Running a successful AMA is harder than it looks. On Reddit alone, there have been AMAs that seem to show that there actually might just be such a thing as bad publicity. Whether it’s by an individual or by a company, it seems that nobody really is immune to blowbacks from poorly thought out PR moves.
Before you and/or your project are thinking of hosting an AMA, it’s important to figure out first if an AMA is the best use of your time, and what the objective of your AMA is. The best AMAs are purpose-driven: sometimes they are held in conjunction with an announcement, other times they are held in order to answer customer concerns following a crisis. Basically, more people are going to engage with your AMA if something’s going on.
As AMAs can be surprisingly resource-intensive, it’s important to first sit down and really think about whether or not an AMA should be on the horizon for your project.
If the answer is yes, then read on for our tips on launching a successful AMA.
Announce and Market your AMA in advance
To ensure max turnout and participation, announce your AMA and include details of when and where it will be held. Broadcast these details to all your available outlets, including your website’s press release section and your social media channels.
The amount of time that an AMA can be announced in advance will depend on the situation at hand. If the AMA was to publicize a product/software launch, it’s more reasonable to announce that you have an AMA scheduled 2 weeks in advance compared to an AMA to address a community crisis. It’s best to take a look at social media and what people are saying about you in order to properly gauge the situation.
Of course, it’s better if your project has the luxury to schedule it a week or two in advance. You’ll see why in our next tip.
Prepare Answers for Questions that might be Asked
When you conduct an AMA, you’re expected to be able to answer any and all questions submitted to you. People may be inclined to ask questions about where you are leading the project as a business, its tech, or even about how your project will be navigating regulations. These are questions that typically would span different departments in a company, and it’s important that whoever is in charge of hosting the AMA has the required knowledge pooled together in order to answer truthfully and accurately.
The people asking these questions are not only expecting accuracy, but they also expect that these answers will come rolling off your tongue. Anything too slow and people might accuse you of being avoidant of their questions or being too calculated with your answers.
So, you don’t want to be caught with your pants down. You need to prepare a pool of questions.
What we can recommend is setting up a Google Sheet and sharing it with a team of colleagues. This team of colleagues should be diverse in their qualifications so that collectively you all can answer the pool of prepared questions.
Use that sheet as a brainstorming sheet for questions prep, and then have relevant team members pitch in their expertise in that same sheet to make sure that hard-hitting questions are answered swiftly and truthfully on the day of the AMA.
If possible, having this team on-board on the day of the AMA will ensure that any unforeseen questions relevant to their expertise won’t be left unanswered.
What to Do on the Big Day – Actually Answer the Questions
Let no questions fly past you unanswered. This is an Ask Me Anything, after all.
This includes the hard questions. No matter how tough the crowd, those questions need to be answered. Those questions won’t go away – the sooner you address them, the less damage to your project’s brand overall.
Also, showing that you are avoiding difficult questions will do nothing but raise another new set of questions – questions about whether or not your project is hiding something or whether or not you’re participating in the AMA in good faith.
Answer the fun questions too. They’re a good break from the serious questions, and more importantly, they make your project and your team more personable. It’s harder to be mad at someone you like.
Just don’t try too hard to be funny. It’s pretty easy to spot.
Wrapping Up – “Thank You”s and TL;DRs
People skilled at navigating conversations typically set the pace and tone to be on their terms from start to finish. AMAs are no different. Here are a few steps outlining what you should do after an AMA:
- Send out an update announcing the conclusion of the AMA, and thank everyone for participating.
- Gather up key information from the AMA (e.g. The most important questions and answers, the number of questions answered), and compile them into an infographic
- Post the infographic on all social media channels along with a Thank-You message. This helps people who missed your AMA to catch up with the key issues discussed.
Ultimately, it should be noted that all these steps in the AMA are for serving the purpose of what an AMA is all about – answering questions.
So even though some of these steps do require inter-departmental coordination, and may seem like a hassle to organize, they’re ultimately necessary to maximizing what you and your fanbase get out your AMA.
Are you feeling better prepared? What do you think of our tips? Do you think anything else should be added? Let us know in the comments below!