Doing Self-Promotion on Reddit the right way
I've been thinking about doing some self-promotion on Reddit but I'm not sure if it's a good idea. I'm afraid of getting banned or downvoted. There are already so many people active on the platform, so is it really worth it?
As an indie founder, self-promotion is key to your success. But it’s also tricky – if you do it wrong, you can easily alienate your audience and ruin your reputation. That’s why it’s important to know how to promote your product the right way, in guerilla mode.
First, you’re missing out on half a billion potential users if you’re not promoting on Reddit. Thousands of niche communities can serve you as a place to find hot leads. For example, let’s say you’ve just released a new book on Amazon. You could go to the /r/books subreddit and find relevant threads where you can contribute valuable comments.
We’ll mostly talk about Reddit, but the same rules apply to other similar community sites like IndieHackers, HackerNews, ProductHunt, etc.
Rules of engagement
Go to the source
Reddit has a good wiki on how to promote yourself on their website. the tl;dr version of it is basically — “It’s perfectly fine to be a Redditor with a website, it’s not okay to be a website with a Reddit account.” Be a Redditor first and a promoter second.
Read the subreddit rules before posting. This will help you avoid any potential bans or other penalties. You can also look at the mod comments to see why specific posts have been removed or banned. If you’re unsure about subreddit etiquette, you can DM the mods and ask for clarification. Be polite.
Respect the moderators
In cases where the moderator explicitly prohibits self-promotion, it’s best to respect their wishes and refrain from posting about your product. There are plenty of other niche subreddits to market your product, so it’s best to find one that’s more conducive to your goals.
Maintain your karma
When talking about being a Redditor first and a promoter second this means that 80% of the time you should be participating in the communities as a normal member, and 20% of the time promoting your product in threads that are relevant. Not the other way around.
Doing promotion on Reddit
Use the right tools
There are a lot of tools that allow you to discover small niches that are relevant to your brand where you can participate. For example, here’s one that shows you similar subreddits to the one you know.
Make it personal
When you’re finally ready to self-promote, make sure to do it in a way that’s personal and relevant to the community. What this means is basically being a decent person who genuinely wants to help AND who has a product that can be helpful.
Make it clear that you’re self-promoting by telling people that you’re the founder of this service or that the links that you use are affiliate links. This will help Redditors decide for themselves whether they want to click on your link or not.
That’s the holy grail of what you’re after. There are several ways you can insert links.
- Your website as a submission — will probably get removed as spam or promotion.
- Your link somewhere in the body of the post — will probably get removed unless it has crucial information and is an important addition to the main body.
- Your link in the comments — this part is less moderated, so higher chance of sneaking a link into the content. But if your comment is only a link, it will be removed by moderators as spam and probably account flagged.
- Your link in the bio of your user — free space to add anything you want. Works quite well if you post good comments and people want to take a look at who you are.
SEO on Reddit
Even though the links that you post will have rel=”nofollow” google still thinks very highly of links from Reddit. This means that if you want to rank for a certain keyword, always create content around your link so that google understand the context of the link.
It’s a community, not an audience
Comments on the post continue the conversation. And that’s a way more consistent way of getting new users than making a submission that will die in the “new” section.
Getting a #1 comment on a post is many times easier than getting the #1 post in the subreddit. And you don’t have to always come up with something viral to post, you just react to the content that other people post.
Bulletproof steps to get ranked #1 comment on Reddit
- Be helpful on the topics that you’re 100% confident in.
- Don’t give advice but share your experience.
- If you see someone ask something – answer it.
- If someone asks for something that your product solves – mention it.
- Make it a win-win for you as a promoter and for the user who you’re helping.
- Don’t be pushy/annoying or force your own beliefs onto someone. Don’t start arguments — those never end well.
Make this a long-term commitment
The comments that you write will stay there forever, so whenever someone stumbles on that topic they will see the comments and will see your product. And the more you comment the more compound this effect gets. So just write a few comments per day for a year and this will be a huge boost to you.
Don’t hate the haters
There will be people that will not get along with you on the internet. Don’t take it personally even if they tell you your product sucks or whatever. Just move on, there’s no reason to convince them otherwise — some people just look for stuff to hate on.
Self-promotion can be tricky, but if done correctly it can be a valuable tool for indie founders. The key is to be mindful of the community you’re promoting and to use self-promotion in moderation.
Wish you luck with your marketing on reddit.