One important rule of engagement for any company’s Facebook page is to ask questions rather than simply posting announcements. Facebook has just made this easier when at the end of March they implemented their new "Facebook questions” feature which can be used directly in the status update of a personal profile or company or brand page.
There are two main reasons why this new feature is a more beneficial way to ask questions than before, firstly is its ease of use. While there are Facebook applications which can run the same type of polls, in order to answer the question fans would have to also add the application which creates a barrier and results in less engagement.
The second and most important reason is the innate "viral-ability” of the feature. Questions appear not only on your page’s wall as full stories but each time one of your fans answers the question, it appears as a full story on all of their friends feeds. If their
friend answers then it also shows as a full story in their feed, and so on. Anyone who sees the poll can also post comments and "follow” the question to be alerted of future comments and outcomes. On all personal profiles there is now a tab that says "Questions” where friends can see all the questions a person has answered in the past.
If you decide to use the questions feature, there are a few things to consider before starting:
Don’t over-use: Just as we mentioned in a past Socialbakers article "How Often Should You Post on your Facebook Pages, too many posts will lead to lost fans and the shareability of the questions function means you should really spread out the questions so that you are offering other content as well. You want questions to remain fun and useful so limit your questions to just 1–3 a month, especially in the beginning, so you also have time to gauge their effectiveness and generate conversation.
Offer choices: Though it’s possible to post an open question and allow your fans to fill in the options, the most successful questions have choices set already even if it’s just a yes or no answer. This makes it more likely that a viewer will engage because all they have to do is click a button.
When appropriate, brand your question: Your company or page name does not appear automatically with the feed, so when appropriate use the name in the question. For example when JetBlue wanted to poll their fans they asked, "Which new JetBlue Getaways' destinations would you visit?” and they got more than 25,000 answers in less than a week.
Follow up: Be sure to follow up by posting the results of the poll and any response you have to its outcome. When users feel that their opinions are respected and integrated into the products/services you provide, they feel a sense of ownership of your brand which leads to higher loyalty.
A well worded, interesting and relevant question can quickly gain a lot of responses, followers and feedback from Facebook as whole, not just among your Facebook fans which results in bringing more "likes” and attention to your page. So what kind of questions should you ask? There are three main types:
Pure fan engagement Questions – ask fans about their views on current topics such as news, sports, or entertainment simply as a way of engaging them in conversation. Tap into the interests and lifestyle of your fans.
Market and Competitive Analysis Questions – ask fans about the products or brands that they like, how much they’d be willing to pay for something, and what needs they have that are unfulfilled. Sales prospecting could also be accomplished by using these types of questions. By asking something like "Are you planning on buy a new (product name),” you can generate conversations and engage with possible leads who are interested in buying that product.
Product/Service Feedback Questions – ask fans about their experiences and what kinds of products or services they’d like to see in the future. Like in the example of JetBlue’s question, you can create a fast focus group which allows you to assess if your product or service roadmap is aligned with what your fans desire, what part of your product or service fans value most, and what new areas you can expand into.
So if you haven’t already, go ahead and give it a try. Learn more about your fans, increase their engagement, and give them an opportunity to share the love.
Editor's Note: This article was originally published on socialbakers.com. Any statistics or statements included in this article were current at the time of original publication.