Reddit is notorious for being “anti-marketing” with self-promotion being one of the easiest ways to get yourself blocked (or worse seen as a total “newb”) on their many forums. Although Reddit may not be great for sharing the content you create, it can be a good tool for researching your target audience, and finding new ideas to start creating content. As I’ve begun to use Reddit more (and start to feel less like a “newb” myself) I’ve found 3 things that seem to work well when using the platform for research purposes.
1. Come from a Place of Learning
Reddit users (or “Redditors”) abhor anything that feels disingenuous. Reddit is the place they go to be among people like themselves. It’s a chance for them to discuss the topics that they are most passionate about with like-minded individuals who “get it.” The worst thing you can do after joining a subreddit is immediately start asking survey questions. Instead, introduce yourself to the group and clearly state that you are not an “expert” or professional in this area, and that you are there to learn. You’ll feel like less of an intruder and users will be more open to letting you into their world.
2. Use Subreddits
Reddit can feel very overwhelming when you first start using it. They’ve positioned themselves as the “front page of the internet” and when you start scrolling through the newsfeed, it’s easy to see why. In order to get a more granular look, you can do a simple search for an industry or topic you’re specifically interested in, and, more likely than not you will get a list of “subreddits” that are devoted solely to that topic. Subreddits are essentially niche forums inside of Reddit where people in specific industries or who share similar interests can meet to discuss pertinent topics. Subreddits are one of the best places to get a behind the scenes look at your target audience and find ideas for content that are sure to resonate with them.
3. Ask Reddit
Worried that your question might not meet the guidelines of the subreddits you’re involved in? Post your questions to /r/AskReddit. AskReddit is sort of a free for all since any Reddit user can reply to your question, but this allows you to quickly and with minimal effort amass a large sampling of responses.
Reddit can be a valuable marketing tool, as long as you don’t use it to market yourself. Instead use it as a tool for gauging the kind of content your target audience is likely to find useful or engaging. Find the subreddits your audience is involved with, then take off your marketing hat. Engage with them simply as someone interested in learning more about the topic at hand, and as long as you follow the rules of the group, you can quickly amass ideas for better content creation.
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