How To Rule Reddit Part 2: Identifying Your Audience – by Tony Burke
The first thing you need to decide when starting out on Reddit is who your audience is and which Subreddits will be best for reaching that audience.
Right from the start, this means you need to look at your own audience. If you don’t have a clear idea of precisely who it is you’re targeting, then you won’t know where to start.
A good exercise for finding your target audience is to profile your ‘typical’ customer/viewer. This means sitting down with a piece of paper and writing as much as you can down about that person, as though you were a screenwriter creating a character for a movie. Ask yourself: how old is your average customer? How much do they earn? What’s their marital status? What’s their gender? Their sexual orientation? What are their interests? What do they do on the weekends? Where do they live? Do they have any family?
Of course, very few of your customers are actually going to accurately fulfill this description but instead you’re just looking at an ‘average’. Some of this data won’t be guess work as you’ll actually be able to look at your own sales data or conduct surveys to find out.
Once you have profiled your average audience member, you should then give them a name. Let’s call our guy ‘Jeff’. Now, whenever you make a post, or whenever you look at which Subreddits to post into, you can ask yourself: ‘would this reach Jeff’? What kind of Subreddits would someone like Jeff be subscribed to?
How to Find Subreddits
The point to bear in mind is that Jeff is not just going to be subscribed to a single Subreddit. In fact, he is probably going to have signed up to multiple Subreddits. And some Jeffs will be subscribed to Subreddits that others aren’t. If you have a product aimed at men with beards and you are only posting in r/beards, then you will be missing out big time. A post about beard maintenance could also be very popular in r/artofmanliness or r/hipster for that matter. There’s even a ‘lumbersexual’ Subreddit (which is a new term used to describe guys with beards and checked shirts) though it only has 9 subscribers currently…
So how do you find Subreddits that might have your Jeff in them? Ever self- referential (as we’ll see repeatedly throughout this book), Reddit actually has Subreddits for finding Subreddits (it wouldn’t be surprising if there were a Subreddit for finding Subreddits that list Subreddits).
Reddit.com/reddits provides a list of popular and new Subreddits to check out for instance. Meanwhile, ‘r/newreddits’ is a place for Redditors to promote their newly created subs which also present new opportunities for you.
One other place to check out is metareddit.com which provides a random selection of subs making it very easy to find new ones. You can literally just keep refreshing the page and that way you’ll be able to find subs that you might never have otherwise have even thought to look for. Be warned, the rabbit hole goes pretty deep…
A good exercise that you can do right now is to spend some time looking through these subs and then create a spreadsheet or a written note listing each one alongside some notes of the kind of content that gets shared there. This way you can come back and refer to this list every time you want to make a new post and it will help you find potential places for your content to be successful.
Is This Subreddit Right for You?
But how do you know whether or not a Subreddit is potentially suitable for your content? How do you know if it is going to be filled with receptive Jeffs?
Of course the most fundamental thing to ensure is that the audience there is going to be interested in whatever you’re posting. The most obviously interested Subreddits will be those with names that directly reflect the niche/subject you’re posting about. If you’re posting about beards, then r/beards is a pretty safe bet. If you’re posting about r/hair then you may be okay.
At the same time, you need to think about the receptivity of your audience. When targeting any audience with content it’s always important to ensure that they are not only interested in your subject but also that they are ready to act on what you’re showing them and ready to make a post. Are they in a position to buy your product? If you’re trying to make direct sales then this is important.
Partly this question is going to depend on the goals of your post. If you’re just trying to build an audience, then it doesn’t matter too much. If on the other hand you want to make sales, then you need to find a Subreddit that is filled with people with disposable income and who might be currently interested in making a purchase.
Some Subreddits are predominantly filled with images, which suggests that their users are probably not going to have time to read lengthy amount of content or necessarily to visit your site and make a purchase. Ask yourself not just who is viewing a Subreddit but also when and why – and ask yourself whether they’re likely to be susceptible to your message at that point.
A useful tip for researching the popularity of a Subreddit meanwhile is to look at its traffic. Many Subreddits allow you to relatively easily view stats such as monthly page views, unique visits etc. This way you can see not only which sites are doing well but also which are currently on an up-turn or down-turn. To see these stats, visit the sub and go to about > traffic. Often you can find the stats by just going to r/example/about/traffic. This also gives you the ability to see at which times a sub is busiest.
Of course the number of subscribers in a Subreddit is also a good indicator of its popularity for those without detailed stats.
The Big Fish
If you’re really keen on targeting the very biggest audience possible on Reddit, then you will want to post to the ‘core’ subreddits, which are the ones you are automatically subscribed to when you sign up and the ones which you will see on the front page if you don’t have a user account. Of course it’s harder to succeed in these subs but if you do then the rewards will be huge.
The ‘core’ subs at the time of writing are:
Big Subreddits vs Small Ones
But before you go on a crusade to find all the biggest Subreddits with the most views, bear in mind that bigger isn’t always better. Finding very popular subs is of course a great way to potentially reach a huge audience but it also means that you potentially risk being lost in a sea of content. This is a dilemma that every internet marketer has faced at some point during their promotional strategies and the question you have to ask yourself is whether it’s better to be a big fish in a small pond or vice versa.
One big advantage of being in a bigger sub is that it gives you more exposure right from the start. This in turn means that you can generate more upvotes more quickly – which is crucial seeing as the initial surge of upvotes is necessary to gain some initial exposure and momentum. This means that you’ll be more likely to be propelled onto the front page which is
where you can get seen by the hundreds of thousands of daily visitors. This is much harder to do if you start out in a small sub.
On the other hand, being in a smaller sub means that you’ll be much less likely to see your content immediately get drowned by other new posts and pushed to the bottom. Even if you don’t get many upvotes for a few hours, you can remain on the ‘hot’ page of that sub or the ‘new’ page, simply because there won’t be any content there.
This can actually be quite a distinct advantage on subs that are visited regularly but aren’t posted to all that often. If you look at the number of posts versus the number of subscribers, or the subscribers versus the views, you can find relatively ‘static’ subs that nevertheless get a lot of exposure. Another advantage of using this approach is that Reddit pages actually tend to perform quite well on Google so this can be good for your SEO.
That said, a static page with few subscribers is not going to get you the same large number of immediate views upon posting.
The best strategy then, is to try and post to a good range of different subs: including some that are smaller and some that are bigger. And this should depend to some extent on the specific goal of that particular post.
At the same time, you also need to understand the general psychology of Reddit and you need to thoroughly research your specific audiences. In the next chapter, part 3, we will look at how to do each of those things in a little more detail…