In case you hadn’t heard, there’s a new kid on the social software (I’m loathed to call it ‘media’) block. Quora is, in essence, a social network based upon questions and answers. It’s amassing a huge following and the Twitterati in particular simply cannot pass off another opportunity to show the world how clever they are by taking part.
I resisted the lure until yesterday when I finally signed up, and I have to say that it is strangely addictive. By the time you’ve answered a question, followed a topic or two and automatically followed everyone that you’re already following on Twitter, you may as well write off the rest of your day and spend some time understanding how it works.
If you don’t have a day to spare, then here’s a quick guide to what I think Quora means to marketers:
- Thought leadership – what better way to demonstrate your firm’s expertise than by answering questions on the topics you want to be associated with? Search for and follow the topics that match your thought leadership strategy and start answering some questions.
- Market research – if you care what the digerati think, then Quora could be a great way to find out. I haven’t done a scientific experiment (yet), but I’m pretty confident that you’ll get more, better quality answers than if you asked your Twitter followers. Ask a question and see what answers you get.
- Influencer marketing – Quora could be the answer to the elusive influence question. Each topic has ‘Top Answerers’ and the algorithm for calculating these doesn’t seem to be based just on the number of answers. Track the top answerers for topics relevant to your brand and follow them.
- Reputation management – As with other platforms, chances are that people may be asking or answering questions about your brand or products. Chances also are that they may be spreading misinformation by answering incorrectly. Quora allows you to suggest edits to others’ answers as well as answer yourself. Search for questions and answers mentioning your brand and contribute where you can. If your brand is well known enough to have its own topic, then follow it then update your preferences to get notified by email when a new question or answer is created.
If you are going to engage with Quora, then remember the basic rules of community management:
- Be honest about who you are Quora allows you to add short bios to demonstrate your interest in a topic/question – keep them short and to the point
- It’s about marketing, not sales By asking and answering questions intelligently you will gain credibility that might turn into sales. Trying to flog your products or services in response to a relevant question will get voted down.
- Respect others’ opinions Contribute and extend the range of response rather than pick fights with others who have answered in good faith.
If you have other advice for marketers interested in how to use Quora, then follow and respond to my questions on Quora itself: