How important are Reddit AMAs? Considering that Barack Obama took the time to answer some questions last year, I’d say they can be pretty influential. You don’t have to be president to host an AMA, though. Filmmakers, musicians, writers, actors, developers, entrepreneurs, and basically anyone with an interesting story to tell can host an AMA.
Don’t know what the hell I’m talking about? Let’s backtrack: an AMA = Ask Me Anything, a place where you allow users to essentially interview you on Reddit’s public forum.
Why do one? Reddit has an estimated 70 million monthly active users — that’s a lot of potential fans. If you’re trying to raise awareness about an upcoming or recent release, an AMA might tap into a segment of fans that aren’t consistently engaging on other social sites.
AMAs perform two important functions that aren’t always found together: they inform and engage. The description section is a space to provide a little background info, including the reason for doing the AMA. While these aren’t meant to solely promote something to purchase, there’s nothing wrong with mentioning an upcoming album and linking to an iTunes pre-order. The Q&A portion can also be informative. Many fans still won’t know about tour dates or recent releases, no matter how many emails and Facebook posts have gone out. Fans who ask questions about these things create another opportunity to publicly share information.
Reddit has a main section for bigger AMAs, but many subreddits offer their own AMA systems, too. /EDMproduction, for example, hosts AMAs solely for discussing production techniques. /Music will only have AMAs from musicians and can be a better fit for a developing artist than the main AMA section. Each subreddit has its own set of rules for scheduling, promoting and running an AMA. Always check the subreddit page for an FAQ and when in doubt, message a moderator for more info before using poor “Reddiquette.”
To setup a main AMA and get it on the Reddit schedule, simply message the moderators using this link (make sure you have an account and are logged in before clicking). This will pre-populate the info that needs to be included to get an AMA on the public schedule, including title, date/time, background and proof. All AMAs require proof both at the time of scheduling and in the description itself. Proof helps maintain that the person doing the AMA is actually who they say they are. A photo with a sign that says “Hi Reddit, it’s [NAME]” is usually the best way to get started. When placing proof in the actual description of the AMA, the photo can be reused as an imgur upload (Reddit doesn’t support link shorteners, so avoid hiding a long URL behind a bit.ly!). Another option for proof is a link to a tweet about the AMA from an official account. This will work if an AMA isn’t being added ahead of time to the official schedule.
Want to dig into some recent AMAs from Orchard artists? Check out these from RJD2, Anthony Green, and DEVO’s Gerald Casale.