This article originally ran on PR Daily in February of 2017.
A Reddit AMA—”Ask me Anything”—can be a great opportunity for a business or individual to reach a large audience by answering questions about topic expertise or services in real time.
The /r/IAmA subreddit is one of the most influential parts of Reddit, hosting guests that have included A-list celebs, SR-71 pilots and even former president Barack Obama.
If you are interested in doing an AMA for your business, a group or yourself, this post will cover seven important tips for successfully hosting a Reddit AMA:
Here are the building blocks:
- Begin planning the AMA six weeks in advance.
- Pick a midweek day to host the AMA.
- Schedule it for early afternoon (Eastern time) to maximize your audience.
- Host the AMA for a minimum of three hours.
Do you have an account? If not, create one. It’s free and requires no verification. Take time to read posts. Do you understand the structure for upvoting, downvoting and commenting? Here are the basics:
Upvoting —when you find a post engaging, interesting, unique
Downvoting —when you find a post irrelevant or derailing
Commenting —when you want to engage in something
*NOTE: Do not upvote your own posts or comments. Reddit will ding you for this, and you’ll lose credit.
The subreddit for AMA is /r/IAmA and can be found here http://www.reddit.com/r/iama. Familiarize yourself with the format and structure of past AMAs and the page as a whole.
Read through the Rules and FAQs tab, and search past and future AMAs by category. If you have questions, reach out to the AMA moderators (mods) who are extremely helpful and responsive.
To host a Reddit AMA, you must verify your identity. This can be done in either of two ways:
- Create a page on your website that shows your photo and has a one-sentence blurb saying you are X and will be hosting a Reddit AMA on X date. You can then include this link in your bio when you submit the AMA.
- Use your Twitter handle and post a photo of yourself holding a piece of paper that includes the above. You can tweet this out prior to your AMA (a couple of weeks or even days in advance). For example:
Submit via email to the mods at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can let them know weeks in advance that you plan to host a AMA along with your:
- Reddit username
- Description for your bio
NOTE: Most Reddit mods support their subreddits on a volunteer basis, so it’s best to send along your information in enough time for them to receive it and answer any questions.
At this point you have figured out your timeline, built the description for your AMA bio, created a proof page or post, and checked in with the IAmA mods. Now think about who else in the Reddit community might be interested in who you are or what you are discussing.
When you post your AMA, you may be able to cross-post it to other subreddits that target a similar audience. For this, reach out to the mods of relevant subreddits and ask whether they would allow a cross-post the day of your AMA and, if so, whether they would stick the cross-post to the top of the page.
How do you cross-post?
The day you post your AMA and make it live, create a new submission in the appropriate subreddit you wish to cross-post. Keep the same title, but add “(x-post from /r/IAmA).” Make the URL to the submitted article’s URL on Reddit so that the cross-post links directly to the original post. If you contacted the mods of this subreddit, you should send them a direct message as well letting them know you just cross-posted and that your AMA is live.
For example, if you are a plumber (like this recent AMA), and you have lots of DIY tips that could save people time, stress and money—you might consider cross-posting your AMA to subreddits like, /r/homeimprovement, /r/DIY, /r/plumbing—to name a few. There’s no guarantee they will allow you to cross-post and sticky it, but it’s worth asking. The more eyes on your post, the better.
Going back to your initial planning and timeline, afford yourself at least a week before hosting your AMA to perform outreach and let others know you will answer any and all questions. You might be surprised by the number of people in your network who actively use Reddit (one in 11 people in the U.S. are Reddit users) or who want to support you and log in during the AMA.
Some outreach opportunities include, but are not limited to:
- Notifying friends, family, co-workers
- Identifying social groups that have an interest in your topic
- Sharing with organizations or community groups that have an interest in your topic
Once your AMA is live, send all your contacts your live AMA link. If you use Twitter, post it on your account and tag Reddit AMA for them to share your AMA details to their followers.
Plenty of AMAs have flopped, such as those in this Mashable list of AMAs that gained attention for abject failure.
Remember, you don’t have to be famous to host an AMA. The licensed plumber’s AMA (mentioned above) had great success by giving people basic emergency DIY plumbing advice. It got more than 8,000 comments.
There is no guarantee your AMA will be a big success, but with ample planning, using Reddit’s resources, referring to the AMA mods for guidance and answering truthfully, you can make the most of your AMA.