How to find customers on Reddit with social listening
Social listening as a customer acquisition tool
Social listening is the process by which you can monitor mentions of keywords online that are relevant to your business. This includes your brand name, product category descriptions, customer pain points, and even competitor names. For a dive into the benefits and use-cases of social listening, read the startup guide to social listening.
Social listening on Reddit is a popular customer acquisition technique for early-stage businesses because:
- People often ask for product recommendations on Reddit, or complain about their (sometimes solve-able) problems
- Unlike ads, It doesn't cost money to engage in online communities on Reddit
- Unlike SEO, social listening doesn't require a lot of time to start seeing results
- It's quick to set up and continues to pay off over time
In this particular guide, we're going to walk through using the social listening feature on GummySearch to discover conversations on Reddit where you could land a new customer by participating in the comments.
Reddit social listening playbook
GummySearch can track keyword mentions across relevant communities on Reddit, and notify you when a new submission or comment is created that could be a potential lead for a new customer.
For the purpose of this walkthrough, we'll take on the persona of someone who has created a SEO tool which helps website owners monitor and improve their SEO rankings.
1. Create an Audience
Although it's possible to track keywords across ALL of Reddit, you might get more noise than signal. It's recommended to compile an audience of Subreddits so that you are listening in on relevant conversations to your niche.
You can track different keywords across multiple audiences, which is helpful when your product/business is positioned towards multiple user types.
2. Search a phrase
You can search a keyword from the audience's "browse" page, or from the conversations feature. Both will have similar results, but the conversations page has some slightly more options to customize your search.
There are many types of keywords that you should monitor to find potential customer leads on Reddit, and we'll cover all of them below. As an example, if you're marketing a product that helps website owners improve their SEO rankings, you could search for "any SEO tools" to find conversations where people are asking their community for product recommendations.
The conversations result page shows the most recent instances of this phrase in the communities you've selected for your search. It also shows the frequency of this keyword. This is important!
If your keyword isn't happening often enough, you might want to try different ones or add more communities to your audience. If your keyword happens too frequently, you might get "notification fatigue" from all the matches. Make sure the results are relevant to what you are looking for.
3. Plug your product/business as appropriate
Right off the bat, you'll likely see plenty of existing results for your search. If you scroll through and find somewhere people are asking for your product, go ahead and write a thoughtful comment and link to your website.
Thankfully, promoting in Reddit comments is much less moderated than submissions. However, you should still make sure that you're adding more to the community than you take, and only mention your product if it's actually addressing the question/recommendation/problem that the conversation is about.
Sometimes you'll have some really recent conversations that pop up in your results, and that's the ideal scenario because you'll be answering a current open question/request, and you'll also get more eyes on your answer.
You'll also probably get some older submissions that match your search as well. These can still be useful to read from a market research perspective, but most likely the original poster has already gotten their question answered and if you come in 10 months late with your product recommendation, it'll fall on deaf ears. I recommend saving your plugs for recent conversations, or those that have a high amount of upvotes and the thread is indexed by search engines.
4. Track the keyword for future mentions
Being in the right place at the right time on Reddit can really pay off. By tracking the keywords that lead to business-relevant conversations, you always have an opportunity to jump into the conversation right when it happens.
By providing a thoughtful & helpful comment early on a submission on Reddit, your comment is likely to be upvoted early in the submission's lifecycle. If it is one of the top comments, it tends to stay there because those are the comments that others read first, and upvote. On top of that, if you upvote the actual submission early and add a comment, you're giving that submission a helpful boost in the Reddit algorithm.
I personally use this method of driving traffic to my sites pretty much every day. I've had times when a single well-timed comment brings over 100 visitors to my site, and those are typically fairly high-intent individuals as they were already taking the time to read a Reddit submission on the topic at hand.
To track a keyword in GummySearch, just press the "Track" button after you make a keyword search and confirm that the results are relevant, and the frequency is reasonable. When there is a new conversation containing any of your tracked keywords, you'll see a notification in the GummySearch app. If you have email digests enabled, you'll get an email containing the conversations that matched.
5. Make it a routine
There's one thing that is unique about social listening compared to most other customer acquisition channels, and that is that it requires YOU to be there and interact with your audience. Although this could be a turn-off for larger companies that just want to put money in the marketing machine and get customers, for earlier stage founders I would argue that this intimate relationship with your audience is a great thing.
However, this doesn't mean that you need to spend your whole day doing it. If you check your GummySearch conversations page you'll quickly see the new conversations that match your searches, evaluate which ones you should comment on, and go drop your comment on the Reddit post. It doesn't need to take more than 10 minutes a day.
I personally take 10 minutes at the start and end of my day to check in on about 20 tracked keywords and respond to the appropriate matching conversations. This efficient process works wonders for me.
I get hundreds of high-intent visitors a week to my website, the links I drop get indexed by Google, I learn about my target customer with every post I read, and my comments are greeted with thank yous and upvotes from the community. Not bad for a 20 minute investment, right?
GummySearch is a product born from a process, and I built it to make this process available to other early stage founders. I hope that you can find as much success with it as I have.
Keywords to track
So what should we track?? That is the most important question, and it'll also depend on your business and stage that you are in.
Here are the high level categories of keywords. For an in-depth dive into each one (with examples), please read the keywords to track on Reddit article.
- Product Category
- Customer Objectives
- Customer Pain points
- Your Brand Name
- Competitor Names
- Blog Post Topics
How many keywords you decide to track is up to you. Personally, I have about 20 that I track per website where social listening is in the marketing strategy.
It's critical to keep your tracked keywords up to date. Make sure to add to your original list, but also don't be afraid to remove a keyword if it's not getting you the results you're looking for.
Tips on plugging your product & business
One thing that you probably know about Reddit is that folks on the platform don't really like blatant self-promotion. So when you are linking to your website or suggesting your product, the way that you do it determines if you get tons of website traffic and potential customers, or get downvoted into oblivion.
Here's what works for me:
- Don't be lazy: Don't just drop your link, but write a thoughtful response. Remember that folks posting on Reddit are often asking their community for help, so give it! Be kind, and you'll be rewarded.
- Add value directly: A great working formula for leaving a comment on Reddit is writing a short paragraph answering all/some of the OP's submission, and then linking to your website for additional context. Not everyone will click, but you want to make sure that even just your text response is something others would upvote.
- Plug something free: Although product plugs also work, you'll get called out for self-promotion much less if you are linking to a blog post or a free trial of your product. If your website content is good, these visitors end up trusting you and some will convert to paying customers.
- Don't copy and paste: It's easy to just have the same canned response to several submissions on Reddit, but people will notice. Click on your Reddit profile and see your activity, this is what others will see. Make sure that it's varied and doesn't look spammy.
- Anchor link matters: This isn't related to being accepted by the community, but matters for SEO. Because Google indexes Reddit posts and their top comments, If there are keywords you'd like your pages to be ranked for, make those keywords the anchor text for your links.
Go forth and conquer
So that's the Reddit social listening playbook! It's a fantastic one for those looking to find their first several hundred customers without a high budget or a big team.
The rest is up to you! Go set up your tracked keywords and land those new customers!