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The Wonderful World Of AMA’s – Why Have They Become So Popular?

AMA is your direct line to your customers. It is one of the best tools to gauge impact & receive feedback!

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AMAs Are Gaining Popularity

What is an AMA? If you can’t answer that question, don’t fret because, a few months ago I couldn’t either. There’s a saying that entrepreneurs are people who work 80 hours a week to avoid a job that demands 40 hours a week. I believe that because, I often struggle to find the time to talk to the very customers, my team and I work so very hard for.

My wife and partner in crime Swati however, is a big believer in the power of social media. She somehow finds the time to work just as hard as me AND be active on social media. So, I’m not giving away any prizes for guessing that she was the one who introduced to me AMA’s.

That’s how I learned that AMA is short for Ask Me Anything. An AMA session is a live chat where people can talk to their favourite actors, singers, entrepreneurs and other public figures. AMA’s have gained massive popularity off late. Everyone from Bill Gates to Priyanka Chopra has participated in one.

Why Is An AMA Important?

So, why does someone especially a celebrity or entrepreneur who is hard-pressed for time do an AMA? Well, there are a host of benefits! You get to interact with fans, prospective customers, you get to dispel any skepticism around you or your brand and gauge public opinion. These are huge benefits and people today understand that connecting with fans and customers is paramount for success.

Reddit has been a force to reckon with when it comes to AMAs. From Arnold Schwarzenegger and Vince Vaughn to Aziz Ansari and R.L Stine a lot of popular figures have benefited from AMAs. Entrepreneurs, actors and other public figures eye always explore new avenues of communication.

Luckily, there are many sites hosting AMA’s now. Inc42, Your Story, Tech in Asia, e27 etc. work exceptionally well in the Indian context. These sites have bustling communities looking to interact with leading entrepreneurs and personalities.

Choosing The Right Channel For Your AMA

While traditional social media will always be a channel of communication many have adopted AMA’s. This is because they brands an opportunity to announce new products, create a buzz around new projects, garner feedback from customers, prospective users and more.

These sessions are also of great value to the general public. They help gauge a person’s social outlook, risk-taking abilities, commitment and thirst for innovation. All in all, it all boils down to the legitimacy of the AMA session and any AMA worth its salt must be a transparent catalyst for knowledge sharing.

Merging the concept of AMA’s with other Social Media platforms is another brilliant way of communicating with a wider audience. My own Facebook AMA session is a fine example of this. It received an overwhelming response and over a thousand questions came up in a mere 40 minutes.

Entrepreneurs like Sairee Chahal (Founder of Sheroes.com), Abhiraj Bhal (CEO of UrbanClap) and Ashish Kashyap, CEO of Ibibo Group too have participated in AMA’s. For the websites that host these AMA sessions there is an inherent value of community building. They help their users get access to their favourite actors, entrepreneurs, singers and more. What one needs to be wary of however is that an AMA isn’t always smooth.

AMA: Not For Everyone

When Priyanka Chopra had her AMA on Reddit the backlash was brutal. People took jibes at her inability to sing well, her accent and even called her out for not answering some of the tougher questions. Similarly Morgan Freeman’s AMA faced its fair share of angry Redditors. The reason for the negativity this time was that people felt the person responding was a press agent rather than Morgan Freeman himself.

So clearly, AMA’s aren’t everyone’s cup of tea. Those who pulled them off with charm however have left their mark. Indian Singer Rabbi Shergill had a Reddit AMA which he absolutely owned. He was honest endearing and responded promptly to all the questions that came his way.

Parting Words

I remember another AMA that was far closer to home; one which my wife & Co-Founder of CashKaro, Swati Bhargava did. Her Reddit AMA was a dramatic event. There were some skeptical comments immediately after the announcement.

A closer look revealed that they were mostly from those who didn’t understand how the cashback industry functions. When the AMA finally began, Swati (full credit to her) managed to turn the tides with tact, honest explanations and hit the nail straight on its head. Her willingness to engage with even the naysayers, won over a lot of skeptics and people loved it.

Having learnt from both her experience and my own, I feel that preparing for an AMA is fairly simple. You must respond to as many questions as you humanly can while being gracious, humble and honest. If you haven’t read AMA’s of your favourite celebrities and entrepreneurs you can always go back and sift through them.

Explore the world of AMA’s if you’re an entrepreneur seeking an effective communication channel or an avid follower of a personality. The knowledge sharing that happens during these sessions is insightful and enriching.

About the Author: This article is contributed by Rohan Bhargava – Co-founder at CashKaro.com.

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