Social Networking · Tools

Quora as Small Business Tool

I confess: I’m already addicted. While Quora is still suffering the occasional freeze and the frequent hiccup, I just can’t seem to stay away. But I am, after all, a geek. Here’s hoping you are faring better.

I certainly hope you’ve passed the annoying “how to ask a question” test:

quora 01 Quora as Small Business Tool

Granted, the jury is still out on whether or not the new “knowledge network” will even make it in the Wild West of social media. Critics express fear that Quora will quickly become a spammers’ mecca, and anyone trying to find an answer will drown in the junk. We’ve seen it happen before. Call me an idealist, but if the good guys in the white hats help Quora along, we would be doing our part to keep it real.

And while I’m not suggesting that Quora will put Google out of business, I do believe that if Quora implements an algorithm that allows quality to prevail, it could become a rich resource for small businesses and freelancers.

Whether or not Quora will be a hot spot for business networking in three years, it might be worthwhile to invest some of our time in it right now. Quora can be one more great way to put your brand out there as a potential resource. Here’s why:

  • You can identify yourself as your brand, with a website address. (All you need is a Twitter account and a business email.) While the link isn’t clickable until someone visits your Quora profile, it is still very easy for someone to get to your site. So every time you leave a profound, witty, or sexy answer, everyone interested in that topic will associate your brand with good things.
  • Quora gives you a chance to show off your brilliance. You can answer questions in your field, and you can also share all of your other bizarre tidbits of knowledge without having to appear on Jeopardy. Quora gives you another chance to show that you are interesting. I’m not suggesting that you give away all of your knowledge for free, but you can certainly give away enough to leave the whole world, or at least anyone who sees the question, wanting more of you.
  • Quora could help you know your market better. It could give you some insight into what your potential clients are asking. What don’t they know? Isn’t this valuable information to you? If you wanted to, you could conduct legitimate research via Quora. If you wanted to, you could test drive your ideas before putting them into action. (This would only work with ideas your competition couldn’t steal.)
  • Speaking of stealing, Quora gives you the opportunity to spy on your competition. You know, in that ethical sort of way. Okay, maybe not spying, but you can easily observe what your competition is doing.
  • Quora could lead you to potential partnerships and collaborations. While Facebook connects you through who you know and Twitter connects you through hash tags, Quora connects you through needs. What do people need? What do they need to know? And who can help you meet those needs?
  • Lest I sound as if Quora is only for showing off one’s own expertise, let me emphasize that Quora is also for learning from others. Just like with Twitter, you can follow the experts and learn how they are doing things. You too, can ask questions from those who know.

I’m not certain that Quora will turn into the best customer service tool since the telephone. But I am confident that it can’t hurt. For very little time and no money, you can establish yourself again as a professional or a group of professionals in your field. It’s just one more way to get your brand out there. That’s my final answer.

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Robin Merrill is a freelance writer and editor who can usually be found blogging about dogs, jobs, and/or cupcakes.
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