The twin saga of Reddit and Gamestop dominated headlines at the beginning of the year.
Reddit and the Wall Street Bets community gained wider fame as a result of the attention, introducing both to new audiences. More and more investment firms such as Fidelity and Vanguard are using the platform to run ‘Ask Me Anything’ (AMA) forums – a question and answer interactive forum hosted on the subreddit (a community) r/IAmA – to directly engage with audiences and investors. These AMA sessions can be cross-promoted to other relevant subreddit communities to drum up interest.
Reddit was launched in 2005 – it’s older than Twitter – and currently has 430 million monthly active users and over 100,000 active communities. While you might say ‘we’re a B2B business, we aren’t targeting individuals and consumers’, there is literally a subreddit community for everything.
Here are just some examples:
r/financialcareers - 182k members - a community of professionals and undergraduates discussing what a career in finance can bring.
r/tax - 127k members - a community for tax geeks and taxpayers to discuss policy, and law relating to any tax
r/securityanalysis - 163k members - a place to discuss investments, with an emphasis on fundamental security analysis
If there are endless financial communities on Reddit, then there are also numerous ways a Reddit AMA can be incorporated into marketing strategy to help achieve a campaign’s objectives. Perhaps a company has a diversity and inclusion push and wants to broaden its appeal to prospective hires – a Reddit AMA on r/financialcareers can help achieve that. Or there is a new trading product launching which looks to solve an industry-wide problem – a Reddit AMA on r/securityanalysis can speak to that problem to this audience. If you want to discuss ESG to prospective investors, returning to the office post-COVID, inform audiences of the impact of an event such as the Archegos collapse, a Reddit AMA can be a creative means to do so.
Hosting a Reddit AMA isn't as straightforward as turning on a laptop, logging into Reddit, and away you go. There are a number of steps and processes. Cognito has experience of running Reddit AMAs. Here are some unofficial steps and guidance to follow:
1. Agree on a date and time
Allow enough time to prepare. We recommend a midweek, two-hour slot to maximize the audience. Consider something in the early to mid afternoon New York time so people in London and the West Coast can participate.
2. Agree on topic and discussion points
Keep the topic tight and structured to help control and anticipate the flow of the conversation.Prepare for questions and how to answer them.
3. Authenticate your identity for an AMA
To host an official AMA the author (original poster) needs to authenticate their identity to ensure validity. There are two ways to do this:
● Create a page on your website/social channels that shows your photo and has a one-sentence blurb with your name and that you will be hosting a Reddit AMA on X date. Include this link in your bio when submitting 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).
4. Submit a request to ‘IAmA’
Submit via email to the mods at email@example.com. You can let them know weeks in advance that you plan to host an AMA along with details such as Reddit username, date and time, proof of identity, description for your bio and session.
5. Calendar your AMA
IAmA will promote and notify its followers of upcoming AMAs. This can be achieved by booking through this form.
6. Promotion of AMA
Promoting the AMA on channel (Reddit) and off channel (your own channels) are an essential step to generate interest and audience ahead of your session. You should identify subreddit communities
7. Drafting the AMA post
Here is an example of an AMA post from Robinhood’s crypto COO. The post contains the authentication but this isn’t absolutely necessary.
8. Research and prep answers
Like with any interviews, you need to anticipate potential questions, and draft logical answers. Have a plan for negative questions or comments.
Next time you’re running a marketing campaign, don’t restrict yourself to the standard tactics. Considering tapping into Reddit’s vast and smart audience. A Reddit AMA is an underutilized avenue and relatively simple and efficient to plan and run. Any questions? Ask me anything.
Sam Barber is a vice president in Cognito’s New York office