by Mark Kempton, PointsPrizes Founder
Published in Affiliates on 16th February, 2017
With 234 million unique users, Reddit is widely known for its huge traffic. In fact, there's so much traffic that Reddit has become famous for crashing smaller websites when they reach Reddit's front page.
However, doing any kind of self-promotion on Reddit is notoriously difficult. The Reddit community are highly proactive against anyone promoting their own content, and offending users are often reported very quickly. Therefore, if you wish to succeed in Reddit marketing you'll need to find ways to circumvent moderation.
You should think of Reddit as a huge collection of public noticeboards, called subreddits, each covering a very specific topic and with its own ranking system. Users share links to webpages or write text posts. Then the wider community either upvotes it to a trending page, or downvotes it to oblivion. This means every user on Reddit is actively taking part in the moderation system.
Reddit users tend to be young males of above average intelligence. They care about the website as a place to find things that interest them and therefore resent it whenever they see spam. Any user can report a post as spam. Once a post is reported it usually won't be long before it is removed.
Another thing you might not realise is that any user can easily view another user's profile, to see their entire post history. Therefore if someone sees you posting spam they will very likely visit your profile too. If you look like you're using Reddit consistently to self-promote you'll likely end up having your account reported too, and banned at the same time.
Before you do any marketing on Reddit you should establish a reputation for yourself. Most spammers dive right into their spamming activities and that's a huge red flag for anyone viewing their profile page. Every user has a rating called Karma, earned through upvotes, and I would recommend you reach at least 500-1000 karma points before you do any self promotion.
Earning Karma is actually very easy if you know how. My favourite method is to join the /r/jokes subreddit and tell some funny jokes. If you're not good at making up jokes then you can just research a few, using a quick google search. Reddit users love humor and will upvote you in droves. It might take you a few attempts to find the right joke but eventually you'll do it.
Reddit is a very subtle platform and it will take some time for you to fully understand their attitude to self-promotion. While it is true that self-promotion is generally not wanted, at the same time all users on Reddit have things that they occasionally want to promote too.
Therefore they take an attitude that for every 1 item that is self-promotion, you should contribute at least 10 items that aren't. This doesn't have to be posting actual items - it could be writing comments too.
You should stick to this rule religiously. It's also a bad idea to post clumps of self-promotional content at the same time. I constantly check my profile and ask myself, does this look spammy? Would I consider reporting this user?
Ultimately the best way to achieve this balance, is to actually use Reddit on a daily basis. It's actually very entertaining and useful website.
Users on Reddit use direct links to post news stories, videos or items of particular interest. They resent being taken away from Reddit unless they know it's particularly worth it for them.
If you're self-promoting then linking directly to your content will often be seen as abusive. Therefore it's far better to write a quality text post, with your referral link included at the bottom. That way users can choose whether they want to click on it or not.
And remember, using text posts is not a bad thing. It gives you an opportunity to educate the user about the thing you're promoting. When done right, links from texts posts end up generating a lot more sign-ups and other conversions compared to direct links.
Just because you're only self-promoting 10% of the time, doesn't mean users are going to tolerate something that looks like pure advertising. Take a look at the example below to see what I'm talking about:
1000 Free Playstation Codes (100% Legit)
Today we have a unique opportunity for you to be awarded free PSN codes: https://www.pointsprizes.com/ref/35231
There's nothing personal about this kind of promotion and it stinks of exaggerated claims and self-interest. This is the kind of post that gets routinely reported on Reddit and, even if that doesn't happen, far fewer people are going to click on your referral link. Now, take a look at the same post done right:
I just earned a free PSN code online, and here's how I did it.
For a long time I've been trying to find a way to earn free Playstation codes, because my parents aren't exactly wealthy and can't afford to buy me games all the time. Especially considering how damn expensive console games are getting!
I got ripped off by loads of generator sites before I discovered PointsPrizes, which let me earn points by completing surveys. After a lot of effort I was able to save up enough to get a free PSN code! Now I'm working on my second one so I can get Battlefield One! :)
Here's my referral link (please help me out) and a normal link to the site:
This is a personal story, told with authenticity and sincerity. Text posts like this will be far more positively received and get a lot more clicks. It might seem like a bad idea, but including a non-referral link will make people feel like they aren't being forced into anything - most will click it just to help you out.
Writing in a personal way isn't quite enough. Remember that other users can see every post you write by visiting your profile. If they visit your profile and see the same marketing post spammed 100 times on different subreddits they will probably change their attitude towards you. It doesn't matter how personal your message is, if you de-personalise it by repeating it over and over like a machine.
Therefore make the effort to write a unique text post every time. You'll see additional benefits to this because, if you keep it unique, your posts will be picked up by Google Search and you'll receive free organic traffic to them as well!
This is the real minefield. Every subreddit is a unique community, with its own sub-ettiquete. Unless you're a regular poster there you're not going to know exactly what is permissible. Therefore read the subreddit rules and check out the other content there before posting.
However, it's not as simple as just posting the right content in the right places. Many subreddits will have incredibly subtle rules about "flair", title formatting, etc.
If you approach Reddit with the aim of getting your self-promotion to the overall site Front Page, then you're setting yourself up for failure. There is simply no way this is going to happen. The more popular a subreddit is, the more moderation you're likely to encounter.
Therefore the best strategy for promoting referral links on Reddit is to seek out smaller subreddits. The smaller and more niche, the better in fact!
What you need to realise is that Reddit is such a popular domain that, over time, any subreddit is going to receive considerable highly-targeted niche traffic. And posts in quiet subreddits tend to stay on the first page for a very long time indeed. For example, take a look at the /r/psncode subreddit, which was created 3 years ago and still only has 6 posts. That's a lot of time to soak up residual traffic!
Therefore your strategy should be one of exploring the backwaters of Reddit where moderation is minimal, to non-existent. Some subreddits were created a very long time ago and their owners haven't posted in years. And believe me when I say that Reddit is a deep labyrinth, of ridiculously niche subreddits. You'll still need to find relevant subreddits though.
Actually, finding niche subreddits is easier than you might think. For example, just do a site-targeted query on Google Search for your keywords, with a negative keyword to exclude comments:
site:reddit.com free psn codes -comments <-- type this into Google Search
Finally, you should know that self-promoting on Reddit isn't about quantity. Instead it's about targeting the right subreddits with precisely the right tailored message. I can't emphasise just how vital this is.
Although it's tempting to make posts of your own, sometimes you can get even more clicks by writing a comment. Comment sections give you access to the more popular subreddits.
Look for posts where people ask relevant questions, and then write a useful comment with a referral link. We also strongly advise you use an "Alias" style referral link, which will make your referral link harder to detect.
It is definitely possible to promote your referral links on Reddit. Some of PointsPrizes users have had huge success with this and earned hundreds of dollars very quickly with our referral program, by sharing referral links on Reddit.
But to achieve success on reddit you'll need to be smart and take the time to create quality posts in exactly the right places, while avoiding the minefield of moderation.