By now, many people probably know about Reddit. It’s the “front page of the Internet,” where 195 million unique monthly visitors go to share information and links. The media may use it to inform on articles like GeekWire, or even mine its content for entire articles like BuzzFeed. With all its attention, it might be attractive for companies trying to build awareness — particularly by hosting an “Ask Me Anything” (AMA).

But should you? With so much information on how to host an AMA, few ask whether you should. This post fills the gap.

The IAmA subreddit where users post AMAs is one of Reddit’s most popular, with nearly nine million subscribers. Similar to a press conference, users ask anyone questions on topics ranging from welders to U.S. presidents. Microsoft recently hosted a PR-driven AMA about its Surface 3, which outlets like TechCrunch reported on. Even Star Trek’s Nichelle Nichols recently hosted one. By addressing top comments, there’s an opportunity to respond to the Internet’s most burning questions.

With so much attention around AMAs, it may seem like a great opportunity for a brand to generate thousands of impressions. But exercise caution. Not every situation warrants one, and some brands should avoid them altogether. Answer the questions below to see if you should host an AMA.

  • Most importantly, how do Redditors feel about you? Search Reddit for user comments about your brand. If they’re generally positive or neutral, an AMA may go well. If they’re negative, stop right here because you’ll face mean-spirited questions.
  • Are you addressing a controversy? If so, stop here as well. From behind a keyboard, users enjoy pulling out their pitchforks and torches. Especially if they smell injustice, they’d like nothing more than to call you out on it.
  • Do you have something unique to offer? The subreddit states that AMAs should be “truly interesting” or about “something uncommon.” If it doesn’t excite users, an AMA will go unnoticed or have few participants.
  • Want to provide insight into trending news? Something in your wheelhouse is big in the news and it’d be great to offer your thoughts, right? Not necessarily. Unless, for example, you’re part of the team that made a specific scientific discovery, it might come across as disingenuous or that you’re hijacking an interesting topic. However, you could host an AMA about what you do in the general field rather than commenting on the specific discovery.
  • Are you promoting something? Most people use AMAs to promote something like a movie or book, which is fine. Just mention it in the initial post and only bring it up if asked. There is nothing worse than someone ending every answer with, “…and go see my movie.”
  • Are you prepared to be genuine? This is the time to be authentic. You’ll need to be personable and share your unique experiences. It will not go well if answers sound like corporate messaging.

After addressing the questions above, you might find that an AMA is right for you or that you should try something else. AMAs can be a fun, engaging, and if approached correctly, the perfect vehicle for generating thousands of impressions about your brand.

Confused about Reddit? Watch the video below.