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Communications and Reddit: Ask us anything

Reddit – once an underground, insider’s social media network – has grown into a mainstream platform with more than 36 million registered users (“redditors”). Reddit Ask Me Anythings (AMAs) have become one of the site’s most popular features.

AMAs, which can be compared to an online press conference, have been hosted by the likes of President Obama, Jimmy Kimmel and Ezra Klein. The topics can run from the mundane to the bizarre and everything in between. AMAs are popular because they aren’t limited to celebrities; organizations and individuals alike can engage in a lively discussion in a transparent and authentic way.

The National Society of Genetic Counselors, a Public Communications Inc. (PCI) client, was invited to participate in a DNA-focused week of AMAs leading up to DNA Day on April 25. The AMA provided the perfect opportunity to expand NSGC’s visibility with key audiences, having a conversation with the public to get across several of the society’s priorities. Genetic counselors help people understand complex genetic information with the goal of making informed health decisions. The society’s experts would be able to answer redditors’ questions about how genetic counselors could help them and their families.

Reddit has certain rules for AMAs. As the participating organization’s communications team, we weren’t allowed to participate in the AMA on our experts’ behalf. For an AMA to work, redditors need to hear directly from the participant, in our case the genetic counseling experts.

But we were able to support our client in several ways ahead of and during the AMA to help drive the conversation and keep things running smoothly. Before the AMA started, we promoted it through the society's Twitter and Facebook pages and submitted descriptive information that redditors saw when they joined the AMA so that they had a clear idea of who our experts were and what they could discuss. We also equipped the hosts with key messages to help them to be good stewards of our client’s message.

Once an AMA starts, readers have a chance to vote each other’s questions up or down before the experts log on to answer them. We helped by flagging the questions with impressive “upvote” numbers as the ones our experts should prioritize and respond to first. During the AMA answering period, we were available to monitor activity and be available to our experts should they want help crafting responses.

At the end of the AMA, we were pleased to see that it had more than 500 comments and 84 percent of subscribers who participated upvoted, or “favorited” a question. Our client’s website analytics confirmed the tactic’s success, showing that visits to promoted web pages spiked during the AMA.

With a hot topic and a little preparation, a Reddit AMA can increase awareness and drive home your message.

Ready to become a redditor extraordinaire and explore the platform’s potential for your brand? Ask us anything. 

Jennie Szink

Jennie Szink is an Account Executive at Public Communications Inc. She executes digital strategies on behalf of clients in healthcare and cultural spaces. Aside from AMAs, her favorite subreddit is “Not the Onion.”