InsightsPOSTED March 28, 2014

3 ways Taco Bell nailed their Reddit AMA

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Taco Bell

Yesterday, Taco Bell joined the ranks of Barack Obama, Chris Hadfield and others who’ve taken part in a Q&A style AMA (short for “Ask Me Anything”) on popular social sharing site Reddit. The Reddit AMA, an opportunity for Reddit users to ask a host questions, are becoming as regular a part of media tours as TV and radio. If executed properly, they offer a way to launch a new project, product or service to an online-only audience.

But Reddit might not be a fit for your brand, so get to know the landscape before you dive into an AMA. Reddit was the perfect forum for Taco Bell to launch their new breakfast food, given that the average Redditor is:

  • Male
  • Millennial (think 18-34)
  • Urban
  • Low to medium income
  • Spends hours in front of a computer and appreciates the speed and convenience of a takeout burrito

Pulling off a successful AMA is harder than it looks, and others have failed spectacularly, with the Woody Harrelson AMA widely hailed as the worst AMA of all time. Reddit users (commonly called “Redditors”) are extremely savvy and can smell a PR person answering questions on behalf of a client a mile away.

Taco Bell nailed their AMA because they

  1. Got their president Brian Niccol to answer questions, providing a human face (and a likeable one at that) rather than answering questions from “the brand.”
  2. Knew who they were talking to. The Reddit community likes irreverent humour, pop culture, and sarcasm (Niccol even cracked that Canadians could get breakfast if they took Bieber back).
  3. Didn’t ignore negative comments and offered apologies. A Redditor shared a photo of his less-than-appetizing-looking waffle taco, Niccol responded “…should not happen. I’m sorry. Private message me and we will make it right.”

Taco Bell Reddit AMA
​Over the course of an hour, Niccol answered about 30 questions, which isn’t bad (actually more than the President). Some responses begged for a bit more detail, but his dry style was clearly a hit with the Reddit crowd (his Bieber quip was even awarded “Reddit gold,” one of the highest honours on the site). Overall, a social media win for the brand and a good example of how to execute a non-Harrelson-style Reddit AMA.

Amanda Factor‘s favourite Reddit AMA was definitely Bill Murray.  Follow her on Twitter.

Want to take your social media efforts to the next level? APEX has the expertise.

(Photo by JeepersMedia/Flickr)