It’s a new era. No longer out of reach of us “average people,” executives are taking to social media and (gasp!) talking to us. Not just talking, but asking our opinions. For a very long time, companies were able to make large-scale changes without wide-spread upheaval from the masses a la the Gap logo redesign fiasco.
However, with the rise of social media platforms such as Reddit, the masses have found ways to make C-level execs listen. One such method is a Reddit AMA.
What is Reddit, and what’s an “AMA”?
Reddit defines itself as “a type of online community where users vote on content.” You upload something — a picture, video, story, meme, or text – and other people vote it up (“I like it!”) or down (“This is lame!”). You gain “karma” points when your posts gain upvotes, so the goal, if you keep track of such things, is to post highly-upvoted content and gain karma.
Within Reddit, there are “subreddits” that are divided by topics which people subscribe to. Subreddits cover just about any topic you can imagine, from “cats” or “gardening” to “awkward” and “TodayILearned.” One person might subscribe to a few or several hundred subreddits.
R/IAMA (“I Am A”) is a subreddit in which someone noteworthy can schedule an “AMA” (Ask Me Anything) and respond to questions submitted by Reddit users, or Redditors. Usually AMAs last about an hour, though they can continue for as long as the interviewee decides to answer questions.
Why do an AMA?
Because it’s a very simple way to connect with those you’re trying to reach. You can pay money for buying ads, or you can go talk to curious Redditors about what you do and why you do it. You might even have some fun along the way. Actors use AMAs to promote new movies, philanthropists to discuss charities, and military veterans inspire and educate.
What will Redditors ask me?
Be prepared for anything – Redditors don’t mess around. The best way to interact with this audience is to be candid and open, giving detailed answers. Interact as if you are among friends or peers if you can, and not as a PR robot. Although most questions stay on your topic of choice, you will be asked a variety of things that may be more personal such as your favorite ice cream flavor or what you’re reading.
Remember, a great AMA can leave Redditors talking about it for a year or longer! In fact, one of the most popular AMAs was done by a vacuum repair technician in October 2013, and people still talk about it.
Be prepared: Every Reddit AMA at some point will include Reddit’s favorite question: “Would you rather fight one horse-sized duck or 100 duck-sized horses?” Answer any way you like, but be prepared to explain why! But you don’t have to go quite as far as Arnold Schwarzenegger did unless you just want to.
Who else has done an AMA?
Many noteworthy people and groups! Even the President did an AMA and answered questions. Some other popular ones include Bill Gates, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Snoop Lion, Psy, and many more people from all types of backgrounds, like this person who was mauled by a bear. Anything goes.
What if I’m a very small or niche business?
If you feel like your AMA wouldn’t resonate with Reddit as a whole, you can ask the moderators of another subreddit if you can do an AMA for a smaller group of like-minded people. For example, you could do an AMA on R/Books, R/Finance, or R/Coffee. There’s a subreddit for almost any interest.
Laura Lee – Account Manager