Reddit guerilla marketing: how to market on Reddit

Updated June 28, 2023 in Reddit, Reddit Marketing, Tips & Tricks

This article is part of our extensive series on Reddit Marketing. If you haven’t read our Complete Guide to Reddit Marketing, we suggest you start here. Enjoy!

Guerilla marketing is a solved problem. ?

But it’s not really something people talk about much…

Reddit marketers have never banded together in communities like they did for SEO or Facebook ads.

Probably because it’s harder to get started.

Whenever you guerilla market on Reddit, you have to convincingly look like you’re not marketing.

Remember, these are not Reddit ads – Reddit advertising is great, but guerilla marketing to your target audience offers so much more.

And that’s where this guide comes in!

We wrote this guide for entrepreneurs and marketers who are looking to promote themselves on Reddit.

Sit down, grab a coffee, and let’s get cooking with some good old Reddit guerilla marketing.

What you need to know before marketing on Reddit

redditors be like
The typical reaction of a Redditor who’s just been marketed to

The Reddit community really doesn’t like to be marketed to.

If Reddit users figure out you’re marketing to them… You’ll be thrown to the wolves.

So stay subtle and keep a sense of plausible deniability for your brand.

In order to succeed in Reddit marketing, you need to be able to sound like a normal Redditor, and if you can’t do that…

You’re gonna have a tough time.

You’ve been warned.

What’s the first thing you need to do if you want to market on Reddit?

Pretty simple…

Step #1: Find your target subreddits

Depending on the products or services you’re pushing, you’re going to have to find the right communities to promote them in.

Depending on your business, whether it’s SaaS, local, publishing, eCommerce, or something else — you’ll have different target subreddits.

Here’s a sample table that breaks down some popular eCommerce product niches and their respective communities.

Ecommerce CategorySubredditSubscriber count
Male Fashion/r/malefashionadvice2,300,000
Female fashion/r/femalefashionadvice & /r/frugalfemalefashion1,421,000
High quality goods/r/BuyitforLife728,000
Computer hardware/r/buildapc2,200,000
Games and gaming/r/pcgaming1,900,000
Apps for iOS/r/apple1,400,000
Apps for Android/r/android2,200,000
Cool tech/r/gadgets16,700,000
Beard products/r/beards199,000

You can use Redditlist and Metareddit to create your own “list of targets”.

Once you’ve found your target subreddit, you have a couple of options you can take with your Reddit account….

Step #2: Build a reputation in the community (or buy it)

Reddit karma
Reddit Karma

Your Reddit account needs 3 things before it can start promoting any kind of product or service in a subreddit.

1. Sitewide reputation

If you want your promotions to look realistic, your account needs to have a diverse posting history across different subreddits, even if they’re not your target audience.

You need some karma (or karma points) from lots of subreddits – this is basically your “general reputation as a Redditor”.

The more karma points your account has from general subreddits like /r/askreddit, /r/history, and /r/worldnews, the better.

We recommend at least 2,000 karma points and 1 year on the account before starting a Reddit marketing strategy to promote your product.

2. Community reputation

Community reputation is the karma you make within the subreddits that you’re trying to promote to.

It’s really important for the communities you’ll be posting across to see that you’re one of them.

It’s the whole social categorization principle.

The more meaningful the posts you’ve made within your target subreddits, the higher the reputation you’ll have within that community.

Worth noting:

If you’re promoting your content on /r/malefashionadvice and you’re not sure if you can enter /r/frugalmalefashion before having built up a reputation – worry not. Closely related communities are fine to cross-promote to.

Don’t want to put in the time to get a bunch of karma?

We recommend gaining that karma yourself to start off.

If you can’t get to 2,000 karma – chances are you’ll have trouble organically promoting anything across Reddit.

Then again… The lazy man (or woman) always finds a way to get more karma?

Now that you have an account with which you can post… It’s time to start content marketing.

Step #3: Use these guerilla marketing strategies

A Reddit guerilla marketer planning his next move
A Reddit guerilla marketer planning his next move

You have loads of options when it comes to how you promote your product to the Reddit community – and ultimately…

Your success will depend entirely on your ability to build reputation among Reddit users and post in a way that looks organic within the community.

Here are some tactics for building your campaign for Reddit traffic:

Basic Tactics: How do I promote my business on Reddit?

These are pretty easy to get started with. All they take is some effort and strategic upvotes/downvotes. And they are a perfect addition to your social media marketing plans.

Tactic #1: Find a product recommendation thread

A lot of product-focused communities on Reddit have a weekly recommendation or questions threads – These make for a great marketing channel.

malefashion advice on Reddit

For example – /r/MaleFashionAdvice has a Should/Shouldn’t buy thread 2 times every week.

That’s two opportunities a week to do something like this:

  1. Account #1 asking whether you should buy a product from store x or store y (one of these should be yours).
  2. Reply to the first comment from account #2, show support for your own store, and make sure not to go overboard.
  3. Add a few upvotes to the parent comment to get the ball rolling

To avoid suspicion, I recommend mentioning other companies in the same comment as you mention- at the very least you’ll have plausible deniability for your company!

Tactic #2: Tell a story
old book
The more believable the story, the better

One of the most successful methods for entrepreneurs to gain traction on Reddit is to turn their venture into a “subreddit case study” – this is when they progressively engage with a community with a story.

Ever heard of

They started off by constantly engaging the /r/beards and the /r/entrepreneur community about their business idea and concept.

This is absolutely free marketing and free feedback about your venture, without resorting to blog spam.

Here are some subreddit posts that have done well following this format.

  1. “From an idea to replacing my full-time salary in 4 months. How I did it, and what’s next!”
  2. “4 months ago I quit my job to start a brewery, I’ve been waiting for this photo…”
  3. I quit my dead end $60k sales job and started a marketing firm. Today I closed my books on my sixth month.”
  4. “Just finished my first attempt at making my own bag. Any and all advice is greatly welcomed. :)”

Take note! – None of the top threads are promoted posts nor directly asking for a sale.

They’re all following a piece of advice that floats around in founder <> VC circles which applies to community marketing as well…

“If you want money, ask for advice, and if you want advice, ask for money”

Tactic #3: Insert mentions of your products into your post

The most common way people try to do content marketing on Reddit is just blatantly inserting links into comments.

This has about an 85% chance of blowing up in your face, but if done correctly and with the proper approach – this could work.

It’s OKAY to try this in the following circumstances:

1. When the product you are promoting directly answers a question that’s being asked

2. When you include 1 or 2 links to products belonging to competitors. Make sure to choose competitors that are more expensive or have a worse website. You want to promote yourself after all ?

Advanced tactics

These advanced tactics are less common and more complicated to execute, but if done right will help you build a community that loves your product.

Tactic #4: Create controversy
boy is shocked by controversy
What well-planned controversy looks like

This one is perhaps one of the most fun tactics to execute. It’s tricky to do with your own content correctly so be warned!

  1. Create a post on a subreddit promoting your product/app. “Hey /r/xxxx I spent 20 hours making this handbag… What do you think?”
  2. Choose 2 sides of an argument and start arguing through those accounts in the post.
    A: I’m so tired of these obvious promotional posts…
    B: I dunno we should probably be encouraging artisans
  3. Escalate the argument and selectively add upvotes, downvotes, and other comments to introduce virality.
  4. Watch as other people join in. If you create enough drama you’ll get linked from /r/subredditdrama.
  5. Or maybe you’re the one who put that in subredditdrama…
Tactic #5: Ask a leading question

Did you just finish designing your business cards for your new company? Great!

What a great opportunity for free promotion from the /r/design subreddit.

Why stop there? Throw it over to /r/marketing to review as well!

Other ideas:

  • Did you just finish building your website or logo? – Ask /r/web_design for a review
  • Did you just finish getting photos done of a model in your t-shirt? Ask /r/design, /r/entrepreneur for a review
  • Did your store just start to accept Monero? Share it over at /r/monero
    You get the idea
Tactic #6: Use mention monitoring software to look for high-interest phrases

Have you heard of Brand24 or Mention?

They’re kickass brand monitoring tools that allow you to get notified whenever someone mentions your brand name or target keywords on Reddit.

If you want to kickstart your Reddit marketing strategy, keep track of the keywords related to the main product you sell and comment when you see them mentioned on Reddit.

Tactic #7: Tell an authentic story about a competitor

Note: Do not make up stories – they will be found out and it will be obvious that you are shilling your company.

  1. Retell a negative experience about a competitor
  2. Leave a comment on the thread agreeing with the negative experience and mentioning your brand and a couple of competitors.
  3. Buy some timed out upvotes all around to make everything seem more popular.
Tactic #8: Insert photos of your product as the feature

If you sell a product that’s highly photogenic, or that has a twist which makes it stand out in some way – it could be a great candidate as a photo post.

Tactic #9: Be helpful!

This will tie in nicely with your Account/Karma building so you get to kill 2 birds with one stone here.

Try and find questions people are asking in subreddits and answer them with a helpful response! Nothing earth-shattering here, but the more helpful you are, the more clicks you will get to your profile. And from there, people will see your history where you have most likely placed a link to your company website in another comment using one of the other techniques. Sweet, sweet brand engagement.

Tactic #10: Start your own AMA (Ask me anything)

To pull this one off you will need to take a very interesting angle for engaging content. Time to get creative here. Reddit recommends:

  1. Something uncommon that plays a central role in your life.
  2. A truly interesting and unique event.

Want to promote your Bike site? How about talking about how you have one of the rarest bikes around and you rode the state/country with it?

Now, before getting carried away you will need some kind of proof, or else this will backfire greatly. This is where stretching the truth becomes a double-edged sword. Use with caution.

Tactic #11: Contest giveaway

This one is pretty simple. Give away one of your products or services. This ties back into the beginning of this post – are you polishing a ?? Or do you actually have something good that people want? If the latter, perfect. There are a bunch of subreddits that will help like /r/FREE or r/Contest.

To make things more interesting, include an ask from the user base. Reddit is, after all, a social media site – so have some fun with it. Perhaps you ask for people to photoshop your product onto something funny, or to just take a picture, etc.

Want a shortcut to building community reputation?

1. Browse a subreddit by “new”
2. Pick 5 threads, buy 1-5 upvotes per thread and leave a comment.
3. Buy 5 upvotes for your comment

The tools of the trade

These are the “must-have” tools when you’re using Reddit for guerilla marketing.

Later For Reddit

Meet LaterforReddit

LaterForReddit is a subreddit analysis and post scheduling tool. It’s got lots of great free features and is a strong addition to any Reddit marketing arsenal.

The most useful tool is their post scheduling tool – it’s the perfect way to find out the best time to post on a subreddit and allows you to schedule that post as well.


SnoopSnoo is perfect for narrowing down the subreddits that are most relevant to your niche.

After you enter your target subreddit, it’ll generate a cloud map of similar subreddits.

Cool isn’t it?

Reddit Insight

Meet Reddit Insight –  a full featured analytics suite for Reddit marketing campaigns.

Reddit insight is a brilliant little tool that allows you to easily track the success of a submission or a user. Use it to see upvote trends and patterns.

Getting on the Front Page of Reddit

the front page of Reddit

This is the single best thing (and worst!) thing that could happen to your business.

Best because of the exposure your product or service will get from the sheer number of eyeballs that the post will get.

Worst because if your website is only on a shared hosting plan or just a lower plan in general, it might not be able to handle the incoming stampede of users thus causing your server to crash 🙁 and lose all those potential visitors.

So how does one get to the front page? See below.

How do posts get popular on Reddit?

By getting upvotes. Simple huh? The catch is, you need to get them fast. And you need to get people engaged and start a discussion which will, in turn, create a snowball effect of upvotes, comments, and content.

What should I post on Reddit?

Popular posts will include some sort of Visualization. Reddit users love visuals. Cat pictures, charts, gifs, etc. Use them as much as possible.

Being timely, funny, and original will also help immensely.

Now go over the Reddit tactics mentioned above again. Pick 1 or 2 or 3, and get posting. And remember: just be careful about getting to the dreaded front page. 😉


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