Product Hunt makes it easy for people to share the tech products and apps they’re into – what they love, what they use, what they’re excited about. It’s like highly targeted social media in which every user is tech-literate and interested in finding the latest smart solutions to their problems.
But more than that, Product Hunt has become a community of likeminded people who are willing to give insights into products, engage with other users, share tips and ideas, and bond with each other over shared interests. It’s a crazy combination of user-generated marketing and old-fashioned “geeking out.”
Does that sound like your target market? Then Product Hunt is where your startup needs to be.
However, just like you wouldn’t try writing a long blog post on Twitter, there are some protocols to keep in mind when interacting with this community. Here’s how to navigate the social waters so your startup company can join the Hunt.
Tips for Interacting with Product Hunters
“My #1 tip for engaging the Product Hunt community is approaching it with authenticity, respect, openness and a general desire to bond with others over shared interests. It’s not a place to be self-serving or overly arrogant.”
“If someone outside of the community wants attention for their product, they need to be authentic and not mass-spam participants. They should find individuals that have an obvious need or interest in their product and/or the space it plays in and reach out to them with a tailored message – not copy and paste the same thing to a large volume of PH participants.” ~ Tori Bunte
Like Tori Bunte says, Product Hunters can smell sales a mile away, and that’s not why they’re here. If you want in, then start by forming a genuine relationship with a few individuals who will then happily champion your product.
Super simple, but it’s amazing how many marketers looking into Product Hunt miss this step! You can’t expect engagement with your product unless you engage with other products. So up-vote what you like!
Join the conversation honestly and respectfully. Most importantly, provide useful comments that give genuine insights into products, rather than “this is awesome!” Haven’t been invited to Product Hunt? That doesn’t mean you can’t start your own conversation on Backseat Product Hunter.
When you’re on a landing page for a product you love, use one of the share buttons to post it on social media.
Curate your collection.
It’s as easy as clicking the “save” button on a product landing page.
Host a meetup – or at least attend one.
Sometimes Product Hunters actually see each other in the flesh, which is really exciting. If you take the time and make the effort to attend your local meetups, you’ll be welcomed into the community in no time.
But wait – you don’t want to just interact with Product Hunters, you want to know how to get your product on the very top of Page 1 – right?
First, understand this: Commenting/submission access is not the same thing as access to posting. When you get comment access, you are also able to submit, but your submission goes into “upcoming” rather than onto the home page.
However, when you gain access to post, your submission lands directly on the home page. Your product submission or post may also mysteriously disappear – which won’t be so mysterious if you read the Product Hunt guidelines.
Getting Your Product Listed
“Well, My #1 tip is engage with hunters on Twitter. #2 is to get on Hackers News.” ~ Violeta Nedkova
Make good things. People tend to like good things.
~ Aaron Mahnke (@amahnke) July 30, 2015
Ask yourself, does your product appeal to the Product Hunt community? Would it benefit from being listed there? (It may come as a surprise, but this isn’t the case for all products.)
Search * for a list of products by up-votes to see which types of products do well on Product Hunt.
- If yes, create a landing page specifically for Product Hunters
- Request a gold star (ahead of time) to be placed by your listing if you’re offering an exclusive. Do so at https://rrhoover.typeform.com/to/ysDOD2.
There are different types of users on Product Hunt:
- Users who can comment and submit products for review
- Users who can comment and post
You’ll want to talk to someone who is a user who can comment and post.
Figure out which hunters are hunting products that are related to yours and politely request their e-mail addresses to e-mail them about your product. Send them the URL of the landing page and ask if they’d be interested in posting it on your behalf.
“I think the most important thing for makers is to spend some time getting to know the Product Hunt community before they ask people to post their product. Not everyone will be interested in your offering, so find out who’s posted similar products and try and contact them to see if they’d have the time to take a look. Don’t take a scattergun approach and spam loads of Hunters on Twitter; it looks lazy and can come off as rude.” ~ Ria Blagburn
- “A product is a tool for helping people at scale. When you have one customer, your job is to help them. When you have a thousand customers, your job is still to help your customer.” ~ Jim Gray
- Has your product launched or is it still in pre-launch phase? The community prefers products that have launched. This is because they want to ensure the product they’re supporting will actually come to fruition.
- Not ready for your product to be hunted? Let someone from the team know right away. It’s best for both you and the community if your product is listed when you’re ready.
“Look for people who have submitted similar products to yours and approach politely through social media—give them an out like ‘I know you’re very busy, but…’ If you don’t mind being hunted unexpectedly, simply mingle—someone will eventually post your product as a thank you for participating in the community. If you don’t have comment posting access, there’s always Backseat Hunter and Twitter!” ~ Kiki Schirr
By now, your product has been listed, right?
But your job isn’t over yet.
Here’s how you can get the best performance out of your listed product.
Best Practices for Listed Products
“Once you’ve been listed? I think the most significant thing you can do at that point is drive engagement. It’s your chance to explain the value of your product. You can discuss features that are important and could help potential customers/users. You can also discuss the market you’re in, but in such a way that people might look at you as a thought-leader or may pass your message on to others.”
“Lots of bloggers read the Product Hunt comments and some of the comments Ben Rubin made about Meerkat travelled all over the web because he was so transparent and passionate.” ~ Eric Willis
- Make an introductory comment to provide more context.
- Do an AMA on Product Hunt (i.e. answer any and all questions that community members have about your product, the day that it’s listed).
- Share your excitement but DO NOT request up-votes (it’s against guidelines).
- Join Maker Hunt, the Slack chat for product makers in Product Hunt.
- Do an AMA on Maker Hunt.
- Share your Product Hunt success story with others.
Something went horribly wrong!
Where’s your post? No, you didn’t lose it. Most likely, you committed a Product Hunt sin that landed your product in the “upcoming” tab.
Product Hunt (and, some might argue, life) is like making spaghetti ala carbonara – if you stop paying attention, you’ll F’ it up.
Read the FAQ to see if you may have done something wrong (like asking for upvotes). If you are sure you did everything right, you can talk to your hunter and ask very nicely if they can nudge a moderator.
As Violeta Nedkova says: “because mods have super powers: like pushing something to homepage.”
Fun Stuff You May Not Know about Product Hunt:
- The Product Hunt podcast: Each week makers, investors and other startup folks gather around the virtual campfire to geek out about products.
- The Product Hunt Facebook group, where things like readathons are taking place.
- Product Hunt hosted hackathons – be sure to follow Erik Torenberg to stay up to date on them.
- Want a product hunt sticker? You can get it for $2 at Stickermule.
- Products for Product Hunters that make hunting products easier.