That is the Question: Facebook launches ‘Questions’

As some of you may have already spotted Facebook is rolling out another change.  Just when we thought we might have be owed a little breathing space after 10th March (which saw the final roll-out of the new pages and the ending of FBML image hosting), a fortnight later we’re given a new batch of changes to get our heads around.

Thankfully Facebook Questions is a lot easier to explain.

Opinion seems to be a key buzz word in the social web of 2011.  Brands have latched on to how opinion can spread like wildfire through the online social sphere, and tapping into personal opinion is where Quora got social media predictors very excited indeed.  If social media isn’t about broadcasting and getting your message heard, but rather about listening and responding to your followers and brand advocates then surely the best way to engage your most vocal of your fans is to ask them for their opinion.

The opinion space has in recent years been the domain of sites such as Yahoo Answers with Quora muscling in at the beginning of 2011.  Even geo-location sites like Foursquare rely on users wanting to share their opinions by leaving tips… and now Facebook is wandering into the fray.

Unlike Quora, Yahoo Answers and even Foursquare, the opinions that Facebook is looking for are simple multiple choice.  Whilst we could debate the validity of quantitive verses qualitative research methods, by having a simple poll system built into the worlds most popular social network opens the door to many possibilities for business owners.

Previously people who wanted to run polls on Facebook would have required the installation of a 3rd party ap, which in turn would throw up a string of permission windows requiring access to your personal information.  What Facebook Questions offers is a streamlined elegant, permission-free way of brands getting the answers to the questions they most want to know.

  • A company could ask its fans and followers which charity they’d like the business to support.
  • A drinks company could find out which of it’s new flavours fans would most like to see on shelves
  • A gym could determine the best time for the new Zumba class

Essentially any question that a business would want to ask Facebook now offers the chance to ask 500 million of it’s users as whenever an individual responds to a question, that poll and their answer appears on their friends news streams, spreading the brand message further.

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