How to use Reddit to Find Learners for your Online Courses
Treat Reddit with Love and Reddit will Love you
Reddit is a powerful community and news sharing network, which can be utilized to drive traffic to your website, blog, or online course. It is also a really fun way to learn about the world. The more research I did for this piece, the more enamored I became of Reddit. Now, we are going steady and I feel a bit like I am betraying a sweetheart by sharing how to “use” Reddit to publicize your course. Let’s show some respect here, and treat Reddit like the fine specimen that it is. Reddit is not simply a means to an end. You will have a more meaningful relationship with the site if you get to know it before you go in for the score.
Reddit is Huge
Reddit is the 51st most visited site in the US and the 118th most visited site in the world, according to Alexa.com. More than 30,000 people responded when Reddit did a voluntary survey of its members. Also, according to Alexa, relative to the general internet population, 18-35 year old males without children who are in college or who have finished college are over-represented at Reddit.com. If this is your target, Reddit is certainly a site that you should be familiar with. However, due to the sheer size of Reddit, you should get to know it even if your target audience is single women. There are, in fact, 37 single woman Redditors in Michigan, alone, who responded to the survey. I cannot guarantee this, but I bet they are groovy, smart and interesting.
What is Reddit?
Reddit is essentially a list of links to interesting sites and information. I quickly found myself hooked on the quick and easy access to both mainstream and non-mainstream news, ideas, and articles. Redditors submit the content and then choose which content is seen by providing an up or down vote. The front page is constantly changing so that more people see the most popular links. Anyone with an account can post on Reddit and if the content is interesting and relevant, it is likely that the post will receive up votes, and it will then become more visible to more people.
Reddit is divided into hundreds of subReddits, each of which explores a different topic. There are subReddits in topics such as “Today I Learned,” “Politics,” “Funny,” “Atheism,” “Technology,” “Science,” “Music,” and “World News,” to name a few. One would assume that you have a genuine interest in whatever you are teaching, so go to the applicable subReddit, and see what is happening. Visit and participate for a couple of weeks.
Take it Slow
If the links tickle your fancy and you find the content engaging, it is likely that you will be able to find people who are legitimately and honestly into what you have to offer. Pedro of Problogger.net says, “The thing about Reddit (and this is why many “marketers” despise it), is how it’s very hard to game this website for self-serving purposes. If you want to get results from it, you have to be genuine and spend a good deal of time participating in the website (Redditing) and interacting with the community”.
A Word of Caution
There is a lively debate on Reddit on how appropriate it is to use the community and forum to promote your own work. Here are the official Reddit guidelines for self-promotion:
It’s a gray area, but some rules of thumb:
- It’s not strictly forbidden to submit a link to a site that you own or otherwise benefit from in some way, but you should sort of consider yourself on thin ice. So please pay careful attention to the rest of these bullet points.
- If you spend more time submitting to Reddit than reading it, you’re almost certainly a spammer.
- If your contribution to Reddit consists mostly of submitting links to a site(s) that you own or otherwise benefit from in some way, and additionally if you do not participate in discussion, or reply to peoples questions, regardless of how many upvotes your submissions get, you are a spammer. If over 10% of your submissions are your own site/content, you’re almost certainly a spammer.
- If people historically downvote your links or ones similar to yours, and you feel the need to keep submitting them anyway, they’re probably spam.
- If people historically upvote your links or ones like them — and we’re talking about real people here, not sockpuppets or people you asked to go vote for you — congratulations! It’s almost certainly not spam. But we’re serious about the “not people you asked to go vote for you” part.
- If nobody’s submitted a link like yours before, give it a shot. But don’t flood the new queue; submit one or two times and see what happens.
- To play it safe, write to the moderators of the community you’d like to submit to. They’ll probably appreciate the advance notice. They might also set community-specific rules that supersede the ones above. And that’s okay — that’s the whole point of letting people create their own Reddit communities and define what’s on topic and what’s spam. (http://www.Reddit.com/wiki/faq)
Reddit Success Stories
Some teachers have experienced remarkable success on Reddit. These teachers have drawn many students to their online courses through Reddit:
Some Useful Links
Here is a great tutorial video from Self-publishing-coach.com about “How to Use Reddit to Increase Traffic and Exposure to Your Website, Blog and Book Sales Page.”
Here is an Introduction to Reddit.
Reddit is sometimes tricky to figure out, as there is not a lot of information about how to use it. Here is a link to an unofficial Reddit FAQ: Things you can’t figure out about Reddit.
This is an article specifically about “How to Use Reddit to Drive Huge Traffic to your Blog.”
I am a teacher, hiker, mother, dancer and home-maker. I have taught pre-school through SAT prep. I am exploring ways to create on-line learning communities for home-schooled middle school and high school students. In particular, I am starting a low-residency on-line middle school. I would like to help young people explore important ideas while enjoying their lives! You can learn more about my programs at www.onlineclassesforgroovykids.org.