Some years back, sites like Yahoo Answers, Answers.com and a bunch of other Q&A sites were the go-to places when you needed information on different topics fast. However, as spammers got into the Q&As sites and social media sites became more popular, majority of the Q&A sites lost their glory.
With the exception of Yahoo Answers, many of the Q&A sites that were active over the last decade have gradually been reduced to informational archives.
However, there is one Q&A site that has been soaring in popularity, especially over the past year. The site I am talking about is Quora.
You may have heard of the Q&A site and may even have browsed to, but then did not see how it can fit in your marketing strategy. Perhaps it’s because majority of the questions at the site seem to be about startups and VC funding.
If this was your initial observation, I urge you to go back to the site and look again. New general topics are being added every day, from alternative treatment to recipes, small business to travel.
The best thing with Quora is that users can get answers from verified entrepreneurs, industry insiders, journalist, high-level executives and the good friendly neighbor, Joe. Wouldn’t you rather have someone experienced in your line of work answer your question rather than an anonymous user whose credentials you cannot verify?
If your answer is “Yes”, then you can see the power of Quora.
But the power of Quora does not only lie in getting insight from high-level executives and entrepreneurs from different industries. You can also use the site to build your small business. Quora is an almost-premium Q&A site, rich with insightful content.
Below are six ways you can use Quora to build your small business.
1. Find new ideas in your industry
One of the challenges of running a blog is that finding out a topic to talk about. In some industries, there is a whole range of topics to cover. However, in small niche industries, topics that may interest your audience can be scarce.
Quora can help you beat writer’s block and find new ideas to write about for your blog. The best way to go about this is to search for unanswered questions related to your industry, and if you have an opinion about it, write an answer.
Use the answer as an inspiration for your next blog post.
TIP: When searching for unanswered questions, look for those that have many followers. When users “follow” a question on Quora, this usually means they are interested in the topic.
2. Connect with industry leaders and prospects
The followers on a question may also be involved in your industry in one way or another. You can usually know the interests of a user by checking the topics he or she is following, has asked about or has answered. This information can be seen on the user’s profile.
You can follow such users to connect with them. Then, start answering questions that the users have subscribed to. You will usually get a notification on your Quora profile when a person you are following subscribes to or answers a question.
If a person “likes” or comments on your question on Quora, you can approach them via direct message. Be respectful when approaching anyone via direct message. You will be surprised how many people you can connect with offline.
Pro Tip: Connect with both industry leaders (influencers) and prospective customers. Industry leaders can give your brand a boost to their followers. On the other hand, you need to convert to to turn to leads and sales.
3. Build a presence for your business
Quora is not like Facebook where you follow friends to keep up with them. Rather, it’s a networking site that brings together different industry thought leaders, competitors, partners and anyone else that can make interesting contributions.
Use your real name, mention your business and fill out your profile completely. Then, follow the thought leaders and anyone else that is likely to add value to your business.
You are probably an expert in something. Contribute to relevant questions that are related to your business on Quora. This helps to build your authority and will improve your business’ brand awareness. Do not be corky. Rather, be helpful to other users.
Do not blatantly self-promote your business on Quora. If you are knowledgeable about your topics, users will find out from the kind of answers you are giving out. You can always link to a post on your blog if the information is related to the question you are answering, and the post will provide additional, helpful insight.
4. Monitor and engage
You should also find out what prospects are saying about your business on Quora. You can set up Google Alerts to get a message immediately your brand in mentioned. An easy way of doing this is to set up an alert in this format “Quora your business name”
Replace your business name with your brand.
Apart from monitoring, engage with other users that may be interested in your business. Start threads for areas where you are an expert and stay engaged. Connect with other users, leaders and partners in your industry and be part of the conversation. This is a good way to build your business reputation on the Q&A site.
You can also set up a Google Alert for your competitors’ mentions on Quora. Generally, be up to date on what your industry is talking about. This includes finding out what is being said by or about your partners, competitors and anyone in between.
Think of Quora as an active version of Wikipedia. The site is trusted by readers and anyone can talk about your brand. However, unlike Wikipedia, you have the opportunity to step in and shape the thoughts of the users with regards to your brand.
5. Do research on your industry
Quora is a good place to find topics and questions that your prospective customers have. Therefore, you can use the site to research your market and provide solutions that are needed.
When you add value to a question, be it by providing an authority answer or suggesting a refinement in the question, you can subtly draw attention to your products or services as well.
You will be more successful with marketing through Quora by proving to be an authority in a subject matter. Apart from this, you need to build relationships with people that are interested in the subject that you are an authority in by following them and contributing to questions over a long time.
The best way to market in Quora is not to be everywhere. Rather, focus on subject matter and building tight-knit connections with your prospects. Apart from this, be a source of authority information in your niche and contribute regularly on the site.
6. Build industry awareness
The questions on Quora are just as important as the answers provided. Strive to ask good questions in your industry. The good thing is that if you are an intriguing or interesting question, you can get valuable feedback from other users.
The questions you ask can build industry awareness and highlight a problem that your prospects may be facing without knowing. Asking the key questions that drive your industry may not only improve your business brand awareness, but also get you a stream of new customers.
When framing your questions, you don’t want to ask every day questions that prospects have asked time and again. Rather, come up with thought-provoking questions that will ignite engagement and make users think about their business and the help they need.