Reddit AMAs: a reward worth the risk?

By Kimberly Premo, LCI Account Coordinator

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For those of you keeping up with the latest – and most daring – PR trends, you’ve undoubtedly heard about Reddit AMAs (AKA Ask Me Anything). Reddit, a popular user-generated news, entertainment and social networking site, is generating a lot of press itself for its infamous AMA forum. While you don’t have to be a celebrity or business monument capital group mogul to participate, the best threads are being generated by well-known “Ask Me Anything” victims.

In these threads, a person will encourage users to literally “ask them anything,” but when high-profile public figures are in the spotlight and they can be asked for comment on, well, anything, PR practitioners start to lose a lot of sleep.

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I recently read a great PR Week article about the PR value associated with clients choosing to venture into Reddit AMA sessions. In the piece by Chris Daniels, the rewards associated with participating are seen as being well worth the risk. Daniels outlined examples of successful and less-than-successful AMA sessions by CEOs, celebrities and political figures. One of the most notable AMA successes was with Taco Bell CEO, Brian Niccol. Niccol’s open personality and comedic responses made his session a favorite. Even Taco Bell’s director of communications, Rob Poetsch, was pleased with the outcome of the AMA:

“Brian said, ‘This feels like something other brands wouldn’t do,’ so we knew he got it and that was reflected in how he interacted with fans. He didn’t just select questions that he wanted to answer because he understood he would have been called out on that. He answered questions that might be considered controversial.”

This understanding that Niccol had of his AMA audience led to the best advice of all: encourage clients to stay composed, utilize humor and do not pre-prepare statements. The worst mistake that can be made in an AMA session is to be too prepared by your public relations professional. This means to make sure your clients can handle the wrath of Reddit if you’re going to dive in.

Would you ever consider advising a client to participate in a Reddit AMA session? Let us know in the comments down below or email Kimberly at [email protected].

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5 Comments

  1. Sean Reply

    Nice post Kim. A choice to do an AMA session does mean to be ready for anything and to be open with the responses. Well-placed humor is a good tool to disarm aggressive disrupters.

  2. David Landis Reply

    Good thoughts, Kim – I think it’s time we tried one of these AMA’s with our clients. Who should be first? Cheers, David

  3. douglas Reply

    very informative! thanks kim…

  4. David Cumpston Reply

    Hi Kim, while I agree that I can see myself losing sleep at night over Q&As such as this, they’re a great way to cut through the clutter and make a true direct connection with your audience. I’m looking forward to working on my first AMA session soon. Regards, David

  5. Hilary Burns Reply

    Thanks for a great blog post, Kim! I agree with David–we should definitely manage an AMA with a client very soon. Good stuff! Cheers, Hilary