How To Use Facebook Questions As Free Research

Communicators, public relations professionals and marketers are taking the lead in putting Facebook's new polling feature to the test, using Questions as a fast and inexpensive market research tool.

When the new Facebook Questions launched in March, the assumption was that individuals would mostly use the new tool, for things like restaurant recommendations and favorite movies – two examples given on the social media giant’s site.

However, communicators, public relations professionals and marketers are taking the lead in putting Facebook’s new polling feature to the test, using Questions as a fast and inexpensive market research tool.

Page owners can access Questions by logging into their page and then heading to the Questions page to enable the feature.

Snapshot In Time

Because Facebook Questions is so easy to implement, it’s a boon for small businesses who can’t afford in-depth market research. Questions offers a quick and easy way to get fans responding by using multiple choice questions as opposed to fill-in-the-blank.

Many small businesses have used the Questions feature to simply take the temperature of their fans. Some examples:

  • A sports bar wants a sense of which game to feature on TV that night
  • Which ice cream flavor should be featured that week at the local ice cream parlor
  • A music station wants to know the hottest song of the week

Like any good marketing tool, Questions can help customers feel engaged, and there’s an added boost to the customer base when they see the impact of how they answered by seeing their favorite ice cream on display.

Or, if a brand doesn’t act on the fan recommendations, Questions has a comment feature where voters can weigh in.

Safe Environment

An added benefit for businesses is the ability to conduct research using Questions in the relative safety of the Facebook platform, among the fan base for their page. That’s an advantage for fans as well, since they can immediately gauge how other fans feel based on the vote tally (and see how different or alike their views are).

Flexibility

Questions also allows users to add more answers to the multiple-choice answers. This added flexibility really will allow businesses to learn from their consumers, if they know the right questions to ask.

Making Connections

Businesses can also use Questions to build a contact database as long as they follow the cardinal rule of social media: Don’t cross the line into spam.

Watch out for questions about “which products do you like best” and keep it more straightforward. Based on the number of responses, an organization can reach out to individual responders to follow-up with the appropriate contact or message.

Going Viral

Perhaps the best part of the Questions feature is how quickly a question can spread to a potential audience of 500 million social media users. If a user answers a question or leaves a comment on one, that question then goes on his or her wall for that person’s friends to see. Users don’t have to agree to any application permissions to answer a question.

The key, though, is to know what to ask and how keep it simple. Sometimes a “yes or no” response is just as effective (i.e. “Coke or Pepsi?”)

The beauty of Questions is the ability to create an ongoing, dynamic dialogue with consumers and fans. In the future, look for new widgets that would enable businesses to add this feature to their website or embed a comment wall that displays ongoing responses and comments to poll questions.