23 Mistakes to Avoid When Marketing Your Business on Reddit

23 Mistakes to Avoid When Marketing Your Business on Reddit

Reddit is the most unique social media platform on the web. It is also the hardest to use to market a business to full effect. However, if you market your business correctly on the site, Reddit can be a marketer’s dream.

Reddit has very strict rules and guidelines regarding self-promotion, and it has a dedicated page that covers marketing and self-promotion.

If you’re considering marketing your business on reddit, you should read these rules and guidelines carefully before you register.

If you break any of these guidelines, you could get your account shadow banned, even before your Reddit marketing campaign has had a chance to get off the ground. In extreme cases, the domain name your account is linked to can be blacklisted, which means it will be banned from appearing anywhere on the site.

This article covers 21 common mistakes you should avoid making when marketing your business on Reddit.

  1. Not using effective headlines for your posts.
  2. Not submitting your posts to the right community.
  3. Not building any trust or authority before you start talking about your business.
  4. Submitting only link posts.
  5. Not understanding redditors in your chosen subreddit.
  6. Not having a social media marketing plan.
  7. Not tailoring your social media marketing plan to the Reddit platform.
  8. Focusing on the wrong Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
  9. Not researching what works in your chosen subreddit.
  10. Not posting at the right time.
  11. Buying an established Reddit account.
  12. Not evaluating the performance of your Reddit marketing campaign.
  13. Not becoming a redditor.
  14. Not having an engagement strategy.
  15. Not having a strong personal brand.
  16. Not monitoring mentions about you or your competitors.
  17. Looking for quick, overnight success.
  18. Not contributing to discussions in your chosen subreddit.
  19. Buying upvotes
  20. Ignoring negative feedback.
  21. Using Reddit solely for backlinks.

1. Not using effective headlines for your posts.

On Reddit, the headline that you use is the single most important component of your post. The quality of the content matters, but if the headline doesn’t resonate with reddit users, then the quality of the actual content is not going to matter because its not going to be seen.

You only have a few seconds to grab the attention of potential readers and stop them from scrolling past your post. If your headline doesn’t make an instant emotional connection with the reader, then they are simply going to ignore your post and keep on scrolling. Some redditors will even go as far as downvoting your post, especially if it sounds like a marketing post.

With the level of competition that your posts are going to be contending with in your chosen subreddit, your headline has to instantly connect with the emotions of your target audience or else it’s not going to draw the click.

2. Not submitting your post to the right Reddit community.

This is a common mistake that can effectively damage your Reddit marketing campaign even before it starts. If you submit your post to the wrong subreddit, then it is not going to resonate with users in that community, which means it will be ignored at best. That’s why it is so important to research the Reddit communities before you submit your post. Always ensure that you’re submitting to the right community.

Consider the following example. The post below was initially submitted to /r/entrepreneur, and it made a powerful instant connection in that subreddit with 5,929 upvotes and 1,405 comments.


The reason this post was so successful in /r/entrepreneur is because redditors in that community are motivated by the desire to make a lot of money. Consequently, the post was an ideal match for that community.

But this post was also submitted to /r/bloggersupport. As you can see in the above screenshot, it received no engagement because redditors in that community are simply not motivated by the desire to make money.

Consequently, this headline did not have any emotional value with redditors in that subreddit. This emphasizes why you it is so important to know who you are writing for.

3. Not building any trust or authority before you start talking about your business.

It is critically important to build trust and authority before you start to talk about your business in your chosen subreddit. If you’re new to Reddit, you cannot simply jump in and start talking about your business.

What you should be focused on doing in your first few months on the platform is building trust and authority in your chosen subreddit by being an active community member. This involves upvoting other people’s posts, upvoting comments that you like or agree with, commenting on comments, using your knowledge and expertise to solve problems for other redditors, curating quality content from authority sites in your niche, etc.

For example, say you’re an SEO specialist and decide to join /r/seo. You come across a post where someone is asking for help because their website has been penalized by the latest Google algorithm. It would be a mistake to start talking about how your award winning SEO business has helped so many businesses recover from various Google penalties. That may be acceptable on other social platforms, but it will get you labelled as a spammer on Reddit.

Posting such a comment will show that you’re on Reddit to market your business, and not to be part of the community. What you should do instead is to ask clarifying questions and post helpful comments that would help that OP recover their website.

Another common mistake that marketers make on Reddit is publishing only link posts instead of adding value to their chosen subreddit through engaging and informative text posts. Submitting only link posts will make redditors sceptical of your motives.

In addition, when you publish links, you should always make sure that they lead to reputable and trustworthy sites. If you don’t check out the sources and they lead to spam or phishing sites, your account will be flagged by the moderators. This is why you should only link to industry favorites when sharing content in your chosen subreddit.

Most subreddits will allow you to post a link to your website in the comments as long as the article on your blog or your website is directly relevant to the discussion that you are linking to. And many marketers run with this and make it their main Reddit marketing strategy. But you should only be posting links to your website 1 out of 10 times. So, 9 times out of 10, you should be adding value in your chosen subreddit by being a redditor. Genuine redditors don’t just post links. So, if you’re only posting links, that is a clear indication that you’re not a redditor.

5. Not understanding redditors in your chosen subreddit.

If there is one thing that is going to determine the success of your marketing campaign more than any other factor, it is the ability to understand your ideal customer. Understanding your ideal target customer and what motivates them is a critically important element of a successful online marketing campaign.

The more you know your potential customer, the more targeted and ultimately, the more effective your marketing campaign is going to be. You need to understand the problems, pain points and challenges that your customers and potential customers face. When you understand your ideal customer, you’ll be able to create quality content that will connect with their emotions.

6. Not having a social media marketing plan.

Approaching Reddit marketing without an action plan is a major mistake. A successful Reddit marketing campaign begins with having clearly defined goals and a solid plan of action to achieve those goals. Your plan should set out what you will be posting in your chosen subreddit, the type of content your audience connects with the most and the best way to present it to them.

With a clearly defined plan of action, you won’t have to wing it and risk making costly mistakes. Creating an effective action plan will also allow you to plan out and create the specific tactics and strategies that you’ll be using to achieve your reddit marketing goals and objectives.

Click here to learn how to create a social media marketing plan.

7. Not tailoring your social media marketing plan to Reddit.

Another huge mistake that many marketers tend to make with Reddit, is approaching Reddit marketing in the same way that they would approach marketing on other social media sites such as Facebook or LinkedIn.

Reddit is a world away from every other social media platforms. It is a tight-knit community, completely unique, and its users expect a much different experience from what you would typically deliver on other social platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and so on.

This uniqueness means that marketing your business on reddit requires a completely different approach to what you may currently be doing to market your business on other social platforms.

So, not only do you need a social media marketing plan, your plan needs to be specifically tailored to the Reddit platform. This is incredibly important to understand.  

8. Focusing on the wrong Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).

Focusing on the wrong KPIs is a common mistake that marketers make when evaluating their Reddit marketing performance. They fall into the trap of focusing on vanity statistics such as karma.

Karma doesn’t have any innate value, and having thousands of karma points will not magically transform or add any value to your business. Just because you have a high karma score doesn’t mean that it will automatically translate to your balance sheet.

What you should be doing instead is measuring the impact that your Reddit marketing campaign is having on your business.

9. Not researching what works in your chosen subreddit.

Many marketers don’t take the time to find out what is likely to resonate with their target audience. They simply post whatever content they feel their followers will like without researching their chosen subreddit to find out what has been successful in the past. This is popularly known in marketing as the “publish and pray approach” – kinda like throwing spaghetti at the wall and hoping it sticks.

If you want to really engage your target audience and convert them into customers, aim to connect with their emotions first and foremost by posting content that is valuable or meaningful to them.

Focusing on emotions in your content is a really powerful social selling strategy because redditors who are emotionally connected with your business are more likely to translate into loyal customers and brand advocates. Essentially, posting the right content can actually mean the difference between success and failure, especially on reddit.

10. Not posting at the right time.

Another common mistake that could adversely affect the success your Reddit marketing campaign is not submitting your post at the right time. A well-timed post can mean the difference between 20 people and 2,000 people seeing your post.

You can maximize the reach of your content by submitting your posts when your target audience is online to see your posts. Just like other social media sites, Reddit has a best time to post, and there are a number of tools online that can help you determine the best time to post. Examples include laterforreddit and delayforreddit.

Most tools seem to be in agreement that early in the work day between 8 AM and 10 AM EST, Mondays to Thursdays, is usually the best time to submit your posts on Reddit.

11.  Buying an established Reddit account.

Thousands of Reddit accounts are offered for sale online, and on the face of it, it might seem a good idea to buy an established Reddit account that has already built up a lot of karma. Trust me, it’s not.

First of all, buying an established account is against Reddit’s rules and guidelines. The rules expressly forbid the transfer of accounts from one person to another. So, you’ll be breaking the rules by buying an established reddit account.

Furthermore, the Reddit system can easily detect when an account has been transferred from one user to another. So, if you buy a Reddit account, you’re effectively throwing money down the drain because sooner or later, it will be terminated, with no means of appeal.

12.  Not evaluating the performance of your marketing campaign.

It is important to continually evaluate the performance of your marketing strategy every 3 months or so. This will allow you to continue to refine and improve upon the results you’ve been getting from reddit.

Reviewing your performance will also provide really helpful insights into what works in your chosen subreddit. You’ll be able to find out which particular tactics have been most effective at generating the best results in your chosen subreddit.

13. Not becoming a redditor.

Now, you may consider this to be cliché advice, and it probably is. But the only way you can succeed on Reddit is by becoming a redditor. And you have to be authentic. There’s no way around it., you cannot fake or pretend to like Reddit. It will not work. You need to become a redditor. In other words, you need to become an active community member.

This means you need to be active in your chosen community. You do this by upvoting other posts and comments, leaving thoughtful and interesting comments that don’t have anything to do with your brand. Other activities include curating relevant content, participating in discussions around content, initating discussions in your chosen subreddit, etc.

As you begin to submit posts in your chosen subreddit, other redditors are going to click through to your profile to see what type of posts you’ve been submitting. If you haven’t been contributing value to the subreddit, they will report you to the moderators who will then keep an eye on everything that you post. If your posts indicate that you’ve actually come to promote your business, then sooner or later, your account will be shadow banned.

14. Not having an engagement strategy.

The word “engagement” is considered by many to be an overused buzzword. That may be true, however, you cannot underestimate the power of engagement, especially on Reddit. It is the most important metric to measure.

Engagement on Reddit is about being active in your chosen subreddit in the way that we described earlier. It simply being an active community member.  

If you engage with your audience in ways that adds value to their lives, they will also engage with your content. On the other hand, if your posts and comments are not sparking conversations, then your engagement and content strategy needs to be looked at. If your engagement strategy is not effective, you are probably not going to not accomplish much on the Reddit platform.

Click here for 15 ways to increase engagement in your chosen subreddit.

15. Not having a strong personal brand.

Building a strong personal brand is a vital step in successfully marketing your business online. Your personal brand is your reputation, which is the most important attribute of your business. A strong personal brand is going to build trust and increase confidence in your business.

Essentially, your personal brand is going to underpin your entire Reddit marketing campaign. That is why it needs to be strong, consistent and relatable.

16. Not monitoring mentions about you or your competitors’.

It is important to monitor mentions online to find out what is being said about you and your competitors. Those discussions could be extremely valuable places for you to influence opinions about your business.

If you have a well-established business, Reddit is one place where you can discover honest and unfiltered opinions about you, your business, products, and industry. These conversations are taking place on Reddit every single day. As an online business, you cannot afford to ignore what is being said.

17. Looking for quick, overnight success.

Success on Reddit is a long-term strategy, and it is a strategy that can payoff tenfold. However, many people today are obsessed with instant gratification. But just like everything good in life, successfully marketing your business on Reddit will take a considerable amount of time.

There are no shortcuts or instant solutions. Redditors will need to know, like and trust you before they buy from you, or choose to do business with you. That will not happen overnight. This is why you need to start off by building a high level of trust and authority in your chosen subreddit. This will take time and effort – no exceptions.

18.  Not contributing to discussions in your chosen subreddit.

Reddit is a conversation-driven platform where people tend to have in-depth discussions around content, and comments are a massive part of it. As a redditor, you have to be part of the conversation. You have to post comments, and to respond to relevant comments in your chosen subreddit.

According to Reddit, 2.8 million comments are posted every single day. Quality comments have been known to drive traffic and generate leads, email signups and sales. In some subreddits, you are even allowed to include a link to your site in the comments. But if your comments are boring or not well thought out, you’ll be providing an opening for negative comments which will ultimately be disastrous for your campaign.

19. Buying upvotes.

Buying upvotes in order to game the Reddit system is a mistake that many marketers are still making today. It is a black hat tactic that may have worked in the early days of Reddit, but will never work today.

Here’s why buying upvotes is a waste of time: when you buy upvotes, the actual engagement on your post will be lower than a post that is organically generating upvotes on its own merit. That is a red flag. The Reddit algorithm will delete upvotes if it detects any type of manipulation.

And those accounts will be banned, and the domain the account links to will be blacklisted. Furthermore, note that asking for Reddit upvotes on Facebook, Twitter or any other site including your blog is against the Reddiquette, and can get your account banned. 

20.  Ignoring negative feedback.

As you research your business on Reddit, you may come across negative comments about you, your business, products or service. It is important to recognize that your customers have a voice, and they are going to use it.

Every comment a customer posts, whether it is positive or negative, presents an opportunity for you to communicate with your customer directly. Now, some of these comments may be malicious lies. However, getting these types of negative comments is natural in business. What is important is the way you handle these comments.

While it may be tempting to simply ignore all of the negativity that you receive on Reddit, it is not always the wisest option, especially if the commenter has a legitimate grievance against your company. A better option would be to respond directly to those comments to resolve any issues that may have prompted the comments in the first place.

You can even turn a negative comment into a positive for your company by quickly responding to the comment in a professional and constructive manner. Most consumers don’t’ expect perfection, but if they see the professional manner in which you respond to negativity, they’ll feel better about doing business with you.

Here’s a case study of how a company was able to utilize Reddit to turn around negative feedback. This company, Fathead, manufactures and sells vinyl wall graphics. The company received some seriously negative feedback on Reddit after a customer experienced some customer service issues.

The situation could have turned toxic if they had just simply ignored the issue. But they were able to turn things around quickly by publicly apologizing and sending the customer an entire collection of the graphics they originally ordered.

Reddit has tremendous SEO metrics, with a domain authority of 91 and a trust flow of 80. Many marketers spend a fortune on backlinks from Reddit to try and game the Google algorithm. Unfortunately, that is money down the drain as far as Google is concerned because the algorithm is able to easily determine when a backlink from a site like Reddit is a manufactured link.

The way Reddit works right now, is that when you include an external link in a Reddit post to your website, initially, it is going to be a nofollow link, which means that it won’t have any SEO value. But once that post collects up to 5 upvotes, it is going to be upgraded to a dofollow link.

However, the problem is that if redditors are not clicking that link to visit your website or they are bouncing from your landing page as soon as they get there, the backlink will be devalued or ignored by Google. On the other hand, Bing and Yahoo! – which uses the same engine as Bing, will recognize the link and give it full value.

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