Reddit - How to Grow Subs w/o Getting E-Massacred?

Redditers are tough - here's what we learned growing with 'em.

What’s up, Grow-Getters? Hey hey to our 152 new buds.  If you’re reading this but haven’t subscribed, —> —>

The days are shorter, the nights are colder, everyone is agitated about something — so consider this newsletter to be your beacon of light. Why?

Because you can laugh at our pain as today, we are going to talk about our experience growth hacking with the world’s unfriendliest and cool-kids-only platform, Reddit.

In truth, we’ve been like first-date-after-a-breakup nervous about Reddit from the very beginning. The Internet’s Homepage is a lot of things: where the dankest memes originate, where you can crowdsource answers to your burning questions from the entire universe, and even have a one-on-one convo with likes of Elon Musk and Bill Gates. But one thing that Reddit is not is inviting. 

We knew we wanted to try our hand at engaging with the good people over at Reddit because we saw comments like this:

Aaaaand ones like this: 

Turns out, we’re not the only ones that are scared! So we wanted to find the right expert to help get us the answers we need and do this sh*t effectively so y’all can learn from our experience.

Step 1: Struggle Publicly

Codie did what Codie does best: wrote an engaging AF post and crowdsourced some answers. 

Step 2: Find People Smarter Than You

Ilona reached out to her friend, Alexander Lewis, who has had success on platforms like Reddit and Quora (coming soon) and here’s what he said:

“Reddit can be pretty intimidating. If Redditors catch even a hint that you’re trying to promote yourself or your work, they can get cruel. I think the best way to eliminate anxiety around this is to become a regular contributor to the subreddits you want to get attention from. If you just show up to subreddits and immediately start posting about your product or blog, people will make fun of you or downvote your post. On the other hand, if you’re a regular participant in a subreddit who occasionally makes a post promoting your own work, you’ll likely get a lot more support and interest. Success on Reddit is about being a member of the community.”

Step 3: Karma B*tches

We resolved to follow this advice and build up Reddit karma points so when we do post about Grow Getters (coming soon!), we already have some goodwill and have a better grasp on the platform itself.

Right off the bat, with a whopping 0 karma points to her name, Codie started by answering other user questions and chiming in on discussions (read: no mention of her newsletter). Within a few days, she climbed to 22 karma points which, she’ll admit, felt oddly exhilarating:

Nothing could stop her! She was climbing charts, taking names, adding value left, right, and center. Soon, she was at 34 karma points! 

Aaaand that’s when we realized we built a monster. Codie is now a Redditor. 

Ok, so you’re probably wondering: How TF do I get karma? The answer is easy: post, comment, help, repeat. 

Once we got the karma points, we started identifying subreddits that have a lot of followers that related to our content. One big positive about Reddit is that it’s super easy to navigate and you can go down clicking rabbit holes and end up in really amazing places! See this one subreddit we found on newsletters that instantly made us some Reddit pals!

Step 4: Copy Successful Strangers

We also followed the sage advice of one Daniel Vasallo, who grew his following exclusively through Indie Hacker and Reddit. Here’s his profile on Reddit, so we just copied his subreddits and followed along. 

Step 5: A Fail is Just Not Yet A Yes

This strategy was not without its set of fails. We face planted a couple of times, most notably posting in groups that were really strict about what they allowed. See:

We lived and we learned — turns out some subreddits require more good vibes than we had! With this group in particular, you can comment without the necessary minimum of karma points, but not post. All in due time!

Once we found out about this whole ‘minimum-points-to-enter’ spiel, we sought out to find groups that didn’t have minimums. (You can usually see what the minimums are in the group rules, but the frustrating part was that you don’t know until you try — side note: is that how guys feel at bars?).

As always, the golden rule for posting in any sort of group: Link unto others as you like to be linked to (or something like that). Anyway, just offer value, not just links! 

Step 6: Regroup & Analyze

So here’s the TL;DR of how it went with Reddit, plus some takeaways for those of you wanting to try this at home:

  1. We posted 12 different short questions, 5 long form answers and got about ~130 subs as a results. Not our highest ROI activity but not bad for 1 hour.

  2. If (when) we do this channel again, we’re going to leverage someone with a lot more karma to post on our behalf. We expect this kind of research and outreach to be more fruitful than just finding subreddits and starting from scratch.

  3. Reddit is not a one and done. Like our FB group exercise (and tbh, like a lot of these experiments), we’re going to keep at it and continue to build on the momentum. As we keep learning, we’ll keep sharing! 

Ultimately, the biggest learning we gained during this week’s growth hack experiment: incremental progress is half the battle. We got 1,000 subs in week one. Now, we’ve been working for two months to get the next 1,000.

If you aren’t going to drop on ads, or giveaways, growing is not always fast. So maybe we’ll try giving away something next!

Step 7: Share Your Journey

Opening the Kimono of our Weekly Growth:

Share

Have questions for us? Want to request a tactic for us to try? Hit us up in the comments!

Grow get ‘em,
Codie, Olman, Ilona