The Awesome Power of Reddit For Automotive Marketers

Whether you’re an auto part manufacturer or a retailer, you need to pay attention to Reddit. Not only is it a great source of website traffic, it’s also a great place to “tune” your content, and it can even help you get some press exposure. Here’s what you need to know:

What is Reddit?

Reddit Logo
Reddit is a social news site that can help boost website traffic, perfect content, and promote your website or product.

A social news site where users can find content in “threads” organized by interest. For example, there’s a thread for Toyota fans, a thread for Ford fans, a thread for trucks, a thread for classic VW beetles…etc.

Each of these threads is visited adamant fans or enthusiasts of the indicated product. While these “Redditors” might not be existing or potential customers, they do help shape opinions. A popular news item in the /r/cars thread, for example, will often show up on automotive blogs as news.

Example – This video of a 600hp Miata rowing down the highway was covered by CarThrottle.com, CarHoots.com, CarScoops, etc. All because it was a popular post on Reddit first.

In the right hands, Reddit is a content evaluation tool, a tool for generating ideas, and a tool for promoting your website or product.

How Does Reddit Work?

Every Redditor has a profile. When you submit a link to a thread (or make a comment), other Redditors can vote that link up or down. If your link or comment gets too many downvotes, it’s hidden. If your link or comment is popular, it gets upvotes. When your link or comment has a lot of upvotes, it’s listed at the top of the thread (or the top of the comments on an existing thread).

Every positive and negative vote gives or takes away from your profile’s “karma.” In the Reddit world, karma is your reputation. Users with lots of karma points are allowed to post links and comments more frequently, and their links are given more exposure. Thus, it’s important to improve your profile’s “karma” whenever you can.

Finally – and most importantly – participating on Reddit is free. Anyone can submit links, and that means anyone can use Reddit to promote their product or website…the just have to know how.

Reddit traffic stats
Over the previous 6 months, Reddit has been one of the top 30 websites (by traffic) in the United States. That translates to about 30 million visitors per month. Stats via Quantcast.com

Tips for Getting Started

To start on Reddit, register a profile (we’d advise against using your real name, your brand name, etc. – keep it anonymous). Next, find a couple of threads where you have a genuine personal interest. Start contributing to these threads by voting up the links you like, reading and voting up comments you agree with, and offering your own comments. As time goes by, your profile will accumulate karma points. Once you’ve earned a dozen points from commenting, it’s time to make your first submission.

Your first submission should be something that you feel the people in the thread will genuinely appreciate. Don’t just submit any old link – put some serious thought into your first submissions. Other tips:

  • Do not submit a link to your own site, at least not at first. Start off by submitting links to the best content you can find, as the admins of each Reddit thread will usually inspect your first few submissions and block you if you’re submitting promotional content.
  • Do not submit a link more than once, at least not without waiting a few weeks. If one of your submissions doesn’t get any “love,” set it aside and move on.
  • Do not submit links from the same site(s) over and over. If all you’re submitting is links from CNN.com, your own site, etc, your profile will look promotional. Mix it up.
  • Comment more than you submit links. Comments are essential to making your Reddit profile look genuine.

Again – make sure that links you submit are always relevant to the specific thread AND high quality. Don’t submit a link to your homepage, to your sales page, etc. unless those pages are relevant (most of the time they aren’t).

Why Should You Reddit Again?

We like Reddit because it sends traffic, because it helps us make sure our content resonates with the public, and because it can help us get some genuine publicity.

Reddit case study
Reddit can send serious website traffic. BlueReach.com published an interesting case study showing thousands of visits to a site via daily Reddit posting. While we don’t recommend this aggressive of a strategy (we like to be more natural), the case study is definitely worth a read.

Let’s talk about traffic first…if you submit a link to a “small” thread (threads with less than 5,000 followers), and your link gets some love, you can expect hundreds of website visitors. You can also expect a handful of these visitors to “Like” your content, share it on Facebook or Twitter, etc.

If you submit a link to a popular thread, and that link gets some upvotes, your site can get a few thousand visits (typically in the span of a few hours, so make sure your server is prepared). You’ll see likes, Tweets, and shares to go along with these visits.

Now it must be said that most of these visitors won’t spend much time on your site. Bounce rates on Reddit traffic are often over 90%. However:

  • Most of these visitors will stick around long enough to remember your brand name
  • Some visitors will promote your content on other social networks, websites, etc.
  • A few will stick around and try to buy something

Finally, as mentioned above, a popular post on Reddit usually gets the attention of bloggers and journalists. It’s a great tool for generating some real media exposure.

Becoming A Top Redditor – Tips and Advice

1. Each Reddit thread has administrators/moderators who help regulate activity. This policy helps keep spam to a minimum on Reddit, but it also means your first submissions or comments in any given thread are sort of like a job interview. If your first submissions come across as spammy or stupid, your profile will be marked as “spam” and your submissions will be ignored. This is why you need to avoid submitting links to your own site until your profile is established. It’s also why you should use an anonymous name/moniker when you get started.

2. Participate daily. It takes time, but participating on Reddit for 30-45 minutes a day can do a lot for you. Not only does it ensure that every link you submit to Reddit gets a legitimate “look” by other Redditors, but it also helps you find content ideas.

3. Try to make friends. Comments are a great place to make friends, as you can study the comments to see who the most active users are, and then compliment or agree with these people (in a genuine manner of course) to bolster the odds your submissions hit the top of the thread.

4. Explore lots of threads. Some of my favorite Reddit threads have absolutely nothing to do with cars. I get ideas for infographics here, I enjoy lots of laughs in the “AdviceAnimals” thread (warning, NSFW), and I invariably find new threads to participate in by reading the Reddit homepage as often as I can.

Recommended Reading

Some other advice on using Reddit:

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