice to leave them open.

Csutoras says that you can do these promoted posts in various ways through auctions on the platform (check out this full list of types of Reddit ads). For sensitive categories, including finance, alcohol, gambling, political, health & pharma, and dating, you can do managed campaigns, which are $10,000 or more quarterly and include takeovers.

It’s important to choose your targeting carefully, and that’s where the Reddit sales team can help. If you inquire, they’ll help you optimize and reach exactly the right audience based on tons of data. That’s where KarmaLab comes in.

“We’re targeting the users, not the communities,” Khosrovani said. One message can be delivered to one subset of users, another message to another group of users, and so on. The data drives the insights that the Reddit team provides to best optimize the ads.

One of the best places to start is simply monitoring the conversation, and Reddit Pro helps with that — a “free suite of tools for businesses to grow a meaningful organic presence on Reddit.” It includes AI-powered insights, performance analytics, and publishing tools that allow brands to do social listening and find opportunities to advertise.

There’s another easy, organic way to get to know your target audience better: “One thing you can do within a subreddit is filter for different views — Hot, Rising, Top. You can filter Top posts in the last X months and get a sense of what the most up-voted posts are, what was the context around them, and get a sense of how often people are posting,” Khosrovani said.

So whether you want to proceed in a completely organic way, or you want to invest in paid strategies, what are you waiting for? It’s time to up your game on Reddit.

Looking for more? Get in touch with one of our strategists today and we’ll work on a custom plan that works best for you and your business.

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