Great B2B marketers are always looking for new and interesting ways to reach their target audience. Over the past 10 years, social media has gone from curio to table stakes for B2B companies (as well as B2C of course) as a way to engage with existing customers, prospects, and their industry as a whole. LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter are a given, but what about Reddit?
The world of social media and community engagement is a crowded place, but I would argue that there’s still room for Reddit in your B2B marketing strategy. Too often I’ve heard marketers say things like, “Reddit doesn’t make sense for B2B,” “Using Reddit for marketing is too hard” or even the dreaded, “What’s Reddit?” Let’s clear that up right now.
What is Reddit?
Founded in 2005, Reddit bills itself as the “front page of the internet.” It is a discussion forum, web content rating system, and social news aggregator. It’s free to set up a user account and post content into specialized, niche sub-forums called “subreddits” where other users, called “Redditors,” can comment, upvote, or downvote your content. Get enough upvotes (also called karma) and you make it to the front page for all 330 million active users to see.
Now that we’re all clearer on what it is, here are five reasons why Reddit should be part of your B2B marketing strategy.
1. Reddit is one of the largest, most active conversation hubs on the internet
Check out these stats: According to Alexa, at the time of writing, Reddit is ranked #6 in the U.S. and #17 globally, with an average of 1.65 billion visits every month, more than 7 pages visited per session, and an average site time of 9-11 minutes. While it doesn’t quite have the reach Facebook boasts, it outranks Twitter in several of these statistics and outranks LinkedIn in every statistic noted. With numbers like that, there’s so much opportunity to magnify your brand’s reach. Therefore, the more appropriate question is, “why wouldn’t your brand want a presence here?”
2. Your B2B audience is here, highly engaged, and your competitors are not
Redditors are voracious consumers of content. People on average spend just as much time surfing Reddit as they do Facebook. But unlike Facebook, it’s much easier for both users and brands to engage in the same topic/industry discussion and share content with each other. Some larger brands like Microsoft have their own dedicated subreddits, but most brands have the greatest opportunity by jumping into a subreddit that matches the right audience/topic for their products. Most brands haven’t taken the time to understand and incorporate Reddit into their marketing strategy, so act now while you have early-adopter advantage to carve out your own voice in this passionate community.
For instance, let’s say you have a security product for businesses used by IT professionals. Check out places like r/sysadmin, r/netsec, and r/networking that reach the exact people who would use your product, each with 150k+ subscribed members. Unlike other major social platforms where your audience has to follow your page or you have to pay to reach them, savvy brands with compelling content can reach a highly targeted audience immediately without the usual painstaking effort of building a following.
3. Reddit is a great marketing strategy and research tool
Even if your brand is too apprehensive to incorporate a formal marketing strategy for engaging on Reddit right now, you can at least begin using it as a strategy and research tool immediately. Use Reddit’s search function, adding your brand’s name to find mentions, or keywords related to your product to find active subreddits that discuss it. The discussions you find will be just as insightful as paying for research studies, and unlike those, you find your audience in their natural habitat. Since there are few early mover B2B companies taking advantage of the site, you will find pure, unfiltered conversations that can provide essential insight into customer pain points and gaps in the market.
Using Reddit as a starting point in my marketing research, I’ve been able to help brands identify awareness issues where they thought there were none. In one instance, to the brand’s horror, much of their target audience wasn’t aware of their product at all and didn’t even know the brand was active in this particular market. This enabled me to incorporate a brand awareness component into campaign planning that launched prior to demand gen tactics, resulting in more qualified leads.
4. Reddit has paid marketing options for a variety of goals
Whether or not brands should do paid advertising in Reddit is a hotly debated topic right now, especially in light of the latest changes to the advertising platform and the audience’s aversion to advertising. We won’t get into that here—that could be its own blog. In the spirit of always learning and growing, I recommend every marketer give it a shot to determine whether it’s right for your brand.
Like all other major social platforms, Reddit now offers different types of campaigns based on your goal: impressions, engagement, video views, or conversions. Thanks to Reddit’s tracking pixel, you can track those landing page conversions that come from Reddit. There’s only one type of ad unit, but there are multiple methods of targeting, so find what fits best with your content and goals.
5. Organic engagement can have higher impact than other social media channels
Unlike other social media platforms, Reddit is a true meritocracy. This means if you’re sharing truly great content that other users find useful, you will be rewarded (aka upvoted) and reach more people than you would with organic posts on other social media platforms from your own page/account. However, your content can’t be brand-specific, it has to be more broadly useful and appealing to those not familiar with your product or brand. Using our example of a security product for IT professionals again, if you offered a “security checklist for IT pros” or a white paper outlining all the latest security breaches in business and detail what best practices can prevent these in the future, the content will be consumed by an eager, thankful audience that is always looking for new hacks to make a hard job easier. You will have gained far more positive brand sentiment and trust than most paid campaigns or branded content will provide.
Reddit also has the excellent interview/engagement form known as the “AMA,” short for Ask Me Anything. The AMA is where celebrities, industry experts, and brands alike set a topic for discussion and then let Redditors ask them questions which get answered, and if it’s particularly successful, shared in all corners of the site, reaching most members of this massive community.
Reddit is a great tool to add to your B2B marketing strategy toolbox.
Incorporate it at your brand’s level of comfort—as a research tool for market insights and potential customer quotes, or as an expansion of your paid social strategy or community management efforts. Leveraging Reddit’s maximum potential for B2B marketing will require your brand and content to think and execute differently than on other social platforms, but once you do, you’ll be head and shoulders above your competitors and B2B marketing peers.