Cool Apps: Cast a Wider Net with Facebook Questions

Got a Facebook Page for your real estate business but struggling with how to engage your community? It seems the folks at Facebook had a sneaking suspicion about your troubles and also realized you're not alone. Facebook Questions is now on the scene with some expanded features. The latest news to come out of Facebook last week enables Page administrators to poll or survey their communities – but in addition to asking Facebook friends questions, your friends' friends can also respond.

Your social circle = instantly wider.

This presents an interesting method for getting inside the minds of consumers. Chances are high that the folks in your network are not always looking to buy or sell a house – after all, that only happens once every seven years or so for most people. But the odds of people in your friends' networks being in the market to buy or sell are much higher.

This is a free app on Facebook that you already have access to if you're using Facebook Pages for your business. I say go for it – give it a try and see how it works. My best advice, though, is to keep it interesting and topical.

The updated Questions feature enables users to agree to an answer with a single click or to add a different response. You'll get a view of the most popular responses, which gives you "polling" insight.

In addition to gaining customer insights, Facebook Questions offers a way to crowdsource business decisions like a new design on your blog, new logo or any other new thing you've been testing out with your marketing.

Another interesting way this feature could be used is to incite discussion and get a sense of which real estate topics get people's attention. Think: blog strategy. You pose a question that gets passed through friends' friends and the responses start to ignite passion and disagreement. Sounds like great fodder for a blog post, right? Watch, listen, learn. Then pull it together into a post and send it back out to Facebook friends thanking them for opinions and thoughts and inviting them to comment on your post.

It seems like Facebook is realizing how many small businesses are using the platform to create community around their products and services. The enhanced Facebook Questions is the latest to cater to our needs. Go give it a try!