How to Leverage Facebook Questions in Your Social Media Marketing Strategy

Written by Robin WildingApril 26, 2011

Finally Facebook has become a platform for asking those important life-changing existential questions—why are we here? What is the infinite nature of the universe? Is Justin Bieber's new haircut too short?

Despite the somewhat dull nature of most of the questions on Facebook Questions, they still have great intrinsic value for businesses.

When you pose questions in Questions, they are displayed as:

  • Stories in the news feeds of your fans
  • On your Page as a wall post
  • In the news feeds of anyone who answers the questions from their friends, to be displayed to all their friends.
  • On the wall of anyone who particiaptes in the questions.

The questions in Questions break down into three main types: fan engagement questions, market research and competitive analysis questions, and product/service feedback questions.

Facebook Question provides you a great platform to reach your page's friends and fans. Questions can be used to:

  • Allow Space for Contribution to the Creative Process - There are very few times that fans and brand followers can contribute to the creative commons of a brand but Questions allows for this. Giving your fans a platform to contribute their opinions, opinions that can make a difference in your brand, gives them validation and will increase their participation moving forward through loyalty and increased engagement.
  • Use it for Market Research - Facebook has always been a good market research tool, but now with Questions, it is a GREAT tool. With Questions you have the ability to poll your fans and users and to drill down to the answers you want. You can customize the questions, use multiple choice answers, and give them room to make additional comments.
  • Create Viral Questions - An important factor of Facebook Questions is that people's answers are publicly displayed to their friends, which increases the possibility that it can go viral. Your questions posted will also appear on the wall of people who have “Liked” your page. 

Why Facebook Questions?

If Facebook Questions is similar to that of LinkedIn's Answers, or Quora, then why Facebook Questions?

Even though many originally thought that Facebook questions was originally invented in the summer of 2010 to stick it to Quora, this re-release has made the two services quite different. Quora is headed up by two former Facebook alumns, former CTO Adam D'Angelo, and former engineer Charlie Cheeve and they have made it a more open-ended question platform than that of Questions. Questions' original release last summer made the service look more like Quora—but with the strength of Facebook's 600 million users. The original Questions faded into the mist, but re-emerged March 2011 as something different.

Questions is now a more limited platform than Quora and LinkedIn's Answers, as it features questions with multiple answers, and is designed to be used more for entertainment than for actual fact gathering. This new version of Questions is not a source for public inquiries like Answers and Quora, but an interactive platform for Facebook users to engage with friends and pages.

This makes Questions an interesting resource, and a great point for market research since the questions are designed to be fun and entertaining. Most of the users engaging in Questions will be doing so for fun—providing social media marketers with a unique opportunity. 

“Like many of our products, Questions originated as people began using Facebook in a new and unexpected way,” a Facebook spokesperson said. “People would update their status with a question, and their friends would answer in the comments. We saw this and began thinking about how we could make this interaction more useful. Over the summer, we began testing Questions with a small group of people, and today we are beginning to roll it out to everyone.”

Conclusion

The original platform released in July 2010 for Facebook Questions never saw much success, with no more than 0.05% of its users (or about 250,000 people) using the system—but Questions is back and better than ever. Questions' Project Manager Adrian Graham expresses the tool eloquently when he says, "there are a lot of places you can go on the internet to ask questions of people who you don't know, but there are very few places you can go to get responses from your friends...we thought that this is where we should focus."

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