If you’ve trudged in the eternal abyss that is Reddit, you might have come across “AMAs”, or Ask Me Anything’s.

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An AMA is a great way for a public figure to connect with the public.

Anyone with a Reddit account can login and interview whoever they like, from cell tower climbers to tech CEOS, interacting with individuals around the world.

For a leader of a well-known brand, it’s a fantastic way for the internet community to get to know you on a personal level.

AMAs for Instagram Stories

While Reddit used to be the go-to platform to host and participate in AMAs, Instagram recently released a new AMA type update for Stories, which will rival Reddit.

Instagram users can now leave a question box sticker in their Stories, which prompts viewers to input any questions that they have.

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Users view these questions, and respond to them in separate individual Stories.

With 400 million users using Instagram Stories, there’s no shortage of questions and answers being given.

The AMA sticker feature provides users with a fun, and potentially educational, way to interact with other Instagrammers.

And from Instagram’s perspective, it’s a way to increase time spent on their platform.

With their recent native payment updates, more time spent on Instagram can likely lead to more sales for the social media giant. It makes perfect sense, as monetizing is the usually the eventual step of most social networks.

But how can other businesses take advantage of AMAs? Let’s take a look at some ways.

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Attract millennial customers with “AMAs”

Consumers don’t fall in love with the colors of a brand’s logo, but with the aspirations of the leader that represents the business vision.

They like Tesla because they believe in Elon Musk, they buy Apple because Steve Job is inspiring, and they swear by Amazon because Jeff Bezos is a genius.

Millennials and generation Y represent one of the largest portion of active social media users –  for businesses, this means you can’t ignore them.

In particular, they crave more than just fair prices and quality products. They want an evocative experience and a personal connection with the people they’re buying from. 

Essentially, they want to be told a story. Ideally, one that aligns with their morals and interests. And the secret to attracting them is creating an experience that matters.

Whether it’s eco-friendly clothing or organic vegetables, small business owners have to ensure that their customers know who they are and what they stand for.

As a small business owner, inviting people to ask you questions allows them to learn more about who you are, what your business is and what both of you have to offer.

This exactly where AMAs can come into play.

Every SMB owner in existence should already be active on social media. There’s simply too much upside and too little risk to not be taking advantage of it.

However, it’s no easy task to grow your audience and an AMA can expose your brand to a new community.

There are several other reasons you should be using AMAs to help you grow your brand, let’s take a look at them.

Understand your customers better

AMA can be a lucrative marketing tactic because not knowing what people are going to ask you can be pretty scary.

What if they ask for your university GPA or daily workout routine? The truth is that while the unknown can be a scary place, unexpected results can provide unexpected rewards.

This is because open dialogue with consumers gives you comprehensive knowledge about your audience and their needs, which can better inform other aspects of your marketing strategy.

Imagine you’re a clothing brand and you hear in an AMA countless consumers ask when you’re going to be releasing a fashion line for women. If you were planning on further expanding your men’s clothing line, these concerned citizens may have you reconsidering.

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Similarly, if the majority of consumers ask about the price of your newest product or if it’s biodegradable, this tells you that these factors matter.

AMAs help you dive in to the curiosity of your audience and learn what they’ve always wanted to know about your brand. 

Make your business more personal

We’re always taught to be wary of strangers.

This age-old lesson translates to business quite well, whether it be double-checking contracts for potential loopholes or requiring a personal reference before speaking with a foreign business client.

“If Cindy said that’s the best price she can do, I believe her.”

Buying and selling with a friend is familiar because there’s a relationship already established.

For this reason, AMA shouldn’t be all business.

You can share personal stories and anecdotes about how and why you started your brand. Tell people about your struggles, road to success and everything in between.

Not only can this improve your relationship with and understanding of the people in your network, it can also make consumers more likely to trust you and your brand.

Always Be Learning

What’s incredible about AMAs on Reddit, and now, Instagram is that they provide a unique platform for learning and understanding.

Talking to a real-life astronaut or someone who is dealing with family problems can have a powerful impact on people’s lives.

However, small business owners also have a lot to offer to the internet community. As they are often tasked with countless responsibilities that are usually divided amongst a team(from accounting, to human resources, to marketing) ,they can provide tons of free advice, tips and resources to people in similar situations.

AMA can be used as a platform to help other professionals with problems that you’ve already faced and conquered.

Similarly, you can participate in other AMAs to learn more about a certain field or industry.

What Are You Waiting For?

There’s a reason why the word “amazing” starts with AMA.

There are countless ways that conducting AMAs for your brand can help your business becoming more personal, build trust, and educate your customers.  

Once you’ve established a decent-sized network of individuals interested in your wares, start interacting with them via AMAs.

Ask them what matters most to them in a business, how they like to shop, or what their favorite color is.

There’s no time like the present to try out your first one on Reddit or Instagram Stories. Don’t fret, there’s plenty of tools and resources to help you on your journey.

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Cody Lirette is a content crafter with Veem, a global payments company built for small businesses. His past work includes parliamentary reporting with iPolitics, and communications with Statistics Canada and the Department of National Defence. Catch him on LinkedIn or Medium.