Last October in an interview with Speek Co-Founder John Bracken, he explained how sometimes the key to successfully scaling a company can be as simple as riding the waves of viral media. While making something viral, per se, is easier said than done, if you're clever enough and strategic enough, you can plant a seed that will blossom into a nationally sensational story. Bracken, for example, got a tattoo on his butt cheek at SXSW a few years back when Co-Founder Danny Boice, during a Tech Cocktail pitch event, said if they won, Bracken – who wasn't present upon the negotiation of this deal – would get the Speek monkey logo tattooed on his buttocks. He obliged, and the media went nuts over it.
But again, it's easier said than done. Or is it?
Randy Olson, a computer science graduate student at Michigan State, has mined a wealth of data and found what believes are clear cut correlations to getting a highly "upvoted" post on Reddit. According to a post he originally wrote on his Business Insider blog, after surveying 850,000 of top posts on Reddit in the past year from 4,200 of the most active subreddits it's possible to craft a Reddit post that should be successful. He admits, though, that there's no guarantee his findings will absolutely work for you; however, they will give you the best chance at striking Reddit gold.
The first question he answered: when are the most-upvoted Reddit posts posted? Tracing through a fairly-cyclical graph of times of posts and how successful they were in terms of upvoting, Olson said posts present around 7 and 8 a.m. EST get the best love. "Undoubtedly, this trend is due to office workers in the U.S. coming into work and catching up on Reddit before they start their workday," he wrote. "The key to success here seems to be to (1) post early in the morning before the deluge of new posts comes in and (2) take advantage of your post’s head start and get upvoted out of the /r/new queue before everyone else." Also you have a better shot earlier during the week when people are "suffering from a bad case of the Mondays."
With any media, people like things when they're easier to digest. Olson found that when your Reddit features an image or video, your chance to create a top post increases significantly. Specifically, when working with images, photo-hosting domain imgur.com is the king of Reddit. A stunning 60 percent of top posts from Reddit in the last year came from photos of gifs hosted on the imgur server. After that, your second best option is a Youtube video.
For upvotes specifically, though, Olson suggests you post in the subreddit "/r/AskReddit." It seems that people readily hand out upvotes in that section of the site for self-text posts and meme posts.
Otherwise, the best place to post on Reddit is in subreddits "/r/funny, /r/AdviceAnimals, and /r/pics," where according to Olson, you'll "receive the most upvotes on average." That's not to say, though, that smaller subreddits are all bad. Having fewer members to upvote your post is a drawback, but it also gives your post a better chance to show up on its front page.
Lastly, Olson believes that crafting the perfect title can give a Reddit post the pizzaz it needs to advance to the top. Specifically, he found a few trends within top posts:
- Posting a crosspost from another subreddit and referencing it as "X-Post," the most-used word in successful Reddit posts last year.
- Talk about time in title for relevance
- Reference people, but leave it non-specific
- Talk about puppies and kittens
- Gamers love Reddit, so talk about video games
- If you use multimedia, refer to it in your title
- Be broad and emotional – talk about the scary world and loving life
- For some reason, Reddit is preoccupied with "little" things
- Of course referring to Reddit on a Reddit page will be popular
- And lastly...location, location, location – add a location to your title
According to Olson, using his hacks, you should be a Reddit mastermind using those techniques. So go ahead and try your hand at becoming viral and Internet famous.