Ben: For a lot of marketers, even though they like the platform, Reddit can be a dangerous place. It’s infamous for flaming down people who try to plug a link in here and there. So when I found somebody who had really cracked this, I jumped on the chance to be able to interview them.
Fed is a fellow Indiehacker who founded GummySearch, a Reddit audience social listening tool. He was kind enough to jump on a podcast recording. It was a great discussion and you can see the results below.
Please note that this post is a summary from me and not direct quotations from Fed. You’ll have to listen to the recording for his quotes once it comes out to hear his exact words. It will be well worth it.
Otherwise, this is the summary on how to promote yourself on Reddit:
- First, be person with a business, not a company with a Reddit account.
- Find targeted, active communities you can follow.
- Check the rules regarding self-promotion.
- Track relevant keywords for your product or business.
- Check the keywords for opportunities to help, at least 10 minutes each day.
- If less than an hour old, try to win the top comment by being helpful.
- Plug your link in the comment only when helping other Redditors.
- If older than 24 hours, send a DM asking if they solved their problems.
- In the DM, provide personalized advice and attention, and plug your product.
- Avoid promotional submissions unless few, story based and high value.
For many people, Reddit has been a bad experience. They probably posted a link and received a lot of negative comments on the platform. Or even banned.
But they’re missing the beauty of the platform, which is that they can tap into over 130,000 active, segmented user communities.
Should you use a company, personal brand or username account?
Don’t use a company name, because it will never sit well with people.
Most Redditors use a username, but more and more I am seeing people starting to use their name as they handle like they do on other social platforms like Instagram.
Remember at the end of the day you want to be in person with a business, not a company with a Reddit account.
What is the strategy for marketing on Reddit?
There are three main ways for marketing on Reddit:
- Posting. This is the most common way and I do not recommend this for people who are just starting out.
- Commenting. Basically, you find relevant audiences, and look out for people asking relevant questions or starting discussions. Who needs your help? Then you respond to those people with helpful information and guide them to your solution. You have to be thoughtful here and aim for a win-win for everyone. The user gets your help, and you get exposure for your product.
- Direct messaging. This is similar to the commenting strategy but instead, message the person with one-to-one communications. It is a lot more personalized to that individual so you get less exposure, but in turn, you can have more tailored discussions.
All of these strategies revolve around having targeted audiences and tracking keywords for trigger discussions that you can get involved in.
How do you choose keywords to track?
Personally, I track about 20 different keywords for different types of conversation triggers pulls up I’m looking for things like pain points, brand name mentions, people looking for solutions, etc.
Then I chime into those conversations.
Coming up with keywords is easy once you have tried a few. You can get a feel for the types of conversations that happen in these subreddits, and the words that people say.
For an example of a keyword, because I have a tool that can help people with validating business ideas, I look full keywords around validation. I also have a blog post about my validation strategy here.
How do you write good comments?
Firstly, don’t use the same canned response to every discussion. People will easily see through that by clicking on your Reddit profile and looking at your history. They will see your intentions here.
- First, take the time to see the problem and understand it. Empathize with the poster.
- Then, add your value by helping the user with that particular problem.
- Finally, offer something more by plugging a blog post or your tool directly if appropriate.
What is the best comment style?
There are two main styles of commenting on Reddit.
The first one is like I described above. Empathetic and understanding. The second is by leaving slightly snarky comments. Honestly, this is what the culture is known for.
This can be intimidating for marketers. But in fact, it is the unfiltered view is that makes Reddit a valuable place. Everything is moderated by the community. If the community doesn’t like it, it will get voted down. But that’s actually a good thing.
You don’t get people lying to you on Reddit. They give it to you it straight.
Are some discussions better comment opportunities than others?
If someone is directly asking for a solution, and you have the tool that solves that problem, then it is much easier for you to reply with a direct plug.
Otherwise, I think the thing that you will need to change depending on the discussion type is how you respond to that topic. Generally, you will need to focus on adding more helpful advice first, and then a link to your product or blog.
Should you limit how many comments you make?
Personally, I don’t really throttle it. You can just jump in.
Comments are generally less moderated than posts.
Ultimately the reason I’m not worried is that I’m only replying to relevant discussions. I’m making sure to add value and people appreciate it what I’m saying.
Direct Messaging Strategy
How does direct messaging on Reddit work?
The direct messaging strategy works very similarly to commenting:
- Look out for someone posting about something you can help with.
- Reach out directly, asking if they found the solution or are still looking.
- Try to build some rapport.
- You offer them a soft pitch for your product.
When comparing this to commenting, direct messages give you the chance for a very tailored and engaging conversation. But the drawback is that you get less exposure for your product.
Generally, I tried to keep my messages short and sweet.
"Hey, did you find a solution to this problem? Or are you still looking?"
You want to focus on getting that engagement. Once you have them responding, build engagement, then you can give them the soft sell pitch.
"I made this tool, that solves this problem. It's free to try."
How much negative feedback you get, depends on what you do as a business and whether or not that is helpful to the person.
With my solution, I only get a negative response every once in a while. It’s pretty rare.
When can you start posting directly to a Subreddit?
First, you need to read the subreddit rules. Every subreddit is different, has a different culture and requirements around posts etc.
Many subreddits banned self-promotional posts entirely.
If there are no rules against self-promotional posts, then you can consider it after you have built up your credibility in that subreddit.
How should you post on Reddit?
There are some communities that are more open to self-promotional posts than others.
But otherwise, there are authentic ways to make somewhat self-promotional posts without breaking the rules.
My advice here is that if your product solves a problem, then focus on the problem instead of your product. For example, you can ask about people’s experiences with the problem that your product solves.
Generally, stories are more well received by the community.
There is one example that I can think of where a user had built a movie recommendation app for him and his girlfriend. He posted a long and authentic story about how he came up with the product which got about 20,000 downloads.
If you want to be safe, don’t drop a link in the post.
You can, on the other hand, add a follow-up comment offering more context and link to your product or website there.
"For anyone who is interested, this is the product that I created that I mentioned."
Another option is to not drop any link or mention at all. You can put information about your product in your bio which people may see when they click through to read more about you.
What is your Reddit marketing routine?
OK so for me I track about 20 different keywords related to my product and audience.
Then I log in every day, and look at all the relevant conversations related to these keywords.
Then I take about 10 minutes to reply to them where appropriate.
My decision-making process on when to comment versus direct message is based on the time of the post.
For example, if a relevant submission was added in the last hour and it is directly related to something I can help with, then I will try to get that top comment and visibility right away. I aim to be helpful.
On the other hand, if I’m late, for example, 12 to 24 hours have passed, and other people have already dropped comments that are good and at the top, then I may try to target making a comment on another top comment that resonates with the reader.
Finally, if I get to a post and it’s over two days old, for example, most likely nobody new is looking at it. At that point, I might as well send a direct message to the poster. This often gets a good response rate.
Any general tips?
For Reddit, the principles about creatives or media that are good for other platforms apply here as well.
Posting an image or something visually appealing tends to work well. Posting videos is also good too, because people react to them. You need to think about copy and content that attracts people’s attention and gets them to stop scrolling.
Ben: Many thanks to Fed for sharing this strategy with me and hopefully some of the readers of this article found it just as insightful too.
If you’re looking to take action on this particular strategy, then I do recommend checking out the GummySearch tool. I haven’t quite seen anything else like it in the market right now, and it’s free to try.
The way I am making it work is to group up some subreddits into two different audiences, and then I added a couple of relevant keywords related to my content there.
I’m currently following Fed’s advice to check in every day and look for relevant posts to my keywords and my content so that I can get engaged and potentially plug this podcast and blog here and there after being helpful.