Eight tips and takeaways for using Questions on your Facebook Page.
|By Kammie Avant on Apr. 5, 2011||Tweet|
Facebook has rolled out yet another new feature in its gradual redesign of brand pages. "Questions" is a light poling tool that Page administrators can use to ask multiple-choice questions of their fans.
Individual users can post polls on their own walls, too, and so last week we all saw countless user-generated questions like "Mac or PC?", "Coke or Pepsi?" and the never-ending debate for Alabamians: "Roll Tide or War Eagle?" All good fun, but a simple Q&A feature is just a nice addition for the general public. For business pages, however, Questions is a game changer.
Polling has always been popular on Facebook — but never easy. There are several third-party applications that include polling. Some are free but minimally functional, like the Poll application. Pricier Facebook content management systems like Vitrue and Context Optional also include polling, though some require that fans click a "Play" button to activate the poll.
The new Questions feature seeks to addresses those issues and finally make polling a simple and standard part of the brand experience on Facebook. But has Facebook succeeded?
After the jump, check out our eight tips and takeaways for getting the most out of Questions:
Third-party applications often require users to "allow" access to their information, which can be a major deterent. Using any Facebook-created tool like Questions will always make users feel safer and more likely to interact.
2. Users can participate without leaving their newsfeed.
Questions can be answered from a user's newsfeed or Page, which is standard Facebook fare. However, if a user clicks through to learn more about the question or leave a comment, a window is popped up similar to the photo theater, allowing participation without jumping to a page. Some brands might want everything to link back to a Page, but the truth is that users don't like to have their surfing interrupted, so this is an excellent addition. However, we're not a big fan of a related attribute....
3. Users can vote without "Liking" a Page.
While you've never needed to Like a page to share updates from it, it's an interesting twist for people to be able to interact with page content without clicking Like. This would seem like a benefit in promoting pages, but because the page name isn't featured in the update when a user answers a question (see example below), the page loses all association with the question. The only way to find the Page behind the poll is to click through to the question window, which seems like a hoop many will not jump through.
4. Tip: Keep your answer choices to three or less.
After three possible answers, the rest of the options are hidden below the dreaded "see more" button, which pops open the question window. We're not fans of getting "See-More'd" here at The Social Path and avoid it in all page updates. Users will more often select from one of the visible options and those are static. You may not get an honest gauge of answers if you list more options than are initially visible.
5. Opt out of letting users add answers, unless you're intentionally harnessing chaos.
Allowing users to add their own answers seems nice but could result in an unreasonable number of answers, repetitive options and possibly unsavory ones. Take the time to make sure the answers you select are exhaustive and lock them in by unchecking the "allow anyone to add options" box before posting. If a user has an addition to share, they can leave a comment and you, as an administrator, can edit it into the poll. That said, Old Spice seemed to have fun with the crowdsourced question approach:
In an interesting new addition, you can "follow" questions, which alerts your friends, updates you when a friend answers, and allegedly adds the question to a special tab called "followed questions" (which I have yet to find). Similar to when an update is posted about a friend answering a question, "following" detaches the question originator's name. For businesses, this means that what should be a big boost to page traffic and Likes will more likely result in little to no impact without any promotion. It's a huge missed opportunity and hopefully one that will be rectified as Facebook figures out the kinks.
7. Sharing a previously existing question only shares a link, without embedding the poll.
Unlike sharing a photo or video from a business Page, when a question is shared only a hyperlink is posted that redirects to the question's page. Why the poll doesn't appear as it would when it's "followed" or at least pop up in a window is a mystery to me. The good news is, when a question is shared as a link, at least the creating Page gets a mention.
8. The "share" feature is hidden in the pop-up window.
When viewing a question, the only option from the wall or newsfeed post is to "ask friends," which pops up all your Facebook contacts like it would if you were inviting people to an event. This has never been my favorite Facebook feature, and it seems odd that they would stray from the Like, comment, share options featured on all other media rich updates.
All said, none of these quibbles should deter you from trying out Questions on your Page. Our simple three-answer poll shown at the top of this post elicited more participation than we've ever received on a single update with comments and Likes combined. So while there's definitely room for improvement, it's clear that Questions is a great new way to engage fans quickly and easily — while also potentially gathering some valuable insight for your business.
How do you feel about Facebook Questions, as a user or page administrator? If you've used it, we would love to hear about your experience and opinions on the application.