I don’t really want to write this post, because I don’t want to see this happen. But I’m kind of surprised no one’s talked about it yet.
Quora, if you aren’t familiar with it already, is a questions & answers site similar to Yahoo! Answers. Except Quora has a much more limited audience of mostly movers & shakers in the high-tech world, while Yahoo! Answers has a wide, general audience. Quora’s long-term goal is to be more general, but they happened to gain a lot of usage & buzz within the Silicon Valley world.
And speaking of buzz, Quora strikes me as a place where a tech & industry-savvy marketer could ignite (or at least fuel) the buzz for a particular startup.
There are already several questions that highlight buzz-worthy companies and people are using them to gently promote their startups. A more concerted effort could possibly work too. Journalists and bloggers (and possibly, angels & VCs) appear to be monitoring Quora to some extent too.
It wouldn’t be easy though. Quora has many quality measures, such as requiring real names and having a reputation system. If you come off too self-promotional or spammy, you can get down-voted to oblivion.
So how could you effectively market on Quora? Some suggestions:
- Nominate several individuals to be your Quora team. They all should be good writers, very knowledgable about your field, and understand social media well. With several people answering questions, your visibility, and perhaps, credibility, increases.
- Establish yourselves as experts in your field. Write good, meaningful answers.
- Ask good questions. These questions should allow you to continue highlighting your expertise in some way. Or, they can be used as market research and/or to answer a genuine question you have.
- Answer questions in tangential fields and topics as well. This broadens your reach.
- Avoid being overly promotional, but make sure to mention your company once in a while. When you link to your company, use the full URL. When you do this, Quora turns it into a clickable link. There’s no SEO value though; the link has a nofollows attribute.
- Select questions that have high visibility. Being one of the first answerers tends to increase your chances of up-votes, and visibility can be measured in how many followers a question has. This means there’s a bit guesswork involved in choosing the right questions, since new questions give you a chance to be first, but tend to have few followers. Occasionally, questions are featured on highly-visible blogs too.
- Monitor Quora for industry trends and competitive intelligence. Follow industry leaders and competitors. There’s a gold mine of qualitative data here. Seek it out and use it.
- Monitor other answerers too. They may make great hires or contacts.
- Above all else, be a good citizen of Quora. They’ve built a great, though niche community here. If you play nice and give back generously, people will respect your answers even more.