Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Asking Questions? Now, Find Answers On Facebook

Posted by Amanda Walsh

Finding answers to questions through social media has become an easier task thanks to various Q&A options like those found on LinkedIn Answers, Yahoo!Answers, or Quora.

When LinkedIn rolled out its Answers section, professionals were able to crowd source from other experienced, like-minded professionals in their network. Then Quora made a debut. Quora is like the Wikipedia of questions and answers. Self-described as “a continually improving collection of questions and answers created, edited, and organized by everyone who uses it.”

Now, Facebook has jumped on the question train. “Facebook Questions” allows users to get recommendations from friends, see others opinions with polls, or point others in the right direction for answers.

This new Facebook option, along with the "Reviews" tab for products/services, will be valuable tools for marketers and business professionals to be able to communicate directly with clients/customers.

Facebook “Reviews” seems to be used mainly for products and/or services at this point. Big brands like Starbucks use the "Reviews" feature to enable customers to provide feedback on the service and quality of the product. Perhaps this could be used as a business testimonial page after a successful project launch or great media placement, instead of a "traditional" review of an experience or level of satisfaction with a product.

Another idea of how to use both the "Reviews" and "Questions" functions on Facebook would be to reach out to disgruntled customers who left negative feedback. By targeting those them with a question and/or poll on how the business could improve their experience or make the product better. Even if a follow up "Questions" poll is not asked, a community manager should reach out to all unhappy clients quickly.

According to this article found on Mashable.com, Facebook "Questions" differs from Quora and Yahoo!Answers in two major ways. First, users are limited to multiple-choice responses and second, the questions and answers are not catalogued by search engines yet. However, there is a setting that enables users to add more answers to the multiple-choices options. One notable aspect of Facebook "Questions", that will most likely boost usage, is that the feature is integrated within Facebook, which allows users to bypass third party applications in order to provide feedback to businesses/ brands.

To read more about how to utilize Facebook "Questions" or Reviews for your client base, check out the Mashable.com article here. I also found this article on Social Media Today discussing challenges that may arise for community managers that will use "Questions" on behalf of a business or brand. What do you think?

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