Reddit is one of my favorite things in existence (besides tacos). It’s home to a burgeoning community of crypto enthusiasts and the #11 most visited site on the internet.
I had the pleasure of meeting the founder of Reddit (Alexis Ohanian) at a conference a few years ago, and he was one of the most real, down to earth people I’ve ever met. That’s how the community is too. Be real and you’ll be rewarded. Shlep your cryptocurrency project and you will be penalized!
In this guide I’m going to give you a complete rundown of Reddit marketing for ICOs, including experiments that I’ve run in the past.
Reddit 101 – How It Works
Reddit contains a number of communities on every subject imaginable. Checkout r/photoshopbattles for a lol or r/ethereum for a series discussion about technology. Users submit links or self-written posts to the community of their choice. These posts then receive upvotes and downvotes from community members. The best content gets “upvoted” to the top of the front page of that community and the not-so good stuff gets buried. It’s like Google, with more nerds and less searching. Votes get you ranking higher instead of backlinks. Content quality still matters greatly.
You can use SnoopSnoo to find more subreddits specific to your niche with a lot of subscribers.
There are 269 cryptocurrency communities on Reddit. Here are the top cryptocurrency subreddits for ICOs:
Topics: General News, Politics, Media, Focused Discussions.
Strategy: You are unlikely to get to far here unless you are posting about industry-wide news or the top cryptocurrencies. Focus on media commentary, creating visual industry insights and being helpful in the daily general discussions.
Topics: ICO Analysis, Announcements
Strategy: Self-posts analyzing ICO projects and your initial announcement go here. Encourage others to review you and monitor your reputation closely – this is a due diligence community.
Topics: Altcoin news, product announcements
Strategy: New ICOs are discussed in the “ICO and Token Sale Jibba Jabba” thread at the top. Share third party press coverage you get here (don’t submit links straight to your website).
Topics: News or thought leadership pieces related to Ethereum OR post-ico ERC-20 projects.
Strategy: Write a thought piece as a guest post about Ethereum, or share news about the progress of an ERC-20 project that you would like to partner with. If the post is successful this builds mutual trust when you pitch them on the partnership as it shows you can drive traffic to their project. Do not discuss your ICO, market prices, or exchange news here.
Topics: Bounty campaign discussion and announcements
Topics: News and prospects for Ethereum investors, ICO announcements
Strategy: The audience isn’t big, but it’s a highly targeted community specifically focused on investing in Ethereum projects. Feel free to share your announcements and blog posts here!
Topics: ICO Analysis, News, Ideas, Insights, Airdrops
Strategy: Self-promotion is discouraged, share reviews and news coverage from third party news sources.
Topics: Airdrop Campaign Announcements
Strategy: Airdropping is a useful post-ico strategy that builds word of mouth (people love free stuff), helps scale adoption, and even potentially steals market cap from other tokens (depending on who you drop to).
There are several communities that I excluded such as r/ico, r/NewCryptoinfo/, r/CryptoICONews that look like they have fake readers as there is no engagement in the subreddit.
Aging Your Profile & Karma
Many of the cryptocurrency subreddits require you to have some experience with reddit before posting. For example, “users with comment karma of at least 5 and an account age of at least 7 days are allowed to post submissions” on r/ethtrader.
Karma is a simple score for your account – 1 vote = 1 karma. It isn’t redeemable for anything, just social proof. You are less likely to get banned for promoting if you have a trustworthy, high-karma account. So, sign up well-before you start your ICO campaign to age the account and comment on some posts to get more Karma. Submitting memes is another easy way to get Karma as they are not heavily moderated and liberally upvoted.
You can buy aged profiles from various forums but many of these have been hacked and then resold. So I’m not going to recommend that.
A third option would be to pay someone who already has aged accounts to post for you.
Reddit Strategy – What To Submit
Pick one of the communities I mentioned above and filter by “Top”. This will give you some ideas of what content performs best. Plus you can use this same method to find things to talk about on your own company’s blog. Clearly, this subreddit wants to read about the problem that your project is solving.
In general original content, visual content, questions, and controversial posts perform best. But, you really need to check the subreddit rules to see what they allow.
For news, the Reddit community is bullish. If you submit positive news and market commentary it will do better than criticism. It doesn’t help to trash talk competitors here.
Again, be very careful about submitting links from your own website. They are likely to be downvoted and having more than 10% of submissions as self-promotional could result in a ban.
Ranking In Reddit
The Reddit algo is quite a bit different than Google.
Factor #1 Upvotes
Ranking in Reddit is heavily dependent on upvotes with the first 10 being the most important. If you can get 10 upvotes within the first few minutes of posting, this greatly increases your chances of making it to the front page and unlocking a massive amount of exposure.
Factor #2 Upvote/Downvote Ratio
Each post displays the ratio of upvotes to downvotes. In large subreddits you need a 90% upvote ratio to reach the top positions (by default, Reddit shows the “hottest posts” instead of the “top” most upvoted posts).
Factor #3 Comments
As a community platform Reddit wants to see engagement. That means people commenting and replying to comments. It’s important you reply to comments as soon as possible to increase your chances of ranking. Engagement means your post is “hot” and worthy of showing in this section.
X Factor: Title & Content
While the title and content doesn’t have any direct bearing on your ranking in Reddit (they matter to Google) they do indirectly influence your upvotes. Bad content gets downvoted. So, post great content and optimize your title to increase click throughs.
I haven’t done any experimentation with surrogate SEO on Reddit, however this is something I would love to test. Surrogate SEO = ranking your article on someone else’s high authority blog instead of your own. People also do it for fun or political parody – this thread got Emperor Palpatine to show up when you Google “The Senate” though the image has since been removed. There is some debate as to whether this technique works anymore:
Starting Your Own Subreddit
Some ICOs create their own dedicated subreddits (r/bancor for example). Registering your subreddit is a good idea if you have a community manager to answer questions and comments. Creating a subreddit is easy, but there are two requirements:
- You need a 30 day old account.
- You need some amount of positive Karma (the exact amount is kept secret to prevent spam). We have not had any issues creating with 100+ Karma accounts.
Reddiquette: Dos And Don’ts
Do: Read the subreddit rules before posting – every one is different
Do: Research the “top” posts and post high quality content
Do: Respond to comments
Do: Be honest. Redditors are aggressive fact checkers and can easily tell if you’re pushing an agenda, which can backfire on the brand.
Don’t: Promote yourself more than 10% of the time
Don’t: Change the title of news posts to be misleading
Don’t: Ask for upvotes in your post – it will get moderated
Don’t: Submit every post from your blog to Reddit. This is not Twitter, save it for the high quality stuff.
For more read the official “Reddiquette” guide here
You should also know that each community has their own guidelines. If you don’t follow them your posts will be downvoted and you may even get banned from the sub. They are not obvious – scroll down to find them. Here is an example of the r/cryptocurrency rules:
Experiment #1 Reddit for Blackhats
If you’re anything like us you might have thought how can I manipulate this. We ran a little experiment by upvoting each others articles. There was approximately 30 people working on this from different IPs. Everyone’s account was new except for one (aged 3 years with 100+ Karma). And everybody except for the aged account got banned. If you are going to manipulate votes – which I do not recommend – do it with aged accounts. It would also be interesting to test this at scale with microworkers, but I haven’t gotten around to it yet.
Experiment #2 Original Images
Something that I’ve found success with on Reddit is creating original images. These do well because few people put the effort into good photography/graphic design and would rather take the lazy route of just submitting links. I suggest submitting them to your target subreddit and then cross-posting on r/infographics and r/dataisbeautiful.
Experiment #3 AMA
AMA (Ask Me Anything) is a phrase that can be added to the end of a post, letting everyone know that you’re here to answer Redditor questions. It’s like a live, text-only interview.
If you’ve successfully built a business, r/Entrepreneur or if you are a big shot r/AMA are great places to share your story (be ready to answer the comments).
Here are the keys to a successful AMA:
Ok, I’m kidding. You can be butt-ugly because this interview is not on camera. But seriously, you need to be interesting. If you have not accomplished anything noteworthy in your cryptocurrency project or career yet, your AMA will not go far. That’s why I recommend doing two of these: one pre-ico in the ICO announcement subreddit and one post-ico once in a larger community (like Entrepreneur or AMA). The pitch to the larger community can be about how much your raised.
Here are the real factors:
- Crafting your title. Read my blog post about writing titles to increase click through rate.
- Promote the s*&t out of it. This, will get you more comments, upvotes and hence you will rank higher. Blast your email list with reminders and put it out on social, and
By following this we had an AMA receive more than 700 upvotes, 250 comments, and thousands of website visitors.
Cross posting your content between related subreddits can increase your exposure. Consider side-stepping niche shoulders when creating your content. For example, a partnership with Microsoft would be relevant content for r/microsoft, r/cryptocurrency, and r/business.
It’s common courtesy to designate cross posts in your title like this: [x-post r/originalsubredditname].
Here are some examples of crossposts:
Advertising On Reddit
The advantage of advertising on Reddit is that as a “newish” ad platform clicks are relatively cheap. That also means it’s lacking features you might have come to expect from more mature platforms such as Google and Facebook. There is also some upside here in that the Reddit network hasn’t banned crypto ads like the aforementioned networks have. I think it’s pretty unlikely given the amount of crypto users and how Reddit advocates freedom of speech.
Successful advertisements on Reddit really shouldn’t look like advertisements – in fact Reddit commenters can be quite hostile towards companies that are just pitching products. Advertise as if you were a member of the community – ask interesting questions, give away free token or product, etc.
Moz has an advertiser survival guide here for Reddit that is dated, but has some great examples of successful advertisements like this one:
- Pick a relevant community and sort by “top” and “this week” to find the best topics
- Know the community rules
- Use or build an aged account for posting
- Cross-post and promote on your channels for more exposure
So, have you tried marketing on Reddit? Post your experience in the comments below.
And if this article was helpful, share it with a friend.