For tech startups, especially those in the B2B SaaS space, it can be overwhelming to select the social media channels worth focusing on to drive new trial sign-ups and ultimately conversions.
In recent months I've noticed quite a few accounts running TikTok ads where you can clearly see they are aiming for a professional audience, but the lack of engagement on their content shows they are falling short of the platform's intended purpose.
Recently, I saw this with an ad targeting marketing professionals like myself. Whilst the content of their newsletter was highly relevant, the video wasn’t the most engaging, especially not for a platform as challenging to tackle as TikTok.
As someone who's previously worked at a video marketing agency and produced video content of my own, I know firsthand how difficult it can be to create content that can be produced at a scalable level for a fast-growing brand.
There's a lot to consider before even posting content that might never become "viral" among your target audience. All of the following concerns should be taken into account when making video content for social:
- The time and resources required for video editing
- How much budget does it take to stay "on-brand"
- Having a creative eye and nailing tone of voice
- Knowing what your target audience finds engaging
Because of the previous considerations, when I have a very conservative budget (which happens a lot when working with bootstrapped startups), I much prefer leveraging Reddit over TikTok. In this article, I'll cover a few of the most cost-efficient ways to advertise on highly relevant subreddits for your startup.
Hate the advertiser, but not the brand
Reddit is well known for having a reputation for not being receptive to blatant advertising. As every marketer should be aware of, there is a particularly notable case of a gaming brand being dragged through the mud for their infamous Reddit comment.
This arose due to EA's community management not listening to their users' feedback. This failure quickly became the most downvoted comment in Reddit history. When marketing via this platform is done wrong, it goes wrong to the extent of becoming a new case study for marketers to heed with fear.
This doesn't mean that Redditors don’t mention brands organically; they often do and this can provide marketing professionals with many brand listening opportunities.
I did a recent experiment on Reddit to see how often the biggest competitors of a SaaS company I work with are mentioned organically. To do this, I used the brand listening tool, Notifier.so.
Within as little as three days, the brand we are competing with was mentioned across a wide range of Subreddits at least two hundred times! Almost all of these mentions were positive recommendations, from users recommending a platform that costs tens of thousands of dollars to subscribers each year.
This shows that there are plenty of opportunities for brands in niche spaces (especially those targeting software engineers) to take advantage of the fact that brands are recommended in new threads every day on Reddit. These threads so often ask, “What tool do you use to perform [insert technical task]”, to which the replies will name solution providers large and small alike.
By leveraging brand listening intelligently, you can also be part of the conversation to subsequently increase your brand awareness and if you are lucky (and the original poster is in the marketplace for a new tool) you may even directly attract sign-ups.
Here are some examples of the type of copy that I’ve seen used to include mentions to brands in these types of tool request posts;
- I personally use [your startup’s name].
- Look at [large well-known competitor] or [your startup’s name].
- Both [large well-known competitor] & [your startup’s name] have a very comprehensive set of features for [use case related to the thread].
- One of the options that I have seen being used at my current company is [your startup’s name] for [use case related to the thread].
- Full disclosure, I use this tool at my company. If you are looking for [use case related to the thread] then [your startup’s name] works well.
Make sure you take the time to understand the rules of the Subreddit you're posting in before you reply to these types of threads. Make sure you don't seem spammy or repetitive and don't have an inorganic post history (other Redditors will commonly check your post history to verify your authenticity).
Just by saying you've used your own tool and a competitor's tool in the past, a mere mention is now placing your tool in front of a new potential customer.
It is true if your organisation dogfoods your product (which most startups in technology should), then you use your own tool to achieve the same goal that the original poster (OP) was trying to accomplish.
In my experience, I've seen success when using Reddit as a marketing channel when the actual engineers at the startup post naturally through their established accounts. It is more likely that their post history and activity will appear legitimate and naturally, they tend to not sound like salespeople. This is vital in order to be taken seriously and not get banned from replying.
Startups such as Databricks, Stripe, Klarna, & Grammarly are all frequently mentioned on Reddit, which means if your startup competes with any of these, you can mention your brand alongside these more established brands to get traction and leads.
Save thousands on market research
As any marketing professional knows, commissioning a market research report can often set you back a minimum of $1000 to well over $2000 on average.
A cost-effective way to conduct valuable research at a fraction of the cost of normal market research reports is to find a Subreddit that focuses on your industry or profession.
Whilst many Subreddit admins may not be keen on the idea of hosting a survey as a pinned thread, there are enough friendly moderators on the site that will be willing to allow you to collect responses in return for a generous charity donation.
Having seen this technique in action before, a donation of $150 to $500 in return for a minimum number of survey responses is way cheaper than your average market research campaign, and you'll also reap the benefits of your brand being associated with a charitable endeavour.
Even though the results won't be as scientific as those of a market research agency, the insights and feedback you'll receive by asking the right questions relevant to your target industry will be invaluable for future product marketing.
In addition to market research and competitor listening, Subreddits like r/msp allow vendors to promote their technology as long as posters follow the admin's rules. From previous post history, I have noticed that startups such as Acronis, Fleetdeck and Onlykey have received a warm reception when promoting their webinars and platform demos in this particular Subreddit.
Eleanor’s a Content Writer with a strong understanding of SEO tools and ranking. She specializes in creating long-form copy that converts for B2B SaaS. You can connect with her via LinkedIn!