In this Reddit tutorial you'll get an overview of what this social site is all about, how to use Reddit to promote your blog or website and why you should use it as part of your business marketing efforts.
Table of Contents
1. Introduction to How to Use Reddit
1.1 What is Reddit ?
Reddit is a social bookmarking website with more than 170 000 000 unique visitors each month that allows you to submit links (or text with links) pointing to various web pages and resources like images, videos, blog articles or just ideas and thoughts. Once submitted, people can upvote or downvote your link, write comments, ask questions and generally interact with whatever you're trying to show them.
1.2 Reddit's Structure - What are the Sub-Reddits ?
Reddit is divided into categories called sub-reddits, each of which has a topic and usually its own niche community of people interested in it. For example, the second most popular sub-reddit is called AdviceAnimals (~4 million subscribers) and is targeted towards animal lovers. Another similar but more-targeted sub-reddit is the cats one (~200 000 subscribers).
When you first enter Reddit, you are presented with a list of popular links from different sub-reddits that you are subscribed to by default - usually the biggest and most general ones. This is called The Front Page and is a syndication of the most upvoted and commented links.
Each sub-reddit is essentially a page on its own with unique content, branding, rules and audience.
1.3 Creating an Account on Reddit
Using Reddit is all about content submission and upvoting. In order to submit a link you'll need to create an account, but don't worry - it takes only a minute and an email confirmation is not required.
It's generally a good idea to verify your account nevertheless, since if you ever forget your password there'll be no other way to retrieve a new one.
1.4 Subscribing to and using Sub-Reddits
Once you are logged in, the first thing you'll see is a slightly different Front Page. On the left you see a panel with few tabs, the "Subscribed" one highlighted by default - that's your default front page with all the sub-reddits you're subscribed to by default. In order to unsubscribe, click the EDIT link at the top right corner to see a full list with all the sub-reddits and your own list of subscriptions.
1.5 Adding Friends on Reddit
Reddit is a social community so it's pretty normal to be able to add friends to your account and actually following their posting and commenting. Adding friends is easy - just go to Preferences -> Friends, from there you can add, delete and view a list of all your friends.
In order to view submissions only from your friends, just go to http://www.reddit.com/r/friends.
Here'a a related article on How to search Reddit users.
1.6 What are the MultiReddits ?
In order to learn how to use reddit effectively you must understand the idea behind multireddits.
On the panel on the left of your Front Page you'll see a "Multireddits" sub-panel. A multireddit is a relatively new feature which basically allows you to create multiple customized front pages, basically combining sub-reddits. Let's say you are on Reddit for fun so you want to be subscribed to Funny, WTF, gifs, videos, pics and other general sub-reddits where you can find amusing content to share on Facebook. So you subscribe to all these subreddits to see them on your front page. But what if you have an animal or you are a veterinary and sometimes you want to easily filter that front page with only the relevenat sub-reddit information, like links from AnimalAdvice and veterinary ?
So instead of manually going into each sub-reddit, you create a multireddit and add subreddits to it. Then when you can easily switch between your default front page and your multireddits, instantly changing the links feed you get on your front page.
You might be wondering why is that necessary if you have only a couple of sub-reddits that you are interested in. If that's the case - it's probably not worth it. But if you are a hardcore redditor (that's how Reddit users are called on Reddit), you'l probably find this handy when using Reddit. Or if you are a marketer and use reddit because you work for several clients and projects - you want to keep them separate and easily manageable.
2.0 Submitting Links and Reddit's Voting System
Using Reddit is all about link submissions and voting. Let's find out how we can submit a link and what we can do after that.
2.1 Submitting a link
So now you have an account, you have an idea about how to use Reddit's structure and you are ready to post your first content. But how do you use Reddit's submission system ?
For each sub-reddit, you can submit either a URL (the Submit a new link button), or a text post (the Submit a new text post button). You can find these buttons either on your front page or on the right side of each sub-reddit. Once you click it, you're presented with a simple form with few fields where you can specify a title, url, a subreddit (if you've come here through the front page) and a text (if you've clicked the "Submit a new text post" button).
Read more: Top 10 mistakes new Redditors make
2.2 Upvoting & Downvoting
Once submitted, your link is live and visible to everyone on the sub-reddit you've chosen to post to. Now your audience can upvote and downvote your link, comment on it and also upvote/downvote the comments themselves. The more upvotes your link receives, the higher in the sub-reddit list it will be, the more exposure it'll get for your content. This is how to get popular on Reddit. Note that the final score for your link (i.e. the total number of votes it gets) equals the number of upvotes minus the number of downvotes, so if you get 50 upvotes and 51 downvotes - guess how much your score will be - zero.
You must understand that staying higher on the list of links on any sub-reddit is crucial to using reddit effectively and is determined by a number of factors including, but not limited to the total score of your submission. Reddit's algorithm measures all the activity around your link, including number of upvotes, number of downvotes, the number of comments, the upvotes/downvotes on each comment, the speed of upvoting/downvoting, the speed of commenting, the number of views and clicks your link gets, the karma of the people that upvote, your own karma, et cetera. (we talk about karma below)
I'll say it again - learning how to get on the front page of Reddit is absolutely crucial for your marketing efforts. How to use Reddit should be a synonym of how to get and stay on the front page.
Commenting while using Reddit is crucial. That is how you get popular on Reddit. Each link can be commented on and each comment can have sub-comments, upvotes and downvotes on itself. The more upvotes your comment has, the higher in the comments list it'll get.
Top comments usually spawn discussions, get shared and rank higher in the search engines. At the same time the links inside the comments are do-follow so this is one of the ways to use Reddit's comments to drive traffic and promote your blog or website.
2.4 Formatting Your Comments
Commenting is crucial, but adding formatting to your comments is also quite important. This will make them visually more appealing and therefore increase their engagement rate. A good place to start with when learning how to format your comments is Reddit's Comments FAQ, which is very easy to read so I suggest you read it now, it takes only a minute.For a more elaborate reddit guide on formatting, have a look at this Reddit Formatting Tutorial.
2.5 Linking to Comments
As a final note on commenting, linking to a comment can be quite useful. Under the comment itself there is a "Permalink" text. When you click it, you'll be redirected to a page designated to that particular comment. In order to share the comment, just copy the URL of that page.
2.6 Account Karma
There's the concept of Karma on Reddit - that's the number displayed just next to your account, which is usually 1 for new accounts. And getting account karma while you use Reddit is generally a good idea.
Karma is one of the gamification techniques used to engage the redditors (that's how reddit's users are usually called throughout the site). You get karma when your submissions, both links and comments, get upvotes. And you lose karma when people downvote you.
2.7 Benefits of Having High Karma
Karma is not something you can redeem or otherwise benefit from in a tangible manner. It's pretty similar to credits on Quora, but there you can actually ask more questions and promote more content. In Reddit all you get is prestige, some redditors take pride in their karma. You basically earn social recognition in the community by providing help and valuable information for free.
Or at least that's the idea.
For a marketer, however, Reddit is not a game, therefore we are more interested on how to use Reddit's karma to get exposure for our blog, website and business in general. There is one major benefit you get from having high karma which relates to marketers, but we'll talk more about that below.
2.8 What is Reddit's Reddiquette ?
The Rediquette is basically the "etiquette" that every "redditor" is supposed to follow in order to not being kicked out either manually from a moderator or automatically by the filter. Reddit's filter is a major element of the whole ecosystem and you have to understand it's role and the way it's supposed to work in order to take the maximum out of Reddit's traffic using it. Needless to say, you need to at least skim through the rediquette before you post anything. You can't use Reddit if you're banned.
2.9 Reddit's Moderators
No tutorial on how to use Reddit can go without this. Each sub-reddit has a moderator or moderators who look after all the submissions, most of the comments and are generally trying to make people respect Reddit's reddiquette. Most of the moderators take this quite seriously so you probably want to adhere to the rules of the specific sub-reddit. Note that these rules are different from the general Reddit rules and are unique per sub-reddit, you can usually find them on the right side of the page or somewhere around the post submission form.
3.0 How to Use Reddit as Part of Your Marketing Strategy
Now that you have a general idea about Reddit's structure and general usage, let's talk a little bit about why you would want to use Reddit as part of your marketing strategy and what to expect.
3.1 Types of People who use Reddit
There are two types of people on Reddit - consumers and marketers.
The consumers are the majority of users who use Reddit to read the news, articles of interest related to their work and hobbies, or just to have fun watching and sharing entertaining videos and images on the social networks, participating in communities and commenting on relevant for them topics.
The marketers are all the people who are actually use Reddit trying to sell something in a non-direct, non-obtrusive way also known as inbound marketing - by creating a sales funnel around interesting content that is relevant to their target audience. You can recognize the role of the sub-reddit here as a place where your target market gathers. So in addition to learning how to reddit in general, you must master the sub-reddits where your prospects hang out.
3.2 Reddit's Purpose from a Business Perspective
Aside from the standard "community", "cultural" and "helping and sharing with others" mentality discussed in both the Reddiquette and various articles on the internet, Reddit's purpose is making money. The website is venture-backed and a significant amount of money has already been put in there. You don't think the founders have created it for the sake of just helping others with no intention of monetization, don't you ?
3.3 The Battle for Upvotes
Having said that, it's pretty obvious that everyone fight for upvotes. And "upvote" here is just a synonym for "exposure", and most of the marketers who use Reddit are very much aware of that.
Without getting into much details, Reddit is nothing more than a giant marketing machine with a ton of marketers, PRs, small business owners and growth hackers who are trying to penetrate Reddit's defences (which we'll discuss below and in general throughout Reddit Secrets) at any given time. That's what this Reddit tutorial is about.
Because the more upvotes you get, the more traffic you get, the more people you attract to your marketing funnel and the more conversions and profit your business generates.
And by "penetrating Reddit's defences" I mean manipulating your submission's score. That's why there are manual and automatic protection mechanisms in place. How to use Reddit to promote your blog if you can't even submit your link ?
3.4 Reddit's Filter - The Algorithm you Want to Know About
There are two types of spam protection on Reddit - Manual and Automatic.
The manual line of defence are the moderators who watch for any non-trustworthy submissions like people trying to directly advertise their product or blog there. You want to advertise ? Buy an ad from them. :) That's probably the dumbest way to use Reddit to drive traffic though, unless you have a substantial funding backing you. A better way would be to buy reddit upvotes, for example. Or even buy reddit accounts ?
Reddit's Filter is the automatic protection system that determines whether your submission will be accepted or not. And it's brutal. If your submission gets caught by the spam filter, you wouldn't even see that. After you click submit, you'll see your post "Live" but in fact it wouldn't be live until approved by the system. The only way to see if your link is actually there is to log out and search for your submission in the sub-reddit's list. If it's not - you are screwed.
This, of course, is exactly due to the tremendous amount of people trying to cheat the system, just like any other social website like Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. Don't believe me ? Type "Buy Facebook Followers" on Google and you'll see what I'm talking about. Reddit is no exception.
3.5 Reasons to Get Caught by the Filter
When you post a link and it doesn't show up after a couple of minutes two things might have happened. First - your link is caught by the filter. And second - your accounts has been banned. Or rather "shadowbanned", more on that here.
The different sub-reddits have different filter rules and there are different factors that increase the chance to get caught in the filter, including lack of action diversity and low account karma.
And here's where the karma comes in place - every marketer wants to be able to post as many links as he wants and upvote as much as necessary while using Reddit. If not careful though, his journey will be short.
3.6 How to use Reddit Without Getting Caught by the Filter ?
Here's where it gets complex. And a beginner's tutorial on Reddit is definitely not the place to write on that topic, so let's keep that for later articles.
I hope you enjoyed this small reddit guide ! I'll finish this with a brief glossary of terms commonly used by Redditors.
Keep reading Reddit Secrets to find more tips about how to get on the front page of Reddit !
4.0 Reddit Glossary
What is AMA ?
What is a MEME ?
An idea, concept or a catchphrase that spreads on the internet very fast.
What is NSFW ?
Not Safe For Work. Don't open these while you use Reddit !
What is SFW ?
Safe For Work :)
What is Reddit Gold ?
Another tier of currency, basically pre-paid points that unlock features and donate reddit. You can also gift Reddit Gold to another member.
What is TIL ?
Today I Learned - there's an actual sub-reddit dedicated to that.
What is TL; DR ?
Too Long, Didn't Read
What is OP in Reddit ?
This stands for Original Poster. Often used in comments to refer to the person who posted the link.
What is MIC ?
More In Comments
What is IIRC ?
If I Recall Correctly
What's an upvote in Reddit ?
Something you want while using Reddit. The more upvotes your link/comment gets, the higher in the sub-reddit rankings it'll get.
What's an downvote in Reddit ?
The opposite of an upvote - something you don't want for your submission. :)
What's Reddiquette ?
The general Reddit guide on how to behave while using it, guidelines and rules. Can be found here.
What's Karma in Reddit ?
Account's score - upvotes on your links/comments increase your karma, downvotes decrease it. Having higher karma decreases the chances of your submission to be caught by Reddit's filter.