How to ask questions on social media

Asking questions should be easy, right?  Then, why are so many people doing it wrong.

When I was working on my Master’s degree, I had to write a 30 page paper on how to ask the right questions. . . yes, you heard me, thirty pages!  At first, I was not sure how I could do that, but then, I realized there is a lot more to asking questions than I thought.  So, let me share a few tidbits that will help you ask the right questions on social media.

Avoid Yes/No Questions

I see many questions like: “Do you like chocolate ice cream?”  There is nothing wrong with that question, but it does not engage your audience.  A simple yes or know will suffice for the answer.  You want your questions to create engagement.

Avoid One Word Answer Questions

“What is your favorite flavor of ice cream?” is a better question, but it still leads to a one word answer. If you are trying to create a survey or tallying up the favorite of some topic, this would be a great question, but for most of us, this would do little to entice people to answer.

Avoid ambiguous questions

Let’s continue our ice cream question.  Some people think that adding a ‘why’ to the end of a question helps: “What is your favorite ice cream flavor and why?”  That leaves too much open. Again, it asks for a one word response based on opinion, then follows with an opinion which could be answered, “It tastes good.”  There is no reason to engage with that question.

Asking the RIGHT Questions

Engage the audience

Asking great questions on social media involves engaging your audience.  If you have a reason to ask about flavors of ice cream, then make it a question that really entices the readers to respond. “Why do you think chocolate is the favorite flavor of ice cream in _______?”  This is a why question that asks the reader to engage their brain and think about something.  They can answer funny, serious, opinion and so forth.  It gives them the freedom to allow their personality to come out.

The Power of “IF”

“If you created an ice cream flavor, what would be in it and would you call it?”  “What if” questions allows the reader to put their own spin on things.  Again, with social media, people want to show off their personalities.  Asking ‘what if’ scenarios allows the readers to show off their personality and engage with your brand.

Open ended questions

The opposite of yes/no questions is open-ended questions.  It allows the reader to answer on their terms.  Using the word ‘what’ often gets you started for these questions.  “What items go best with ice cream?”  This questions engages your audience.

Ask for their experience

“What is your ice cream story?”  Look at how broad that question is.  Depending on your audience, it could work.  People love to share their experiences.  Other ways to relate to this question is: “What was your favorite experience with _________ ice cream?”  See how that asks the audience about themselves?  People love talking about their story.

Ask them to predict the future

I am not talking about prophecy here.  I am asking you to engage your audience in thinking about the future of your topic or industry. There are some valuable insights that could be gained with the right question: “How would your life change if there was no more ice cream?”  “If ice cream disappeared, what would you do?”

Asking questions is powerful.  You may have noticed the word ‘engage’ was repeated throughout this article.  Good questions engage your audience.  You must know your audience, speak their language and ask the right questions.  IF you do this, you will see your shares and your engagement on your social media increase tremendously.

Which tip are you going to put into practice this week?

Share your questions with us Youtube or GooglePlus.  What did we leave out?  What would you add to the list?

About LyleH

Lyle Huddlestun is a Christian business coach in and around the Dallas/Fort Worth area of Texas. He is an author at Marketing Digest; Writer for Christian Business Revolution; Certified Business Consultant and Ordained Minister.

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