Are Q&As the Future of Celebrity Social Media?

By Justin Lafferty Comment

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Your favorite actress has millions of fans on Facebook and has recently announced that she’ll do a Q&A session in advance of her upcoming blockbuster. She’s asking for fans to submit questions ahead of time, so you click to see what comments have already been made.

However, while many people would take this as a chance to find out what makes the actress tick or ask silly questions like what brand of peanut butter she prefers, many (many) others deluge Q&A posts with marriage proposals, personal attacks, spam and random comments about President Obama.

Ever wonder how the starlet cuts through the dreck? BumeBox works closely with celebrities for Twitter and Facebook Q&As to ensure that they see the relevant questions, ensuring a better experience for the star and the fans.

Here’s a look at some of the more prominent Q&A sessions BumeBox has coordinated:

  • Facebook Q&A with Ashley Young, Machester United/4,000 comment questions, 15,000 likes
  • Facebook Q&A with Nicki Minaj, Music Artist/9,000 comment questions, 7,000 likes
  • Facebook Q&A with William H. Macy, Actor in Shameless/4,000 comment questions, 10,000 likes
  • Twitter Q&A with Trey Songz, Music Artist/14,000 tweeted questions
  • Twitter Q&A with True Blood cast/5,000 tweeted questions

unnamedBumeBox CEO and Founder Jon Fahrner sat down with SocialTimes to talk about about what it’s like managing these Q&As. He talked about the session with Nicki Minaj, who has many fans (45.5 million on Facebook, 19 million on Twitter) and is a polarizing figure in the music business.

Minaj got plenty of marriage proposals, explicit comments and other acidic feedback, but BumeBox filters out these low-value submissions, so she saw the questions that were honest attempts at dialogue.

While it may seem like censorship, Fahrner pointed out that celebrities are still human beings. This kind of Q&A gets back to the heart of what a Facebook fanpage (or Twitter account) is supposed to be, Fahrner said, a way for people to connect. He said that “if you were a true fan,” you’d be able to learn more about your favorite actor, athlete or public figure through these behind the scenes looks.

Facebook, Twitter and other social networks have embraced the celebrity user. Facebook has an app for public figures — Mentions — to make it easier to manage a page.

Through a Q&A, Fahrner notes, public figures can talk with fans directly and cut out the media middleman. While a celebrity might feel guarded in an interview with reporters, they have more control in a Q&A and give more candid answers. Fahrner said that he sees more popular figures going more toward Q&As through social media as a way to connect with their fanbase. He said that celebrities “are not limited to a soundbite answer,” and that “they can address fans in the way they want.”

The format also gives the public figure a little more freedom. Fahrner talked about athletes who have used the BumeBox app to answer questions while they’re sick in bed or just getting off an airplane. Celebrities have also had some fun with these sessions, in a way they can’t really do in traditional interviews. William H. Macy did his Q&A in character, answering questions as if he was Frank Gallagher.

Fahrner said this format is a way for public figures to relieve some of the pressures of a traditional interview and just be themselves. He sees Q&A sessions as a win for all parties involved: fans can get honest answers from their favorite celebrities and feel that their questions were answered, celebrities don’t have to read death threats when they start engaging with fans and the platform gets more public figure activity.

Readers: Have you asked a celebrity a question in a Q&A session?

Top image courtesy of Debby Wong / Shutterstock.com.

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