How to Ask Questions on Twitter… And Get Answers

If you’ve been on Twitter for any length of time, you’ll know that simply sharing links isn’t enough to really engage your followers. You’ve got to be interesting, stand out from the crowd, and make them want to listen to you. And one of the best ways to start is by asking questions.

Twitter users, like almost everyone else, love sharing their opinions. So why not give your followers the chance to share them with you?

Asking questions on Twitter is one of 5 ways to stand out on Twitter. And it warrants a post on its own, because some people just don’t know how to ask the right questions.

Ask the right questions

The type of question you send out there will determine whether people respond to or breeze over your tweet. Take a minute to assess your brand, and your Twitter style. Are you a chatty blogger? A PR rep for a major company? The way you use Twitter will influence the type of questions you should ask.

Stick to questions that stay within the confines of your niche. If you’re a book publishing company, ask question about current styles of book covers, the NYT Bestsellers List or what your followers are reading right now. Don’t ask what team they’re cheering for in tonight’s game or how they like their pizza. Your followers expect consistency.

From here, the type of questions you ask is up to you. You could poll your Twitter followers about a topical issue, ask them their opinions on a blog post, or just throw out a general question.

Encourage answers

It isn’t enough to send a question out into the twitterverse and never think of it again. You’ve got to follow up with those who answer you, and show them that you’re listening and that you care about their answers.

One of the best ways to encourage people to respond to your questions is by replying. This is either a small, manageable task, or a daunting hurdle, depending on the size of your following and how many people answer your question. If you’ve got three or four answers, go ahead and say “thanks” personally – if you’ve got three or four hundred, take a different route.

Sending a simple “thanks everyone for your answers” tweet after you’ve noticed the answers stop trickling in is a good technique. This will show your followers that you got their answers, but doesn’t require you to respond individually.

Another approach is to highlight certain answers and retweet them, with or without your own commentary attached. Or, you could gather up several answers and feature them in a blog post, as we’ve done in the past here at AllTwitter.

What was the last question you asked your followers on Twitter? Was it a success?