Facebook Questions: New Opportunities

Facebook launched their Questions service last week to a select few. I am still not part of it.

Facebook Questions

Since we like to develop products carefully over time with your help, Facebook Questions is available to a limited number of people right now, and we’ll be developing it rapidly based on their feedback. We’re aiming to bring this product to all of you as quickly as we can.

- Blake Ross, Director of Product

Even without using it yet I have some thoughts on the same. Mostly from reading the aforementioned blog post and other commentaries from around the web.

At first glance Facebook questions provide another consumer-marketer touch-point on the web. If you, as a consumer, post a query then any marketer can step forward to answer it. This is a nice way for a marketer to spread thought leadership and pull consumers towards their brands. Facebook pages are right now the only interaction medium on the network. It is a great way to build community participation but it does not let a marketer attract new members to that community.

Facebook questions could provide exactly that opportunity.

However, the marketers must approach this cautiously. This is not the place to push their messages. They should avoid selling their products and services via their answers. It is better to redirect the consumer to the brand page or website. Otherwise there is the risk of the answer being considered spam and being voted down as irrelevant.

Besides marketers, small businesses and start-ups might also greatly benefit from Facebook questions. They could validate ideas, get recommendations or crowd-source problem solving.

There have been and are similar existing services from Quora to Yahoo! Answers and WikiAnswers. But the reason that Facebook Questions might work better is a number. And its not 42. It is 500 million.

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