This article was originally published in 2014. It is still very relevant so I wanted to post it again. I’ve updated it with some some additional thoughts throughout.
Reddit is known as The Front Page of the Internet. It is a place where people can post interesting links and start interesting conversations. Reddit has its own unique culture and community. Each community is known as a sub-reddit. It is different than Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other social networks in that content can be upvoted and downvoted by members of the community. Based on your upvotes and downvotes you get points known as karma. The content that gets the most upvotes will end up on the front page of the sub-reddit it was submitted to. The video below does a great job of breaking it down, even further.
People often ask if they can promote their business on reddit. This is very difficult to do. Each sub-reddit has its own rules around what can and cannot be posted. Some groups allow promotion. It is best to go into a sub-reddit, or reddit as a whole, and engage first. Get familiar with the reddit ecosystem before you start to promote anything. You really want to acquire some karma before you promote anything. Think of karma as credibility. If you go onto Reddit and start promoting with no karma, there is a great chance you will be called out for it.
Redditors, sometimes depending on the sub-reddit, can be extremely opinionated and honest. They let you know how they feel about the content you post ad share. They will let you know when they agree with you, and when they don’t.
I have found some minor success on reddit in the sub-reddit r/AdviceAnimals. It didn’t have anything to do with business but gave me a great understanding how reddit and social media as a whole could and should be used.
One of my favorite sub-reddits is r/AdviceAnimals. Advice Animals are a type of internet meme (also called image macros) that have taken off in recent years. It’s basically a picture with text on the top and the bottom of the image that helps people make funny observations about our culture. About a year ago, after seeing hundreds of Advice Animal posts, I set a goal for myself of getting to the front page of Advice Animals. Seemed easy enough.
Bad Luck Brian
I submitted my first Advice Animal, featuring Bad Luck Brian, around March 2013, with the utmost confidence. I was sure that everyone would love it. The post got 4 upvotes and 9 downvotes. That’s -5 votes! Everyone that thinks that Facebook should have a dislike button should join the Reddit community. Reddit has the downvote button and it is not fun. My first attempt at getting some “Reddit karma” on Advice Animals was disappointing to say this least.
I did not post my next Advice Animal, until December 2013. I didn’t have a new idea and to tell you the truth, I was still recovering from the initial blow from my Bad Luck Brian fail. I decided to give my take on Futurama Fry. It got 4 downvotes but 6 upvotes! That’s 2 points total. At least it wasn’t negative!
Super Cool Ski Instructor
Next, I submitted this, Super Cool Ski Instructor Advice Animal in February 2014. I based this Advice Animal on the play “Waiting For Godot” by Samuel Beckett. I thought it was funny, but Reddit not so much. It received 5 downvotes with 9 upvotes. Net 4 points total.
At this point, I started to try and analyze why my posts had not taken off. I thought this would be a lot easier and realized that my next post had to be super relatable and something that people could get behind.
That Would Be Great
I wasn’t getting my hopes up but had a good feeling about this That Would Be Great Advice Animal.It totally took off. In a few hours, it had several hundred upvotes and they continued to grow. I’ve never refreshed my browser so many times in one day. I excitedly shared the link with my brother, a fellow Redditor. He wrote back, “You made that? It’s on the front page of Advice Animals!” I clicked on Advice Animals and sure enough, there it was. Number 24. I was completely floored. The post peaked at position 22 out of 25 on the front page of Advice Animals with 1,722 points. To date, it has 2,730 points, with 3,288 downvotes… but 6,018 upvotes!
Front page of Advice Animals … Achievement unlocked!
After my 15 seconds of Reddit fame had ended, I started to think, “Why did my last post get so much traction?” And “What makes a good Advice Animal popular?” Here are some of my thoughts, and some questions you can ask yourself when creating an Advice Animal. This is not only relevant to advice animals. These questions can be implemented into your overall social media strategy.
Questions to ask:
– Is the subject or situation relevant, current or topical?
– Is it something that can resonate with people/is it relatable?
– Is there any kind of emotional connection? Sad or funny? Humorous memes tend to work better?
– Is it opinion based?
– Can it be controversial?
– Can a wide audience appreciate it?
– Is it specific?
– Are you using the meme correctly? Go to Knowyourmeme.com to make sure.
Reddit can be intimidating at first, but stick with it and you might get yourself some upvote love.
To explore which reddit community is right for you there’s even sub-reddit about sub-reddits. Check it out! http://www.reddit.com/reddits/