If you are looking to build up your professional brand as an authority in your niche or industry, one great way to do so is to simply answer people’s questions. Even if you’re not the top expert on a particular topic, chances are you still know more than others. Quora is a great place to start. This question and answer network allows you to help others on any topic from Aardvark to Zumba. Learn how to get the most out Quora, from creating the perfect profile to submitting the best answers.
Why should you check out Quora? Here are five great reasons:
- You can get exposure to Quora’s millions of monthly visitors worldwide.
- You can demonstrate your expertise on almost any topic.
- You can get insights from experts in any industry.
- You can give direct answers to anyone asking about your business, products, or services.
- You can share content from other websites (including your own) in topic-focused boards on your profile.
Now that you know why you should join, let’s look at how to get the most out of Quora, starting with your profile.
Your Quora Profile
Once you’ve signed up for Quora by connecting with Facebook or Twitter (or creating an account on Quora by saying you don’t have Facebook or Twitter), your first task is to create your profile. There is no purpose of getting exposure by demonstrating your industry expertise if people go to your profile to learn more about you and there is nothing there.
To edit your profile, click on your name in the top menu bar. Then click on the Edit links to add your headline and profile content.
Be sure to include links in your profile to your main website or main social accounts. This should help lead to traffic back to your website from Quora.
Finding & Following Topics
Once your profile is ready, you will want to start finding topics to follow. To find topics, use the search box at the top and start typing in a keyword. Quora will give you instant suggestions based on what you enter.
The topic pages start out with the latest boards and questions.
At the top right, you can click on the green Follow Topic button to follow the topic. This will place the latest activity within that topic on your Quora home page news feed. If you would like the latest questions sent to you view email, click on the Settings button that appears after you follow the topic and change the Email Settings to On.
Alternatively, you can subscribe to any topic by adding /rss to the URL. If you used a search query to find the topic, just strip off the ?q=keyword from the end of the URL before adding the /rss. For Google Analytics, the URL for the topic is http://www.quora.com/Google-Analytics and the URL for the RSS feed is http://www.quora.com/Google-Analytics/rss. I use Google Reader and keep my favorite topics under a folder called Questions along with feeds from other question and answer networks.
This helps me manage all of the activity on sites I participate upon.
Beneath the top questions and subscription options, you can find the latest activity on the topic, top “answerers”, and the people following the topic.
This is a great area to find new connections who will be interested in the same subjects you are. Simply click on any person’s profile to learn more about them and use the green Follow button to follow them.
Describe Your Topic Experience on Your Profile
After you’ve followed the topics you are interested in, go back to your profile and click on your Topics.
Here, you can describe your experience with each one of the topics you are following.
Whatever you enter here will be shown next to your name whenever you answer questions on those particular topics. If you don’t enter anything in this area, then the main headline for your profile will show up next to your answers.
Quora, Customer Service, and Reputation Management
Remember that topics can be brand based as well. If your business has a product, be sure to use the search to see if anyone is talking about your products or services.
You’ll definitely want to follow any topics that are specifically about your business so you can join in the conversation when new questions about your products or services are asked. You may find potential sales opportunities too as people are likely to ask the difference between your products or services compared to others. Be prepared to make your answers shine and convert!
Submitting Questions & Answers
Once you’ve followed your favorite topics, you can start submitting questions and answers.
Adding questions to a question and answer network is a great way to find out more about your target market. Simply go to the appropriate topic, then click on the Add Question button.
Once you start receiving answers, be sure to let people know you appreciate their help by clicking on the Upvote and Thank link beneath each answer.
Not getting any answers? You can use the Ask to Answer system to ask specific Quora members to answer your question.
The users suggested are usually the top answerers in that topic. You can view more suggestions or find people by search. This is a great way to draw more attention to your questions!
Ready to demonstrate your expertise and start answering questions? You can do so by clicking on a specific question in a topic you are following, then scroll down to the Add Answer box.
Here, you will answer each question as best you can. You can link / tag other questions, topics, and Quora users in your answer using the @ symbol. You can add images from your hard drive or using an image URL from the web. If you have a supporting link to add to your answer, just paste the full URL in and it will be automatically hyperlinked. This is a great way to promote your own blog content, products, or services if applicable to your answer. Be sure to make useful answers and try not to look spammy.
Sharing Content on Boards
Want to organize your favorite questions, answers, and collect content from other sites on your Quora profile? You can with Quora boards. Simply go to your profile, and beneath your Followers – Following strip, you’ll see a field to Create a New Board. Enter the title of your board and click the Create button to begin.
Once your board is created, you can start adding content to it. You can even allow submissions from other users.
Click the Add to Browser button to add a Post to Quora bookmarklet to your browser’s bookmarks toolbar, or grab it from the resources page.
Then click on the Post to Quora bookmarklet to add content from outside of Quora onto your new board. You will get a popup window asking you to add the link you want to share to your own boards or others that are open to outside contributions.
This is another great way to promote outside content to Quora users on your own profile’s boards or on others. You can also simply paste in links to your outside content on the board itself. Be sure on either option to click the Share with Followers checkbox to notify those following your profile.
To add content from Quora, such as a question or answer, to your board, just click the Repost link.
Using a combination of sources off and on Quora, you can create a very useful board on any topic on Quora which will hopefully lead to followers of boards on your profile.
How to Use Quora for Marketing
To recap the marketing potential of Quora, here are the ways you can use Quora to market your professional brand and your business.
- Create a great profile so that anyone who wants to learn more about you can do so and be able to click through to your website or other social profiles.
- Follow topics in your industry. Become an active participant on these topics by posting thought-provoking questions and valuable answers. When appropriate, include links back to content on your website for more information, but don’t spam.
- Find people to connect with on Quora by looking at the top answers and followers of a particular topic.
- Create and contribute to boards on topics in your industry. Share content off and on Quora to create valuable information that other Quora users will want to follow.
- Encourage others to follow you on Quora using the Quora Follow Button on the Quora Resources page
- Curious what kind of questions / answers get the most notice? Check out this page of most popular topics on Quora.
- Use QuestionsPro to automatically find relevant questions and track your answers. Although the tool is still in beta, it helped to streamline a big part of my Quora workflow.
Do you use Quora to promote your professional brand and your business? What results have you seen so far? Please share your thoughts in the comments!
About the Author: Kristi Hines is a freelance writer, professional blogger, and social media enthusiast. Her blog Kikolani focuses on blog marketing for personal, professional, and business bloggers.