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Reddit is My Surprising Secret to Marketing Success: Here’s How I’ve Used it to Grow My Business

Learn exactly how this founder used Reddit to build his profile as a thought leader and gain new customers.

Jun 20, 2024 7 min readContent Marketing
Photo of Kamel Ben Yacoub
Kamel Ben Yacoub

Co-founder of Getuplead

Like many small businesses, I had essentially zero marketing budget when I started my PPC (pay per click) agency Getuplead.

Even though my colleagues and I are experts in handling paid marketing for other brands, it wasn’t something we could initially afford to do ourselves.

But with so many competitor agencies out there, it was hard to stand out without getting our brand in front of customers via ads or by ranking at the top of search results. Instead of hustling to try and compete on the channels everyone else was using, I decided to turn to an underutilized social network for marketing: Reddit.

I spent a lot of time on Reddit myself, and I noticed that business owners would frequently ask questions about pay-per-click and social ads and only get answers from random people, not experts. 

And, while my competitors were busy posting on other social media platforms like LinkedIn, writing articles for SEO and content marketing, and doing webinars, none of them were showing off their expertise on Reddit as a marketing strategy.

So, I jumped in and started participating in as many open threads as I could that related to the services my company offered. I didn’t initially see any traction but after a few months, my work building thought leadership and brand equity on the platform started to pay off. 

Potential clients suddenly reached out, saying they saw my response on Reddit and were looking for exactly my expertise. We closed two clients from Reddit in six months, which is an incredible ROI (return on investment) given we only aim to have about a dozen clients at any given time and they generally commit to a long-term relationship.

I had another marketing agency owner who doesn’t have PPC experience reach out about collaborating to give clients broader support, and was even invited to speak at a major industry event because of my thought leadership on Reddit.

I also started to notice my responses gaining traction on search result pages (thanks to a 2024 update from Google that saw forums appearing in the search results), elevating our SEO in a surprising way.

While this strategy is fairly manual and certainly won’t have the reach of ads or larger social channels, it can be an impactful way for small business owners to get in front of folks seeking their exact expertise or offering — without breaking the bank. 

If you want to try it for yourself, here’s what you need to know about Reddit, plus the process I’ve used to maximize Reddit marketing.

How Reddit works

For those who don’t already use the platform, Reddit is a social media platform that is essentially a large-scale message board. Reddit is organized into hundreds of thousands of subreddits, which are communities based around a specific topic.

Subreddits can range from incredibly broad (like r/marketing) to extremely niche (like r/LinkedInAds). Within those subreddits, “Redditors” (as Reddit users are called) can start threads for the rest of the Reddit community to respond to, sometimes sparking conversations that span hundreds of messages. 

These threads could be absolutely anything relate to the subreddit topic — think a question, a problem they need help solving, or even an “AMA” (or ask me anything), where they offer to respond to any based around their area of expertise. (And, yes, there are also lots of memes and GIFs on Reddit.)

Within each subreddit, community members can upvote or downvote specific threads based on what they find more or less interesting or relevant. Within each Reddit post, Redditors can also upvote and downvote specific responses. 

Posts with a higher ratio of upvotes to downvotes get put at the top of landing pages and conversation threads so, when you’re posting in Reddit as a social media marketing strategy, you want to aim to be relevant and helpful to get plenty of upvotes.

Each subreddit has its own community guidelines and moderators, so you’ll want to check out the rules of engagement before you start trying out any Reddit marketing strategies.

Reddit also has the option to run Reddit ads. I have not needed to use Reddit advertising to achieve my marketing goals yet, but it’s on my to-do list to experiment with.

How to use Reddit for marketing

Don’t be anonymous

The first step in using Reddit for self-promotion is crafting a profile that tells people who you are and what you have to offer. I created a simple Reddit profile with my real name, my headshot, a short description of what our company offers, and links to my website and LinkedIn.

This is perhaps obvious, but so many people on Reddit are anonymous, and showing my face has helped me build brand awareness and drive new customer outreach. After all, people want to work with a human, not a Reddit avatar. 

Strategically choose subreddits to participate in

Next, you’ll want to identify relevant subreddits for your business. 

Generally, I’ve found more success participating in niche communities. Yes, the broad subreddits generally have a bigger user base, but there are so many comments on each thread that it’s hard to stand out. Meanwhile, in smaller, niche groups, I would notice questions related to my expertise might go days without a single response, which gives me more visibility when I chime in and has allowed me to become the go-to expert in some subreddits.

The sweet spot is finding subreddits where people are engaged enough that you’ll have an opportunity for conversation but not so much activity that you get drowned out. I recommend targeting a few keywords related to your expertise and searching those on Reddit to find options for specific subreddits.

Then, spend some time watching those communities before you start participating. Are there enough active users that people are regularly posting threads that you could add value to? Does each thread immediately get dozens of responses, or is there space for you to make your mark? 

I often find that groups between 500-5,000 members tend to be best, but you want to pay attention to engagement as well. For example, r/LinkedInAds only has 600 members, but I could see that there were new posts at least every couple of days (meaning those members are engaged). That said, many of those posts were lacking expert input, which meant I could step in and make an impact.

There is one exception to the rule of avoiding popular posts, and it’s an SEO tactic I wish I had known when I was starting to market on Reddit. If you Google questions people commonly ask related to your expertise, sometimes Reddit threads will show up in the top results (thanks to that Google search algorithm update I mentioned earlier). 

Not only is this another great way to identify potential subreddits to join, but it might be worth contributing to that ranking thread, even if it is old or already has a lot of responses. This can help you build visibility, both on the platform itself and in web search results.  

Provide immediate value instead of selling

OK, you’ve found some Reddit threads to participate in — but what should you write?

My biggest piece of advice is to focus on immediately helping the poster out instead of trying to sell your services. In fact, I almost never include any kind of CTA or mention that they can work with me if they want more help. It’s just about answering the question and showing that I’m an expert — if they like what I have to say and need more help, they can easily click on my profile and explore ways to work with me. It’s a softer way to sell.

I’m also not afraid of giving away so much of my expertise that people will be able to do it themselves and not need me. Folks on Reddit are often asking very specific questions, and I try to give very specific answers — but it’s still just one piece of the puzzle of succeeding with PPC. My response may get them unstuck at that moment, but when they realize there’s still so much to do, they’ll likely decide to reach out for support.

The one exception is that I sometimes link back to a case study or blog article on my website when it could provide additional context to answer the poster’s question. But, again, I only do this to give them extra help in the moment, rather than trying to push them to a sale.

Build a system to streamline the process

This may sound like a heavy lift on your time as a founder, and it can suck all your time away if you’re not careful. For instance, I was originally getting email notifications every time there was a new thread on one of my target subreddits, and I’d stop everything I was doing to try and answer as quickly as possible. That was not sustainable. 

Thankfully, I learned that Reddit is not as fast-paced as other social media platforms. You can still get exposure if you’re responding a few days later. In fact, you’re likely to get more upvotes if you take the time to write something thoughtful instead of dashing off a quick answer.

Now, I spend a couple of hours each Tuesday and Thursday morning going through the specific subreddits I’m a part of and answering any new questions that feel relevant, which isn’t any more time than I’d have to spend creating content for other social channels or managing ads.  

Reddit is unlikely to be the be-all and end-all for marketing your brand. We also market on LinkedIn because we’ve found that, while Reddit helps us reach a lot of entrepreneurs, LinkedIn is better for connecting with marketing leads at larger companies. We also write articles on our website to boost our SEO. 

But Reddit has been foundational in starting to carve out our corner of expertise on the internet — and in helping us find the customers who most need to hear it.

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