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Quora Strategy: The Incomplete Guide for Beginners

There’s been a lot of talk in the industry recently about Quora, a new Q&A social media site. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the platform, or are considering its applications to your clients or business, here's a quick overview of the opportunities it presents.

Founded in June 2009, Quora is an ever-growing collection of questions and answers that are created, and shared, by users of the network. The company's objective is to have each question page become the best possible resource of information relating to a given topic. Quora is an open site, which means it is indexed by search engines, and its content will appear in organic search results for relevant queries. 

In fact, though I've only been on the site for a short time, Quora activity already appears on the first page of Google results for my name. (See screenshot.)

The network presents users with an opportunity not only to acquire collective knowledge, but also to share personal experiences, information and opinions that serve as a resource for others

While Quora does not currently offer business profiles, this does not diminish the importance for companies to:

  • Monitor the conversations surrounding its brand
  • Respond to questions posted when necessary
  • Encourage employees to professionally represent the company, exhibit thought leadership and build personal brands

(For additional insight on how businesses can use Quora, check out Jeremiah Owyang’s recent post.)

Monitor Your Brand

While a large number of current topics revolve around professional advice and methodology, consumers are also turning to the network to discuss brands, products and services.

Similar to implementing online monitoring activities, such as Google Alerts or a paid tool like Radian6, company representatives should monitor their brand name on Quora and consider responding when appropriate. For example:

Negative Comments — Questions may be positioned as criticisms, such as “Why does Nestle water taste like plastic?” At time of writing, Nestle representatives have not responded to this question. This is a missed opportunity for the brand to respond to an unsatisfied customer and show proactive interest in delivering a better product. 

Positive Conversations — Brands may find positive conversations regarding their brand. “Why is Chipotle so popular?” is a running thread of support for the company’s unique approach to “food with integrity,” social media, innovative advertising and promotions, and more.

Rumors and False Information — If someone was spreading inaccurate information about your company, employees or products and services, wouldn’t you want to offer them the correct information? Companies should monitor mentions of their brand to debunk false statements or rumors, and protect what information is being disseminated about their brand.

For example: “Is it true that some of the new YCombinator class are getting funded on their way into the program?” This question may or may not be true, but at the moment no one from YCombinator has stepped in to offer the correct answer.

Respond When Appropriate

If you find complaints about your business on Quora, have an approved and credible team member respond to the issue. By proactively engaging people who are actively discussing your brand, you can help to improve the Quora experience and conversation, as well as help people connect with your brand in a meaningful way.

HubSpot’s founder and CTO, Dharmesh Shah, posted a good example of addressing criticisms on Quora in response to “Why is HubSpot still such a nightmare for designers?” Excerpt from his response: 

“This criticism is totally justified and well placed.

We make things much harder for designers than they should be. I promise, it's not intentional. Our challenge is that HubSpot is a very broad platform, and our content management system is a small piece of the puzzle. We're growing as fast as we can to deliver on our vision. We are doubling-down on our product team.”

Imagine if you were the dissatisfied customer in this situation and received a response like this. Would it help to improve your opinion of, and experience with, the company?

Exhibit Thought Leadership

Similar to LinkedIn Answers, Quora can help businesses raise the profile of experts within the company and put a face behind the brand. By sharing knowledge in their given field, individuals can build their own personal brand, and positively impact their company by association.

Develop a strategy for your team to answer questions relating to your industry — best practices, experiences gathered from customer interactions, preferred tools, etc. — and use that to guide your adoption of Quora.

Have you joined Quora?

If so, where are you in the process of following and contributing to questions and answers? Have you found anything to be particularly effective for your business?  We’d like to her about your experiences thus far. 

Dia Dalsky is an associate consultant at PR 20/20, a Cleveland-based inbound marketing agency and PR firm. Follow Dia on Twitter @DiaDalsky.

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