guest post by Amanda DiSilvestro
Although the social networking site Quora has been active since 2009, many businesses are still not using it to their full advantage.
Companies often put a lot of time and focus into developing a Twitter, Facebook, or Google+ strategy, but Quora always seems to be put on the back burner despite its 160,000 monthly active users as of last year.
In other words, companies can really benefit from getting involved.
Unfortunately, many companies are so focused on other social networking opportunities that they aren't even sure what Quora is or how it works. This then leads many to wonder: Where do I even begin?
Interesting Facts about Quora
For those who are unfamiliar, Quora is a social networking site that allows users to ask questions, give answers, and create a profile that allows them to follow different people and questions. You can sign up for the site here for free and get started answering and asking questions. To give you a little bit of background information, Quora was co-created by the former CTO of Facebook, Adam D'Angelo, who left his job to create this website.
Mark Zuckerberg is also an active member on the site. If you click on the link, you will be able to see how many questions and answers each has given on the site. For example, Zuckerberg has asked 5 questions. His latest question: Which startups would be good acquisitions for Facebook?
As cool as it is to answer questions asked by Zuckerberg and other celebrities such as Demi Moore or JJ Abrams, the real benefit is finding the answers to your questions and helping make connections for your brand.
How to Use Quora to Help Grow Your Brand
Companies can take full advantage of every aspect of Quora to help increase visibility, make connections, and show off what your company can do. Below are a few of the ways that your company can get started:
1. Ask quality questions related to your industry to help find others in your similar field.
One of the best ways to form connections and find other professionals using the site is to ask a question. It will not look bad on your company if you really have a question about something, and in fact others might be thinking the same thing. Once you get responses to your questions, click on the profiles of the people who answered and try to form a connection. Consider following that person and hopefully they will follow you back.
In the ideal situation, your question will give you a great answer and a great connection. I once asked if anyone knew of a tool where I could keep all of my contacts organized, and the owner of a tool called Buzzstream got back to me.
Not only did I learn about a tool that could help, but I had an interaction with the owner who was able to extend my free trial and walk me through the process. In most cases, company owners such as the owner of Buzzstream will be thrilled to answer your question and form a connection. After all, this bodes just as well for them as it does for you. And now onto the next tip.
2. Answer a question to show people what your company knows.
This is a good way to form connections and show off all of your knowledge. If you see a question being asked by someone you're following, head over and give an answer. You can also type in questions related to your field and see what is being discussed so that you can help. It is also possible to follow certain topics, in which case you will be alerted each time something is asked about that topic. This is likely the biggest way companies can benefit.
If you're following topics related to your industry, you will never miss a beat. It's easy to answer a question if you know what you're talking about (which you should!), so take the time to answer every single question that you can. Chances are that people who are asking certain questions will be asking other related questions in the future.
If you can show that you know what you're talking about, that person will be much more likely to reach out to you directly in the future. I once had someone reach out to me because I was constantly offering advice about blogging, and she said that it was because she saw me so often on Quora. Next thing you know I have a new Twitter follower to help tweet my content.
3. Completely fill out your profile.
Your profile is your opportunity to give out information about your company. If someone sees an answer you gave or a question you asked, they could very well click on your picture and check out your profile. You are allowed to put links on your profile page, so put a link back to your company website. Below is a screenshot of my personal profile on Quora back when I first began:
As you can see, I made sure that all of my information was filled out. Here you can see the questions I've asked and the answers I've given. If someone were to come to my profile page, they would be able to follow topics that interest me and see other answers I have given. This also bodes well for users because they could find the answer to a question they didn't even know they had!
4. Pay attention to what others in your industry are saying when they use Quora.
Because Quora is a website for answers, there is a lot of great content on the website. This makes Quora different than other social networking sites, so take advantage. You can learn a lot from some of the things discussed on Quora, and in the end this really will help your brand succeed. There is a wealth of information on Quora, so make sure that you not only optimize your answers and site for users, but that you're out there using the site as a user yourself.
The only thing that is somewhat negative about Quora is the idea that it takes some work. Either you or your social media team will have to really manage Quora and make sure that it isn't just sitting there. Asking, answering, following, and finding questions is time consuming; however most agree it worth the extra time.
Have you used Quora to help build your company brand? What are your thoughts about the site? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!
Image courtesy of iStockphoto, Porcorex
About the author
Amanda DiSilvestro is a graduate of Illinois State University. Although she graduated with an English Education degree, she found herself working as a full-time blogger at Highervisibility, nationally recognized as one of the top seo firms in the country. Connect with HigherVisibility on Twitter to learn more!
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