Reddit for Small Business
Reddit is a massive online social news platform, started in 2005, that encourages users to discuss, rate and share content in the form of text posts, images, and videos. The highest-ranking content gets pushed to the top, making it more visible to users, so sharing quality content is a vital part of the social exchange.
It hosts 52 million unique users per day—making it the 8th most visited website in the world as of November 2022. You’ll find over 130,000 active communities called subreddits that cover any topic you can imagine. These subreddits are typically focused on a singular topic, that ranges from politics, news, video games, music, movies, technology, careers, and much, much, more.
Reddit’s great to get a general idea of what’s trending in the world, while subreddits can give you a focused scope of any specific topic. There’s essentially a subreddit for any topic imaginable (unstirred paint? Yeah. There’s a subreddit for that).
While you might find entertainment value in discussing the latest The Last of Us episode and how it differs from the videogame, a savvy Reddit user can strike gold by discovering where its product or service fits into their niche consumer market.
Reddit can be used to gain feedback about a business’s product, learn more about your competitors, what customers like and (really) don’t like, and understand what steps to take to make your product or messaging more appealing to the market.
In short, Reddit provides a wealth of information and a unique opportunity for small businesses owners to connect with their target audience, gather insights, and stay ahead of the competition.
Importance of Reddit for market research and competitive research
Reddit is an invaluable resource for competitive market research because it provides access to a large and diverse community of users with a wide range of interests and perspectives. This anonymous pool of users also notably has nothing to lose- they tend to be extremely honest, which can be critical for getting unfiltered feedback on your product and its position in the market.
Other social media sites like Facebook or Instagram are not extremely searchable, with most users’ profiles locked down from public searches. Blogs are becoming increasingly rare. And Twitter is a firehose, making it hard to wade through the noise to get the good stuff.
For market research, businesses can gather information on Reddit about consumer preferences, trends, and rapidly shifting opinions. This can help you make informed decisions about product development, marketing, and customer service- information that can help bulletproof businesses in an increasingly unpredictable economy.
When it comes to competitive research, you can monitor mentions of your competitors and gather a sense of customer sentiment towards these competitors. This information can provide valuable insights into what practices are working well for competitors, and what areas may be opportunities to offer an improved product or competitive messaging.
If you own a furniture company that’s primarily known for a type of recliner, search out your competitors on Reddit and see what customers love about their La-Z-Boy and what they honestly wish was better. If your recliner is designed to be every new mother’s dream chair, then visit the subreddits geared toward pregnancy and parenting to figure out what some gaps in the market might be- then use that intel to your advantage.
By leveraging this platform, small businesses can gain a deeper understanding of their target market and the competitive landscape, which can then help them make more informed decisions and unlock their product’s true market potential.
Understanding Reddit as a Community
Who Uses Reddit
It’s a myth that only teenagers use Reddit. Even though the majority of Reddit’s user base is between the ages of 18-29, you won’t have difficulty finding someone that matches your target demographic. 22 percent of users are between 30 and 49, and the whole of Reddit includes users from countries all over the world, so the feedback you’re gathering is from an extremely wide net.
While the demographics lean male, there are plenty of women on Reddit, and there are lots of women-specific subreddits, often designated by the ‘xx’ prefix. For example, while there’s an r/Fitness subreddit, there’s also an r/xxFitness for women.
People come to Reddit to ask questions, get opinions, and discuss what keeps them from switching from Car A to Car B, or software engineers using a Mac vs. PC for app development.
The interest topics are endless – and even if it’s a smaller-sized community, they may be very active, engaged, and opinionated!
When conducting market research on Reddit, the more vocal the community, the better. This data can help you strengthen your strategies around product designs or what you should address when speaking to your audience.
In general, on the internet:
- 90% of people are lurkers (meaning they will never like/comment, only read/browse),
- 9% are participants (meaning they will upvote or downvote), and
- only 1% will actively engage by commenting or creating new posts.
This means that you can assign a heavier weight to singular comments than you might think – even if you only find one relevant comment to your brand or industry, it means there were many other people who likely felt the same way but didn’t want to comment themselves. Upvotes can also give you data – a comment score of 1 is very different from one with 34 upvotes.
So as you are searching through Reddit, don’t get discouraged if you “only” find a handful of threads or comments – these are valuable, too!
Understanding Reddit – Hands On
To understand Reddit as a community, it’s best to jump in and immerse yourself. Like any real-life community, Reddit has its own set of rules, norms, faux pas, and slang. To make it even more complex, each subreddit or topic can have its own unique way of speaking and operating.
Here’s how you can start familiarizing yourself with the platform:
- Get to know the basics and features: Start by exploring the platform and getting a sense of how it works. Use the “front page” of reddit.com to get started. Familiarize yourself with the different features, such as subreddits, upvoting and downvoting, and commenting threads.
- Identify relevant communities: Reddit is made up of many communities, or subreddits, focused on different topics. Identify the subreddits that are relevant to your industry or target audience. The easiest way is just to Google it – e.g. “subreddits for marketing” or “reddit small business”. Each major subreddit typically has links to smaller subreddits on its front page (look for “related subreddits”).
- Observe community norms and etiquette: Each subreddit has its own set of norms and etiquette, so be sure to observe and respect these when participating in discussions. These rules and expectations are typically clearly lined out in the top of the subreddit, so be sure to read them thoroughly before engaging.
By taking these steps, you’ll gain a deeper understanding of Reddit as a community and be better equipped to use the platform for market research and competitive research.
Is reddit more honest than other social networks or online reviews?
People are often more honest on Reddit about a company’s products and services because the platform provides both anonymity and a sense of community.
This anonymity tends to allow users to freely express their opinions and experiences without fear of retaliation or judgment.
This sense of community and anonymity on Reddit fosters open and honest discussion, as users are able to share their experiences with others who have similar interests.
There is a material gain from participating in these communities, as users get more information and insight around their questions or ideas, and the opportunity to bond over a set of shared experiences.
For example, on a thread about Eleven Madison Park in the Fine Dining subreddit, I commented that I’d just finished the last of my EMP granola and that the OP (original poster, the person who started the thread) should really savor theirs. Another redditor replied with a copycat recipe so I could make my own at home!
Which I did this weekend. Spoiler: It was great.
Additionally, because Reddit’s upvoting and downvoting system helps to promote accurate and relevant information, users are able to regulate the quality and accuracy of posts and comments.
This system is set up so that the most valuable and accurate information rises to the top, while less relevant or inaccurate information is downvoted and less visible- at least, in theory.
While upvoting for accuracy and relevance is the Platonic ideal, what often ends up happening is the funniest or most popular / well-liked answer is the most upvoted. If you want to get the opposite perspective from the crowd, try sorting by “controversial”.
There, you may find some insights that really help you tweak your product or marketing. These comments could be the thoughts of the “silent majority” that are hampering real product-market fit or marketing strategy.
Conducting Market Research on Reddit
Identifying relevant subreddits for market research
The first step in using Reddit for market research is to search for relevant subreddits to your product or service. This way, you can see specific topics and get an idea of what people are saying within that area.
Not sure how to find topical subreddits? Turns out, Google is a pretty good resource for aggregating and recommending subreddits.
Say you’re an accountant looking to bring on extra clients before tax season. You might search for something like “Filing Taxes” to find discussions about who people are filing with and why, or what common questions and pain points they may have.
People could contribute to the post by commenting they’d rather use software like Turbotax because it’s cheaper than hiring an accountant, or discuss how much of a tax refund one accountant got them versus others in a specific area.
You could use this information to create campaigns that address what problems your service can solve for customers:
- You save the customer valuable time
- Your business reduces the risk of not filing correctly and getting audited later.
- You can get your customer a bigger tax refund.
Use Reddit’s search feature to find conversations that have been occurring around particular topics that might relate to what you do.
From these conversations, you may find that someone loves your product or service but wishes the website was easier to use or had better support for the customer after they made the purchase. Gems like these are sprinkled all over Reddit- you just have to know how to search for them.
Utilizing Reddit search to gather information
There are multiple ways to use reddit search – search the entire site for a word or phrase, or search a specific subreddit for a word or phrase.
- Use specific keywords: Start by searching for keywords related to your topic of interest. For example, if you’re looking to gather information about a particular company, search for the company name or any nicknames for the company.
- Refine your search: you can then refine your search results by date, subreddit, and type of content (e.g. posts, comments). Use these filters to focus your search and find the most relevant information.
- Check multiple subreddits: Reddit search results can vary widely depending on the subreddit, so be sure to check multiple subreddits to get a more comprehensive view of the topic. Your area of interest may be discussed in seemingly irrelevant topic areas, but don’t discount the potential value of these conversations. Take a peek at search results from anywhere that pops up.
- Analyze the information: Once you’ve gathered information from Reddit, pop it into a document or spreadsheet and analyze the information to identify common themes and trends. This information can help you get a better understanding of customer opinions, preferences, and experiences.
Engaging with the community for insights and feedback
Let’s say you own a Toyota dealership in Los Angeles, and you’re curious about your competition – another Toyota dealership in Santa Monica.. You might search for something like “Toyota dealerships in Los Angeles” and find a post asking “Are there any dealerships in L.A. County that aren’t charging a market adjustment?”
From these posts, we could find that our competitor is literally and figuratively driving away business by adding on $5-$10K in market adjustments, or another dealership is saying they don’t have one, while in reality they get their “market adjustment” in overpriced tints, floor mats, tires, or warranty plans.
With this information, we could frame our dealership as transparent with no markups or hidden fees, highlight what’s included, and boast our large inventory of cars. We can also address issues the customer may find at other dealerships, such as a pushy salesperson or untrustworthy motives.
Conducting Competitive Research on Reddit
Monitoring competitor mentions and brand mentions on Reddit
If you’d like to regularly monitor competitor mentions and brand mentions on Reddit (and you should!), you can follow these steps:
- Set up a Reddit account: To monitor company and competitor mentions on Reddit, you’ll need to set up a Reddit account. This will allow you to search for mentions and subscribe to relevant subreddits. This only takes a minute.
- Use Reddit search: Use Reddit’s search function to search for mentions of your brand or competitors. Make sure to search for variations of your brand name, as well as any common misspellings.
- Monitor relevant subreddits: Subscribing to relevant subreddits can help you stay up-to-date on any mentions of your brand or competitors. Look for subreddits that are related to your industry or target audience, and check them regularly. It can help to have a recurring calendar reminder to check these in order to stay on top of trends and changes.
- Set up alerts: Set up alerts for your brand and competitor names with a third-party monitoring tool like Mentionlytics or even better, with Google Alerts (which are free). This will help you stay on top of any new mentions and respond in a timely manner.
- You can use this syntax for Google Alerts:
- site:http://www.reddit.com/r/<name of subreddit> <query> (remove the angle brackets)
- Analyze the data : Once you’ve gathered information from Reddit, analyze it to identify common themes and trends to then fill the knowledge gaps you may have about your target customer and their needs.
- You can use data visualization tools (like a word cloud) or a simple spreadsheet to keep tabs on the common issues, complaints, and questions.
Some helpful tips when conducting searches include sorting subreddits strategically: sorting by “Top: All Time” will put the post popular (and most engaged with) subreddits at your fingertips. Searching for your product or similar products in related subreddits (not just by the brand name) could yield juicy results. Instead of just searching r/Nike, be sure to also search for Nike in r/fitness.
Think creatively about the places your customers are hanging out on Reddit in order to make sure you aren’t overlooking valuable conversations.
Identifying market trends and emerging products through Reddit discussion
By monitoring Reddit discussion, you can stay ahead of the curve and identify market trends and emerging products before they become mainstream. Compare your product to ones you see eagerly discussed in relevant subreddits: what changes can you make to your product to keep it competitive or surpass your competition?
- Analyze discussion: What are users excited about? What do they keep wanting to discuss again and again? Make note of products, issues or ideas that you see popping up repeatedly- there’s probably a good reason for it.
- Look for mentions of new products: Check for mention of products and emerging technologies in the discussion threads. What are users saying about these new products? Are the responses largely positive or negative, and why? Are users quick to embrace new technologies, or do they wish things could revert back to the way they were in a previous version?
- Identify early adopters: Identify Reddit users that are the first to try new products- they can give you valuable insights into how early adopters might start evangelizing your product or detracting from its potential.
- In smaller communities, this is easier to spot. There will be a handful of ‘top users’ who tend to dominate the conversation.
Using Reddit Data for Business Decisions
As a business owner, it’s important to understand your target audience and stay ahead of the competition. Reddit can be a valuable source of data and insights that can help you make savvy business decisions. A couple of simple actions will help you shape the way you do business and positively influence the trajectory of your product.
- Get involved: If there’s an active conversation about a topic relevant to your business, hop in and leave a comment!
- If there isn’t an existing conversation for your particular niche or product, start a new thread, or start a new conversation within an existing thread. Make sure you’ve thoroughly read through the subreddit’s community guidelines and rules before posting in order to remain in good standing (and to avoid your post being removed).
- Catalog the number of people who are interested or have purchased a competitor’s product – if there’s smoke, there’s fire – and likely market demand for your better product.
Final thoughts on utilizing Reddit data to drive business decisions.
Data gathered from Reddit can have an immense impact on the trajectory of your business – it can illuminate a problem (or series of problems) you didn’t know your customers had, which in turn can help you market your product as the solution to those problems.
It can also help address areas of new product development that require clarity, or determine if a current service/product you offer is even relevant to the market anymore.
And our favorite use for it – understanding the exact way people speak about your product, service, or industry. This will better inform all of your marketing material and help your company “speak their language.” When customers feel seen and reflected by the brands they love, it only reinforces their brand loyalty and enthusiasm.
Reddit can be an incredibly helpful tool in eliminating your business blind spots- if you’re able to commit to the time investment. With Reddit, you have the unique opportunity to find out what consumers think about your brand, your competitors, fill knowledge gaps about your niche, and use that data to help inform what’s next for your business.
For a free resource, you can’t put a price on that!
Understanding Reddit for market and competitive research is fundamental in today’s environment. The platform’s massive user base offers a rich and diverse source of data that can give businesses a unique insight into consumer behavior and preferences.
The feedback and engagement gathered on Reddit can help a small businesses identify gaps in the market, evaluate their competitors, understand trends, and ultimately, adapt their strategies to stay competitive. These benefits can be especially impactful for small businesses who are looking to gain traction in their respective markets. While traditional research methods may not capture the real-time sentiments of consumers, Reddit provides a dynamic and authentic environment to tune into the conversations that matter most.
Using Reddit effectively for your business’s market research could become your secret weapon for success.
To learn more about how to leverage this platform check out the rest of our website at ArnoldMarketing.com