Product Hunter: The Journey into the Exclusive Product Hunt Community
Bio: I’m a software engineer and blogger from the San Francisco Bay Area. I’ve been on Product Hunt since March 2015, and have been hunting products since July 2015. I am currently a Software Engineer at 99Gamers, and do Growth work with Nir Eyal.
This post was originally featured on my blog. Medium peeps, I would greatly appreciate it if you subscribed!
February 2015: I didn’t know what Product Hunt was. Now, fast forward to Saturday, July 25, 2015: I was invited to be a “Product Hunter”, or Hunter, by Product Hunt moderator and former Community Manager, Nichole (thank you so much!!!)
It’s actually a great privilege to me, because as a geek myself, I’m now a part of the exclusive community of Hunters, where I can connect with Makers and feature their products, which currently includes apps, games, and books! That might sound funny to you, but I love the Product Hunt community since I browse it everyday and interact with them on Twitter and Slack. A large portion of the Product Hunt community consists of programmers, designers, start-up founders, and other professionals that I like to associate with, so perhaps that’s why I like it so much.
Anyways, here’s why I am writing this article: I want to tell the story on how I became a Product Hunter, and explain how you can get more involved in the Product Hunt community. For those who are avid followers of Product Hunt, and even those who want to become a Product Hunter, you’ll find value in this post because I’m writing this for you. But first, let me start with how I even discovered Product Hunt in the first place.
Following my layoff from a small start-up in February, I found myself with a lot of free time on my hands. Through Meetup.com, I attended a presentation at the Wix Lounge in San Francisco on Habit-Forming Products, in which Nir Eyal taught The Hook Model, which illustrates the psychology behind how apps like Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest constantly keep users like us coming back. As a software engineer, I knew Nir was going to share a lot of valuable insight, so I opted to sit in the very front row to be fully present during his talk.
At the end of Nir’s presentation, a man behind me asked about Ryan Hoover and how they connected with each other to work on the Hooked book. Now, I had heard of Ryan’s name before, but I didn’t actually know who he or Product Hunt was. But, at the time, I had been learning about how to connect with influencers, so I was interested in what Nir had to say to that question since Nir is an influencer in the tech and start-up industry himself. If I remember correctly, Ryan sent an e-mail to Nir. Afterwards, they personally connected and the opportunities branched out from there for the both of them. I also learned that after working together, Ryan started his own start-up: Product Hunt.
After Nir’s talk, I just had to learn who Ryan Hoover was and what Product Hunt was. After a Google search, I recognized a very familiar face. Ryan appeared on my news feed a few times in the recent past. He was a speaker at Disrupt SF, an event that TechCrunch shared numerous times on social media. He was also a part of the S14 Y-Combinator batch. I was so interested in learning more, since he’s young and is doing what I want to do: speak in front of people, be known in the industry, build a great community, and run a business.
I was inspired.
I took a look at the Product Hunt website, and instantly saw the value that he and the Product Hunt team provides to their users. Everyday, through Product Hunt, I can discover new apps, tech, and start-ups. I was instantly hooked! (Great job, Nir).
Note: At the time of me discovering Product Hunt, it only had a “Tech” section. Now, Product Hunters can submit books and games, too.
I made a habit to browse Product Hunt everyday because I loved the concept and the community. But at some point, I wanted to become a bigger part of it all. I wanted to engage. I wanted to engage with the Makers, the Hunters, and the followers. I even wanted to engage with Ryan, Erik, and the rest of the Product Hunt team.
And that’s when I wanted to become a Product Hunter.
In fact, I literally wrote “Become a Product Hunter” as #6 on my top 10 goals until May 31, 2016:
I guess that’s how committed I was? In any case, I wanted to become a Product Hunter, but in order to become a Product Hunter, I needed to make the most out of my experience on Product Hunt. But I couldn’t just be the person who upvotes and saves products to his collections. I needed a plan to get my name out there in the community.
So, what was the plan that helped me become a Product Hunter?
Before I go into that, I’ll admit that I got lucky. I was just hoping that my plan would eventually work out. Plus, had I not been lying on the hotel bed in room 716 of Circus Circus in Reno, browsing my Twitter feed in the AM on July 25th, and seen Nichole’s tweet, I wouldn’t be writing this article right now. It’s because of her recommendation that I became a Product Hunter. But let me get this across too: it wasn’t all luck. Had I not went through with the plan, I wouldn’t even know who Nichole is!
Here’s almost the entire plan in one word: Twitter. That’s where it’s at!
Well, everyone on Product Hunt has a Twitter account. So, what did I do differently than others?
I engaged. I engaged almost every single day for four months. I engaged with the Hunters, the Makers, everybody I possibly could. I engaged so much that I felt like I was annoying some people (sorry Ryan if I tweeted you too much!)
But I mean, that’s what it takes to become a Product Hunter, right? After all, here’s what Product Hunt says themselves:
“Submissions are accepted by our most active members, specifically those that have been invited by others in the community.”
Yeah, you’re probably not going to get an invite by asking for it on Twitter. I know, because I tried :).
Let’s go deeper into what exactly I did to be one of the more active followers of Product Hunt. It was a process (that I still do) that helped me get noticed by two of the more well-known members of the Product Hunt community. It was this breakthrough that helped me get even more involved with the community and ultimately be invited to become a Product Hunter.
With that said, I will now share the tactical actions I took that will help you get in the Product Hunt conversations.
1. If a product caught my interests, I upvoted it.
Simple, and everyone does it. Sometimes I received Product Hunt and Twitter followers. Sometimes the Makers even tweeted at me! Hunters (and probably Makers, too) get notifications whenever their products get engagement, so it was a great and simple way to get into some conversations.
2. If I knew that I was going to use a product, I saved it to my collections.
At first, I was unorganized and saved any product that caught my attention. This resulted in a large “Save for Later” collection, something no one else and even I will ever browse through! But later on, I organized all my products into multiple collections, such as “Growth Hacking”, “Startup Ground”, “Investing”, “Personal Growth”, etc. This is the best way to use the collections feature, because not only does it keep your content organized, but it gives you the opportunity to interact with those who may find your collections interesting and helpful. It even gives you the opportunity to find more followers, too. More conversations!
3. If I thought a product would be useful for my audience, I shared it on Facebook and Twitter.
I didn’t want to be the only one in my network using Product Hunt. Many of the products shared on Product Hunt are really great products, so I’m always making my network aware of them.
On Twitter, I try to make sure that the Product Hunter gets credit for hunting the product, provided that Product Hunt gives me the ability to do so using their Twitter button. I never remove their Twitter handle from the tweet in favor of hashtags. If you were a Product Hunter, you’d want to know if your hunt was interesting and useful to others, right? I also use #ProductHunt, so I tend to get some great engagement from the community.
Always share products with your network when you find it useful, and if it fits, go the extra mile by sharing it with the tech and startup communities using hashtags like #tech, #apps and #startups. You’ll create some conversations and engagement with the community. And, the Hunters and Makers will appreciate you and might even connect with you for sharing and for seeing engagement!
4. If I absolutely enjoyed using a product, or was thinking about using it soon, I tweeted each Maker about it.
This is where I feel that Product Hunt should give creeps like me a button to tweet all the Makers at once. In order for me to do this, I have to copy and paste each of their Twitter handles, and that got tiring after a while. I tweeted Ryan to consider putting the feature in if others recommended it, but I’m not sure who else does this!
If you want to connect with the Makers of the products you enjoy, send them a tweet! They’ll appreciate it and it might even turn into a great beta user partnership kind-of-thing :).
5. I listen to some of the Maker Stories on Product Hunt Radio, and if I really enjoyed an episode, I tweeted Erik about it.
Erik does a phenomenal job with the Product Hunt community, and I’m inspired by how he not only builds and maintains a thriving community, but also by how he connects with influencers like Tim Ferriss, Seth Godin and Tony Robbins. As a personal growth junkie, these are the kinds of people I really admire, so I make sure that I acknowledge Erik for creating such valuable content and doing great work! And you should too if you enjoy his content.
6. I joined the Product Hunt Global Slack group and the Product Hunt Book Club.
Product Hunt has Slack groups that every one in the community should be a part of. While I haven’t yet utilized them to the fullest, there are massive opportunities to connect with fellow product geeks and potentially even meet them in person, since Product Hunt has channels for various cities (like San Francisco).
The Product Hunt Book Club is also a group that avid readers should be a part of; there you gain access to the book AMAs that Erik facilitates on Product Hunt, and you can interact with others who are reading the same books as you! For me, joining the book club turned into an extraordinary opportunity for me: it allowed me to personally connect with Nir and have coffee with him. Now, I’m working with him and learning all about growth and building an audience :)! Great stuff!!!
7. I engaged with other tweets that used #ProductHunt.
Why not join in on the other conversations of others? You don’t have to create just your own! Get on Twitter and engage with everyone!
Through these actions, I feel that I’ve made the most out of the Product Hunt experience and greatly involved myself with the community. As a result, I’ve connected with great people and have been privileged to contribute even more: by hunting great products. By making an effort to maximize your engagement with the community through Twitter and Product Hunt, you’ll not only get more involved in the conversations, but you’ll experience the benefits and satisfaction of helping Makers spread the word on their products, connecting with others, and even helping Product Hunt grow the already engaging and fun community.
Aside from any questions or comments you might have, that’s all I currently have to say on Product Hunt.
What’s your Product Hunt story?
Please feel free to tweet me @JourdanB21 or respond to this article! If you’re a Product Hunter, a Product Maker, or just anyone who’s in the Product Hunt community, I’d love to read about your story on how you got into it! Let’s all share it with each other on Twitter with #MyProductHuntStory.
P. S: I’m a huge fan of books. If you’re an author, or even someone who has a product and wants to build a following, I’d love nothing more than to help you get in front of the Product Hunt community! Please tweet me @JourdanB21, and we’ll set something up together!