As mentioned in our Social Media Marketing course (See Module 4 "Focus on Engagement" on topics related to effective communication skills on social media), posting something in the form of a question is a good way to invite your followers to share their opinions and ideas.
But does asking questions really work? How can you ask interesting and thoughtful questions that many people will want to respond to?
Here are some examples of Facebook page posts that ask questions as a fun, attention-grabbing way to start engaging conversations.
Let People Talk About What They Like
Travel journalist Wendy Perrin posted on her Facebook page, "What was your best travel mistake ever? This was mine" (link to the article "My Best Travel Mistake: Climbing Mount Sinai for the Sunset"). As I've experienced on various travel-related social communities, people (myself included) who like to travel love to talk about travel. That's why I thought this question, inviting people to share their travel experiences, works very well. And it's also a smart way of encouraging followers to check out the link as well as commenting.
Start With a Question, Follow Up With Answers
This photo by Travel Portland also got people talking about what they like to talk about, in response to the question "Have you been out to Sauvie Island yet this year?". And this photo with a very simple question, "Stroll along the river, anyone?"
Locals who frequent these spots, residents of nearby areas, visitors who have been there, future visitors who want to visit the city and want to know more about it... everyone can chime in, which makes these conversations fun and engaging. Travel Portland also shows that you shouldn't just ask interesting questions, but also be interested in the answers from your followers and show that you are interested by interacting with commenters.
Let People Share Their Knowledge (and Feel Good About It)
Another good example of posting a simple question on a topic that a lot of people will be interested in talking about is this post on TED's Facebook page: "what's your favorite word in your language, and what does it mean?", which is linked to a playlist of TED talks about words. This works well (over 250 comments!) because by asking speakers of different languages to help share interesting piece of language-specific knowledge with the community (in English), it allows multiple-language-spearking followers to easily find something unique that they can say and that others will likely find interesting.
Encourage Meaningful (and Fun) Conversations
Sharing a quote and asking a question about it is another good way to make your social update an engaging conversation starter, as in the case of this question posted by the ukulele musician Jake Shimabukuro: "Has music changed your life in some way?". The quote accompanying this question is related to his message (which he also shared on TED) that music has the power to change the world, which, as you can see in all the Facebook comments, resonates with a lot of people. While not everyone enjoys the star power that Mr. Shimabukuro has, social media engagement lesson from his question-post applies to everyone: find a way to connect your topic (such as music, or travel) to what many people can relate to in a meaningful and inspirational way.
Ask your followers to share life-changing moments!
Let Them Finish Your Sentence! (and Other Ways to Ask Questions)
Asking a question on social media (and thus encouraging your followers to respond and share comments) doesn’t always need to be formatting your post as a question. You can ask your followers to share their experiences by "filling in the blank", like this photo which was posted on Food Tank's Facebook page. This topic is relevant and interesting to many of their followers, and Food Tank can also gather information about local actions and examples that are related to the key theme of the year (International Year of Family Farming).
Fill in the blank...
Have you tried some of these on your Facebook page? What are other creative and engaging ways of starting conversations on social media?