Ask me anything

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On Reddit, nothing is off limits. There’s a reason why it is known as the front page of the internet — many of the images and memes you see on social media originate from the 330 million registered users of the Reddit site. Here Lorna Wilde, account executive at Stone Junction, explains the first question to ask before turning to a Reddit AMA.

When I first joined Reddit many moons ago, I was both surprised and overwhelmed with the sheer amount of information before me. On the site, there are over 9,000 active communities, known as subreddits, all tailored to specific topics and themes. Subreddits can be broad, such as /r/pics, where you can share pictures of almost anything, or specialised, like /r/BreadStapledToTrees, which is exactly what you think it is.

With over 19 million subscribers, one of the biggest subreddits on the site is /r/IAmA, — I am a …. Ask me anything! This is a subreddit where people from all occupations schedule and hold online interviews, answering any question that the community asks.

So far, using this method to advertise or engage with customers is very much like swimming in uncharted waters. There are no case-studies available that really encapsulate the benefits and pitfalls of AMA for businesses. There are, however, brilliant examples of how politicians like Barack Obama and celebrities like Snoop Lion have hosted thought-provoking and interesting interviews to further discussions about pertinent issues that are prevalent in society. On the flip side, there are a myriad of examples of how these interviews can go wrong; usually through a lack of consideration and knowledge about Reddit’s demographic.

The first main point to consider before turning to a Reddit AMA is, do you have skeletons in your corporate closet?

If so, Reddit AMAs are probably not the best advertising route to take. Reddit differs from other social media platforms in the way that its users are willing to take the time to read into your claims. As the subreddit suggests, users can ask pretty much anything and if you have some deeply buried secrets, you can guarantee that these will be found and questioned.

A US beverage company found this out the hard way — redditors engaging with the AMA discovered an old job posting from the company that did not paint them in a good light. They then derailed the interview by focusing on this and ex employees’ less-than-flattering personal experiences with the business. However, instead of responding to these concerns with a clear and rational message, the interviewee offered to talk about it privately with each individual user. This created an aura of insincerity and paved the way to a lot of comments about boycotting the brand.

The right course of action to take here would be to acknowledge user’s concerns —no matter how damning they are. Users are more likely to change their opinion if subjects are explained to them due to this engaging the rational part of the mind. If your company can show how you’ve learnt and improved from bad decisions, you will increase both your brand integrity and influence over consumers’ purchasing decisions moving forward.

To find out the second question to ask before turning to Reddit, visit our blog next week for part two. If you can’t wait until then, e-mail and we can discuss Reddit in detail.

Lorna Wilde

Stone Junction is a cool technical PR agency based in Stafford. We work for all sorts of businesses, with a particular focus on technology, technical and engineering companies. We like being sent cake and biscuits by clients, journalists and prospects.

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