Quora is platform of choice for technical experts

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Quora is a question-and-answer site, where community members vote on which answers were helpful. It can also be a good place for B2B marketing. Here are some ideas about why and how.

Quora is full of real experts with first-hand knowledge – This does not mean people who have studied the subject at college, but people with actual, genuine, first-hand knowledge. If someone asks a question about (say) Google interviews, the chances are that several people from Google will respond. This makes it a really good source of reliable information. Helpfully, it is also a big community—estimates suggest over 700,000 people access it each month in the US alone—and it is growing fast.

You can follow specific topics, so it is a useful source of market research – Quora is sorted by topic, and you can both search by topic, and also follow particular topics. This makes it a very good source of market research. You can, for example, find out what people are saying about your company, and your competition, and also about the industry more generally.

It allows you to identify exactly what people want to know about a topic – The system of Question/Answer/Comments/Upvotes allows you to gauge exactly what people want to know on a particular subject. Good answers get upvoted, and the comments give even more insight into people’s thoughts. This can therefore help you identify suitable content ideas, and also what to cover in a post or blog to maximise engagement.

Quora is full of user-generated content, enabling you to get the tone right – User-generated content is great because it allows you to ‘hear’ your customers’ voice. You can then play back the phrasing and tone of voice in your posts. This is a bit like ‘reflecting’ when you are having a conversation with someone: it increases the level of connection and improves the relationship.

It allows you to respond to questions from customers and potential customers – Anyone can answer questions on Quora, and the more you answer (and people like your responses) the more your reputation grows. It’s therefore good to search for questions about your company, and post thoughtful replies, or even ask questions about your customers’ potential problems. It is, therefore, a great opportunity to grow your personal thought leadership ‘brand’.

You can have a new bio for each topic, allowing you to showcase particular areas of expertise – Your profile is standard, and should be crafted carefully to showcase your expertise. The bio that appears whenever you answer a question, however, can be changed to fit the topic. This means that you can explain why you are qualified to answer that particular question and/or other questions on that topic. Your bio should be short and to the point.

Short answers are not encouraged – While you might argue that short is beautiful, snappy answers tend to be removed (or, in Quora terms, ‘collapsed’). In general, the most favoured Quora answers provide value. They usually provide some idea of the rationale behind the answer, and demonstrate sources. They are also easy to read, so it is worth adding a bit of formatting to help anyone skimming the page.

Images help to break up a post, and make it more appealing – It is often said that a picture will tell a thousand words, and on Quora, there are plenty of contributors who like to add images to their posts. Like formatting, it breaks up the text and makes it more visually appealing. If drawing cartoons happens to be one of your skills, it also showcases that, and helps you to stand out a bit more from the crowd. Being memorable is good.

Quora also has a blogging platform – You can therefore post or repost content from another blog, including a company blog, and promote it via your Quora answers. Links to previous answers and blogs are certainly not frowned upon, and often seem to be actively encouraged.

It is important to remember the purpose of Quora: to share knowledge – In other words, it is not a platform for marketing or direct sales. But you can share your expertise and knowledge in particular areas. By doing so, you will help the Quora community to grow its knowledge, which is what the site is all about. This will bring you to the attention of community members in your particular area, and hopefully they may contact you directly if they need your services.

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