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How to Set Yourself Up for Success and Rock Your Reddit AMA

Reddit is a great tool for engaging with a community. With over 195 million users, Reddit provides a platform for users to engage and interact with their community in real time. My favorite Reddit feature? The AMA (subreddit r/IAmA)—especially as part of a PR campaign.

Highwire client OWASP recently hosted an AMA to answer questions about application security and to raise awareness for their conference AppSec USA.

Reddit AMAs can position your company as a passionate industry leader and provide an honest, valuable connection with an engaged audience—whether you are gearing up for a product or company launch, or even an industry event. And you don’t have to be President Obama or Amy Poehler for it to be successful. Redditors host a variety of AMAs ranging from competitive Pokemon players to Six Flags ride operators.

So, how do you determine if a Reddit AMA is a worthy component for your next PR campaign? Here are some things to consider:

Think before you act. Why do you want to host an AMA? This channel isn’t about raising awarCKYlZqYUsAAPo-deness of a brand or product, and redditors don’t care about the new features to your CRM platform. But if you want to elevate a company’s thought leadership and executive voice—and your executive is willing to share his or her thoughts on a hot topic or industry trend without bringing up their brand—your head is in the right place. Research is an important part of this step as well, so you’ll also want to familiarize yourself with Reddit as a platform. Spend time looking at past AMAs to learn what items typically get more “upvotes” than others, or where Redditors tend to lose interest or resort to the site’s characteristic snarkiness. It’s important to understand the language your audience uses and what topics they care most about.

Develop a plan.  Planning for an AMA takes longer than you might think. When developing the plan, outline each step on a detailed timeline that the spokesperson can follow, as there are several things they need to do that you can’t. Your plan should include:

  • – Detailed instructions on how to submit to Reddit’s AMA Calendar (submissions must come directly from spokesperson’s Reddit handle)
  • – How to submit spokesperson proof—proof is a way to verify that your spokesperson is actually who they say they are. An easy way to do this is to have your spokesperson take a picture of themselves holding a piece of paper with their Reddit username, then have them post it to Twitter. See Breaking Bad’s Bryan Cranston’s proof here.
  • – Promotion timeline with pre-drafted content for social channels
  • – Detailed instructions on how to submit and begin the live AMA

Promote it. Tweet your heart out. Start Twitter promotion and engagement a month in advance wCKYbqykUAAAxqICith a unique hashtag that you know will map back to only your own content (#owaspAMA is what we used for our OWASP AMA). Once the AMA post is live, start driving attention by sharing the direct link to the AMA on social channels. Another way to interact with an even larger audience is to live tweet the top questions and engage with those mentioning your AMA with the hashtag. You can also send “Save the Date” email invitations to encourage attendance. Including an “Add to my calendar” button/link in the email can be helpful to drive attendance.

Extend its life. You hosted an AMA —now what? Depending on its content, you could consider turning the information that was uncovered through the signature Q&A format into a bylined article. However, it can be hard to place repurposed content that’s already been published to social channels, so a better option would be a LinkedIn Pulse post authored by your spokesperson highlighting the top questions and providing more in-depth answers. Recognize the overarching problems Reddit users asked questions about and tie them to larger industry trends. Focus on what items your respected industry colleagues should pay attention to, and what’s troubling users—again without mentioning your brand or product. Use this as an opportunity to provide deeper perspective on trending issues, and keep the AMA alive!

Prepared now? Ready. Set. Reddit!