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Reddit: some people are addicted to it, others are afraid of it and some have never heard of it.
Known as “The Front Page of the Internet,” Reddit is an old-school social networking site.
Users can post text, photos, videos or links in various categories called “subreddits.” Other users then comment and vote submissions up or down to determine a post’s position on the site’s page.
It’s also had it’s share of controversy. Reddit’s editorial policies are much more lenient than Facebook or Twitter’s. There are plenty of subreddits that would make your stomach turn.
It is also amazingly popular. In the United States, it is the 11th most frequently visited site, and 31st most visited across the world. And for this reason, it can be a great marketing tool and entrepreneurial resource.
Getting started: You can register an account without having to verify your email, but for marketing reasons you’ll want to verify as it’s the only way to build “karma,” which we’ll go into later.
You’ll immediately discover the overwhelming amount of posts on Reddit and the amazing speed with which they keep on coming. The way to filter out the irrelevant topics is to customize your front page.
Wander around the site or use the search box to choose some subreddits that are interesting to you. You can be as specific as you like. Search for “dogs” and you’ll find a dog subreddit with 102,144 subscribers. But there are smaller subreddits within the dog categories. There are boards for different breeds, behavior problems, rescues, grooming and plenty more
Once you choose which subreddits you’re interested in, only those will show up on your front page.
Building karma: To get, you gotta give. Reddit’s whole system is based on contributing to the Reddit community. To insure that people aren’t simply posting “Buy My Product!” over and over, Reddit leaves it up to the community to decide which posts are worthy of being upvoted, and which should go to the bottom of the barrel. Any time your post is upvoted, you get karma points.
So why is karma so important? Because many subreddits require that you have a certain amount of credit before you are allowed to post–that includes the very powerful “video” subreddit.
While many users’ main goal is to build as much karma as possible, the reality is that after you accumulate enough to post in all the subreddits you want, there’s no benefit other than the satisfaction of knowing folks like your posts. More karma doesn’t mean your posts will be more prominent.
Lurk, listen and learn: Sometimes paying attention can be even more powerful than posting. Reddit has a few analytic tools that can help you keep track of trends. Redditmetrics.com can feed you the most popular subreddits so you know where most users are hanging out, the fastest growing topics by day, week or month, which new topics are the hottest and which are “up and comers.”
Post with intention: Make no mistake–Reddit users will shout down anyone that looks like it’s trying to shill a product without contributing anything to the community. So posts beginning with “Visit my website to learn about the great deals on our latest products!” will get nasty responses. Anything that looks like spam will be downvoted to the bottom.
If there’s one thing Reddit is best at, it’s getting an honest opinion. It’s a community of users that will give you an objective view of your product. While “Visit my website and buy my product” may earn you a lot of nasty comments, a post like “This is my first product that I hope to make into a business. Before I go into production, I’d love to get people’s honest impressions. My site is _____ – do you think it’s user-friendly? Does it leave any questions unanswered?” A great title helps: “Seeking Advice” or “Anyone in the ______ business?”
There are plenty of good-intentioned folks out there that will give you some great advice. But this is still the Internet, and there will always be people who get their kicks by trolling the comments section.
When you do post, remember these important tips:
- Post with a light-hearted, friendly attitude.
- Humor is always appreciated.
- Reply to helpful commenters with a hearty “Thanks! That’s great to know!”
- Don’t get discouraged.
- Be sure to only post in relevant subreddits.
Reddit takes a while to master. But it has some wonderful advantages over Facebook and Twitter; you’ll reach people outside of your social circle, and your post will get seen. Don’t be afraid to start over and try again.
Here are some great subreddits for the new entrepreneur to explore:
Small Business: https://www.reddit.com/r/smallbusiness/
Alpha and Beta Users: https://www.reddit.com/r/AlphaAndBetaUsers
Business Growth: https://www.reddit.com/r/growmybusiness
Venture Capital: https://www.reddit.com/r/venturedcapital
And don’t forget to pay folks back by commenting helpfully on their posts and questions. Don’t be shy and don’t get discouraged; Reddit can eventually become a supportive community and excellent way to spread the word about your new venture!