Quora has gotten a lot of buzz the last few weeks and is quickly picking up traction after an apparent dip in usage earlier this winter. Though far from one of the biggest social tools on the Web, markers should pay attention to it. If you’re not familiar with Quora, it’s a service where people submit and answer questions then can follow, modify, track and subscribe to the answers and comments on the answers. If you must compare it to another service, I’d place it as a cross between LinkedIn Questions and Wikipedia, with a really easy to use UI. Guestimates put users around 1/2 a million with some questions getting more than 25,000 views. Food, science and technology are the fastest growing topics and start-ups and entrepreneurship started out as the most active areas.
Blueprint for marketers:
- Familiarize. Become familiar with Quora. Sign up for an account and subscribe to topics of personal interest.
- Listen. Look for trends in your company’s field or industry. Are there a lot of questions about a certain topic? Identify what people are talking about and consider incorporating those themes or issues into your conversations elsewhere.
- Identify. Identify any communities, community leaders or groups that seem to be opinion leaders on a topic that influences your business. Try to match these same people to existing outreach efforts. Are you following them on Twitter? Do they receive your emails? Do you read their blog?
- Determine engagement.
- Do you or a subject matter expert from your organization have something valuable to add? If so, answer questions, engage in the discussion and monitor the reaction and response.
- Be transparent. Identify who you are, who you work for and why you are engaging. Note: Quora requires user names to be people’s real first and last names and has been known to freeze profiles registered as a brand.
- Don’t post questions until you’ve established yourself as a valuable member of the community and started to build a follower list.
- When and if you choose to post questions, avoid self-serving questions and be very transparent about your purpose for posting the question. Commenting on your own question is a good way to do this.
- Don’t create topics from scratch or try to turn Quora into your new social network. Instead, focus on the places your audience already communicates. If it’s not Quora, then focus on the other communities.
- Find ways to engage Quora influencers outside of Quora. Today, marketers are expected to engage on FB, Twitter and blogs. Quora may be just as accepting, but for direct conversations and on-going relationships, encourage other platforms.