If there’s one thing people love, it’s answering questions about themselves. Not the sort of drilling inquiries you’d get in a job interview or on the witness stand, but more those of a lighthearted nature, like your favorite movie, or your most recent, fondest memory. So it’s not a surprise that Instagram’s new questions feature, found through its Stories function, is a runaway success.
Using the feature is pretty simple: From Stories, select the question sticker from the sticker tray (what Instagram calls the collection of icons found by swiping up). You can leave the generic “ask me a question” copy, or customize it to whatever you want your line of inquiries to be about.
While the users who respond by asking the questions are anonymous to the public (i.e., to each other), they are visible to the account posing the question (people are finding this out the hard way, with disastrous and sometimes humorous results). Just something to keep in mind when interacting with people you might not know so well!
Since the feature is new and has had a big surge in use, many Instagram regulars are already experiencing question fatigue, I’d recommend treading lightly. (Some people claim it ruins their Stories experience as they’re inundated with answers they didn’t care to ask the questions to in the first place, while others simply find it narcissistic.) But I think there is a place (and a good use) for it. While Instagram claims the new feature is a great way to get to know your friends better, I say it’s an awesome way to connect with your customers.
You might use it like a built-in survey: Try the questions sticker out with suggestions on what to ask. For example, “ask me anything about jewelry!” or “ask me about our store!” These are two great examples of how you can get the conversation moving and collect shopper input at the same time. With Instagram polls, you could get feedback on how a user feels about something specific, but the questions feature leaves the topic up to them.
If you want to steer the conversation into a more targeted area, just be specific about the questions you invite. Maybe you’re wondering what your customers will be looking for come holiday season, or you want to make plans for special holiday in-store happy hours. Try something like, “ask me questions about our store’s special events!”
You could also repurpose the function as more of an open-ended survey, where you’re the one asking the question. Imagine you say, “what should we stock for the holiday season?,” and a follower responds with something like, “diamond earrings!” You can still respond to the statement—even though it isn’t exactly a question—with an answer like, “we have a large variety of diamond earrings in store,” with a photo of your selection in the background.
Overall I think the new function offers a really great opportunity for customer-driven conversation and gives retailers the chance to both learn more about their current and potential shoppers, and highlight their offerings to anyone who follows their Stories. Give it a try and see!
Top image via Instagram