Leveraging the Power of Reddit for the Independent Channel

Written by Tricia Dempsey

June 24, 2024

Reddit spelled out with Scrabble tiles

What if I told you there was an online platform where you could search nearly any topic or brand and read the honest opinions of real people, posted for anyone to see. Would you use it?

Imagine knowing what the average person thinks about what’s trending in your industry, the brands you sell, your Big Box competitors and more. And then, imagine finding out that such a tool does exist — because it does.

It’s called Reddit.

What is Reddit?

Maybe you’ve heard of Reddit. Maybe you haven’t. Either way, you might be wondering what exactly it is.

While some would say it is not a social media platform, others beg to differ. Semantics aside, it is an online forum or platform that is driven by users who post and engage in sub-communities based around specific topics. These are called subreddits.

Anyone can join Reddit to engage in subreddit communities. And, though each subreddit has a unique moderator and set of rules to follow, any user can create and moderate their own subreddit.

Users — known as redditors — receive karma on their posts or comments, similar to a “like” on Facebook or Instagram. However, on Reddit, karma can be gained or lost, depending on the number of upvotes or downvotes you earn.

The more karma (aka. upvotes) you gain over time, the more credibility you build as a redditor, which is especially key for a business that engages on Reddit.

Why Should Your Business Use Reddit?

First, Reddit is growing rapidly. As more and more people look to the Internet for answers, Reddit has truly become a community where people can have real conversations with others who share their interests.

For brands, Reddit has become a valuable place to both better understand consumers and participate in the conversations they are having. Another caveat to point out, though, is that redditors are generally wary of anything resembling a sales pitch. In fact, many subreddits completely ban the sharing of promotional content.

But the true benefit of engaging on Reddit as a business is not to outright sell products or services, like you would on Facebook or Instagram. The benefit lies in listening and creating community. This requires patience and a long-game strategy but can be highly rewarding for companies that are willing to invest the time.

Currently, Reddit has over 100,000 active communities, with more and more people searching for answers — and finding them on Reddit — every day.

This ties into the second reason your business should use Reddit: Google searches.

According to the Search Engine Journal, “For years, Reddit results have been prominently displayed in Google’s search results – so much so that users have even started adding the term ‘reddit’ to the end of their search queries.”

And Google has taken notice. Recently, Google closed a $60 million (per year) deal with Reddit to use the platform’s content as a training ground for future Google AI tools. Google also recently completed a Helpful Content Update that essentially favors content, like Reddit’s, that is deemed “helpful” for searchers by offering expertise and value.

Best Practices for Using Reddit as an Independent Retailer

Before you dive in, remember that Reddit is a long game. It requires patience and commitment to reach a point where you will see ROI. But that ROI can be significant if you follow these best practices.

1. Create a Reddit Account

Create a professional but relatable profile for your business. Your profile should reflect your category expertise without being overtly commercial. Another approach would be to embrace full transparency and create a profile with your business name right in the username. Each has its pros and cons, but both can achieve the ROI you want if you participate on Reddit with the following guidelines in mind.

2. Understand the Reddit Community

Research Subreddits. Identify relevant subreddits where conversations are happening around topics like appliances, mattresses, furniture, consumer electronics, home improvement and more. You can also search for location-specific subreddits, which can be helpful for retail locations in larger cities.

The following are examples of topical subreddit communities.

r/BuyItForLife, r/HomeImprovement, r/Mattress, r/homeowners, r/DIY, r/InteriorDesign, r/DesignMyRoom, r/appliancerepair, r/appliances, r/Frugal, r/smarthome, r/cooking

Take time to listen and learn what goes on in these communities. Think of it as market research to gain insight into what your customers want.

Engage in Subreddits. Before posting or commenting in a subreddit, remember to check the rules. Some do not allow any promotional content whatsoever, while others allow it to varying degrees.

Next, begin to understand the tone and rules of each subreddit. Comment on posts and answer questions to start building your karma or upvotes. As you work to establish credibility, refrain from sharing anything that feels too salesy. Even in a subreddit that allows promotional content, users can still downvote content they just don’t like — which can lead to distrust or having your content blocked for a limited time.

It is also worth noting that many subreddits require some karma before you’re allowed to post. Read more about that here.

3. Execute a Content Sharing and Engagement Strategy

Once you’ve established credibility and built up your karma upvotes, it’s time to ramp up your strategy.

Promote Subtly and Organically. Focus on sharing informative content rather than direct advertising. If a subreddit allows it, include a casual mention of a blog post you’ve written that offers value or share a soft call to action that invites people to your website for answers they seek.

To draw attention to your posts and comments, check out this quick Reddit guide for using bold, italics and other text formatting.

Consider creating a subreddit. This can be centered on any topic relevant to the products or services you provide. If you focus directly on your business, consider its brand recognition or add other keywords to the subreddit name so your target audience can find it.

Before creating your community, you’ll also need to determine the rules you want to set and who will monitor posts and respond to comments. In the beginning, you likely won’t need to allot as much time to monitoring; however, it is wise to have a plan ready as the group grows and/or engagement increases.

While the goal is for redditors in your community to post and engage, planning at least one post a month from your business helps to maintain engagement without appearing spammy. And keep in mind that posts with a question tend to receive more comments.

Another way to increase engagement is by hosting an “Ask Me Anything” (AMA) session. Typically, AMAs are advertised to run on a specified day or length of time and allow the community to post any questions they would like answered by your business. To run a successful AMA, advertising it ahead of time with a link to your subreddit — via email, on social media and even in-store — is key to getting the word out. And during the AMA session, be sure to have someone available to answer questions with a quick response time.

Taking the Next Step with Reddit

Take some time to consider how to make Reddit work for you, whether you use it to gain insight or establish authority with your own subreddit. And if you see the value but aren’t sure you have the capacity to add Reddit to your marketing strategy or online reputation management, not to worry. We can help! Click here to contact the Nationwide team today.

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