Quora is like the mature, authoritative big brother of Yahoo Answers. On this platform, users can ask questions, tag them by a number of self-defined categories, and answer.
Plus, there’s no longer the issue of getting dubious answers from rockerdude3628—users are required to verify their names and can add bylines identifying their expertise in the area (think “Digital marketer and consultant” or “Web developer with 8 years of experience”).
For marketers, Quora is a great way to find out what issues are puzzling your current and potential user base. Use this information to determine the direction of future content.
By answering questions related to your industry, you can demonstrate your expertise in the space and improve your company’s brand image.
Most importantly, you can influence people to start thinking about the problem in a new way—one that considers your product niche.
As long as you’ve clearly stated who you work for, you can also explain how your product can help solve someone’s problem. How’s that for direct marketing?
Whether you’re just getting started with Quora or are a seasoned pro, here are 8 tips on how to get the most out of this social platform to market your company.
1) Know who’s viewing you
Each answer provides stats for the number of times it’s been viewed, and by which users. If you click on “# views,” you can see how readers are being led to your answers. Are they finding your content through your profile, through tagged topics, or through random browsing?
By visiting your personal views page, you can also obtain an overall assessment of who’s seen your answers. A quick glance through these stats will tell you which avenues can give you the most coverage. After all, the whole point of marketing via Quora is to influence people and gain exposure for your company.
Above, we can see that Social Media Marketing seems to be a popular reference point for my answers. In the future, I can focus on answering more questions in the topic of Social Media Marketing, or I can tag relevant answers with that topic.
2) Editing and formatting are crucial
My biggest Quora pet peeve is reading answers that are poorly worded, vague, or completely irrelevant. When writing a response, be sure to edit in the same manner as you would for a blog post or report. Remember: you want to make a positive impression on the reader and gain their trust.
When it comes to formatting, make use of Quora’s text editing tools. Break down a long post into numbered or bulleted points for easy reading and scanning. Emphasize a certain segment by bolding or italicizing your text (underlines make the text more difficult to read).
Moreover, links, when pasted on Quora, are automatically updated to reflect the title of the landing page. Edit your links so that they read naturally within the sentence. For example:
Default: Real-time bidding is expected to grow 72% this year (Real-time bidding soars, expected to be $7bn market by 2016).
Edited: Real-time bidding is expected to grow 72% this year.
See the difference?
3) A picture is worth…
One thing that many top Quorans embrace is the use of images to help get the point across.
Obviously, well-chosen photos can support your point visually. Some users will go as far as to create unique images for each post (check out Oliver Emberton’s answers for some great examples).
Additionally, in a list view of answers, the first photo in a post will appear as a thumbnail beside the text preview. Readers are a naturally drawn to images, and this will entice them to click through and read what you have to say.
Take a look: within a long feed, which is more appealing to you?
4) The early bird catches … the upvotes?
Generally speaking, you should answer questions as quickly as possible after it’s been posted. The question will be fresh in the asker’s mind, and they’ll be more likely to upvote your answer or engage you further.
Getting there first also means that you won’t have to compete against other answers—you certainly don’t want to repeat someone else’s ideas.
Further, if answers within the same question have the same number of upvotes, the older answers tend to stay closer to the top, meaning fresh eyes and more readers!
5) Get even more social
Linking up your Quora account with your Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Tumblr, or WordPress accounts allows for easy social sharing of your answers.
Immediately after you’ve answered or posed a question, an automatic update will be pushed to your other platforms. This way, you can draw even more people to Quora—especially those who are already interested in what you have to say.
6) Don’t be a victim of answer collapse!
Your answer may be hidden or “collapsed” for a number of reasons:
- If your answer is highly downvoted
- If answer improvements suggested by the moderator haven’t been addressed in a timely manner
- If you haven’t submitted real-name verification for your account
While the first factor is highly subjective, the latter two are easily addressed. Check your notifications regularly for any urgent issues. Moreover, you can easily verify your account by connecting it with other social media platforms (a win-win!).
Visibility is key—don’t leave these issues unresolved!
7) Back up your answers
The best answers provide statistics, sources, and references—concrete, specific details that support your argument. Personal stories are great tools as well (and are sometimes the most successful answers), but require much more time to develop.
For each fact or figure, link to the reference source. If you’ve already published a blog post or whitepaper containing this info, link back to it to drive even more traffic!
8) Be genuine
Sometimes, I see the most inane questions on Quora. I’m talking Yahoo Answers-level questions along the lines of “Can you make me a business plan? Here is my website.” or “How do I marketing??”
As tempting as it is, resist the urge to give sarcastic, condescending answers. Don’t forget that you are representing your company through Quora, and all of your actions can reflect on your company’s level of customer care. What’s more, joke answers will be collapsed by moderators, so don’t waste your time.
On the other hand, well-crafted answers bolster your reputation and can even generate leads. If someone with a substantial number of followers votes up your answer, it’s promoted to all of their subscribers as well.
Try it out!
So what are you waiting for? Get curious and get answering!