Reddit is a website with two reputations.
For Redditors (as its users are called), it's a good way to keep your finger on the pulse of the internet, participate in open discussions around shared interests, get answers from highly engaged niche communities, and, of course, perpetuate memes.
For outsiders who haven't learned how to use Reddit, though, it might seem like a haven for snark and sarcasm, where anonymity runs rampant, and users commit to weird inside jokes and try to one-up one another for upvotes.
Reddit is an entirely different world compared to Facebook, Twitter or wherever else you might spend your time online.
With 234 million users and 8 billion monthly pageviews, Reddit is the 7th most visited site online and considers itself “the front page of the internet”.
Reddit is also where a lot of viral content gets early traction, where celebrities and interesting people open up to let the world "ask them anything", and people come together to talk about every topic under the sun.
Once you get past the complicated-looking interface, understand the basics of how “sharing” works on the platform, and get to know its weirdness, Reddit can add a lot of value to your life and your business.
Understanding the Basics of Reddit
The first thing you need to understand is that Reddit thrives on anonymity, but it's kept in check by transparency.
Using your real name or birth year in your username is strongly discouraged unless you plan to invest in your own personal brand.
Speaking and engaging freely with others is how you get the most out of Reddit. That's because other users can easily see your entire posting/commenting history, which makes it easy for the community to police itself and gauge how authentic a person is based on past behavior on the site.
Creating an account is easy enough. All you need is a username and password—you only need to enter your email if you want to verify your account for long-term use.
For this reason, it's not uncommon for users to have one or two "main" accounts that they rely on and several "throwaway accounts" that are only used once or in certain situations.
Subreddits are niche communities within Reddit—each with its own rules, subscribers and posts.
Learning the Language of Reddit
On Reddit, people tend to be fluent in not only “internet speak” but also terminology that's specific to the platform. There are a whole host of terms and abbreviations you’ll end up learning over time.
Reddiquette: Understanding the Rules of Reddit
Online etiquette is important wherever you post online. But it’s even more important on Reddit where it’s easy to hide behind anonymity and engage in bullying, spam, and sneaky self-promotion.
Aim to contribute value with every action and consider the community first.
When you post something, ask yourself if it's relevant to the subreddit and do a quick search to see if it's already been posted there.
When you upvote, downvote, or comment on someone's post, consider how it's benefiting the greater good of the subreddit.
You’ll quickly realize that commenting and sharing on Reddit is very different from, say, Facebook.
Posts and comments need to add value—posting the same thing someone else has posted or commenting with "that's hilarious" or "cute dog" won't get you upvotes, but something new, witty, insightful, or educational will.
How to Use Reddit for Businesses
Reddit's community puts a lot of effort into protecting its integrity. Users will go out of their way to vet suspicious activity by browsing the account's posting history to gauge its authenticity.
Reddit generally hates shameless marketing, self-promotion, URL shorteners, and anything that makes you seem like you're only using Reddit as a place to sell your products or services.
But that doesn't mean Reddit can't be useful for business owners.
Once you've built up some Karma and a decent posting history, you can begin harnessing Reddit to grow and improve your business.
Reddit might not like marketing, but it does like authenticity. For a lot of entrepreneurs, their business is an extension of their life and it won't come across as inauthentic to share it in certain contexts.
Reddit is an endless source of good content. By subscribing to the subreddits that relate to the niche you're selling in, you'll get a steady stream of top quality content to curate: articles, videos, GIFs and more.
Reddit won't always make sense. It can be hard to familiarize yourself with the site when every subreddit has its defined rules and inside jokes, each carving out its own unique corner of the internet. But that's what makes it so great.