in Marketing, Social Media, Social Trends, Tech

How to Use Quora as a Marketing Tool

Photo cred: Mixy Lorenz

I’m a QO expert.  Not sure what that means?  What a noob.  It stands for Quora Optimization. Get with the times slacker.

Seriously though, I’ve been using Quora for just about a year now.  It has only been getting more and more valuable since I signed up with more content constantly flowing in. This tool is applicable for enterprise, agencies and small businesses.

I’ve thought about writing this post for a while. Seeing as how it seems everyone and their mother has signed up for Quora in the past few days, I guess this is a good time.

Here’s how you can use Quora for marketing:

1. Establishing Yourself as an Expert

The obvious method is the same one that we’ve been doing with Linkedin Answers, and the same one that you can do on the new Facebook questions.  Establish yourself as an expert in the field, and drive leads, by answering questions efficiently.

Step 1: Sign up and set up your “bio” for each topic.

This is one thing that is pretty awesome about quora.  You can set different bios for each topic that you follow.

So when I answer a question in the blogging category I can include a link to Scribnia in the bio.  For blogger outreach I’ll include BlogDash. For questions related to young professionals, I’ll include u30pro.

Step 2: Search for questions in your market.

I searched for Blogger Outreach, and found a few good questions.  Quora is a bit more “tech” focused so far, but seems to be expanding into other categories pretty quickly.

If a question doesn’t exist, you can always ask it anonymously.

Step 3: Answer the question.

Here’s the hard part.  Mostly because you have to actually know what you’re talking about.

Answer thoroughly.  A half-assed answer will never bubble to the top.

I answered a Quora question about blogger outreach.

Step 4: Share your answer.

You’re given the option to share your answer on social networks.  This is important, because you need people to vote up your answer in order for it to rise to the top.

Or you could count on your awesome answer to rise to the top organically…but who cares for that nonsense? <–sarcasm

2. Lead Generation

On Quora, you can also see how many people have viewed the question.  More importantly, it shows you who, specifically, is following the question.  I don’t know about you, but that smells like potential leads to me.

Reach out to them personally and see if they have any questions you can help with.  If they’re following a question, it’s because they’re interested in the answer.

3. Market Research

Another use worth pointing out is the market research value.  Try to find information on your competitors on the web, and you’ll probably end up doing a lot of guessing.

Ask a question (you can ask anonymously) on Quora, and you’ll be surprised what kind of ex-employees and other knowledgeable folks come out of the woodwork.

4. Search Engine Optimization – Link Building

I’m hesitant to add this one because I can see this being where “marketers” who suck at their job start spamming the site and ruining it for everyone. Marketing doesn’t ruin things…bad marketing does.

In the spirit of being thorough however, SEO is something that’s important and so it should be included.  Whenever someone links to your site or blog from a quora answer or comment, it does send a trackback.  It’s a little unusual for sites like this, who would usually use no-follow links to reduce spam.

My best advice… use Quora honestly and let the links build organically.

5. Content Marketing Inspiration

Not sure what to write about on your corporate blog?  Struggling to squeeze out a few more pages in that e-book?  Turn to Quora to find content to write about.

It’s really perfect.  You want to write content that answers the questions of your potential customers.  Now you have a database of questions from people in your target market that you can answer in your own content.

To continue with the value of Search Engine Optimization…you’ll see a few trackbacks to this post from people who linked to it on Quora.  That’s because someone on Quora asked about using the tool for marketing, and people who answered it linked to this post a couple times. Furthermore, you can use foam core’s printed advertisements as a marketing tool instead. It can be placed in windows, walls, or any public places.

I didn’t plan that.  It did teach me something though.  Writing blog posts that answer specific questions on Quora may result in links back to your post if it’s good enough.

Have you used Quora?  Has it been useful for you?

You can find me on quora here.

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  • shanemacsays

    Great post Spinks!

  • R_Arblaster

    I’ve signed up today, still finding my feet with it.

    • DavidSpinks

      @R_Arblaster Yea it takes a little warming up. The good news is, it’s not like a social network that you have to constantly update. It’s more of a search engine, that you only need to use when you need specific answers to a question.

  • katyzack

    David, Good post. I’m a relative noob, but like any other social media platform, I’d recommend that people sit back and listen before jumping in with new questions and answers. There’s a lot of noise on Quora and even more so in the last couple of days alone. Help the community by voting up answers and commenting on them. Categorize questions. Be part of the community before trying to be an expert automatically. The best way to improve Quora and get the most out of your experience is to help create better content, not just content that promotes your particular brand (personal or otherwise).

    • DavidSpinks

      @katyzack Well said Katy.

      Someone actually commented on twitter about this post. They said “I was wondering when marketing would ruin this.”

      It’s not marketing that ruins things; It’s bad marketing. It’s the people who are looking to use something good before contributing to it.

      If you truly feel like you’re able to contribute with a valuable answer on quora, then do so, and recognize the value that it can bring to your business as well.

      That said, quora is the type of system that’s built to dump noise into, and have the quality stuff bubble up. You can find an answer to the most specific questions you need. That’s the beauty of it. So you shouldn’t be afraid to jump in and start asking questions.

  • tmonhollon

    Great post, David! I am new to Quora too, now that it’s got a little more critical mass, and appreciate the insights of a seasoned user. Thanks for sharing.

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  • DanielHonigman

    We’re starting to use it with Sears Electronics, leveraging it as another way to add value to the conversation about consumer electronics. For brands that don’t have a dedicated forum, it’s an opportunity to participate in an ORGANIZED, conversation (as opposed to say, a Twitter-based conversation) about what they sell.

    • DavidSpinks

      @DanielHonigman Yea it’s more permanent and thorough than twitter. I wonder if this system could be applied to customer service, the same way twitter has become a customer service medium.

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    I finally joined Quroa last week (with the herd) but have been watching you and it for sometime. I joined on account of something you said on twitter, dont remember what.

    Your post REALLY clarified the subject specific expertise bio for each subject. Thank you.

    If I had not been on twitter, twine, diigo and to some extent LI, I would find it really difficult to get going. It is not at all intuitive for the uninitiated IMO.


    • DavidSpinks

      @CASUDI Awesome, glad I could make it a little more clear for you.

      Yea I’ve heard a few people say that the interface wasn’t very intuitive. It always seems pretty straightforward to me, but they’re going to have to fix this issue if it’s going to click with the average internet user.

  • Zonear

    Nice article and very relevant atm.

    I totally agree with you on marketing/bad marketing

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  • AgentKnowHow

    I’m one of those individuals who just signed up. I aswered a few questions and my only complaint at this time is the hosting/loading speed of quora. It’s funny that so many people are jumping on the Quora band wagon recently. It was reviewed on a real estate tech blog called techsavvyagent and that’s the only reason why I even paid attention to it. The responses on Quora are awesome and certainly an excellent source of ideas. I didn’t know that you can change your bio? That’s something I would be interested in doing considering your bio could be a call to action or reaffirmation of your brand. But Marketing on Quora isn’t like traditional internet marketing were you can lead someone to a landing page and capture their contact info. So, I guess the value is in networking and getting to the top of the responses. The mere fact that you can share your comments benefits quora and you at the same time.

  • JanetAronica

    Yet another badass post. Sharing this with my boss for a “how to Quora” sesh.

  • LizBelilovskaya

    hi, well, im one of those rare people who generally dont know anything about anything in relation to social media, and up until about a week ago i have never heard of Quora. Yet I have signed up and feel that this is a site worth mentioning, not because it is super revolutionary or overly awesome but because it will become those things as more users answer questions honestly and honorably. this should not become another area where people use the opportunity to be obnoxious. what i feel needs to be imporved is their ability to answer questions a little faster, or users to answer the questions a little faster at least when things as far as location are based, there is no guarantee you will recieve the answer you were looking for in the time frame you have. that would be invaluable.

  • rodicka

    Thanks @DavidSpinks for this great post, especially point 2 & 3 I hadn’t thought of so concretely. One question for you: when to ask a question anonymously and when to ask a question with your name on it? Obviously, you’d ask an anonymous question that you’d like to answer, but in other cases?

    cheers, Natalie

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