Social media sites are a great place to find out more information about your fans.New sites like formspring.me and existing communities like Tumblr have rolled out functionality that allows users to ask each other questions privately. The answers can then be easily shared with everyone.
While the current theme for these communities mainly focuses on individual users asking personal questions about their friends and followers, the potential of this feature takes the concept of direct chat in a social platform to an entirely new level.
Facebook just picked up on it with Facebook Questions, a new product in development that is being tested on select profiles and brand pages. The feature will provide direct user feedback in a private manner, which offers up an entirely new way to communicate with a brand.
It will be interesting to see how this affects customer service issues that have already been dealt with in the public eye on social sites like Twitter. It will also be interesting to see if this new feature takes us back to private customer service or if we'll create an entirely new way of handling these situations.
Kristin Maverick is a director of consumer at Attention.