If you spend any amount of time online, you’ve probably heard of Reddit. One of the 10 biggest sites on the internet, Reddit boasts about 46.7 million searches per day from its more than 330 million active users, and those users have formed more than 138,000 niche communities within their ranks.

Targeting a laser-focused niche community on one of the most influential websites out there probably sounds like an online marketer’s dream, right? Well, yes, but marketing on Reddit isn’t that straightforward. In fact, the only thing more polarized than opinions about Reddit itself are opinions about actually attempting to market on Reddit.

What Reddit Is

Although technically a single site, those smaller niche communities—subreddits—are Reddit’s heart and soul. Subreddits are built around subscribers with shared interests, so one talks about books and another is dedicated to all things Star Wars and a third mainly focuses on waffles. (Not making that up.) Invariably, subreddit subscribers are incredibly knowledgeable about their niche. Subreddit communities also tend to be close-knit.

But Reddit isn’t all love and waffles. Because of that whole First Amendment thing, some subreddits have managed to attract particularly hateful specimens of humanity. On the upside, those subreddits are easy enough to avoid—just don’t drive down the dark alleys of the internet at night.

What Reddit Definitely Is Not

Redditors have a reputation for suffering absolutely no BS. Puns, sure; absurdity, absolutely. And Redditors are the smartassiest of smartasses. But if they think you’ve violated their trust, they’ll hold a grudge like nobody’s business. Also, now is probably good to mention that Reddit has a tendency to reach for their pitchforks and turn into an angry mob at the drop of a hat. They are the ultimate example of crowd-think.

Another problem with Redditors? They are hardcore anti-commercial, and hate feeling like they’re being “sold” on anything. Self-promotion of any kind is universally despised on Reddit. There’s an entire subreddit devoted to calling out Reddit posts that feature brand-name-dropping or poorly disguised advertising.

How to Win Reddit’s Heart

Why do you need to know all this? Because if you come in as a marketer rather than a Redditor—that is, you attempt to join the community with no intention of anything other than selling that community on your products or services—they will sniff you out, and they will destroy you. While some marketing campaigns have succeeded on Reddit, most crash and burn spectacularly (and, if we’re honest, hilariously).

The key to making any headway on Reddit is posting often enough and repeatedly enough that the subscribers in your niche subreddit come to view you as a voice of authority in that topic. There’s no guarantee this will ever happen though, and the commitment to do so would be time intensive.

Marketing on Reddit with Ads

Outside of connecting with Redditors via regular community participation, you can also try grabbing their attention with Reddit Ads. Advertising purchased directly from Reddit will live right at the top of the subreddit(s) you designate as your target audience. You can also specify locations and interests when you set up the ad, and choose the objective for your ad: brand awareness, traffic or conversions.

If you take the time to hang out on Reddit a while before placing an ad, you have a much better shot that your ad will connect with your audience. Although, to be fair, not every product or service is a good fit for Reddit; advertising there might not be worth it to you at all. You’ll need a good sense of humor, for one thing. You’ll have to be responsive to any replies or comments you receive on your ad, so make sure you learn the insider lingo before you launch. Above all, you can’t look or act like an outsider.

Done properly, Reddit ads can drive revenue to your business. But without first having a solid grasp of Reddit’s admittedly quirky subculture, you won’t stand a chance. If you do decide to move forward with advertising on Reddit, do your homework and proceed with caution.

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