How to Get Started on Quora

Jan 18 2011

A friend of mine who owns a small business recently asked, “I was so proud when I figured out how to interact with people on Twitter and Facebook. Now am I supposed to be doing something on Quora?”

We discussed her goals and how she felt about spending some time at “the place people go when they want to find answers.” Of course, that brings up the fear of how easily time can disappear when you fly into the vortex of social networking sites. This tweeter eloquently described my concerns from my first visit to Quora:

But Quora is like any other social media channel. It can be used for good (to build your thought leadership) or for evil (as an educational, enjoyable waste of time).

How can brands (productively) get started on Quora?

1.  Listen first!

What is already being discussed?

  • Has your brand or organization been mentioned on Quora?
  • What kinds of questions are being asked in your field of expertise?
  • What are your competitors doing on Quora? Who are they following (you never know – this might tell you what they’re up to!)?  What are other people saying about them?

Because Quora doesn’t have a full text search, you may find it easiest to use this Google Custom Search engine to learn about what’s happening in Quora.

Also consider using your Quora research as an SEO opportunity. Use the topics and keywords that are being used in Quora questions and answers in your own tweets and blog posts.

2.  Build a network

Because your Twitter and Facebook accounts can easily be connected to your Quora account (click on Settings/Connect Accounts), it’s not difficult to build a Quora network.

By following people who post regularly in your field of expertise and posting answers to their questions, you can also build an expertise network.

If you see a question that you think could be answered by someone you know, send him/her a quick email with a link to the question. It shows you’re thinking about them, and that you consider them to be an expert in that field.

3.  Establish your subject matter expertise

  • If you follow several topics, you can set up a separate Quora bio (describing your experience in that field) for each one.
  • Write thoughtful answers to relevant Quora questions. This can be harder than it sounds, especially if you’ve become accustomed to tweet-length responses!
  • Think about your potential customers. What would they want to know? How would you respond to their questions?
  • Share your answer via your social networks. If you want your answer to rise to the top, it needs to be “voted up.” Your friends on Facebook and Twitter may be more likely to vote you up than strangers.
  • Use your SEO keywords in your answers. Quora questions are ranking fairly high in Google, and you want your answer to rank at the top for your keywords.
  • Don’t mention your product or service – this is about thought leadership.

There’s much more to consider on Quora, but taking these first steps is often the most difficult part.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to get back to my perusal of answers to the very important Quora question, “How many Social Media Gurus does it take to screw in a lightbulb?”

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