Reddit Scrape Reveals 5 Themes Among Audiences with COVID-19 Concerns

In this uncertain time, businesses should be focused on helping their audience by understanding their new needs and speaking to their concerns. Learn the top questions across seven industries people have now that you should be answering.

As you work to survive and adapt during this time, it’s important to keep your audience top of mind too. At Seer, we’ve been working with clients to identify what new questions people are asking, so we can provide clear answers in our content.

It’s critical to answer your audiences' questions and acknowledge their concerns, especially in this high anxiety period, so they know your business is helping them and, in turn, how they can support you.

Using Reddit for Audience Research

Since pandemic concerns accelerated so quickly in March, typical keyword research tools, like Google Keyword Planner, haven’t been able to provide the direction we usually count on. Instead, we’ve been turning to real-time data to get a pulse on what information people need at this time, particularly Reddit.

As we’ve been helping clients over the last few weeks, we’ve found Reddit to be a resource to understand what concerns, anxieties, and questions people have, guiding client content strategy during this time.

If you aren’t familiar with Reddit, it is a website that houses hundreds of forum-like communities (called subreddits) centered around major topics, like politics, down to extremely niche fan groups, like the Brad Leone subreddit focused on a member of the Bon Appetit YouTube channel. Learn Reddit 101 here.

At Seer, we’ve scraped subreddits relevant to seven major industries to understand what people need and how we can help, and we’re sharing these insights with you. If you’d like to skip ahead to the industry most relevant to you, please feel free:

Common Types of COVID-19 Related Concerns

Across each industry, we noticed that questions tended to fall into five main categories:

1. Advice

Many users are looking to peers for guidance on what to do in specific situations they’re dealing with now, like, “I have a trip booked for June. Should I cancel now?”

For these types of questions:

  • Consider content that outlines the pros and cons of decisions people are enquiring about.
  • Check with your legal team about how much guidance you can provide in these situations, so you aren’t overstepping legal bounds in your company.
  • Remember: People are anxious right now. This isn’t the time to hard sell users on your products or services. Rather provide unbiased, expert opinions that answer their questions directly.

2. Current Information

Many people are overwhelmed by the sheer amount of news coming out hourly, and they’re turning to communities they trust to ask questions, like “Is my money safe in the bank now?”

For these types of questions:

  • Remember: Some information requests are better left to medical organizations, like the CDC.
  • Consider writing content for questions specifically related to your industry. For example, if you’re an expert on financial markets, consider answering the question above noting FDIC insurance and why it’s important during this time.
  • Since the only thing we can count on is more change, consider updating this type of content often, so it’s never out-of-date, and link to reputable sources where users can learn more.

3. Proactive Preparation

Some people are concerned with how to stay ahead of changes and be in good positions to survive the pandemic. Questions seen around preparedness include, “What can businesses who are temporarily shut down do during this period?”

For these types of questions:

  • Similar to advice, people asking these questions are seeking guidance during this time. They are thinking about how to maintain their safety (from a health or financial perspective).
  • Consider writing content that provides tips on how to prepare for the pandemic, maintain safety, and strategies to ride out the current market conditions.

4. Stories

Because Reddit is community-based, people are asking for personal experiences related to COVID-19 impact, like, “I'm suspending rent for tenants - are you?”

For these types of questions:

  • As the pandemic has isolated many people from meeting face-to-face, people are turning to online communities to ask for stories of how other people are handling impacts to their businesses.
  • While it can be hard for businesses to provide personal stories, it is a great time to highlight any clients or consumers who are going through challenges and how they are managing during this time. It’s important to let them share their stories without your company interjecting because, especially during this time, it’s about your customers, not about you.

5. Future Predictions

In this time of uncertainty, it shouldn’t be surprising that people have a lot of questions about what the future will hold, such as, “What do you think will happen to travel prices after Coronavirus?”

For these types of questions:

  • While nothing is certain, this could be an opportunity to leverage any industry experts, either within your company or externally, to provide their opinions of what could happen two, six, twelve months from now.
  • As people are trying to make plans as best as they can, you can provide some expert insights that could help reduce anxiety.

COVID-19 Industry Insights

The following questions and topics came from analyzing relevant, active industry subreddits, spanning threads from January-March 20th of this year.

While these insights aren’t a comprehensive view of all questions your audience may be having during this time, this is a good starting point to explore some of the most common concerns.

  • I have non-refundable flights and non-refundable hotels. What are my options?
  • Will airlines be bankrupt in the future?
  • I have a trip planned in the next few months. Should I cancel now?
  • Can I extend my tourist visa?
  • For those who intended to be abroad for internship, work, etc.,  what can be done? Concerns around being currently jobless or without a residence.
  • I work in tourism. I'm very concerned about getting a job when I get home.
  • I saved for years to travel, and now I'm depressed that I can’t. Does anyone have tips?
  • Will they refund my flight cancellation fee?
  • Would it be more expensive for me to reschedule my trip vs. cancel?
  • When this is all over, where do you want to go?
  • Are there any laws or anything protecting travelers with a pandemic?
  • Which airlines or booking agents were good / bad through this?
  • What do you think will happen to travel prices after Coronavirus?
  • My Airbnb was cancelled. What should do I do?

  • What does it mean that the Fed cut rates to zero? Why did they cut rates? What are the implications? What could "go wrong?"
  • Is a recession coming? How will it compare to previous economic downturns, like in 2008?
  • What will recovery be like? When may that happen?
  • What should my strategy be as Coronavirus impacts the market?
  • What should I be doing with savings accounts? Mortgages? Rental properties? Bonds? Stocks?
  • How much cash should I be keeping?
  • Is my money in the bank safe?
  • How are people staying the course of their investments?
  • How will Coronavirus impact my retirement? What if I've just or am about to retire?
  • What is the government considering to do to offset the impact of Coronavirus? What will a stimulus do?
  • If a stimulus does come, how should I use that money?
  • Is it a good idea to make a big purchase, like a car?
  • What should I do if I lost my job? What can I do? Can I defer payments? How?
  • What do you do if you're still employed, but don't have any hours? What if I'm being furloughed?

💡 Seer scraped 12K tweets from 52 banks to identify the #1 complaint from users since March 2019. Read our teams tips on how to create a better experience for your customers. 

  • Will homeowners start selling second homes/AirBnB properties?
  • Is now a good time to buy a home?
  • Is now a good time to buy an investment property?
  • Should I refinance?
  • I'm suspending rent for tenants - are you?
  • Is the lowered Fed rate affecting mortgage rates?
  • Are other realtors seeing a downturn in homebuying?
  • What home improvement projects are you working on during quarantine?
  • Will rent drop across the board after this pandemic?

This analysis was focused on the point of view of students, not teachers. If teachers are your target audience, there are many other subreddits that will help your research!

  • Does anyone have any reliable information about grad results getting delayed because of COVID-19?
  • How will COVID-19 impact my student visa?
  • What majors / career paths may students consider in the wake of COVID-19?
  • Do you think colleges will decrease tuition or be more generous with scholarships this fall due to COVID-19? Will colleges be required to refund money?
  • How does the Coronavirus outbreak affect your research?
  • How to inquire with schools on the status of admissions applications due to Coronavirus?
  • Is your school moving to a P/F (pass / fail) system due to pandemic?
  • Does anyone else feel checked out / mentally disconnected?
  • How does COVID-19 impact prospective students? (Cancelling of extracurriculars and projects that they may have otherwise referenced on applications)
  • What are some tips for students using virtual learning platforms?
  • Do you think classes will be online all semester?
  • When will schools reopen?
  • Tips for TAs running an online lab

💡 Take a look at our 2020 Higher Education Industry Report: Search Marketing Trends for more insights into how students are searching and what you can do to show up for them.

  • How are different businesses being impacted? What should I do if my business is in trouble?
  • How has Coronavirus been affecting the supply chain?
  • What can businesses do to survive? How do you handle a recession?
  • What businesses are most at risk during the pandemic? What businesses could survive the pandemic?
  • How long will this last?
  • What can businesses who are temporarily shut down do during this period?
  • What should you do if someone requests sick leave for people who have to stay home with kids?
  • What can you do if you can't pay employees?
  • How can businesses transition to remote work?
  • Is now a good or bad time to start a business?
  • Is now a good time to sign a lease?
  • How to handle customers who want refunds or who have cancelled services?
  • What federal assistance is available for businesses?
  • What happens if a coworker becomes infected?
  • Could Coronavirus lead to an increase in ecommerce?

  • Is Coronavirus affecting your online sales?
  • What items are considered essentials that people are buying online?
  • How is Coronavirus impacting retail workers?
  • What safety measures are being taken in terms of packaging due to Coronavirus?
  • How is dropshipping being affected due to Coronavirus?
  • Should I inform my customers about a delay or not?
  • Is it safe to sell products from other countries?
  • How do you build brand trust during the Coronavirus outbreak?
  • How is COVID-19 affecting shipping from countries / areas?

  • Are other businesses closing for the foreseeable future?
  • Will my business be covered by my commercial policy?
  • Will travel insurance cover my cancelled trip?
  • What coverage do I need for my business to be covered for Coronavirus?
  • How will coronavirus affect the commercial P&C industry?
  • Does my health insurance cover me if I'm travelling?
  • If I don't have health insurance now, how can I get it?
  • Will my life insurance policy cover me from a pandemic?

We hope this helps you help your audience during this time. If you have any questions, please feel free to comment below!

If you’re interested in more content on business strategies in the time of COVID-19, please subscribe to the Seer newsletter for new actionable insights and recommendations weekly. And if you haven't visited our COVID-19 Digital Marketing Hub yet, check it out here for more in-depth resources.

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Teresa Lopez
Teresa Lopez
Associate Director, SEO