Get A Conversation Going on Twitter: Ask a Question

by Ron on October 26, 2009

ask

As you build a list of followers on Twitter, you reach a place where you can have a conversation with them, but how do you engage your group and get them talking? One technique I’ve found that works quite well is to ask a question. You may not get tons of responses, but chances are you’ll get a few, and that can provide a launching pad for further discussion.

#AndyAsks

Andrew McAfee, the man who is credited with coining the term Enterprise 2.0–that is, bringing Web 2.0 tools like Twitter into the Enterprise–often uses this technique. He has even developed a hash tag for his questions: #andyasks.  He asks all kinds of questions of his followers and tends to get lots of responses. Last week he asked about books. If you want to learn about his questioning technique, go to search.twitter.com and enter his hash tag. You’ll see how many responses he gets. But we’re not all as well known as Andy. Can this technique work for mere mortals too?

I Tried It

A few weeks ago, I posted a couple of lines from the song Carpet Crawlers from the classic Genesis album, The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway, and I asked people which song it came from in a trivia contest of sorts. I was astonished when I got a bunch of responses. I tried it again several days later with a line from the Paul Simon song Kodachrome and got several more. Of course, sometimes it doesn’t work. You post a question and it falls flat, but the point is, that asking questions breeds engagement, and the whole point of Twitter is to get your followers involved in what you’re doing.

This doesn’t always involve whatever your latest product is (or my latest article). Sometimes it’s just about starting conversation. So the next time you want to see if anyone’s listening to your Tweets, try asking question and see who answers. You might be surprised at the responses you get, but keep in mind, even if you don’t hear from anyone, keep trying and you will see positive results.

Photo by Fiona Bradley on Flickr. Used under Creative Commons License.

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