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Business Opportunities: Promoting on Reddit
We know that quite a lot of you guys learned about CommunityValidated through Reddit. From our conversations with you, we also know that a significant part of our audience uses Reddit to get valuable information for their own projects or to create awareness and get feedback on their product.
So we thought we’d share some of our own experiences in terms of creating awareness on the platform. We definitely learned a lot about posting on Reddit, and we love to share some key insights with you.
But even if you’re not using Reddit for creating awareness, you might find some valuable insights on the role of empathy in business.
📬 Posting on Reddit
No doubt, posting on Reddit can be quite scary. If you’ve posted on Reddit before, you might have felt insecure about these questions:
Am I posting in the right subreddit?
Will I even be allowed to talk about my own business?
Could I get harsh responses for what I have to say?
We definitely had those thoughts in the early days of CommunityValidated. Reddit can lift you up or shut you down quite harshly. We certainly didn’t want to experience the latter.
Because of this, posting on Reddit felt like an obstacle we’d rather not have to overcome. However, our perspective has changed over time. In fact, we came to realize that the harshness on the platform is actually a necessary evil to protect the good of Reddit.
Think about it like this ⬇️
If blatant self-promotion was allowed, the average quality and authenticity of posts would decrease and people would leave the platform. Pretty quickly, there would be nobody to promote to anymore.
Only as long as users and mods condemn self-promotion, conversations on Reddit can remain authentic. Only then can self-promotion even be effective – if done empathically.
🤔 Empathetic Self-Promotion?
What do we mean by “empathetic self-promotion”?
Well, certainly not to convince people of buying something they actually don’t need.
Instead, it’s about communicating in a way that makes people realize that…
a) you understand and respect their perspectives, and
b) you’re one of them and not an outsider who’s just trying to profit off Reddit’s popularity.
💡 Here lies a key differentiation💡: Some people rightly get harsh reactions on Reddit, because they really don’t value Reddit from the perspective of a user. They just want peoples’ attention.
But then there are others who actually value Reddit’s authenticity and users’ opinions, but fail to communicate that when talking about their business.
✍️ Writing with Empathy - an Example
Let us discuss this with an example from CommunityValidated’s humble beginnings ☺️
A few months ago, we wanted to create awareness for our early-stage newsletter on r/entrepreneur. We didn’t just want to go like “hey, here’s our newsletter, please check it out”. That would have been lazy, not empathetic. It certainly wouldn’t have worked.
Instead, we wanted to write a post that people could identify with. Something that would make them go like “yes, I am exactly as what you describe” (→ literally the first comment we got).
So we asked ourselves: What could be a perspective or emotion that we might share with other Redditors in r/entrepreneur?
Since we knew from our research in the subreddit that some people in r/entrepreneur had issues not only with finding business ideas but actually pursuing them with confidence, we realized that this could be a common theme for the post: feeling insecure about business ideas.
Having identified the underlying theme of the post, we just needed a structure for our content ⬇️
😨 First, we described our lack of confidence with regard to our own business ideas. Not in a self-pitying way, but rather descriptive.
🤔 Second, we described our journey of coming to realize what makes us feel more confident: Systematic research instead of spontaneous brainstorming sessions.
🤯 Third, we described the destination of our journey, that is (funny enough) a business ideas newsletter based on systematic research in online communities. (The end of this section is where we dropped a link to our newsletter)
🤗 Lastly, we directed our attention back to the readers, kindly asking for their feedback and their own experiences.
You can read the post here if you want.
👉 Why this particular example?
Because we think that…
a) it can be replicated quite easily, and
b) it encapsulates well the idea of empathetic writing:
Sharing about your own feelings/insecurities
Explaining your journey/thought process
Writing about an emotion that others can relate to
Showing genuine interest in other peoples’ experiences
While the post didn’t get tons of upvotes (20), it was enough to appear on the front page. The number of upvotes might not seem too impressive, but it’s worth noting that the upvote/downvote ratio was 95%, which is really good considering that the rules of r/entrepreneur say “no self-promotion” and “no one cares about your blog.”
Most importantly though, the post brought 30-40 new subscribers to our newsletter. At such an early stage, that’s not too bad for an hour of work.