In the hypercompetitive industrial marketplace, it’s important to look for every edge you can in order to connect with more buyers. That means branching out beyond traditional marketing channels to connect with more prospects in more places.
One channel that offers tremendous potential for industrial and B2B marketing is Reddit. The platform, which bills itself as “The Front Page of The Internet,” is a hub of user-generated content and discussions. With roughly 165 million visitors checking it out every month, it’s actually the third most popular website in the United States — yes, even ahead of other popular social media networks like Facebook and LinkedIn.
Those big, broad numbers are certainly impressive. However, what’s more important to manufacturing companies and industrial marketers is the fact that it also attracts a healthy amount of people from very specific backgrounds and professions — including procurement professionals and engineers.
Its popularity, combined with an ability to zero in on niche audiences, makes Reddit a powerful tool for improving your SEO and promoting your company. However, there’s a lot to learn in order to use it successfully.
At its core, Reddit is a collection of discussions centered around different topics. Posts are started by users, while other users can upvote the topic, increasing its popularity and visibility.
Like with any social network, there are some nuances to how Reddit works. Here are some terms you should understand before diving into the platform:
- OP: Original poster.
- Redditor: A user of Reddit.
- Karma: A measure of your status among Redditors; the higher your Karma, the more trusted you are.
- Subreddit: A community of Redditors and posts based around a specific topic.
- Upvote: The action of liking a post or comment.
In order to use Reddit, you’ll need to sign up for an account. The process takes just minutes, but don’t rush through it. How you initially set up your account can actually have a big impact on how successful you are.
Keep these facts in mind:
- Redditors don’t like interacting with brands or companies, and they don’t take kindly to spam. So, instead of using your company name, create a personal moniker, like Machinest_Mike.
- You cannot change your user name, nor can you transfer your Karma. So choose your name wisely.
Find The Subreddits That Matter To You
While getting to the front page of Reddit would be great, the fact is that subreddits are where you can get the most out of your effort. With that in mind, it’s critical to find and join the right subreddits.
Here are some examples:
- r/supplychain: Home to 3,000 subscribers, this subreddit is a general board for those who work in, or are interested in, supply chain.
- r/logistics: With 4,200 subscribers, topics in this subreddit focus on fleet management, shipping, warehousing, and cost reduction.
- r/engineering: With 193k followers, this channel is the hub for all content related to the engineering discipline. Topics include career advice, networking strategies, and on-the-job stories.
- r/engineeringporn: If the feats of engineering prowess get your motor running, this is a good channel for you. The 261k channel followers come here to learn about the latest breakthroughs in engineering.
- r/askengineers: Ask Engineers is a forum for questions about the processes and standards used to build them, as well as for questions about the engineering profession and its many disciplines. It’s great for gaining some perspective that you can integrate into your processes and marketing.
- r/mechanicalengineering: A smaller group of just 17,000 members, the ME channel at Reddit is more specialized.
- r/aerospace: Described as “a place to discuss relevant topics in civil and military aviation, space exploration, and news relevant and interesting to those with a passion for all things flying,” this channel will connect you to more than 20,000 subscribers with similar interests.
- r/manufacturing: Topics like abrasives, machining, career tips, and 3D printing are popular on this subreddit with more than 9,000 subscribers.
Building Up Your Rep
After browsing through the discussions on these aforementioned subreddits, it’s time to start making yourself a part of the community.
That does not mean it’s time to start posting links to your website or promoting your new eBook. In fact, doing so may be the quickest way to get your account shut down and your company banned from the site.
Like with all inbound marketing, the key to success on Reddit is to be helpful and to have genuine interactions with other people. That means answering questions, providing useful advice, linking to resources around the web, and providing positive feedback (in the form of upvotes) when appropriate.
Building up a positive rep can take awhile, but it will help to establish trust with users going forward. When someone takes a peek at your profile, it’s beneficial that they see a healthy mix of content and good karma.
If you want to speed things up, spend some time in the r/askreddit thread, where you can answer questions on all kinds of topics. Redditors are typically very generous to those that provide good answers and feedback.
Creating Content For Reddit
Now that you’ve established a healthy reputation, it’s time to get to work.
As with any content, you want it to be helpful and informative, while providing value to your readers. Spec sheets and the like have no place on Reddit, but step-by-step guides and how-to’s can perform really well.
Regularly do a search for your products, services, and brand name to see what comes up and what Redditors are saying. Use the platform as a research tool to figure out what type of content would prove valuable not only to these Redditors, but to your target audience in general.
The bottom line is, If you have good content, people will engage with it. Simple as that. Just make sure you post it to the most relevant subreddit possible. And only post your content once, in one subreddit, as posting in multiple places can get you flagged for spamming.
You can also pose questions within subreddits to solicit feedback from others, sparking a back-and-forth dialogue in the process. As more people engage with the discussion, and more people upvote the topic, it will gain visibility.
Much like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter, Reddit has introduced different types of ads in order to monetize the platform.
Are they worth your time, and your money?
Maybe. The good thing about Reddit ads is that you can get very targeted, and that Redditors tend to spend more time per day on that platform than users of other social media networks do. The bad thing is that Redditors don’t typically take kindly to overt advertising.
Just like with your organic content, your ads need to be relevant and helpful, not overly promotional. Here’s a good example from Grammarly:
If you have some room in your PPC budget, you should consider trying out Reddit ads. Keep in mind that you should keep your advertiser account and your user account separate.
More Ways To Connect With Buyers
Reddit is one of the most popular social media platforms on the planet. Even better, it allows you to directly engage with very specific audiences while driving traffic to your site and building up brand credibility. And yet, industrial marketers continually overlook it.
By adding Reddit to your list of marketing channels, you can get a leg up on your competition while building connections with more buyers.
For more creative, and oft-ignored, ways to connect with more buyers throughout the web, download our free eBook, 5 Unlikely Places To Connect With Engineers.