How To Host Your Own Q&A Sessions

Woman with tablet and laptop

Are you ready to host a Q&A session on social media? (Image: Flickr)

A Q&A session is a great way to connect with your social media audience.

But there are definitely a few things you should be aware of before hosting your first event.

Here are some tips on how to plan and organize an effective Q&A session.

Send Out Invitations

Although hosting spontaneous Q&A sessions might work in some instances, most businesses would do well to get the word out beforehand and make their audience aware of the Q&A opportunity.

You can send out emails, post updates to social media, and publish new posts to your blog promoting your upcoming online event. Make sure to cover all of the basics – when, where, what, how and who. Promise to make it a fun and engaging experience.

Make sure you know what social media platform you’ll be hosting your session on. Look into the options available to you and choose one – Google+ Hangouts, Twitter, Facebook, and so on.

Prepare For The Q&A Session

Man on laptop pondering

Make sure you are ready for whatever comes your way. (Image: Flickr)

Once the Q&A session goes live, you won’t necessarily have the opportunity to scan all of the questions and carefully consider what your response will be. If you know that members in your audience have the potential to ask any difficult or controversial questions, make sure to prepare your responses in advance.

Don’t forget to clear your schedule for the session and staff the event adequately. Although it is unlikely that you will be overwhelmed with too many questions, it’s good to be prepared and have multiple respondents if you find yourself unable to keep up. Set a time limit – 45 to 60 minutes is manageable, and often more than enough to get common questions answered.

Furthermore, make sure to choose a platform that’s right for you. On Twitter, there’s a 140 character limit, and it’s easy to post quick responses to questions coming your way. Facebook allows for longer questions and responses. And if you’re going to host a Google+ Hangout, you’ll want to put a basic structure in place for questions. You can have viewers ask questions verbally or type them into the chat box.

Set The Stage

Make sure to send out one last reminder about your Q&A session before it goes live – five to 10 minutes beforehand is adequate. Remind your audience that they are the focus, and that you are interested in fielding their questions.

If things are a little slow at the start, get your employees to throw a few soft balls your way. You could also post some trivia about your company to engage your followers.

If you’re adequately prepared, your Q&A session should go off without a hitch!

Do’s & Don’ts

Here are a few quick do’s and don’ts when it comes to Q&A sessions:

  • Do: plan in advance. Make sure you know what social media platforms your audience uses, and market your event well.
  • Don’t: try to wing it.
  • Do: get the right people to host the session (i.e. people who can actually answer the questions being asked).
  • Don’t: try to answer questions you can’t. Don’t give knee-jerk reactions to negativity either. Take difficult or in-depth questions offline or answer by email.
  • Do: use an effective and appropriate hashtag. If you choose poorly, you could end up with a lot of backlash.
  • Don’t: assume people won’t take your hashtag out of context. Make it as simple and easy-to-understand as possible and mitigate misinterpretation.
  • Do: prepare for negativity.
  • Don’t: argue with trolls. Thank them for their perspective and sense of humor.

Final Thoughts

To summarize, you can organize an effective Q&A session by following these three simple steps:

  1. Set a date, send out your invites, and promote your event.
  2. Take some time to prepare – make sure you are ready to handle negativity and that you are adequately staffed.
  3. Set the stage for the session. Send out a final reminder and make your audience aware that they are the focus and can ask any question they want.

By the way, if you’re looking for help with your next social media campaign, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us. We would love to hear about your next project.