Published on 18th Sep, 2015 in Marketing

How to Use Quora to Help Your Business

How to Use Quora to Help Your Business

Websites that allow you to pose questions to the internet at large have to be one of the both best and worst things web developers have given us. You can post the silliest, most random question—“What should I have for dinner tonight?”—and you’re bound to get a slew of answers, plus start an argument about the advantages of pizza with mushrooms versus pizza with spinach.

There’s no denying that that can be a fun way to spend some time, but it’s not exactly productive. And while you might be able to get a vague sort of read on whether mushrooms or spinach are the more popular pizza topping at that particular moment, it’s hard to know if you can trust what people are saying—especially if you’re on a site like Reddit or Voat. From a marketing perspective, therefore, they’re not that helpful.

There is one Q&A site, however, that actually can be helpful when it comes to establishing a brand: Quora.

What the heck is Quora?

Started in 2011 by a couple of former Facebook engineers, Quora is a forum for people to pose questions and get answers on more than 400,000 topics. Astrophysics, fitness, James Joyce, social media marketing—if you can name it, you can probably find a topic feed about it on the site.

Quora Haruki Murakami screen capture

Yep, that’s an entire feed devoted to Japanese surrealist author Haruki Murakami

Add to this the site’s 10 million visitors per month, and you can see why you should integrate Quora into your digital marketing efforts.

What makes Quora special?

Quora is different from many other Q&A sites in a couple of important ways.

First, the site employs editors who read and monitor posts to maintain quality. This, plus the upvote-downvote function that lots of websites use, discourages users from posting idiotic or offensive things just for the sake of posting them.

Second, users are supposed to use their real names and to provide a brief explanation of why they’re qualified to answer the question. So if you post a question about social media marketing and you get a response from someone who says they’re an experienced social media marketer with X marketing agency, you can probably trust their answer.

That’s the simplest way to use Quora: post a question, see what people answer, upvote or downvote answers accordingly. But that alone will not help a brand engage its followers.

Quora’s potential for marketers lies in both asking thoughtful questions and providing well-written responses—in other words, in sharing useful information that an audience values. Sounds exactly like content marketing, doesn’t it?

Quora’s potential for marketers lies sharing useful information that an audience values. Tweet this!

The goal is to establish yourself (and thereby your business) as a thought leader in your industry. In addition, by seeing what sorts of things people are asking about, you’ll get some insight into your potential customers’ wants and needs.

So if your business sells fishing equipment, for example, you could set up an account on Quora (if you want detailed tips on how to do that, check out our post from back in March, 7 Steps to Establishing Expertise on Quora) and choose topics like fishing, fly fishing, and bass fishing to follow. You could add Outdoor Gear, too, and anything else you think might be related.

Quora fishing feed screen capture

You’ll see a list of questions that users have asked, and you can start contributing right away. If you want to jump right in and answer a couple of questions, go for it—but keep in mind that, like most social media sites, Quora really works best when you both give and take.

So as you’re scrolling through your feeds, think of a few questions you’d like answers to. You could start with something like “What’s the greatest innovation in the fishing industry since 1950?” You’re bound to get interesting answers, and they may even spark an idea for a new product or marketing campaign.

The most important thing to remember, though, is to stay focused on authentic engagement. Quora is not the place for sales pitches or marketing plugs. The community doesn’t like those, and the editors don’t, either.

Instead, using Quora is more of a long game. If people find value in what you’re saying, they’ll follow you—and when the time comes to purchase a new flyreel, waders, or whatever it is you offer, they’ll think of your company first.

Think you’d like some help with Quora and the rest of your digital marketing strategy? Contact the Marketing Zen Group—we’d love to help!