A few weeks back I wrote about building authority through questions & answers. That post looked at some of the most popular Q&A sites available for SMB owners. In that post I also hinted that Facebook was about to release its own Facebook Questions service and encouraged SMBs to keep an eye out. Well, as you may have heard, it’s here. You may be asking yourself why, with all these other established options, you should even care about Facebook Questions? Who needs another one? Well, there are some good reasons to give this new service a try.
Here’s a quick look as to how Facebook Questions is different.
Questions become conversations
Facebook Questions has something that the other Q&A sites don’t – your mom. I know it sounds like the punch line to a bad joke, but think about it. Your mother, your second cousin and your high school flame are all on Facebook. They use the site on a regular basis to re-connect with family and stay updated on baby photos. The fact that Facebook is built on relationships with people you know in real life changes the way people use it. It alters the types of responses we’re seeing being left on questions. If you take a look at the early responses being left on Questions, you’ll notice two things:
- The answers are much longer than on traditional Q&A sites.
- They’re more conversational.
Questions are becoming prompts for longer conversations. As a small business owner, you’ll get a much more expanded view of how people feel about a certain topic.
Questions can be targeted at certain people
One way Facebook Questions sets itself apart from the other Q&A services is that it allows users to direct questions at certain friends. Once you’ve created your question, you’ll see an option to Ask a Friend. By clicking on this link, you’ll be prompted to type in your friends name so that Facebook can notify them that there’s a question waiting for their response. This really plays well into the social aspect of Facebook and will be helpful in encouraging people to not only answer the question, but to again start that conversation. When someone directs a question specifically at you, you’re more inclined to give an insightful and thought out answer.
As a small business owner, this is a good opportunity for you to create questions and then direct them at your customers. While it’s neat that Facebook has the power to give your question world-wide exposure, often the best insight comes from the people in your own network. Now can you make sure they’re seeing your question.
Local tags help you zone in
Along the same lines, Facebook also allows you to tag your questions to make them easy for others to find. When you submit a question, Facebook will automatically create tags that it thinks are relevant. While this is useful, to make it even more useful, users can add/edit these tags once their question is published. As a small business owner, you want to be smart about how you use these tags. You may want to tag your business name (if applicable), the city you’re located in, cities you service, or any area nicknames to help you get responses from people within your community.
Facebook Questions is the new Farmville?
While there have been plenty of Q&A sites that have risen up just to fall, I think Facebook has a chance to make it. It may not challenge Google like some had hoped, but Facebook has something the other sites didn’t – an already established 500 million active users. They have a large user base that enjoys spending idle time tending to make believe farms and stalking pictures of their now-married ex-girlfriend. Giving them something like Facebook Questions will provide them another outlet to interact with their connections and raise their own social status.
If you’re a small business owner currently using Facebook as part of your marketing efforts, then Facebook Questions seems like a natural fit into what you’re already doing. Use it to ask a question, answer a question and to monitor the conversation happening around topics related to your business or town. Facebook Questions has the potential to grow up to be a Q&A powerhouse filled with useful information.