Have you ever wanted to do your own Ask Me Anything (AMA) event? Wondering how to run these online Q&A sessions on social media?
In this article, you’ll learn how to organize and manage an online AMA experience on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter.
Why Run an AMA on Social Media to Support Your Marketing?
The concept of the AMA gained popularity on Reddit and was later adopted by mainstream social networks as a way to transparently engage with an audience; promote new features, updates, and products; and connect with users in real time. Since then, platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram have integrated features that make AMAs more accessible than ever.
AMAs can be a breath of fresh air from the ordinary, scripted content that your audience is used to seeing. When done successfully, AMA sessions can boost engagement and promote transparency with your audience, and allow them to get to know your brand on a more personal level.
#1: Plan the Logistics for Your AMA
Before you hold an AMA, you need to do some prep work. Here are some details to consider when planning your AMA.
Choose a Topic
You can keep the AMA specific to one topic (such as “Ask our CEO anything about the recent merger”) or make it broad (such as about the company or products in general). General AMA sessions are a great way to learn more about your audience’s interests and can help inform future content if you notice recurring questions or themes.
Select a Speaker
Deciding who’s going to oversee the AMA is important because that person will be front and center, representing your organization. Choose someone knowledgeable about your company who can confidently and calmly hold their own throughout the session.
Time Your AMA to Align With High Audience Activity
Pay attention to your analytics and run the AMA during a time you know your audience is active and online. Additionally, if you’ve recently had a PR crisis or flap, it’s probably best to let significant time pass before hosting an AMA. On the flip side, holding an AMA may be a nice way to overcome negative publicity if you get the messaging right. It all depends on your audience and situation.
Decide How You’ll Take Questions
Decide if you want to field questions live only or allow your audience to submit questions ahead of time. Set a specific date and time for your social media AMA and answer questions that come in during that time, or field questions for a few days leading up to the event and then choose a specific time to answer those specific questions on social media.
Prep Answers and Fill-In Questions
It may seem like an AMA doesn’t require preparation because the questions will be coming in real time, but there’s a considerable risk in being unprepared for the sessions. Have answers to common questions prepared? Take some time to brainstorm what issues might come up and have a plan for how to handle them during the event.
The last thing you want in an AMA is to receive questions that catch you off guard, making you appear frazzled or unprepared, so prepare for the worst. AMAs are like the press conferences of the internet. Brands can quickly fall victim to a PR nightmare by not anticipating what questions, even negative ones, are likely to be asked.
In addition to having answers prepared, have questions ready in case of a lull or lack of engagement. You probably already have a list of frequently asked questions your company receives, so have those on hand in case of a drop in participation.
Choose a Social Media Platform to Host Your AMA
While hosting AMAs on social media is becoming extremely popular, make sure the platform you choose aligns with your overall marketing goals. If the goal is to engage your audience, promote transparency, and attract new followers, here’s how to frame your AMA session on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
#2: Run an AMA via Facebook Live
You’ll find the most success with AMAs on Facebook by hosting Facebook Live sessions. Live broadcasts are a great way to connect with your audience in real time, face to face, and provide a perfect platform for fielding questions. You can even record the sessions for users to view later or to use as future marketing materials.
Gather Questions Before the Event
To gather questions ahead of an event on Facebook, you can create a post earlier in the week or a few days prior to the event, and ask users to post their questions as comments on the post. Additionally, if you want to maintain anonymity for the users, ask them to send their questions via Facebook Messenger.
Once followers submit their questions, take time to go through the questions and choose the best ones to answer during the event. Prepare a document with answers to those specific questions and answer them in depth. It can also be helpful to call in an expert to answer specific questions or have examples to show.
Because Facebook Live allows screen sharing, you can plan to do a live demonstration or use the tool to share your screen if it helps answer specific questions.
Answer Questions During the Event
During your Facebook Live AMA, users can drop their questions in the chat of the video. But be aware that if a lot of viewers attend, these questions can move fast and become hard for the speaker to find. It’s smart to have a moderator collect and organize these questions, and feed them to the host as they come in. Otherwise, the host will have to scroll to find the questions, which can take up time and disrupt the event.
Even though you won’t know exactly what questions will come in, you can anticipate what might be asked based on common FAQs from your audience and have responses to those questions ready ahead of time. It’s also helpful to have important documentation on-hand like user guides, product info, and news bulletins that you can reference quickly should you get a question you don’t know the exact answer to.
#3: Run an AMA via Instagram Live or Instagram Stories
There are two ways to host an AMA on Instagram. One option is to take a route similar to the Facebook approach and host a live video Q&A. Videos generate a lot of engagement, and you can record the event and have it available for people who want to view it later. Instagram AMAs can take the same general format as Facebook AMAs when using live video.
You can also record individual story videos with responses to questions, or create text responses and post them to your story with the corresponding questions. Again, you’ll be able to save them as Instagram story highlights and create an AMA highlight on your Instagram profile that followers can access and reference later.
#4: Run an AMA on Twitter
Twitter is a go-to platform for most companies hosting AMAs that want to reach a more mainstream audience than Reddit. The format works best when there isn’t really a format.
The easiest way to keep track of the items to address is to create a custom hashtag and ask users to tag their questions. Don’t use something generic like #AMA or #AskMeAnything because your questions will get lost in the mix.
When promoting your AMA on Twitter, let your followers know when the event will take place and whether they should ask questions ahead of time or save them for the day of the event.
Gather Questions Before the Event
If you decide to collect questions prior to the event, ask followers to submit their questions using your chosen hashtag and then compile which questions you want to answer during the event.
Twitter makes it a bit easier to provide more in-depth answers to questions that are asked before the session. When promoting the session, it’s helpful to cut off questions about a day or a few hours before the event to prepare the responses appropriately. Use this time to gather as many resources as possible to answer any questions.
Answer Questions During the Event
Let your followers know to live-tweet their questions during the event. It’s best to have a moderator or two monitoring the hashtag with a tool like TweetDeck or Hootsuite so that all instances of the tag are easy to find in one place.
Like Instagram, it’s helpful to have all of the moderators in the same room or at least in a group chat together to stay in touch during the session. Using a shared Google Doc or spreadsheet can keep the session organized and let the moderators keep track of who’s responding to what questions to avoid confusion.
#5: Promote Your AMA
Regardless of how you choose to field questions, be sure to start promoting the session at least a week ahead of time to generate enough interest. Treating the session as an event is a great way to create buzz and attention to make sure people are aware of the event and ensure you get questions.
These promotions can go on even after the session has ended. Once you have all of the questions and a feel for how the AMA went, create content like a blog post or infographic summarizing the most popular questions as a reference. It’s also an excellent opportunity to gauge what your audience wants to see from you and crowdsource ideas for new content.