Q&A sites and discussion groups are a commonly encouraged tactic for demonstrating authority, growing community, and enhancing visibility. As a holistic online marketer, you’re comfortable explaining the benefits and requirements of Quora participation to clients – or at least you can be if you read these guidelines for promotion in-line with community etiquette on Quora.
Quora’s 15 minutes in the spotlight may have peaked in 2011, when the Q&A service reached critical mass in interest and recognition. While it hasn’t gotten much special attention since, Quora is growing, driven by traffic from Google SERPs for complex question queries. Quora didn’t invent the question-and-answer model, but it is a lively community with topics that go far and deep.
For businesses looking to use Quora to establish their subject-matter authority online, the ground rules must be set. I once had a client who’d been banned from Yahoo Answers for being too self-promotional. It was really a shame because she was, in fact, the definitive subject matter expert online. So before she jumped into Quora, I introduced her to the community rules and expectations and outlined best practices for professional Quora participation.
If your clients are a candidate for an investment in Quora, set them up for success with basics on how to participate and an understanding of how contributions are judged valuable.
What Is Quora?
Start by defining Quora and its role. Quora is a website that allows people to ask and answer questions. Questions are posed, answered and voted on by the community in order to surface the best answers. But Quora likes to think of itself as more than a Q&A site. The Quora community mission is to “to share and grow the world’s knowledge.” Their mission statement reflects this goal, suggesting that formats other than questions and answers would be added as the platform scales.
How to Use Quora
Quora’s About section explains much about how to use the service, including how to create a personal home page with topics, questions, people and boards you follow.
In short, to use Quora:
- Use the search box to search for questions, topics, people and boards.
- Navigate to those you are interested in. If you’d like to follow it, click on the green “Follow” button in the upper right corner of the page.
- You will receive email notifications alerting you to activity in the community about entities you follow.
You’ll find additional resources in the Quora user FAQ.
Share Your Expertise
As with all communities, high status is awarded to those who have expert level knowledge and contribute to the community in a genuine and selfless manner. That is, providing information in your area of expertise must not be given with any obvious self-interest, including business or financial goals or community recognition. That said, there is respect and recognition given to subject matter experts, as evidenced by the Top Writers designation.
By studying the contributions by Top Writers we can look for what qualities can be
repeated or copied and what qualities the Quora community values:
“How did we choose who would be in be in Top Writers 2012? We looked at 3 primary considerations:
Recent contributions: high-quality answers written, over the last year Overall contributions: high-quality answers written, regardless of date Topic expertise: high-quality answers written in one or more unique topics
Our decision criteria included: number of high-quality answers, upvotes per answer, and accrued credits.”
You can be removed from Top Writers for two primary reasons:
- If you end up in bad standing re: moderation. Examples: (1) multiple violations of the Be Nice, Be Respectful rule, (2) multiple content warnings, and/or (3) one or more edit-blocks.
- If we discover that you’re not using your real name on the site.”
Study the Top Writers board, a collection of info about the community’s valued contributors.
Expert Shortage and Opportunity
In 2010 a Quora user asked, “Is there scarcity on Quora? If so, what is scarce?”
One answer highlighted the shortage of experts in technical topics:
“There is definitely scarcity on Quora. The place where I notice it is in the presence of true experts. I really really want Quora to take off amongst research academics and culture leaders.
For example, the current leading authority on all medical questions is Jae Won Joh. His answers are considered quite authoritative, but with all the doctors in the world, the most well-informed answers on health issues for Quora come from a medical student! While he seems to know a hell of a lot, this is like those movies where after the great nuclear war, the town’s only doctor is a guy who used to be a vet – he’s leagues better than everyone else, but it’s not an actual doctor; it illustrates how far the town is from the pre-war state of having a real medical establishment.”
This is where the opportunity lies. Not only are users looking for true experts, but there’s a recognized shortage. Jump in and see where it takes you.
The Quora platform continues to develop, and one recent improvement makes it easier for users to find questions to answer. New features include
- Experience topics on your profile’s About page: indicate your areas of expertise.
- Unanswered Questions page and the Asked to Answer section in each topic page: all unanswered questions in a topic are collected in one place.
Remember that your answers will introduce your brand to a targeted audience interested in your specialty area. And with Quora showing up more in Google search, the visibility opportunity is magnified.
Seek and you’ll find! Contribute and you’ll be raising your standing in the community. Give information away, and watch them come back for more on your terms.