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.

Is the Lack of Women in Tech a Problem?

Photo cred: Dima Mirkin

There are a lot more men in the tech and startup space than there are women.  I think we need to ask…  is the ratio of men to women in the tech space a problem that needs fixing?

Are we seeking balance just for the sake of balance?  It’s ONLY a problem, if women aren’t given the same opportunities as men to thrive in the tech space.

In his post Too Few Women in Tech? Stop Blaming the Men, Michael Arrington makes the point that women actually have more opportunities than men in tech, they’re just not as interested in it. He writes:

The problem isn’t that Silicon Valley is keeping women down, or not doing enough to encourage female entrepreneurs. The opposite is true. No, the problem is that not enough women want to become entrepreneurs.

My friends Danny Brown and Geoff Livingston see it differently. In their post Why Tech Already Has Women (And Why They’re Better Than Arrington) they said:

In spite of the statistical advantages of women in tech, negative trends towards male speakers and executive leadership continue. Worse, reading this negative enforcement of sexism in tech has been a damn shame. Working with great women in tech — Susan MurphyBeth Kanter,  Kami HuyseAllyson KapinAmber MacArthurSarah PrevetteLisa Kalandjian and Cali Lewis to name a few this year — has been a phenomenal experience for both of us, and they demonstrate every day how brilliant and capable they are.

Danny and Geoff make some great points and cite some very interesting stats in their post, but I wish they didn’t put so much focus on Arrington. He’s not the issue here.  The stats they provide also don’t tell the whole story.

From my experience, there are clearly less women starting businesses in tech than there are men.

Arrington’s points weren’t attacking women, they were defending against those that say it’s men’s fault that women aren’t as present in the tech space.  It was actually in support of women doing great things and it made a call for more to rise to the opportunities.

I, like Danny and Geoff, have seen many women do amazing things in the tech space.

In the NYC tech scene, I see more and more women thriving. At New Work City, an amazing developer and entrepreneur named Sara Chipps runs [edited] Girl Develop It, a web development class that’s packed every week. Girls in Tech is growing rapidly, providing educational workshops, networking functions, conferences, social engagements, and recruitment events all for women.

Are there as many women as there are men at most NYC tech events?  No, but it’s getting closer.

So I go back to my question… is this really a problem?  If women were being prevented from getting involved in the startup and tech space, that’s one thing.  Clearly, as we have seen so many rise to do amazing things in the tech space, they’re not being held back.

The opportunities are there.  The only thing I see holding women back is this notion that “tech is for men”.  That’s no one’s fault, and it will change with time.  It’s dying as we speak.

To this point, it’s just been a space that tends to appeal more to males.  Teaching and PR tends to appeal more to females.  It happens.  Why does it happen?  Who knows…

In the end, the best person for the opportunity should be the one to get it, regardless of gender.  Just make sure you’re not overlooking the amazing women that are out there making shit happen.

11 iPhone Apps for the Expert Content Aggregator

Photo cred: Tony Eccles

Sharing news and interesting stories related to social media is a big part of how I use social media.

By making a commitment to aggregating content for my followers, it keeps me up to date with any new developments in the industry.  Every morning I pick up my phone and scroll through a bunch of different news apps.  I’ve never been a huge “news” reader, but something about having it right on my phone has made it into a habit that I’m glad to have.

So, I wanted to share with you the apps that I use to stay on top of everything going in in my industry.

Here are the news apps I check regularly:

1. Huffington Post:  This app is awesome.  Not only is it constantly updated with new articles, but it’s sharing function also works with some of the most popular twitter apps (except hootsuite for some reason).  So when you click “tweet”, it takes you to your iphone app to share…which could also be considered annoying.  I like it.

2. Mashable:  I check Mashable daily.  Sure, not all the articles are interesting to me, but it’s easy enough to scroll to the good stuff.  I can be sure that I’m on top of any notable developments in the social media space.

3. New York Times:  I use the New York Times to start up to date with news in general, as well as tech news.  I can almost always find a good read to get my brain warmed up in the morning here.

4. Fluent News: Basically, a big mix of all the most mainstream news resource from CNN to ESPN to BBC.

5. ReadWriteWeb:  I don’t check this app too often to be honest. When I do, I’m usually looking through the ReadWriteStart section for startup tips.

6. Marketing Profs:  Sometimes I have to get my fix of marketing articles.

7. The Onion App:  Because what’s fun about only reading real news?

8. Regator: The best app to find high quality blog posts on different popular topics.

9. NetNewsWire:  My google reader…on my iphone.  I don’t use this as much as I’d like to these days but I’ll check up once in a while.

10. Techcrunch:  Much like the Mashable app, I don’t find every story interesting.  I love to read about the new startups that are sprouting up and how they’re developing.  Unfortunately, the share on twitter function on this app gives you a link and says “Check out this post” instead of inputting the title of the post.

11. Hootsuite: After I read an article, I can click ‘share’, copy the tweet into hootsuite and schedule them throughout the day.  By scheduling some of the tweets, I’m not overloading people with links in the morning.  If it’s a really great article, I may even schedule it to be shared again later in the day. It allows me to send it out from any of my twitter or facebook accounts.  Beyond that, hootsuite is my go to iphone app to follow twitter, where I always find loads of new articles to read and share.

That’s what I use.  What apps are you using to stay on top of the news in your industry?