Social engagement is the result of a number of activities, including listening, offering suggestions and other assistance, and asking good questions.
When these actions are executed well, the natural result is engagement in the form likes, shares, and comments that serve to build your Facebook community.
Sharing interesting, useful, or entertaining content is essential for encouraging engagement. This is best accomplished on Facebook with a photo or video with a short message and a call to action.
Is it any wonder that 300 million photos are posted on Facebook every day!
Most people seem to understand this aspect of Facebook engagement, but then they fall short with the most important step – the call to action.
Questions are the essential calls to action that encourage engagement and community building.
When you skillfully ask the right questions, an engaging dialogue among community members readily ensues. Here are 5 considerations for making that happen.
#1 – Everyone Wants to Be Right
Agreement and controversy will both encourage engagement, but when it comes to building a community of fans around your business, keeping everything friendly and upbeat is obviously to your benefit.
Research has proven that most people are fishing for agreement when they ask a question on Facebook. They simply want to be right.
We all have different opinions and naturally believe we are in the right, but when it comes to building a community, always be mindful of creating a forum that honors the diverse opinions of your community.
Skilled community managers understand Facebook is for showing off.
Feed that desire and you will build better support for you and your business.
#2 – Leading Questions are Safe
Leading questions are safe because they broadcast the desired response. This may not create a stimulating conversation, but it keeps the playground safe and encourages plenty of likes and comments.
Leading questions are typically those that can be answered with a yes or no response. Here are some examples.
- Look at these adorable shoes. Should I buy them?
- Wouldn’t you love to have a cozy retreat like this in your back yard?
- I think it’s time for a vacation, what do you think?
Questions that tend to encourage a positive response also generate positive comments and engagement.
#3 – Loaded Questions are Dangerous
Loaded questions are those that appear to be asking for feedback but in reality are fishing for agreement or favorable disagreement. A classic example is – Does this make me look fat?
The reason loaded questions are dangerous is some people will speak their mind and derail or completely shut-down the conversation.
I recently encountered a loaded question that had two parts – a leading question and a loaded question. I acknowledged that part of it was loaded and answered it honestly – big mistake. Fortunately, one of the community members came to my rescue.
Even the best of us mess up in an attempt to provide what we believe to be helpful feedback. Don’t do it.
If your friend really wants your honest feedback they will send you an email and get it privately.
#4 – The Best Questions Have No Right Answer
What are good questions? The best questions are those for which there is no right or wrong answer.
Here are a few Facebook questions that attracted a very high level of engagement.
- Is this a garden or a landscape?
- What is your pet peeve? (Not a great question but one with no right answer)
- What was your favorite subject in school?
Always make the focus of your question about the overall event of a photo or story, not a particular person.
This avoids putting anyone in the spotlight that may not want to be there, thereby minimizing the possibility of errant comments that someone may take exception to.
#5 – The Last Word
Questions generate a string of comments, and that opens the door for pushing a personal opinion that feeds ones ego. Avoid this one-upmanship, and don’t be afraid to step in and diffuse it. It often comes in the form of a subtle counterattack to have the last word – “just saying.”
Let it go, or redirect the conversation whenever possible.
Avoiding the need to be right allows positive conversations to breathe and negative ones to die.
What’s one of your favorite questions to ask your Facebook community?
Leave a comment below – and share this with your community.
Until next time, Jeff