reddit v Quora: how can you use them in B2B marketing?

Scared of reddit? Unsure what to do with Quora? Emily looks at how both platforms can benefit B2B marketers (as long as you don’t put promotion first).

reddit v Quora

reddit calls itself “the front page of the internet”. It’s like a massive global forum that has sub forums for just about anything.

Alexa, as I write this, ranks it as the 9th most popular website in the US and 31st globally.

Quora says its mission is “to share and grow the world’s knowledge.” It’s a huge question-and-answer repository of knowledge. Alexa ranks it as the 127th most popular website in the world.

David McGuire, Radix’s Creative Director, told me he’s heard reddit might be useful for B2B marketing, but the site absolutely terrifies him. Quora? Zero opinion.

Keep on reading to find out what both platforms are like, how you can use them in your B2B content marketing efforts and why you might want to go with one over the other.

As a B2B content marketer, I use both

I’ve been on both sites for four years, so I’m pretty well placed to tell you what they’re like, how you can use them for B2B content marketing (and how you shouldn’t), and why you might go with one over the other.

Full disclosure: I use reddit a lot more than Quora and I was once a moderator of a large subreddit (like an online forum). This is not to say that reddit is better for B2B marketers; I just mainly have a Quora account so I can fully view site content.

The differences between reddit and Quora

reddit is made up of subreddits: communities of users (known as redditors) who discuss a particular topic or post content around a particular topic, with threads and replies. Quora has questions and answers, and a slightly hidden blogging feature.

Subreddits are communities of users on reddit and each subreddit has a particular focus. So /r/Games is about videogames and /r/scifi is about science fiction.

Quora’s topics are groupings of questions about particular subjects. You’ll find topics like Technology Trends or B2B Marketing.

Both platforms have the possibility to help with your content marketing efforts.

But what are the other main differences between the two sites?

(Click on image for a larger view.)

(What’s “astroturfing”? Check out this definition over on TechTarget.)

While there are many similarities between the two platforms, as you can see from this table there are a lot of differences too.

What could a B2B marketer use reddit for? (hint: it’s NOT promoting your own content)

There are many articles, blog posts, that describe how to use reddit to gain web traffic. Almost all of them involve concealing that you’re a marketer while doing this. They say you should embed yourself within reddit and in subreddits relevant to your business in order to build up a reputation as a “genuine poster” and then start to promote your business.

Do not do this.

What those articles don’t really mention is the fact that if you are found out, all that hard work you put into pretending to be genuine will have been for nothing and your brand’s reputation tarnished.

Or, as this article on SocialMediaExaminer points out:

redditors expect extreme transparency and authenticity from advertisers. Spam and hard selling aren’t tolerated and using either tactic will damage your brand’s reputation.

It doesn’t matter how awesome your content is. You can’t approach reddit the same way that you do Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest. If you jump in and submit content blindly, you could find yourself banned or your websites blacklisted.

Despite all this, paid-for ads that link to your content are perfectly acceptable. Why? Because you’re being honest that you’re marketing something.

So what should a B2B marketer use reddit for?

Outside of content promotion or starting a subreddit specifically for your brand?

You should use reddit for finding out about part of your audience.

I say part, because the users of reddit are, anecdotally, incredibly skewed towards a particular demographic (white, straight men who are under 40). But for B2B marketers looking to find out more about everyone from end-users to senior decision-makers, there are subreddits on almost anything related to industry and business.

For example, there’s subreddits like /r/sysadmin, /r/engineering and even /r/talesfromtechsupport.

Lurk and listen.

There are no quick fixes and it might take some time to find where you should be listening (the first part of that SME article has good advice on finding relevant subreddits). The benefit of listening is that you might discover ideas for content and ways to flesh out audience personas.

Can you try posting on reddit?

You have to be really careful about posting to reddit and linking to your brand in any way. When reddit advises you to “tread carefully” they really mean it.

If you decide to post, do as SocialMediaExaminer advises:

Submit appropriate content, provide insightful answers, ask questions related to your industry and respond to people who engage with you.

So what do you use Quora for?

Well, you use it to be yourself.

A lot of what you would do with Quora you could do with reddit. But Quora encourages you to be yourself:

Having profiles that are meant to be based on who you are gives Quora an edge that reddit doesn’t: Quora gives you a true public face as a user. This means you can do a lot more, because you can be honest about who you are from the start and build up a reputation that you can use to your brand’s benefit.

Ways to use Quora for B2B marketing

This article from Buffer’s Kevan Lee is an excellent guide on how to set up your Quora profile and how you can use the site as a marketer.

As Kevan suggests, here are just some of the things you can do with Quora:

  • Research a topic your business is interested in
  • Crowdsource content
  • “Re-answer questions you’ve answered in your blog”
  • Discover new content ideas based on questions

But its main strength for marketers is how public-facing it enables you to be, and the transparency that enables.

I’ve previously written on this blog that the impact of being truthful and authentic should never be underestimated; existing and potential customers appreciate it.

Quora is essentially a place where you can build a reputation as a thought leader and gently tie this back to your brand. This includes linking back to your existing content in answers when it’s relevant to do so.

We’ve even seen clients’ contributions to Quora discussions being quoted in the media, so it can be valuable from a PR point of view, as well. (As long as you’re saying something you’d be happy to see quoted!)

What about Quora’s blogging feature?

The blog feature is not nearly as prominent as some other self-publishing platforms, like LinkedIn’s Pulse. However, if you’re looking for somewhere you can atomise and reuse content then it has potential and helps to build up the authority of your Quora profile when people check it out.

reddit v Quora: which do you pick?

Like any online platform, the first part of looking into its marketing benefits is finding out whether your audience is there. If your audience isn’t on reddit or Quora, then you shouldn’t waste your time on the platforms, because they won’t help you bolster your marketing efforts.

But if your audience is on both and you only have time for one?

Then decide if you want a public profile or an anonymous profile.

Public brand building? Choose Quora.

Anonymous information gathering? Go with reddit.

But above all, remember: spam is not your friend.

(I don’t know if David is any less terrified of reddit after reading this post.)

Want more B2B copywriting and content advice?

Check out the Good Copy, Bad Copy podcast.

Header image adapted from “Daily News Golden Gloves Boxing” by Mike Lizzi under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic license.

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