How To Use Reddit For Marketing

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<Imagine a soundtrack from a horror movie playing>.

The name alone seems to scare marketers away from even trying it out.

In this episode we talk about how we use Reddit for marketing, breakdown the rules, our tips and all of our suggestions so that you can start using Reddit for marketing immediately.

The transcript

Ross: A lot of people don’t know this, but I’m a Redditor big time. It’s bookmarked on my site, it’s probably one of the channels or the platforms that I use every day. I love Reddit and I’ve been using Reddit since I was very young. I love the platform, love the channel. And I know it comes with a lot of controversy. And I know that when marketers hear the word Reddit, they get the heebie jeebies and they avoid it like a plague. I get that for good reason, right? I’m a marketer through and through. I love marketing. I love promotion. I love all of the opportunities that come out of being a marketer. But I also love Reddit as a channel. So a few years ago I was heartbroken when I got blocked from Reddit, I got banned from my favorite subreddits, my favorite communities. I was what they call shadow banned.

And I was unable to use this platform anymore. It sucked, right? I’m a Redditor from the core. It allowed me to win a lot of fantasy football championships. So when I got blocked, I was like, Oh, this sucks, right? This is brutal. But I realized that the reason why I got blocked and banned was for the same reason that so many marketers fail when it comes to Reddit. And it’s that they don’t understand the way the platform works. And they don’t understand the importance of putting the community before your own goals and your own objectives, and also recognizing the different communities want different things. So on today’s episode, what I’m excited to share with you is how I bounce back after getting blocked to essentially be put on the front page of Reddit multiple times, not only for my own brands, not only with my own content, but also for clients.

I’ve been able to generate hundreds of thousands of visits to content through Reddit. I’ve been able to generate hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of revenue through Reddit. Reddit is in my mind, still an underrated channel. And I’m excited to share with our listeners today, some of the techniques that I’ve learned along the way and get your perspective on Reddit and some of the insights that you have around how it can be a great platform for marketers as well.

Talia: I love it. I used to use Reddit quite a bit to marketing. I haven’t been doing so for a few years now and before we even get started, let me just say that the way you just described the whole idea of putting the value of the community before your own. I think if businesses understood that they’d be making some more money on anything or just not Reddit, just everything. So I have to strengthen that point, but without further ado, let’s dive in what is your first tip for really utilizing, Reddit the right way?

#1 Content validation on Reddit

Ross: The first thing that I think marketers can use Reddit for that is often overlooked is the idea of content validation. I think when we’re looking to figure what type of content should I create, what type of blog posts should I write? What type of videos should I create? We oftentimes rely on tools like Keyword Explorer from HREF, SEMrush, Moz, et cetera, Socialbakers, all these different tools, BuzzSumo, et cetera. But what we often overlook is the power of good old fashioned qualitative research and looking at what people in different communities are talking about. And on Reddit it is such a powerful channel to actually go in and give validation around what topics are interesting to different niches. If I’m trying to connect with people who are passionate about, let’s say micro brewing, I’m going to go to a subreddit that is dedicated to micro brewing, and I’m going to sort the content by top posts.

And I’m going to see what are the topics that got these people the most exciting. And that’s going to be the content that I’m going to create. I think content validation is an amazing opportunity that exists in Reddit, but it’s often overlooked, but it is a super powerful channel. And I think this kind of goes to another thing that you talk often about, which is research, right? I think there’s a lot of value in using Reddit also as a research channel to gain insight from communities. Do you have experience with that had when you were using Reddit more actively, were you looking at it from a research lens often?

Talia: Oh yeah. I mean, you’re speaking my language. I’m listening to you talk about content validation. And I used Reddit many times in order to do content validation and find content topics and ideas for writing and blog posts. 

#2 Customer research on Reddit

Talia: And my favorite thing is using Reddit for customer research. And I still do that today with almost all of our clients. When we look at different platforms, Reddit is one of them. And we’re trying to understand the questions, the hesitations, the complaints, the things that people are talking about.

So many times and we’ve had this conversation, I think on a different episode where we just wish that we could be a fly on the wall and know exactly what our prospects and our customers are saying. Reddit is actually the best place for that. If you can find a subreddit, which is something to do with your audience, something that your audience would be passionate about, you could go into that and find out what people are saying, what they’re complaining about, what they’re saying is the best, what tools they love, what made them smile, what are the things that they really need? And you can use it so well in order to do the right kind of customer research, that really does give you the insights of getting into people’s heads and understanding them beyond the behavior that they are doing on your website.

Which I guess leads me to my next point. And I’d love to hear you talk about this because I know you do this quite a bit, which is getting customer feedback using Reddit. So the whole idea of sharing the stuff that you’re doing and getting feedback on that. Can you tell us a bit about that?

#3 Customer feedback on Reddit

Ross: Yeah, I would love to. So one of my friends, he runs a beard company it’s called Beard Brand. And in the early days of launching that product, they did an amazing job at going into Reddit, showing pictures of what they were going to order as it relates to like their very first products and getting feedback from a community that was dedicated to people with beards. And they would say, yes, I love the design or no, I dislike the logo. Or I don’t think that you should go down this approach or they would share graphics that they were going to run as ads. And they would get feedback from people who were clearly their target audience. I mean, why else would you subscribe to a subreddit called beards unless you were passionate about the fact that you had a beard and the amount of love and engagement that he was able to capture in the subreddit was amazing and very impressive.

And I think oftentimes you get into a bubble as creators where you think I’m the only one who can come up with great ideas. I’m the only one who can come up with the way that my product should feel. And look, we kind of get into this mode of Steve Jobs-ness but in reality, there’s nothing more valuable than actually putting things in front of your customers and getting their feedback. You don’t need to run with everything that they say, but if you can run with some of the things, it can be a massive win for you longterm. So use your communities in those channels as ways to get feedback. And that’s essentially one of the low hanging fruits that I believe also exists on Reddit.

#4 Content distribution on Reddit

Talia: Do you know what else this leads me to? Your friend, not only got some amazing feedback about that product and was able to optimize it and change it and build a community. But he actually was able to also distribute and promote his brand, right? At the end of the day, when you create that community and friendship, you then actually are able to promote your content. And many times I’ve heard this from people saying, you can’t promote yourself on Reddit because you get banned.

Ross: Right.

Talia: You can’t do that. And there’s all these regulations and laws and you can’t, all these rules you have to follow and nothing ever works. And this is actually the key to Reddit because when you share and you ask for feedback and you give other people feedback and you care about the community, then when you come in there to promote your own content, they care and they will help you. And they will up vote you and they will share your product too. And the content that you’re working on. So I feel like it works together because when you’re working with the community, you’re asking for feedback, you’re sharing feedback. You’re giving people support. That’s when you can actually go in and distribute your content and your product in these different communities and subreddits, right?

Ross: Yeah and you’re getting permission from them to distribute your content by building that relationship, right? By just being there, asking for feedback and then promoting your content afterwards, you’re building a bit of goodwill and you’re increasing the likelihood that you’re not going to get blocked from those channels. And I think there’s a subtle tip that can come out of all of this as well, is try to always position your content with empathy first. And you being grateful for the fact that you can actually distribute this content into these communities. If you go into these communities and you say, Hey, I’ve gotten so much from this community. Thank you so much for helping me figure this all out. I’m going to give you all a promo code. And I also want to give you behind the scenes, look at how we were able to get to this point.

The community will eat that up. It is an amazing insight to just know that when you lead with empathy, the communities will typically respond even better.

#5 Competitive research on Reddit

Ross: Outside of the fact that you can learn a lot of butcher customers, you can also use Reddit to learn a lot about your competitors, right? It’s great to learn about the people you’re trying to sell to and connect with, but your competition can also be something that you reverse engineer and understand a little bit more about by using Reddit. Do they have their own subreddit or do they have links that have gone extremely viral on subreddits? You can jive into those and start to reverse engineer what allowed them to find success, and then start to use that to inform your own strategy down the road. And if you want it to get a little bit sneaky, this is kind of on the lines of my Sherlock homeboy approach to things.

But let’s say you created a fake account on Reddit. Let’s say that you work for another beard company. You’re creating a beard oil of some sort. You go into a subreddit and you ask the community, Hey, are you a customer of my competitor’s name? I would love to hear what you thought about it. I’m thinking about maybe ordering some, but I want to know what I should expect. The good and the bad and the ugly I would love to hear from you. The feedback that you then get on your competitors can inform you on what type of product you should create in the future. I’ve seen people find amazing success in doing this. It’s the same as what you can do when you’re looking at those various review sites, verse engineering, the negative feedback on them. You can do the same thing on Reddit by asking communities what they think of your competitors products, good or bad, and then use that to inform your approach in the future.

Talia: That’s amazing. And that also feeds into one of our first tips here on doing research. Because when you ask a question about your competitor, you’re also learning about all the stuff that they don’t like and all the things that they do and all the things that they value and that all they don’t. And then you can use that in order to optimize your own marketing and your own product and your solutions. I love this so much. Amazing.

Ross: Yes. It is a great approach.

#6 Community development on Reddit

Talia: Yeah. And at the end of the day, all of this leads to developing a community.

Ross: Yeah, exactly.

Talia: Reddit is all about the community. Yes. I know Facebook has Facebook groups and you have all sorts of different platforms that you can use. But Reddit is one of those places where it’s a little hot, it’s like a cool place on the bus. When you get all in school, everyone’s like the cool kids go all the way to the back. And they sit in the back of the bus. I look at Reddit like that. It’s hard to get into the cool crew, but once you in, and you’ve created that community and you care about people and you offer value and you give them feedback and suggestions and ideas, and you increase your conversations there and your relationships in there, you have that community there and they are there for you. And they become engaged and they will be you customers and they will buy from you and they promote you and they will share your stuff. So I just feel like it brings it all full circle, right? At the end of the day, it’s all about that community and caring about the value of other people before your own.

Ross: Yeah, it’s true. And I think that’s a great segue into something that I think we need to give a quick shout out to all of the people who have joined our community, the action driven podcast group on Facebook, whether it’s Anel or Sonya or Christian, Sahid, Tod, Binwa, Lisa, Amorey, Andrew, Corey, et cetera. Karen, we are so grateful for having all of you as a part of our community. And if you are not yet in our group, look us up, action driven podcasts. We will try to add as much value to your feed on Facebook as we can over the course of the weeks leading up to and after our various episodes. And in the meantime, please leave us a five star review, but we would love to connect with you in our group and become a part of our community as well. We hope you enjoyed this episode and we will see you again next week.

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Ross & Talia
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