How to Host an Instagram Q&A Story

500 million people use Stories every day and
a third of the most viewed Stories are created by businesses.

Last month, we hosted an Instagram Story Q&A live from the American Association of Neurological Surgeons annual meeting. Each year, dozens of Mayo Clinic neurosurgery experts convene for this annual conference--making it a prime opportunity to produce quality content, with a range of experts from different campuses, in just a few days. Traditionally, we hosted Facebook Live and Periscope broadcasts at this event. As with all live streaming, that option came with limitations:

  • Relies on uninterrupted wi-fi connection for the duration of the broadcast
  • No start/stop option, requiring one take (which can be very challenging in the middle of a loud, busy convention center)

This year we opted for an Instagram Story Q&A. Here's how it worked:

  • First, we used the "question" sticker to pose a question on our Instagram Stories approximately 12 hours before we intended to answer questions. This allowed time for users to post questions, but not enough time that the story dropped off the page after 24 hours. If you aren't familiar with how to use the question sticker, AdWeek breaks it down.

Pro Tip: Let your audience know when to expect your response.

  • Next, we recorded video responses to as many questions as possible. To view the questions, click on your story, select "Seen by ###" in the bottom left screen. The next screen that appears will show you all of the questions from your audience. Tap on the question you wish to answer and a new story post will open. Answers can be text or video replies. Video replies are limited to 15 seconds but you can reply to the same question multiple times. The question text will appear on the screen in your reply but the user's name will not.

We want to know, how are you using Instagram Stories to interact with your audience?

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How to host an Instagram Q&A story:
How are you using Instagram Stories to interact with your audience?
Instagram stories offer a prime opportunity to produce quality content:

Thanks for your tips, Taryn. My social team and I hosted an IG Story Q&A just 26 hours ago (so unfortunately, it's no longer visible). We promoted our Story, offering to answer questions during a 2-hour timeframe. We received over 100 questions during the 2 hours, although 30+ were rhetorical or antagonistic (controversial topic: vaccines). Our answers didn't include video, but we used a customized template for each frame to provide continuity and visual interest within the Story. My tip: before the event, build a knowledge base in a shareable and searchable format (we used Google Sheets). Identify a ringmaster to categorize the questions as they come in and assign questions to teammates. Team searches knowledge base for reference, drafts answer within Sheet, reviews for accuracy and plain language, then copies and emails Q and A to the IG administrator, who pastes into the template and publishes. We found using the Sheet let us see others' work and collaborate, since there are many ways to answer a health-related question. Emailing to the IG administrator meant she could simply copy and publish. And now we have a record of all questions received, which we can use to improve our future digital communication. @bkfmarshall

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