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How to do a Q&A with the audience

Hosts that regularly send calls to action have higher engagement rates and get more intimate and friendly responses which serve as a relationship builder or as content for future projects.

Why: Subtext is a two-way medium, no different than texting with family or friends. Given how accustomed we are to texting, our hosts have discovered both higher quality engagement on Subtext and more engagement with their audience than they do on social platforms. But it isn’t without some prompting. 

A Q&A with your audience can be done in a few different formats:. 

  1. The one off: Send a broadcast asking your audience how they feel about tomorrow’s game, or the latest movie that came out, etc. An idea: Prompt them to respond in emoji form.
  2. The open office-hours: Let your audience know that from 2-4pm on a certain day you’ll be answering as many text questions as you can about a topic. Schedule a broadcast to go out at 2pm to remind folks and at 4pm to let folks know the office hours are over. If you’re overwhelmed, another broadcast after 4pm can acknowledge that you may not have answered everyone but tried to get to as many as you could. You can also point out a popular question many people asked and answer that one via broadcast form. 

  1. The Podcast response: We’ve written a “best practice” for how to use this engagement style to answer Subtext questions on your podcast. Not only does this create a podcast segment, it’s great organic marketing for your Subtext campaign. Read more: How does Subtext work with podcasting.
  2. The article response: Your audience can ask questions via text and you can use the best/most interesting questions to inspire an article or a newsletter. BuzzFeed News did this for questions around covid to great effect.

There is no right/wrong in terms of what format you engage with your audience. Pick a tone and tempo that is most appropriate for you.

Some Tips 

  1. Don't forget marketing: If you turn your Q&A into an “event,” then leverage your channels with the largest audience to market it.
  2. Reply in broadcast form: While this doesn’t answer every individual question — it’s a great way to let everyone know that you’re reading the messages coming in. People often jus want to know they aren’t texting into a black hole. This is also a great way to highlight a question that was frequently asked, which might be on a lot of other people’s minds.
  3. Use Templates: From your dashboard in the inbox tab, on the left hand column is a “Template” option. Here you can create templates so that you don’t have to type out an answer over and over again. Access templates via the Notepad icon when responding to an individual. Here’s a “How To” with a video tutorial.
  4. Mark as read: To the left of every message in your inbox is a checkbox. You can select as many as you want and then in the upper right corner select “mark as read” or unread. This will help you filter out messages in your inbox that aren’t really questions or that you want to come back to. Here's a tutorial
  5. Use the Star feature: Another option for flagging messages you want to come back to later is the the “star” icon. This feature adds marked messages to a  “starred messages” folder. You can come back to these later. Here's a tutorial