Facebook launched “Questions”, a new application intended to allow users to ask questions to the Facebook community today. Currently, Questions is available in beta to a small amount of users in the U.S. and the U.K, but is planning to make the feature available to everybody in the near future.
Since Facebook users currently ask many questions to receive suggestions and advice from their friends, the social network wanted to share the knowledge publicly to benefit the larger audience.
Users can pose their questions to the Facebook community by submitting them to the Questions Dashboard — the link is located in the homepage’s left-hand column. While asking, users can direct questions towards their existing friends if they’d like. They can also tag key words that will help Facebook expose it to those who might be interested in the subject and may give more accurate answers.
Users’ questions will show up in their friends’ news feeds and also in the public Questions Dashboard to open up the information for non-friends to see the question and help answer it.
For brands, the Questions feature brings some new implications.
Facebook will automatically be adding a “Questions” tab to house the questions that users ask that involve your brand. Brands can adjust the positioning of the Questions tab by moving it among the current tabs to appear above or below the double-arrowed fold. When a user asks a question about a brand, they can tag, or hyperlink a keyword that matches an existing page. So if a user asks “How can I get in touch with Vitrue?”, the user can link the word ‘Vitrue’ to our Page, and it will appear on our Questions tab for us to answer.
Brands, similar to users, cannot have questions removed from Facebook just because they would not like to answer them or do not want them on their Questions tab, but they can report a question that contains offensive or objectionable material.
Will this new feature cause an influx of questions? Maybe, but it’ll most likely cause a shift from the questions appearing on the brands’ wall tab to the brands’ Questions tab instead as users become more accustomed to the feature. This could change things for brands who currently answer fans’ questions on their Page’s wall and page moderators. Instead of having one place to respond to fans’ questions and moderate conversation, now there will be two. Does this mean more brand moderation will be necessary?
A brand can both ask and answer questions. When answering a question, Page administrators must decide whether they’d like to answer using their own personal profiles or as the Page. Answering as an individual person can humanize a brand and help add to its brand personality. However, affiliating someone’s personal profile with the brand could potentially reflect negatively on the brand if the personal profile has lax privacy settings which can expose users to undesirable material on their profile. Which method of answering should a brand choose?
Vitrue is interested in how brands will be affected as Facebook Questions is being rolled out to the public. Rest assured, we’ll continue to analyze the environment in order to help our clients with the introduction and adoption of Facebook Questions.