Hosting a Reddit AMA is a fantastic way to reach thousands of people at once. You can find out what the public really thinks about you, your company or your product and receive honest suggestions and feedback in real time. I’m admittedly not a Reddit expert, but the BIGfish team recently met with a local Reddit moderator to learn more about AMAs and the Reddit community. Below I’ve listed some of the the must do’s and the cringeworthy do NOT do’s you need to know before taking the plunge into the world of Reddit.
1) Get familiar with Reddit.
If you’re not familiar with Reddit, it’s worth it to spend some time navigating pages, posting links and photos and replying to others’ posts. There’s nothing worse than when a person hosts an AMA and starts posting answers to the wrong questions. Read through past AMAs and see what kinds of questions were asked, what works well and what doesn’t, etc. It helps to be familiar with the platform, but if you’re not a seasoned Reddit pro, don’t pretend to be.
2) Prepare for the worst and answer every question.
Woody Harrelson’s AMA was one of the worst ever. When redditors asked personal questions or brought up his controversial past, he refused to answer or got defensive and angry. Remember: this is an “ask me anything.” The Reddit community is notorious for sniffing out exactly what it is you don’t want to talk about and exposing those points. Prepare in advance for tough questions and decide how you’ll answer them. Not answering a question, whether it’s pointed and difficult or silly and irrelevant, is like signaling for an attack.
3) Find a moderator board that’s helpful and responsive.
Check out the AMA schedules (on the right hand sidebar) of some subreddits to see how often they do AMAs, who hosts them and if anyone else is hosting one the day you’re shooting for. You’ll want to target subreddits with a solid subscriber base (you can see the number of users who subscribe to that specific subreddit in the right hand sidebar), but finding a subreddit with responsive moderators is more important.
Narrow your search to 5-10 relevant subreddits and message their moderator boards. Let them know who you are, why you want to do an AMA and when you would like to do it. If you find an awesome moderator who’s really into your AMA, it’s worth asking if they’ll make your AMA a sticky post so that it stays at the top of the feed all day.
4) Schedule and draft your AMA.
Ideally, you should schedule an AMA anywhere between a few weeks to a few months in advance.
Users from around the world might be jumping online at different times so it’s a good idea to make it an all-day event. Once you figure out where your AMA will be held, you’ll have to prove that you are, in fact, who you say you are. Celebrities often post an image of themselves holding a piece of paper stating they’re hosting an AMA. Social media posts including your Reddit username, date and time of your AMA, also suffice (see samples of our Facebook and Twitter posts for BIGfish client FINsix).
Once you have this squared away, it’s time to draft the post title and description to be used during the AMA. Titles typically follow the formula “I’m XX, AMA,” (BIGfish client FINsix’s AMA post read: “I’m the CEO & co-founder of FINsix, the company that created the Dart – the world’s smallest laptop adapter. AMA!” Next, the description should give some brief details about who’s answering questions, why you’re hosting, link(s) to your proof, and any additional relevant background information. The description box is also where you should post updates during the AMA, like if you’re leaving your computer for a bit and won’t be answering questions for a few hours.
5) Spread the word.
In order to make sure people know you’re hosting an AMA and to encourage existing fans or customers to join in on the conversation, you’ll want to start promoting your AMA a few weeks in advance. I recommend promoting the AMA using organic posts on Facebook and Twitter, sending emails to friends, family and/or customers, social media ads and promoted posts on the Reddit homepage (so that users who visit but who don’t already have accounts will see it) as well as on relevant subreddits.
- Answer every question.
- Honesty is always the best policy.
- If you have something to hide, don’t host an AMA.
- Never be too promotional.