Brands who don’t risk anything miss out on opportunities. Brands who take risk have the ability to unlock opportunities that most view as being too risky. This is where the greatest companies find advantages and the giants are often met with their own demise.
Brands who view Reddit as a niche and risky channel miss out on the fact that right now Reddit has over 430 million active users. People who are interested in everything from cryptocurrencies and SaaS to BBQ and politics. If you can think of a topic; it’s very likely that there are hundreds, if not hundreds of thousands, of people interested in that exact same topic talking about it on Reddit every single month.
In SaaS, Reddit is still considered, by most marketers, as a niche and risky channel. If you were to view the average SaaS marketing playbook, I would estimate that less than 10% of companies are actually using Reddit to drive growth for their brand. The smart marketers are using Reddit at the very least to gather insight around what their customers and audiences want. But most marketers aren’t doing even that… Most marketers are using Reddit for their own personal life but view it as a channel that marketers should avoid like the plague.
We don’t think marketers should avoid Reddit.
We think that Reddit presents an arbitrage opportunity to connect with a relevant audience and drive meaningful results in SaaS. In this piece, I’m going to share with you some examples of how Reddit is being used by marketers to drive results today and hopefully offer you some inspiration around why and how you too can use Reddit for your business.
Let’s get into it…
Host Your Own Subreddit For Customers & Fans
Communities are one of the most powerful marketing opportunities today.
When you build a community you have the ability to go direct to your audience. You have the ability to connect with them, to learn from them and to get feedback from them on the product that you created. The development of a community can act as an unfair advantage for SaaS brands when you have built a bit of a digital focus group where you can learn from your audience in ways that your competitors cannot.
And one of the best places to create a community is Reddit. A lot of organizations overlook the power of Reddit because the communities themselves are oftentimes anonymous as the individuals who make up them do not associate with their real names or companies.
But when you look at organizations like Twilio, Stripe & Salesforce you see organizations who have fans & customers that want to talk about their products on Reddit.
- The Salesforce Subreddit has 36,500+ members
- The Stripe Subreddit has 2,600+ members
- The Twilio Subreddit has 1,400+ members
That’s a lot of people visiting a Subreddit and giving these SaaS companies the ability to communicate, connect and develop stronger relationships with their audience on a daily basis.
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But here’s where things get interesting….
The Stripe Subreddit isn’t actually owned and operated by Stripe:
It’s considered an “unofficial community subreddit” while the Subreddit for Twilio appears to be official with moderators tagged as being “Twilio Developer Evangelists” and community mods.
While not all of the SaaS companies on Reddit have asked to be on Reddit; their presence on Reddit should be a signal to them that there’s an opportunity here. It’s an opportunity to:
- Brand the community: You can determine the story your brand tells here. Twilio has added the name to their subreddit → “Empowering developers to fuel the future of communications”. This isn’t something that a random Redditor would select.
- Get ahead of issues: You can get insight from your customers before they reach the rest of the world. The reason Reddit is called the front page of the internet is because it’s often the first source of breaking information.
- Build trust & rapport: The fact that your brand is already on Reddit means that your customers and/or audience is there. You can’t control the conversation. But this is an opportunity to positively influence it.
- Content distribution: Redditors love links. In a recent Reddit study we found that the most popular posts with links, produced over 16,000 more upvotes than the popular text posts. Owning the Subreddit means you set the rules. Which means you can distribute links to your own news, blog or key landing pages as often as you see appropriate.
But it’s important to remember that when you create a Subreddit; expectations are set with it. You’re setting an expectation for your customers and audience that this is a place where they can communicate directly with your brand. As such, it’s very important to treat Reddit like you would any other customer support / social media channel – a place that is resourced internally to have someone responsible for overseeing the community and the dialogue within it.
Use Reddit For Product & Customer Feedback
It’s been more than 5 years since Tim Soulo from Ahrefs posted on /r/BigSEO asking for feedback on their product. The original thread resulted in 116 comments and Tim was met with a wide range of comments that varied from harsh critique to raving fans. It was exactly what you would expect from an AMA on Reddit. You’d get some hate. You’d get some love.
But what mattered most was how you responded to it….
In the original post back in 2015, Tim & Ahefs were met with some mixed reviews (mostly related to their pricing) from the /r/BigSEO community but also how they went about managing the dialog with the community at large. This comment stood out as a sentiment that a few of the members of /r/BigSEO had when this effort first went down:
Now you might look at this and immediately think:
See! Reddit is NO PLACE for marketing. People on Reddit are completely irrational and simply opening your brand up to this type of exposure is risky and can be a MAJOR problem…
This type of feedback and critique would cause some brands to never, ever do an AMA again. But instead, Tim and Ahrefs have come back year after year with the same post looking for feedback from this community so they can learn from the people who use their product.
This is what smart brands do.
Even if they don’t like the music… They listen to it. And if the music isn’t aligned with their taste; they try to find a way to change it instead of packing up their bags and quitting.
In the 2021 Ahrefs Feedback post, a simple comment from /u/plutoblitz gave the Ahrefs team exactly what they needed. Constructive feedback that included some valuable questions and product insights that their team would be able to take advantage of and use…
The post had 32 upvotes.
That might not sound like a lot… But in the world of SEO software and Reddit – it’s a signal that there’s clearly some alignment amongst Ahrefs customers and the feedback left here.
Every SaaS company should want this type of access…
But getting this access requires a commitment to listening and opening up communication publicly inside of a Subreddit that you don’t even control. While that might be risky, the reality is — the bigger risk is letting someone else control and influence that narrative without you.
This is why piggybacking on other Subreddit communities is a brilliant strategy for SaaS companies to embrace.
Piggyback On Other Well Established Subreddits
Subreddits are communities on Reddit where people talk about things relevant to their own interests. There are Subreddits about sports, video games, memes, politics, personal finance, funny pictures, entrepreneurship and much more. The opportunity that exists within Subreddits is to create your own like the team at Twilio or leverage an existing one like Ahrefs.
You can leverage pre-existing Subreddits in ways that go beyond putting up an annual post asking for feedback. A few other ways that you can leverage a Subreddit is to use it as a place to learn what type of content your audience is interested in. The Sherlock Homeboy approach is a methodology that we’ve used on Reddit multiple times to identify what content people want.
The process of doing this is quite simple:
- Visit an industry relevant Subreddit
- Sort the content by ‘Top Posts’
- Analyze the top 50 for trends
- Create content that is inspired by those trends
- Submit it back to that Subreddit
- Generate significant Reddit results
For example, a quick analysis of the Subreddit /r/marketing you will see that year over year one user submits a “Marketing Worksheet” that is filled with marketing templates & goodies:
The post has 120+ comments and over 530 upvotes. This means the community (/r/Marketing) LOVED the post and it’s clearly something that this audience wanted.
So what can a SaaS company do with this information?
They can take this asset as inspiration to create a:
- PR Worksheet
- PPC Worksheet
- SEO Worksheet
- Blogging Worksheet
- DTC Marketing Worksheet
- Content Marketing Worksheet
- Facebook Advertising Worksheet
You get the idea… The opportunities are endless.
You start by identifying a piece of content that has content-market fit and then use that to inspire other content you can create in the months to come.
You know… You’re kind of lucky.
Most people who will read this post are likely to have opened up a new tab by now and are reading a blog post about productivity and efficiency hacks. You however… Have made it to the end of this post. This is important. You now have the opportunity to capitalize on that advantage.
Most people will read this and never do anything.
But if you do take the shot… if you do take the ‘risk’… I have a feeling that you will uncover something that your competition will overlook for the next 10 years. You will uncover the power of using Reddit for either creating connections with your audience or better yet, understanding them.
No matter how you use it. You will be better off for it… So embrace it.
Recognize that the biggest risk as it relates to Reddit marketing in SaaS is actually the risk of writing the channel off as being too risky when your competitors think otherwise.