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Upvotes and Downvotes – The World of Reddit

The discussion website Reddit attracts plenty of attention. Its numerous topic areas, known as subreddits, routinely have their discussions appropriated in other media like sports and news. The site’s size and popularity have marketers of all types eager to tap into Reddit in the hopes of pulling in traffic for valuable conversions.

Ecommerce pros may have an interest in exploring Reddit’s potential for bolstering their online efforts. Like all social media, Reddit offers rewards and perils to anyone seeking to profit from it. Beware that navigating to a particular subreddit and throwing in a “come buy stuff from me” post will likely result in making a negative impression on the target audience.

Site users express their approval, or lack thereof, on topics and comments by voting up or down on those. Highly upvoted content will surface so more people see it, while something that draws a lot of negative downvoting will disappear from view.

Interested online sellers who wish to brave Reddit’s communities have options to reach that audience. The most direct is with the site’s advertising program, where Reddit touts over 234 million users taking part in over 100,000 subreddits and the flexibility to target an audience.

Some sellers may wish to become active within the subreddits where their target markets exist. By offering their time as an authoritative resource, they can gain the trust of their audience. It’s a slower process than advertising but presents a way to build a dedicated customer base over the longer term.

We see an example of this in the subreddit /r/Screenwriting where the creator of screenplay software WriterDuet regularly comments and participates. WriterDuet competes not only with bigger software packages like Final Draft but online services from known brands like Adobe Story and Amazon.com Storywriter. But it’s WriterDuet that’s in front of that subreddit’s audience on a regular basis.

Last month one Reddit user decided to give participation a try, in an effort to pick up email list subscribers. The website Founder Origins tried a test on Reddit and reported on it in the Entrepreneur subreddit.

“I ran an experiment to determine the effectiveness of marketing (tried to be authentic and non-spammy) on reddit to gain email subscribers. As a result, in one month, I gained ~770 subscribers by spending a few minutes each day commenting on posts,” the poster said. He also detailed the method used, which could be of utility for other interested online sellers.

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David A Utter
David A Utter
David A. Utter is a freelance writer based in Lexington, KY. He has covered technology topics from search to security to online business and has been quoted in places like ZDNet and BusinessWeek. He considers his appearance on NPR's "All Things Considered" with long-time host Robert Siegel a delightful highlight. You can find him on Twitter @davidautter and on LinkedIn.