From live videos, to polls, and quizzes, Instagram reigns as one of the most interactive social media platforms out there, and has consistently evolved in this direction. Granted, the process of actually navigating a single comment thread on IG isn’t as easy as sifting through a Twitter thread, or jumping between different Facebook groups. However, the mobile-centric platform has made itself incrementally more interactive over time through various features that it has rolled out in the last few years.
Take Stories, for instance. The range of options they offer in the way of making your content more engaging is nothing short of impressive. There’s stickers, GIFs, and filters for every mood. Stories also help trigger more one-on-one conversations by routing replies right into your DMs. It’s fair to say that Instagram has positioned its features for optimal interaction. As of writing this blog in June 2020, Instagram has been trying out the feature of un-liking or “un-hearting” conversations in your DM or Direct Message Inbox.
While the jury is still out on that, there have been a variety of talking points on how so many people have taken to the variety of features that this Facebook-owned platform keeps throwing our way. In this blog, we’ll take a look at just one of those features that came into popularity almost as soon as it released back in June 2018, Instagram Questions. We will lay down how they work, and how to build ideas around this content format that can bring activity into even the most dormant Instagram profiles!
If you haven’t tried out the Questions sticker for your Instagram Stories yet, then read through the quick set of instructions below. If you have tried it out, feel free to skip to the next section, where we will explore 6 strategies for utilizing this simple feature in your overall brand marketing strategy.
How to use the Instagram questions sticker on your Stories
Regardless of whether you’re using a Personal, Creator, or Business account on Instagram, the Questions feature is open to all and can be used in a variety of ways. It particularly helps to extend the lifespan of your 24-hour long Instagram Stories, as you can add Questions with interesting responses to your Story highlights. Here’s a quick guide on how to use the Questions sticker.
Step 1: Access the Stories feature from your Instagram home page first. Do this by clicking on the tiny camera icon on the left hand top corner to compose a Story.
Step 2: Click a photo or add any image from your phone to set as the background image for your question. Do this by accessing your phone gallery on the bottom left of this screen.
Step 3: Once an image is chosen, click on the sticker icon on the top right panel of your phone screen. It’s the one with the partially peeled corner, tucked between the emoji button and the squiggly line tool. Clicking that will open a tray full of options that looks something like this.
Step 4: Select the Questions Sticker, from the list to pop-open the Question button on your Story preview. Here you can type in your question that appears along with your Instagram profile pic and a space for your followers to answer the question.
Step 5: Hit “Send” to share with your followers, or the green star icon if you’d like to share with a close bunch of followers or brand partners that you’ve listed using the “Close friends” feature.
Step 6: Don’t forget to check DMs to check the responses you’ve received, and share them on your Stories! Followers love seeing your responses to their answers and hearing back from you.
Now that we know the steps to using the Questions feature on Instagram, here are some marketing strategies we’ve compiled that can help inform your Question-based content even better.
6 ways to use Instagram questions to elevate your brand content
1. Ask interesting questions: While that may seem obvious to any Instagram user, what we really mean is asking questions that your specific audience would be interested in answering. Even if you’re simply using Questions as a way to generate more buzz and increase engagement for your brand profile, you can ensure that what you put out is useful or interesting for your followers. Get your audience to weigh in on current industry trends, ask them about their experiences, or simply pull them into conversations about your products or services to keep the activity up.
Godrej Aer, an air purifier brand, leveraged the Questions sticker to build hype around a product they were about to release. They asked their audience to guess the scent of their new range of purifiers using thematic posters they released on their Instagram profile.
We still aren’t quite sure what smells like a field and your living room furniture at the same time. You’re welcome to drop your guesses in the comments!
2. A/B test brand campaigns: Do you have a great new campaign design and want to beta-test it? Instead of polling your teammates, you can ask the people who will be seeing it—your social media audience! A/B testing isn’t exclusive to webpages and email campaigns. You can apply the method to anything from campaign slogans to design ideas by simply running both options and seeing which elicits more of a reaction. Sometimes a poll is too simplistic of a way to determine layered feedback, so if you want to mine more open-ended feedback and information, try the Instagram Questions route.
3. Easy way to initiate DMs: Questions are a great way to segue into direct conversations with your audience members. If you have the kind of business model that has minimal face-to-face interaction with your audience, it may be hard to know what the customer really thinks, and you may have to depend on Google or Facebook reviews to get a feel for what impact your products or services have.
One way to bridge that gap is to evolve your Instagram Questions into Direct Messages with followers. Congratulate any insightful responses you get, and ask more questions. You never know, you might retain some repeat engagers this way and learn a lot about the current needs in your market.
4. Open the floor: One way to both generate great responses on specific topics, and also create a platform for more conversation, is by opening the floor to your audience to allow them to ask any questions they want, and not confining them to a specific theme. This works especially well if you have a guest or expert answering for you, similar to an AMA or a Q&A format often seen on platforms like Reddit and Twitter, respectively.
This will not only make your audience feel more visible on your brand profile and bridge a big conversational gap between you, it will also generate more interest among your followers, knowing that they have an opportunity to learn more.
Look at how NASA uses this space (pun unintended) to channel interactions on their Instagram profile. Their “Q&A with an astronaut” is something many would love to participate in, whether they take a deep interest in NASA projects or not. It manages to be both broad-reaching and exclusive at the same time, adding to its appeal.
5. Source key feedback: A little like A/B testing, feedback-sourcing is about getting people to give their opinion on something. But the core difference between the two is that, this takes place after an experience, unlike A/B testing where you rope audience in the decision-making process itself. For instance, if you roll out a new line of products and want some insight on what your social media audience thinks of it, you can run Instagram questions to gauge the temperature, and see how people are responding to it.
6. Build meaningful campaigns around questions: Now we’re talking about not just leveraging the feature to collect data, but using Instagram Questions as a central piece of your entire social media campaign.
Still confused? Let’s help break this down better with an example. Starbucks has always been a socially conscious brand that has provided employment opportunities for underserved communities, like the differently-abled. This is evidenced by the training that many of its franchise employees receive in sign language and braille cards for thier customers.
In 2019, Starbucks ran a campaign on their Instagram profile, inviting their followers to suggest things off the Starbucks menu that the hearing and verbally impaired community would like to see signed in ASL (American Sign Language), and used across Starbucks stores. From pumpkin spice latte to bacon gouda egg sandwiches, there were plenty of requests that were featured in the subsequent response videos released by Starbucks.
This not only gave more visibility to the community and made their Starbucks experience a whole lot better, it also showed us how brilliantly the power of social media can be used by brands to get closer to their audience.
Anything off-beat or interesting that you’d like to share about Instagram Questions? Drop them in the comments below, we’d love to hear what you thought of our tips and, how you’ve used the Questions sticker as part of your own marketing.