Alternatives to Ask Me Anything on Twitter

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This is actually a post I've been wanting to write for a while, after months of watching the Ask Me Anything (AMA) format on Twitter crash and burn every single time a brand or personality tries it. Remember when Robin Thicke asked his followers to @ him with questions? Yeah. That didn't go over too well, especially with all the bad press he had been getting.

I feel very strongly about not using the "Ask So-and-So" approach to engaging followers on Twitter. Not only does it never go as smoothly as planned, but it also opens your client to trolls and people who will ask not-so-favorable questions--and I've seen more often than not that there's no plan for dealing with that.

Like I say in the above tweets, There are lots of other ways to engage your audience. Here are a few alternatives to AMA on Twitter:

Turn the tables a bit: ask questions of your followers. Plus size fashion brand Eloquii does this every now and then, and it's always super fun. This works best when you have an idea of how favorable your brand is to folks on twitter. Wal-Mart for instance may not have as much success with this since they are a controversial and polarizing brand in some circles. So gauge what people's perceptions of your brand is before trying this out.

Ask your followers to post pictures of themselves using your product, at your brand's events, etc. This is another fun way to engage your followers and you get a sense of how people are engaging with your brand offline.

Start a hashtag and encourage your followers to use it. This is a pretty straight forward idea, but like asking questions of your followers, you have to be sure that you can lessen the amount of trolling as much as possible (you'll never be able to totally get rid of trolls of course. There will always be a few). Try it out, and remember to keep the hashtags short so that your followers have more characters to add their own thoughts in a tweet.

I hope this helps folks who are thinking of creative ways to engage people on Twitter. What are some other alternatives to Ask Me Anything?