Reddit: A Beginner’s Guide

Launched in 2005, Reddit is an online message board filled with links contributed by its community. Members submit links they view as valuable, then the community either “upvotes” or “downvotes” on the link’s importance. Their votes determine that link’s position on the site, with those deemed most useful or interesting getting prime placement on the front page. These front-page links are seen by hundreds of thousands of people, which drive enormous traffic to their source websites. Reddit has risen in popularity based on its community-centric focus on recognizing and sharing the most valuable content, which can range from informative to motivational to humorous. Its vast appeal and variety of information makes it incredibly easy for members to stay on for hours and share countless links with their personal social networks. To provide a greater grasp of the Reddit community, offered a basic breakdown.

The best way to understand Reddit is to spend time exploring it. Visit at least once a day and be sure to check out both the outbound links and the community threads to see what members are sharing and saying.

It will soon become clear that comments are key on Reddit and the community’s feedback can be both helpful and hilarious. When links upvoted to the front page seem suspicious or untrue, there’s a strong chance that the top comment will be a member citing contradictory sources or questioning the content’s merit. This self-regulating feature makes Reddit different and more honest than other popular social media networks and enhances the sense of member trust.

The Reddit homepage features content submitted to its most popular channels. These are called “subreddits” and include the categories of WorldNews, Technology, Pics, Gaming, Music, and more. New users are instantly subscribed to these top channels. Deeper exploration reveals a huge variety of niche communities that offer the ability for people to subscribe, which pushes popular content from those sections to the user’s homepage. This enables users to personalize their Reddit experience based on their interests. Once a subreddit gets enough subscribers, it can become a part of the default homepage, which helps drive even more traffic and subscribers to that niche. To remove a subreddit from the homepage, it’s easy to unsubscribe by clicking the red button at the top-right of that community.

Members who have logged into Reddit have the ability to upvote or downvote on links. Each person gets one vote per link, but that vote can easily be changed. The number featured between the up and down voting arrows is the submission’s score comprised of the number of upvotes minus the number of downvotes. Interestingly, some posts with the highest score do not always rank at the top. This is the result of Reddit’s time decay algorithm based on the premise that front-page posts have greater visibility and a better chance of being upvoted. The site’s algorithm ensures that newer content will get a fair chance of rising to the top.
Members soon discover a feature called Reddit Karma. This is the user’s accumulation of goodwill received when others upvote on either their posts or comments. While there is no power or prize associated with Karma, it does appear on the user’s profile and indicates their value to the community.

Submitting content to Reddit is surprisingly simple. Members just title their post, paste the URL, and select its subreddit placement. The most-subscribed subreddits appear as suggestions, but any existing category can be typed in. Once the user clicks to submit, their link may be chosen to appear on the front page. Since close to 70,000 links are submitted each day, it’s not always easy to stand out, but there are ways to increase the likelihood of front-page placement. Targeting the right community, adding a humorous spin, signaling interesting facts, or expressing the link’s political orientation will pique the interest of many Reddit users and increase the odds of the link getting noticed.

Be aware that spam and marketing are not tolerated on Reddit. Its community is highly skeptical and savvy, so any controversial links are usually immediately downvoted until they are far out of sight. Still, a few innovative marketers have managed to tap into Reddit by creating content that its members actually find useful and interesting. These instances remain very rare and marketing as a whole is strongly policed.

Finally, users on the go can easily check Reddit from any mobile device. Recently, some apps have been developed that provide a much richer mobile experience to please the passionate community.

Armed with this general understanding of Reddit, there’s no reason not to check out this growing community and get involved in one of the most promising and interesting worlds on the Web.

To learn more about Reddit and how to integrate the latest social media platforms into your online marketing strategy, contact MDG today at 561-338-7797, or visit