Optimizing posts for Reddit

Last updated May 29, 2020

Reddit is known by many as the front page of the Internet.

Reddit’s survival is based on keeping the community full of entertaining content, and free of spam and bots. This means that Reddit’s engineers are actively ensuring that companies who wish to bypass the community aspect of the website and only promote themselves are prevented from doing so.

If their algorithm thinks your account is too spammy or self-promoting, they will blacklist you.

It really is as simple as that.

As a business, this is not necessarily bad news for you, but it does mean you’ll actually have to interact with people on the website (gasp!).

As an example, I’ll create a travel blog named “Ashley’s Suitcase”. Users can view your cumulative contribution to the site using three metrics:

  1. Your “Cake Day”
  2. Comment Karma
  3. Link Karma

What is Cake Day on Reddit?

“Cake Day” is the day you joined Reddit. Users will see a cake icon on the anniversary of their Cake Day each year.

What is Comment Karma?

Comment karma is a Reddit point system. Users receive comment karma when their comments are upvoted.

What is Link Karma?

Similar to comment karma, link karma is a Reddit point system. Users receive link karma when their links are upvoted.

What Does Karma Do on Reddit?

Karma is the best metric to determine if someone is a valued member of the site. If someone has a lot of karma, they have contributed popular content to the site.

How can a small business use Reddit to drive quality traffic to their website?

Subscribe to several on-topic subreddits

The first thing to do after creating a Reddit account is to customize your news feed. There are over a million subreddits to choose from, but finding ones that are well-targeted to your online audience is simple.

Begin by searching for target keywords.

Travel. Tourism. Vacations.

The results of these searches will show you posts in these subreddits as well as other peripheral ones. Soon you begin adding additional ones such as:

  • backpacking
  • country of post topic (e.g. South Africa, India, Canada, etc.)
  • city of post topic (e.g. Cape Town, Hampi, Vancouver)
  • language learning
  • cruises
  • job and a bed
  • camping/hiking
  • French Alley (traveling in France)

If your posts have something really interesting in them, two popular subreddits you could use are DAE (Does Anybody Else) and TIL (Today I Learned)

An example of a Reddit DAE post is “DAE, when reading a book while traveling, hide the book cover from fellow travelers?

An example TIL post is “TIL Paul Simon was originally writing a song about Eleanor Roosevelt, but the director of “The Graduate” made him change it from Mrs. Roosevelt to “Mrs. Robinson” to use in his new movie.” (Maybe this isn’t travel related, but who knew!?)

Participate in comment threads

The next thing you should do is start building your comment karma by participating in the comment threads of other users posts. Generally users have more comment karma than link karma. Users who only submit links and never interact with other posts may set off a red flag to the algorithm which is seeking to eliminate spam and bots to keep its user base happy.

Once you establish yourself as more than just a lurker or self-promoter, you may start posting content.

How to intelligently post to Reddit

A common mistake for beginners is to place all posts on the extremely general Reddit.com subreddit. It is a Reddit best practice to post on more niche subreddits where you won’t be immediately buried by newer posts. Post to the most specific active subreddit you can find, and give it a captivating title.

If posting an image, I suggest using Imgur, and linking with the ‘Direct Link’ option. This ensures your post will include a thumbnail, and users with the popular Reddit Enhancement Suite will be able to expand the image without leaving the website.

If people comment on your posts, be sure to respond to them. And when doing so, make sure to speak like a normal person, not someone with marketing speak. While that should all go without saying, marketing through Social Engagement can be very confusing to some people.

Tracking Reddit traffic using Google Analytics

If you’re using Reddit for your brand, then you want to track the traffic it sends to your website to monitor the user behavior of this audience. The three fields I would track are Source (Reddit.com), Medium (subreddit), and Campaign (Title of your post). Creating the URL extension to track these fields through Google Analytics can be done through the free tool Google Campaign URL Builder.

What is awesome content?

Continue the cycle of being an active commenter on the subreddits relevant to your brand. Give some upvotes, give some downvotes (if you feel so compelled), and post some awesome content. What is awesome content? Awesome content is something creative, shareable, and relevant. This could be the topic of its own post, but some quick examples include:

  • A beautiful photograph
  • A video I can’t take my eyes off of
  • Infographics
  • Something provocative
  • A blog post that answers specific questions from others
  • Something comical
  • Reddit memes
  • Cats

Of course, if your organic social efforts are taking too much time (or not getting a good return), it may be worthwhile to consider paid social advertising. Social media is becoming increasingly pay-to-play, so you may need to advertise on Reddit or other platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to really make a splash, depending on your product or service.

Read our blog post to learn how to pick the best social media platforms for your business, or explore digital advertising options.