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There’s a certain appeal to a person or a business that’s an open book. When someone says ask me anything, it’s an invitation into their world—a chance to look behind-the-scenes and delve into questions that go beyond what’s typical. Ask me anything (AMA) has become a popular format for everyone from Hollywood stars to CEOs. The approach can be a valuable way to connect with clients and customers.

I Am a…

Modern AMAs started on Reddit

AMAs have been called the press conferences of the internet. Reddit, a site that bills itself as “the front page of the internet”, is generally seen as the starting point of the modern AMA. People would go on the site, declare the experience or job that made them a topic of interest (“I am a…”) and invite questions. The most popular questions would get answered with unflinching honesty. Reddit still uses its original AMA format and has also recorded a number of videos. One of the most popular is Barack Obama’s AMA done during his reelection campaign in 2012.

Why do an AMA?

As a non-celebrity, why would you want to do an AMA? How can your business benefit from opening itself up to probing questions? First of all, it lets you connect directly with your audience. This provides a wealth of advantages, from feedback on products to enhanced trust. You’re learning from your customers just as they’re learning from you. Take advantage of the opportunity to hear their pain points and present them with new products or services. Conducting an AMA promotes company transparency, something your audience will appreciate.

AMA Prep

Start by deciding on the format for your AMA. Will this be a live online presentation? If so, choose a social media platform that suits your audience and aligns with your marketing goals. Or you could host an AMA at an event like a conference or seminar and record the proceedings. If people are uncomfortable asking questions in person, ask them to use an app or submit questions online. Display the questions on a screen to make the session more interactive.

Discuss possible questions and responses with your team

Choose a topic for your AMA. You can make this as broad or as specific as you like. Just be prepared to answer any questions that could fall under that umbrella. This is a good opportunity for you to steer the conversation by covering a new service or product. While you’re answering questions, you can also fit in some promotion.

Make sure you have a knowledgeable and confident representative answering questions. AMAs can be intense. The person in the spotlight should be comfortable as the centre of attention and they need to know the topic well. For the duration of the AMA, they are the face and mouthpiece of your brand. To that end, prepare for possible questions before the session. Cover any common queries, but also think about some of the questions that could take you by surprise. Brainstorm with your team and discuss responses. Prepare for the worst and hope for the best. Also prep some of your own questions to fill in lulls or give your representative the chance to answer FAQs.

Talk to Your Audience

Based on the format of your AMA, you need to decide how the audience will submit questions. If it’s live, appoint a moderator who can collect and organize the incoming queries and act as a buffer. This person can also keep track of time, select the best questions and introduce the session.

Bring reference materials to help you with your answers. Use a format you can quickly and easily refer to if necessary. Otherwise, you can solicit participant questions ahead of time and prepare accordingly.

You can conduct a public-facing AMA or an internal AMA. This set-up gives you the chance to personally connect with the audience and find out what’s on their minds. It’s a good way to gain a new perspective. Walk away with a better handle on employee or customer relationships.

Promote the Session

Make sure to promote your AMA so you get questions and attendees. This will also give you a chance to explain the format. Tell people how to submit questions ahead of the event or let them know that they should come prepared to ask something.

Ask Us Anything

Get the most out of your AMA by recording it. Create a blog post about the questions that came up most often or post the video on your website. Make mini clips of answers to run on social media. If one person asked a question, they’re probably representative of more people who also want to know the answer. Share that experience and use what you learned to address issues and improve services.

If you’re ready to put yourself out there, you may find there are a lot of benefits to hosting an AMA. Key West Video can facilitate this session and help you get the most out of it. Call us today for a free quote.

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