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March 14, 2024

Reddit: The Secret Tool for Social Listening

by
Kim

Kim is a social listening and strategy consultant. Kim works with clients to identify how social media can best help their business and create workable strategies to achieve those goals.

Reddit: The Secret Tool for Social Listening
Table of contents

If you work in marketing, you’ve probably heard of Reddit (or at least we hope you have). According to SEMRush, in December 2023, it was the 9th most visited website in the world. Reddit has tons of useful information available, but navigating the site and finding that information may seem overwhelming at first.

This article will explain what Reddit is and why it’s valuable to your business and most importantly, how to use it for social listening.

What is Reddit

Reddit is a network of communities or ‘subreddits’ that function with comment threads where users can share content, ask questions, and generally nerd out about whatever they are into. 

There are subreddits for almost everything that you can think of. These subreddits are managed by volunteer’ moderators’ who ensure that posts in the subreddit stay within the community guidelines. The most popular subreddit at the time of writing this article was r/AskReddit, a place people go specifically to ask other users questions. It has over 41 million subscribers.

Reddit users are anonymous, meaning it’s a great place to listen to what people think about topics. This is because they are more likely to tell the truth when they know they are not held accountable.

Reddit is most popular in the US, followed by the UK and then Canada. It has a reputation for being slightly unfriendly to brands and to users who don’t understand the general etiquette or subreddit rules. And, while this is somewhat true, it shouldn’t put you off, because the information you find there is worth its weight in gold. 

What is Social Listening?

Social listening means listening to what users say on social media and then analysing the data to generate insights. There are multiple ways of social listening; you can do social listening manually by gathering data and copying and pasting it into a spreadsheet, using tools to scrape website data, or by using a custom-built social listening tool to collect the data for you. 

A social listening tool is the easiest way to start social listening, as there are fewer barriers to entry, and you don’t have to know how to code to get started.

When using a social listening tool, you will typically set up a Boolean search string, which specifies the keywords you want to collect and the platforms, locations, and languages you wish to collect them from. Once you’ve collected your data, you’ll clean it by removing any extraneous or irrelevant mentions and then analyse it in the platform with various data visualisations (charts to you and me!). These findings can form insights and can be used to inform multiple workflows including, but not limited to, Social Media Strategy, Content Strategy, Audience Analysis, Research & Development, Brand Monitoring, Cultural Trends, Campaign Planning, Identifying Whitespaces, and more. Basically, all the good stuff.

Why should you care about social listening on Reddit?

Reddit is massive; in December 2023, there were 2.1 billion visits (globally) to the site. There are subreddits for every niche imaginable.

As Reddit content is driven entirely by users, and one of the key reasons people visit Reddit is to ask for advice, there are incredibly high levels of trust in the content users post there.

As mentioned above, the anonymity of the users on the site means that people are more likely to share their honest opinions about things than on other social networks where they are traceable.

Users often come to Reddit to share their frustrations and tapping into this can be super valuable for businesses.

Not only that, but Google indexes Reddit posts, meaning they appear in search results. This makes the information on Reddit even more valuable as it’s being surfaced to people on and off the platform. It helps increase your SEO. 

We’ve written before about why you should consider Reddit instead of TikTok 

How to get started with social listening on Reddit?

In this section we’ll guide you through everything you need to know to start your Reddit social listening project, and some key things to look out for.

Identify your target audience on Reddit

Firstly, you want to think about who you want to listen to on Reddit. 

This should be guided by what your brand does and what stage you are at. 

For example, a tech start-up might want to listen to developers to understand common pain points, investors might want to know what they value when it comes to funding or consumers might use it to learn who uses similar products. 

A larger FMCG brand might be more interested in what consumers think of their products, or its most recent marketing campaign or just general brand feedback.

You can listen to multiple audiences on Reddit, but it’s essential to have a clear view of who each of them is, so that your analysis yields more useful insights.

Set your business goals

Before we get into the nitty-gritty of setting up your searches, it’s important to understand what you want to achieve from your Reddit listening.

Are you looking to understand your potential customer pain points, recruit staff, identify white spaces, or monitor competitor activity? 

Each goal will shape how you approach your social listening on Reddit, as you’ll use them to decide which keywords you want to focus on.

Identify relevant topics and subreddits

Once you have a clear view of your audience(s), you can start identifying the subreddits you want to monitor. 

There are two ways you can do this without a social listening tool.

The first is to go to reddit.com and, using the search bar, enter the keywords that are most relevant to your audiences. For example, if you want to listen to developers, you might type developer in the box.

Reddit will show you a page with options at the top and two columns underneath. You’ll want to navigate to the ‘communities’ area. Here, you’ll see the most relevant subreddits for your query listed. Before you get excited and join, look at how many members are in each subreddit. You’ll want to start by selecting the subreddits with a relatively high number of members, as this ensures a constant stream of data.

Once you’ve identified the relevant communities, click join to become a member. As a member, you’ll be able to post to the subreddit, and more importantly you’ll also be able to filter and search the posts.

The other way to research topics and subreddits is to use Google. 

Because Google indexes Reddit, you can search for whatever your audience or keywords are on Google and add “+Reddit” to the end. Google will then share key subreddits and important Reddit posts that include the data you’re searching for.

Quick tip: Setting up a spreadsheet for your audiences and including the subreddits you will follow for each makes this process way easier to manage.

Set up notifications and monitor keywords

Now that you know who you want to listen to, where you are listening, and what you want to find out, you’re ready to start monitoring your keywords.

There’s no easy way to set up keyword alerts on Reddit. However, there are workarounds using external tools. 

One of these is using Google alerts. If you type site:reddit.com into the alerts box, followed by whichever keywords you want to monitor, Google alerts will notify you when someone uses that phrase on Reddit.

Another way is to use ITTT (If This Then That) to use webhooks to connect Reddit to other services. One of our favourites is to ‘send Reddit posts that you save to your Pocket queue’ so they don’t get lost. 

The final option is to use Reddit like an ordinary user and check in daily to see what’s happening on the subreddits you’ve subscribed to, and then save the most interesting posts to your social listening spreadsheet. You can then manually analyse these posts to understand themes and sentiment over time.

Tips to get the most out of social listening on Reddit:

You can search all subreddits once you’ve clicked through to them by adding a keyword to the search bar. This will return all the comment threads featuring this keyword posted in the subreddit.

To quickly understand which posts are the most engaging to the subreddit, you can filter posts by using the bar underneath the ‘create post’ box. The best way to do this is to select ‘top’, and then you can filter by the week/month/year/all time. It’s a fast way to understand the key themes for the subreddit you’re interested in.

Although you can use Reddit (the platform) single handedly to run social listening as outlined above, the manual process can be time-consuming, extremely limited and challenging to analyse.  

There are various social listening tools available that can make the process faster and more informative. Click here to see our recommendations of the best available. (add link to social listening article when written).

For example, suppose you’re looking for Reddit-specific social listening, you can use a tool named Gummy Search. The tool will allow you to set up searches and monitor Reddit audiences more efficiently, and they offer a free plan with limited functionality. 

Why you should use a passionfruit specialist to help with your Reddit social listening campaign

Reddit moves quickly; there are thousands of conversations happening every hour.

As you’ll have realised by now, manual social listening on Reddit is a time-consuming business, and due to the platform’s limited alert functionality, you’ll miss out on valuable and timely insights if you’re trying to manage it yourself.

Hiring a social listening professional through Passionfruit means getting someone familiar with the platform and the processes who knows all the tips and trips to pinpoint the insights that will help your business succeed. All you need to do is let us know what you want to discover and leave the rest to us. 

Conclusion

Reddit is adding more and more users every year. In 2023 Reddit had 52 million daily active users and its daily active user count has grown by 44% year on year.

In a world of content overload, being able to cut through the noise and talk to your users about the things that matter to them is key to good social! 

Understanding Reddit audiences and what matters to them is imperative for brands who want to stay ahead of the competition.

Reddit is a gold mine of insights, but uncovering them without the help of a pro/a good social listening tool/both  is challenging and time-consuming.

Hiring a social listening professional will give you the best insights in the best time frame, and will probably work out more cost effective than trying to do it yourself.

Professor Passionfruit Illustration
Table of Contents

If you work in marketing, you’ve probably heard of Reddit (or at least we hope you have). According to SEMRush, in December 2023, it was the 9th most visited website in the world. Reddit has tons of useful information available, but navigating the site and finding that information may seem overwhelming at first.

This article will explain what Reddit is and why it’s valuable to your business and most importantly, how to use it for social listening.

What is Reddit

Reddit is a network of communities or ‘subreddits’ that function with comment threads where users can share content, ask questions, and generally nerd out about whatever they are into. 

There are subreddits for almost everything that you can think of. These subreddits are managed by volunteer’ moderators’ who ensure that posts in the subreddit stay within the community guidelines. The most popular subreddit at the time of writing this article was r/AskReddit, a place people go specifically to ask other users questions. It has over 41 million subscribers.

Reddit users are anonymous, meaning it’s a great place to listen to what people think about topics. This is because they are more likely to tell the truth when they know they are not held accountable.

Reddit is most popular in the US, followed by the UK and then Canada. It has a reputation for being slightly unfriendly to brands and to users who don’t understand the general etiquette or subreddit rules. And, while this is somewhat true, it shouldn’t put you off, because the information you find there is worth its weight in gold. 

What is Social Listening?

Social listening means listening to what users say on social media and then analysing the data to generate insights. There are multiple ways of social listening; you can do social listening manually by gathering data and copying and pasting it into a spreadsheet, using tools to scrape website data, or by using a custom-built social listening tool to collect the data for you. 

A social listening tool is the easiest way to start social listening, as there are fewer barriers to entry, and you don’t have to know how to code to get started.

When using a social listening tool, you will typically set up a Boolean search string, which specifies the keywords you want to collect and the platforms, locations, and languages you wish to collect them from. Once you’ve collected your data, you’ll clean it by removing any extraneous or irrelevant mentions and then analyse it in the platform with various data visualisations (charts to you and me!). These findings can form insights and can be used to inform multiple workflows including, but not limited to, Social Media Strategy, Content Strategy, Audience Analysis, Research & Development, Brand Monitoring, Cultural Trends, Campaign Planning, Identifying Whitespaces, and more. Basically, all the good stuff.

Why should you care about social listening on Reddit?

Reddit is massive; in December 2023, there were 2.1 billion visits (globally) to the site. There are subreddits for every niche imaginable.

As Reddit content is driven entirely by users, and one of the key reasons people visit Reddit is to ask for advice, there are incredibly high levels of trust in the content users post there.

As mentioned above, the anonymity of the users on the site means that people are more likely to share their honest opinions about things than on other social networks where they are traceable.

Users often come to Reddit to share their frustrations and tapping into this can be super valuable for businesses.

Not only that, but Google indexes Reddit posts, meaning they appear in search results. This makes the information on Reddit even more valuable as it’s being surfaced to people on and off the platform. It helps increase your SEO. 

We’ve written before about why you should consider Reddit instead of TikTok 

How to get started with social listening on Reddit?

In this section we’ll guide you through everything you need to know to start your Reddit social listening project, and some key things to look out for.

Identify your target audience on Reddit

Firstly, you want to think about who you want to listen to on Reddit. 

This should be guided by what your brand does and what stage you are at. 

For example, a tech start-up might want to listen to developers to understand common pain points, investors might want to know what they value when it comes to funding or consumers might use it to learn who uses similar products. 

A larger FMCG brand might be more interested in what consumers think of their products, or its most recent marketing campaign or just general brand feedback.

You can listen to multiple audiences on Reddit, but it’s essential to have a clear view of who each of them is, so that your analysis yields more useful insights.

Set your business goals

Before we get into the nitty-gritty of setting up your searches, it’s important to understand what you want to achieve from your Reddit listening.

Are you looking to understand your potential customer pain points, recruit staff, identify white spaces, or monitor competitor activity? 

Each goal will shape how you approach your social listening on Reddit, as you’ll use them to decide which keywords you want to focus on.

Identify relevant topics and subreddits

Once you have a clear view of your audience(s), you can start identifying the subreddits you want to monitor. 

There are two ways you can do this without a social listening tool.

The first is to go to reddit.com and, using the search bar, enter the keywords that are most relevant to your audiences. For example, if you want to listen to developers, you might type developer in the box.

Reddit will show you a page with options at the top and two columns underneath. You’ll want to navigate to the ‘communities’ area. Here, you’ll see the most relevant subreddits for your query listed. Before you get excited and join, look at how many members are in each subreddit. You’ll want to start by selecting the subreddits with a relatively high number of members, as this ensures a constant stream of data.

Once you’ve identified the relevant communities, click join to become a member. As a member, you’ll be able to post to the subreddit, and more importantly you’ll also be able to filter and search the posts.

The other way to research topics and subreddits is to use Google. 

Because Google indexes Reddit, you can search for whatever your audience or keywords are on Google and add “+Reddit” to the end. Google will then share key subreddits and important Reddit posts that include the data you’re searching for.

Quick tip: Setting up a spreadsheet for your audiences and including the subreddits you will follow for each makes this process way easier to manage.

Set up notifications and monitor keywords

Now that you know who you want to listen to, where you are listening, and what you want to find out, you’re ready to start monitoring your keywords.

There’s no easy way to set up keyword alerts on Reddit. However, there are workarounds using external tools. 

One of these is using Google alerts. If you type site:reddit.com into the alerts box, followed by whichever keywords you want to monitor, Google alerts will notify you when someone uses that phrase on Reddit.

Another way is to use ITTT (If This Then That) to use webhooks to connect Reddit to other services. One of our favourites is to ‘send Reddit posts that you save to your Pocket queue’ so they don’t get lost. 

The final option is to use Reddit like an ordinary user and check in daily to see what’s happening on the subreddits you’ve subscribed to, and then save the most interesting posts to your social listening spreadsheet. You can then manually analyse these posts to understand themes and sentiment over time.

Tips to get the most out of social listening on Reddit:

You can search all subreddits once you’ve clicked through to them by adding a keyword to the search bar. This will return all the comment threads featuring this keyword posted in the subreddit.

To quickly understand which posts are the most engaging to the subreddit, you can filter posts by using the bar underneath the ‘create post’ box. The best way to do this is to select ‘top’, and then you can filter by the week/month/year/all time. It’s a fast way to understand the key themes for the subreddit you’re interested in.

Although you can use Reddit (the platform) single handedly to run social listening as outlined above, the manual process can be time-consuming, extremely limited and challenging to analyse.  

There are various social listening tools available that can make the process faster and more informative. Click here to see our recommendations of the best available. (add link to social listening article when written).

For example, suppose you’re looking for Reddit-specific social listening, you can use a tool named Gummy Search. The tool will allow you to set up searches and monitor Reddit audiences more efficiently, and they offer a free plan with limited functionality. 

Why you should use a passionfruit specialist to help with your Reddit social listening campaign

Reddit moves quickly; there are thousands of conversations happening every hour.

As you’ll have realised by now, manual social listening on Reddit is a time-consuming business, and due to the platform’s limited alert functionality, you’ll miss out on valuable and timely insights if you’re trying to manage it yourself.

Hiring a social listening professional through Passionfruit means getting someone familiar with the platform and the processes who knows all the tips and trips to pinpoint the insights that will help your business succeed. All you need to do is let us know what you want to discover and leave the rest to us. 

Conclusion

Reddit is adding more and more users every year. In 2023 Reddit had 52 million daily active users and its daily active user count has grown by 44% year on year.

In a world of content overload, being able to cut through the noise and talk to your users about the things that matter to them is key to good social! 

Understanding Reddit audiences and what matters to them is imperative for brands who want to stay ahead of the competition.

Reddit is a gold mine of insights, but uncovering them without the help of a pro/a good social listening tool/both  is challenging and time-consuming.

Hiring a social listening professional will give you the best insights in the best time frame, and will probably work out more cost effective than trying to do it yourself.

Written by
Kim Townend
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Professor Passionfruit Illustration

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