Hosting a Q&A session on Twitter is a tried and tested way to get your brand’s message out there; whether you’re launching a new product, promoting a great campaign or you’d like to introduce a personality (famous or otherwise) to your community. It is a relatively easy and low cost mechanism to reach and engage with your followers but it does require some considered planning. Follow the tips below and you’ll be off to a cracking start.
Top tips for running a Twitter Q&A
Moderate with Google
If you’re too much of a control freak to just hand your Twitter reins over to someone else and you still want to reap the reach rewards by hosting the Q&A from your company account then you may be struggling to decide whether to moderate replies or not.
As there are several ways you can run the Q&A, you have a number of options available to you. One of the most simple, quick and reliable methods we found was to use a third party spreadsheet like Google Sheets. You can then take on the role of moderating questions as they come in and only paste appropriate questions into the sheet. Your personality, also with the Google Sheet open, then writes their answer alongside the question. All you need to do then is to paste their answer into Twitter. This allows you to protect your brand whilst also giving your personality some control.
Nail your timing
When you're planning your Q&A, timing is crucial. You need to pick a time when your audience is most online and active – take a look at your insights to see what time posts usually receive more engagement and base your session time around these busier times. Also, check online to see which other Twitter chats and Q&As regularly happen in your industry. You may otherwise pick a time and date when your audience is contributing to another Twitter Q&A already.
It's important to think about the timing in terms of the whole business, too: are there any other campaigns running or events happening that could sabotage your Q&A session? The epic fail of British Gas’s reasonably recent Q&A session, which they ran on the same day as announcing a 9.2% rise in prices (cue facepalm), perfectly demonstrates this. Unsurprisingly, British Gas customers were less than happy about the increase and the Q&A session didn’t go quite the way it was supposed to:
Hi Bert, which items of furniture do you, in your humble opinion, think people should burn first this winter? #AskBG
Decide on an easy-to-use, recognisable and un-Susan Boyle-able hashtag.
(For those of you who missed the hashtag catastrophe that occurred when Susan Boyle announced that she would be celebrating her new album launch with a party, let this be a warning to you – always test your hashtag without using capital letters. #Susanalbumparty)
It is important that you keep your hashtag concise so that Followers will have space to include it with their question. We’d recommend keeping it under ten characters. You also need to ensure that your hashtag is informative so that anyone who stumbles across your tweets during the Q&A can immediately understand what is happening.
It sounds like an obvious point, but make sure you tell your audience about your Q&A. Your posts need to include information about the time, date and give people an indication of the topics that will be covered. Don’t forget to include your hashtag!
Your posts should alert people to the event a week before it is happening, on the day and during it. You want your Q&A to be ingrained in their memory!
Don’t just limit your promotional posts to Twitter, ensure you post out on all your networks, inviting people to join you on Twitter. This also includes your website and email lists.
Get a head start
Before your Q&A is due to kick off, conduct a search on Twitter using your hashtag to view any questions that have come in early. Prepare the answers to these questions before the start of the Q&A. This is a great way of warming up and, if you’re using our method described above, to check that everyone's happy with how Google Sheets works. You can then post the prepared answers as another way of informin people that the Q&A has started.
Whilst you're preparing for your Q&A, ensure that you have scheduled social media posts to go out during the Q&A, encouraging your audience on other platforms over to Twitter. Reminders about Q&As don't last particularly long in the memory, so it's good to get people's attention while the event is in progress.
Don’t forget to punctuate replies
To maximise reach during the Q&A, always ensure you have added either a full stop or text at the beginning of your Q&A responses on Twitter. This ensures that the answers are seen by your whole network and not just the person being replied to.
Also, don’t forget to include your hashtag in your replies as this clearly indicates to anyone who stumbles across your event what is happening and it also allows people to easily follow the Q&A.
Cement your event in time
Once everyone's had a bit of a breather, use a third party collation tool like Storify to collect all the tweets and replies sent during the Q&A session. This not only allows you to keep a record of the session for future analysis but it also means that people who missed out can read and respond – ensuring the event gains maximum exposure. Get the published Storify story and share it everywhere, letting people know what they missed out on and telling them when the next Q&A will be held.
Follow these simple tips and you’ll be well on your way to creating a successful event. For more ideas on how you can maximise your social community, get in touch with our experts today.