In recent weeks, you may have started to notice a few of your friends asking or answering questions that pop up in your Newsfeed on Facebook that look a little something like this, and wondered what this new Facebook feature is all about:
Well this, ladies and gents, is Facebook Questions. Here’s Facebook’s own official explanation:
“Facebook Questions lets you ask any question and get quick answers from your friends and other people on Facebook. Questions is designed so that anyone on Facebook can help you find the answer. So when you ask a question, it is shared in News Feed. If your friends answer or follow that question, it will be shared with their friends and so on.”
Facebook Questions isn’t technically that new actually. It launched last summer and initially was seen as an attempt to rival other question answering services such as Yahoo Answers and Quora by allowing the masses to answer your questions, not just your own friends, or friends of those friends. However, they’ve just recently been re-launched in this new format, which I personally feel stands a far greater chance of working. At the end of the day, it’s your friend’s opinions that matter most to you – not those of the masses, and Facebook looks to harness that USP.
To see what kind of questions your friends are already asking, you can access the Questions page from the left hand side of your newsfeed in a Questions tab. Here you’ll see any other questions your friends have recently asked or answered themselves.
If you want to ask a question yourself, you can either do it when creating a status update and select ‘Question,’ or in the Questions Tab.
You can simply ask an open-ended question, allowing friends to comment how they wish, or you can choose to add Poll options in order to obtain more exact answers (and then users can add comments in addition if they want to give greater detail).
Each time a friend responds or interacts with the poll, this will be shown in their own newsfeeds to their friends, who in turn, can then answer your question too. All very simple and straightforward really!
However, the purpose of this blog wasn’t just to offer a quick tutorial on how to use Facebook Questions (hopefully you’ve found it useful though so far!), but to talk more importantly about the potential engagement brands could benefit from by utilising it.
Where can brand pages benefit?
Facebook questions aren’t just there for me and you to use to speak to our friends – the real benefit from this update is that brand pages can utilise it too for an even greater impact.
What better way to engage with the hundreds of thousands of Facebook users that like your page, than asking them questions with the aim of gaining very useful customer feedback, or at worst, an increase in interaction on your page.
So what kind of questions could a brand look to ask its fans/likes?
It could be:
- What your customers/target market like or dislike about your products or services
- What they may like to see on your Facebook page
- Ask for feedback on your recent blog posts
Or more simply:
- Just have some fun with your audience! Be a bit funny or obscure with your questions with the aim of trying to get your user base to interact with you. Make them remember you, give them a reason to continue liking your page and build a long-term relationship with your potential customers that you can eventually turn into a revenue stream (which always needs to be the main end-goal).
If, like me, you like real examples of this going on, here’s a great one from Mashable (http://www.facebook.com/mashable) showing exactly how it should be done, and the potential Facebook questions can offer:
Remember, every time a Facebook user interacts with your question, either by simply clicking a poll option, or adding a comment, that interaction will show in their Newsfeeds to their friends, increasing the viral promotion potential.
I haven’t seen too many brand pages taking advantage of this new feature just yet, but it must surely only be a matter of time before everyone cottons on to the potential.