Why Redditors Won’t Accept You (And How to Use Reddit to Avail Better Opportunities)
Reddit never appealed me as a marketer in the past. But then, all the hell broke lose.
A couple of weeks back, I received an email notification- that I have completed six years on Reddit.
You might be wondering, “Woah! That’s quite sometime. You must be raking in millions of ‘Karma’ points!”
But the real scenario was quite the opposite. I just had ‘1 karma’.
For the uninitiated, ‘Karma’ is Reddit’s internal scoring system that shows how valuable you’ve been to the community.
Well, now you know, I am not a Reddit fanatic by any means. You can even skip reading this if you want but what if I tell you that one single comment helped me rake more than 100 karma points in just a few hours.
If you see the above screenshot, that’s the comment that pushed me to give Reddit another shot.
A Bit of Background
I have heard about Reddit from many bloggers who claim they get crazy traffic by just posting links on Reddit.
I saw YouTube videos claiming how Reddit is the next ‘big’ growth engine.
But when I tried posting on Reddit for the first time, I realized that all that glitters is not gold.
Instantly, I was transported to the pre-2008 era of internet forums.
Not many of you will remember (If you’re a young marketer), but the internet forums were go-to places for internet users back in 2000s.
But they faded off after the launch of Orkut and rising popularity Facebook. Everything became so cool in a matter of months.
Reddit still felt to me like those old-school communities (but with stringent rules).
In fact, the first time I tried posting a link on a subreddit, I was instantly banned for one month.
It was my mistake. I didn’t read the rules.
My Journey Started by Getting Trolled
I got crazy after a couple of fellow Redditors trolled me for my posts in r/freelance & r/business subreddits.
Those were my top performing posts on LinkedIn.
It felt as if Redditors don’t like unsolicited advice on anything, no matter how valuable it might be.
I was even mocked. Literally, one comment read, “Excuse me? Who are you by the way?”
I couldn’t understand how someone can be so rude. I even stopped replying and deleted the post after that.
After a couple of days of stalking expert redditors on several forums, I got my epiphany moment. (God! I should have Googled it earlier.)
I was being trolled because I didn’t have any Karma points.
Nearly all the best performing posts were by Redditors who have thousands of Karma accumulating in their profiles.
My #1 Mistake: Asking for Something without Giving Anything in Return
If you check communities on Reddit (subreddits) many have an explicit rule that say “Please engage in comments for a few weeks before submitting anything or posting anything on the subreddit.”
It seems subreddit moderators have understood marketing better than many pseudo online gurus.
They understand no one wants to hear a sales pitch on their community boards.
And I was making a mistake in trying to attract people towards my profile explicitly by sharing advice and tips that no one wanted.
The Most Important Lesson: Earn Your Worth
Ask for everyone to engage with others — share what they know and let their karma grow.
In Hindu philosophy, there is a quote,
“Karma kiye ja fal ki chinta mat kar.”
(Keep doing your deed without worrying about the returns)
Looks like Reddit is the place where they took it so seriously.
While on Reddit, don’t command respect or authority.
Let others realize your worth by adding value to the discussions through comments.
As your Karma accumulates, so will your status.
Other Lessons I Learned
I have been contributing to the online community for a while now through my LinkedIn posts. So, I naturally felt I am entitled for something.
But as I said, you have to earn your respect while on Reddit.
If you want ‘Karma’ points to accumulate, you can’t be arrogant.
Also, never just search for subreddits and start spamming them with your blog links.
I have seen people do that (Even I get tempted sometimes to do the same) but I choose to first build my credibility.
Instead of sharing links directly, initiate a discussion by posting on subreddit first.
Share your experience and if someone engages with your comment, politely ask if they would like to read more about the topic.
The approach has worked well for me so far.
Where Do I Stand Now?
Well, after six years of being a Redditor (of which 5 years 11 months I was MIA), all I can say is that Reddit is not different, it just needs to be handled with a different approach:
In the last one month, I have achieved the following:
- Lifetime subscription of a SaaS software in the marketing space.
- Connected a friend who runs a podcast to a european eCommerce giant for an interview
- Multiple pro-bono consulting offers (with options to convert into paid gigs)
- 316+ Karma and still counting
- A realistic perspective on how to market while being anonymous (without using your past credentials)
Will I be using Reddit in the future? Hell, yeah!
After a long time, something has challenged me so ruthlessly. I say let the game begin.