How Reddit lets people decide your marketing success

Reddit is a social bookmarking / link sharing site on the Digg or StumbleUpon line. However, more than this, it is an aggregate content site where you can find content voted at the top by other users and therefore selected for its popularity among the community. It was founded by Steve Huffman and Alexis Ohanian, roommates and students at the University of Virginia and later acquired by Conde Nast Publications in 2006. Today it operates as a separate entity but with Advance (Conde Nast’s parent company) as the largest shareholder. .

Reddit’s mission statement is to become the ‘homepage of the internet’ and it achieves this by allowing users to select the sub-communities (called Subreddits) they want to subscribe to and then show them the top-rated content for that community each day. You can find them at reddit.com/r/(nameofsubreddit). As a general rule of thumb, any content shared with Subreddits will need to gain a certain amount of traction before it begins to appear on the home page for individual users.

If you were to set up your own Reddit account, you could select the topics and categories that interest you and then Reddit will show you the main content for each of those categories every day. This would likely include blog posts and other external links, along with ‘own posts’, which are essentially just text posts designed to stimulate discussion within the community. You can also choose to view the subreddits for themselves and that way only see the most recent and popular links and discussions for that particular topic.

The subreddits and the main page have multiple separate categories accessible by tabs including ‘Hot’, ‘New’, ‘Rising’, ‘Controversial’, ‘Top’, ‘Gilded’ and ‘Promoted’. “Hot” is the main page for that sub, while many visitors will also see “New” and “Rising”. ‘Top’ is made up of the most voted posts of recent times in that sub, based only on popularity.

As an active Reddit user, you will be able to vote for and against any content yourself, which will influence which content is viewed and which is not. You will also be able to comment on the posts of others and participate in an active discussion. Every time one of your own posts or comments is upvoted or downvoted, this will contribute to your overall ‘karma’ on the site. You have two separate karma values: one for the content you have shared and one for the comments you have posted. Other users will be able to click on your profile and immediately see your previous posts, as well as your rating. In this way, your overall karma may end up positively or negatively influencing the respect that is given to your subsequent posts. Some subreddits also have ‘minimal karma’ requirements for posting or even commenting, which is a device intended to prevent spam.

Subreddits are controlled by moderators, like most forums, and have the ability to remove posts, add tags, and ban users. Anyone can create a new subreddit, and by doing so, they automatically become a moderator. At the same time, you have the option to add more moderators to help you manage the page.

Those are Reddit’s basic marketing rules. If it sounds complicated, it is only because there is a lot going on below the surface. To use Reddit, you need to go to Reddit.com and read what’s there. On the other hand, to promote there, all you need to do is create an account and then click the ‘submit’ button. However, understanding the nuances below the surface will help you get more out of it, both as a consumer and a marketer.

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