It seems pretty obvious nowadays that companies need to engage with their customers on social networking sites like Twitter. But how can they find the comments that are really worth a response? A startup called InboxQ has one answer: Look for the questions.
Co-founder and president Joe Fahrner said that while there are many services that help brands monitor Twitter, they’re focused on searching for keywords or performing sentiment analysis. There’s not really much a brand can do to respond to many of those comments, except maybe say “thanks” when someone posts something nice, or “sorry” when someone complains.
It’s probably most useful to actually answer the questions that people are asking about your company or your product. So InboxQ looks at all the tweets around a specific keyword or set of keywords and pulls out the messages that include a question. Fahrner said that in many cases, “These questions wouldn’t get answered otherwise.”
For example, people are tweeting links to VentureBeat articles all the time — but again, there’s not anything actionable unless I wanted to tweet a thank you to each and every one of them. However, by creating a VentureBeat campaign in InboxQ, I saw that someone posted a question a few days ago: “What is your favorite tech news website? Im split between TechCrunch and VentureBeat.” If I’d caught that earlier, I would have responded with an explanation that VentureBeat is obviously superior.
When InboxQ launched, it was only as a plugin for Google’s Chrome browser. Today it’s launching for Firefox too. If you want to use it, just go to the InboxQ website and it will automatically install the correct plugin based on the browser that you’re using.
The plugin strategy seems like it’s creating unnecessary obstacles for the company — why not just launch a website that anyone can use, regardless of browser? Fahrner said he’s hoping the plugin is more appealing to the social media power users, because it won’t become yet another website that they have to remember and login to.
However, InboxQ plans to expand to other browsers, and it might launch a standalone website in the future, as well as integrate with other social media management tools. Fahrner said he wants to add questions from other social networking services too.