Following the crowd onto the big platforms is sometimes a good idea, and sometimes it’s not. Huge online monopolies like Facebook and Youtube have great advantages, but this means that everyone understands their value and thinks that they are the place to be; a saturated advertising environment is going to drive up competition and make your ad campaigns more expensive.


 Pinterest and Reddit Marketing 


It’s therefore worth thinking outside the box and working on different sites like Pinterest and Reddit; these offer a fantastic alternative for advertising and it’s often significantly more efficient to run campaigns with them. This is because they operate on the basis of constructing and discussing niche interest; users do half your work for you by actively building fora for their interests and priming themselves for making a purchase.

For example, if you want to sell camping equipment on Facebook, your target users are unlikely to be thinking about camping equipment when they see your ad or your page; after all, they’re online to build their own social brand by interacting with their friends and planning new events for themselves (perhaps they’re even online to stalk friends of friends or impossible romantic interests).

Even if Facebook targeting is helping you out, their inclination to make a purchase is a matter of luck. But if you want to sell your camping equipment on Pinterest or Reddit, your prospective customers are already looking for what you’re selling. Their user experience is specifically tailored to discussing and exploring all kinds of niches; if you can get your product in front of their eyes, they’ll be far more likely to make a purchase.

Pinterest works by allowing users to collate image-themed content on subject boards; users create ‘boards’ based on particular topics and can subsequently ‘pin’ images and products to their core theme. At this point, it’s possible for them to follow either other users or particular boards published by other users, and to make and receive recommendations centered around their interests. They use the site as a repository for ideas, and often to plan events like weddings or holidays.

It’s easy to see how to advertise here; you could theoretically run a very simple board for your business and have a social media manager interact with other users in order to build up traffic to your product pages. However, Pinterest also allows you to create a business account with access to ‘rich’ pins, which use meta-tags to boost rates of ‘repinning’ (sharing) and provide more analytic information to the business user. Pinterest operates as a kind of visual search engine, so you may have to do a little bit of research and optimise your SEO, but it really gives you the resources to interact with potential customers who are actively searching for the niches which your products occupy.

Reddit is in many ways conceptually similar but operates in a slightly different way. It is composed of a series of pages on every topic imaginable where users post comments on the subjects which interest them; topics are organised according to ‘subreddits,’ and users submit links so that other users can vote them up or down. As a result, the site automatically filters the best material in a given topic to the top of the relevant page.

Advertising on Reddit is very different from working on other platforms. Users are hostile to ads which seem inept or insincere, and they do not like to feel that they are being manipulated. This sounds bad, but it is in fact, the opportunity that a sensible advertiser is looking for; if you present an ad which is transparent about being an ad but also reads with the conversational style of an ordinary post, the campaign which you can run with Reddit’s user-friendly advertising services can be really effective. It may take more research to set up and target your ad campaign than on a platform like Facebook, but, with the right choices, you’ll see a far better conversion rate.

These sites may be very different from the most prominent social media sites, but their advertising potential is extraordinary and you should definitely be paying attention; it’s always worth considering alternative methods to make your business take-off, especially if your marketing budget isn’t as big as you’d like.



 Alejandro Betancourt