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.

How Advertising Lost Half Its Credibility

Photo cred: Scotty Perry

Advertising, such as using digital signage for retail,  has gone through some huge changes over the last few years.  Today, we’re seeing major brands dropping their Superbowl ad spots, newspapers quickly declining in numbers and even online ad spending has dropped for the first time since 2002.  Do you think advertising is failing? Perhaps only part of it…

Advertising tends to follow a simple model: provide entertainment to catch people’s attention, then make the pitch.  It essentially aims to accomplish two things: Increase Brand Recognition and to Convey a Message. I’ll argue that the latter is no longer effective.

The advertising message is dying.

Today, if you put up a commercial of a guy getting rocked in the balls, people will watch, and probably be entertained, UNTIL you try to sell them the cup. That’s where they tune you out.

So, if people pay attention to the content and ignore the message, we can understand why advertising on the internet is failing. Online, the content isn’t in the ad, it’s on the page. Internet ads, usually just make a sale (there isn’t much room for entertainment), which is what we’ve become so good at ignoring.  Online, it’s very easy to take in content without paying any attention to the ads.

One area of advertising that continues to grow is in online video ads and that won’t change soon.  As more viewers move from the television to the internet, so will the advertising dollars.  Watching a show on hulu feels just like watching it on tv, just with less ads (for now). Similar to television though, the message will be lost.  It’s even easier, since you can click on something else for 30 seconds.

It comes down to credibility.

Brands shoot for two kinds of credibility with their advertising campaigns:

  • Credibility as a brand
  • Credibility in the message

Seeing a well produced ad (especially on television) lends credibility to the brand name.  It lets the consumer know that the brand is the real deal. So credibility as a brand is still gained through advertising.  Whatever they have to say about their product in that ad, however, has no credibility, and would be lucky to make it in one ear and out the other.  Credibility in the message…cut.

Brands, I don’t care what you say your pill does, or how much your competitor sucks.  Hearing about it from you, or the actors in your ads, means nothing to me.

So is advertising still worth it simply for the brand credibility? Would businesses be better off investing in other platforms to share their message?  How will advertising campaigns adapt to these changes in 2010?