The Resident Connection, Written Posts

Do we really need Facebook Questions to hit our news feeds?

9 Comments 29 March 2011

Last week Facebook made an interesting update to its Questions application.  This particular update now has people’s questions show up in friend’s news feeds.  In addition, Facebook is rolling out the ability for Pages to use the Questions app as well.  These questions/polls would also show up in a fan’s news feed.  Kind of a big deal, right?  I was able to try it out with my Mark Juleen page, but my J.C. Hart property pages and other pages have yet to get the feature at the time of this blog post.

With this update the real question, to me, is whether or not this really is an upgrade to what Facebook offers or if it should have been left alone?  In some discussions over the weekend many of my peers see this potentially becoming annoying.  I would tend to agree.  The opportunity to abuse the format is clear.  And, unlike many other applications that people use, users do not have the ability to just hide all questions from their news feed.  People can hide a specific question, hide a user/page all together, or mark a question as spam.

While I can see Facebook Questions getting annoying, what concerns me most is how that could affect a business page.  All that effort to build fans and create engagement, and if a user gets annoyed by the questions format in general you might run the risk of being hid, unliked, or marked as spam if you try using it.  Much like the concerns I shared in my QR Codes post this week, I think Facebook Questions’ benefits can be tarnished by poor marketers.  As a result, even your best marketing intentions could be perceived negatively, by no fault of your own.

I’m not trying to be Debbie-downer here.  However, what I am saying is that if you plan to use questions as part of your business page efforts I recommend you do so in moderation and with a plan.  Be sure you test and measure the effort, and monitor your Facebook Insights after each use of the format.

To answer the question in my title, yes, I think we do need Facebook Questions in our news feeds.  Why?  Mainly due to the things I’ve outlined.  This is actually a brilliant move by Facebook in my opinion.  One of the criticisms they have gotten with the improved business pages is that they are changing for the worse.  Some people feel they are moving too far away from a core purpose of connecting people and beginning to let businesses take over.  If that’s the case, what I think Questions does, brilliantly, is force businesses to have a better Facebook strategy, monitor their activity, and be cautious about becoming “spammy”.  Now, even more, being haphazard with your approach could come back to bite you.

What do you think?  Will you use the format for your business page(s)?

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