Social media has opened up many avenues to many people and has brought forth a new level of communication. People now lean on the social media for support networks, feedback, counsel, research, conversation, and more.
Often times many people have questions that their close friends or family members aren’t best equipped to answer. Traditional search engine queries aren’t always the best way to get you answers to the precise inquiry you may have either. There are many other online solutions to find answers to your questions and even a few solutions to get answers in real-time.
Stumpedia Instant Answers is a real-time portal that connects you to peers that are eagerly waiting to answer your questions. Moreover, you can also answer other people’s questions as well via a plugin.
ChaCha has a similar service but for your mobile phone. Ask any question while you’re on-the-go and receive an answer almost instantly.
Answer Ratings and Voting
Answerbag allows you to post questions and receive answers which are both voted on by other users. The more votes you get for your question the more exposure it gets on the site. A nice thing about the site is the Q&A sections are divided into: Social, Expert, Local, and Shopping.
Askville by Amazon is very similar to Answerbag and can be sorted by topics.
WikiAnswers allows users to edit the answers to questions so there aren’t a lot of answers. There’s just one answer that most users tend to agree with.
Message Board Answers
@answerme is almost like a message board answer system that’s operates via Twitter users. While questions aren’t categorized there is a convenient search feature.
Ask MetaFilter is a Q&A page that sorts questions asked by date. While there are tags and a search feature to find what you’re looking for there are better solutions to find or get answers to questions. One big plus is that there seems to be a lot of people paying attention to the questions asked and answering them.
LinkedIn Answers allows you to get answers from experts in the field. If you have a question regarding professional services this is the best place to go for quality answers by community professionals.
BuzzDash is an excellent way to create your own poll and get community members to vote in your polling system. It creates a neat widget of your poll that you can put on your site as well.
Major Search Engine Answer Sites
Live Search QnA is in beta right now but seems to be getting a decent amount of attention already.
Google Answers no longer accepts questions but has old Q&A archived on their site still.
Yahoo! Answers by far takes the cake. In August 2007 they had 95 million users and 350 million answers worldwide. That number has grown at an enormous rate since then as well. Yahoo! Answers operated on a point system that allows you to earn credibility. See Matt McGee’s post and series on Yahoo! Answers and what it is.
Leveraging Social Q&A
So how does all this apply to you as an Internet marketer?
Answering people’s questions in a particular niche or industry is a great way to be known as an industry leader. If you expose your or a client’s brand, products, and/or services through these social channels without spamming then you will see many direct and residual benefits from that.
Most of these sites, including Yahoo! Answers, follow links and are a great way to build your link profile even stronger, gain brand exposure, and drive relevant traffic to you or a client’s website.
One of the most important things about answering people’s questions in a social community environment is building your personal credibility. While you gain an authoritative status as an expert and a contributor you will have people pay more and more attention to your contributions and the content that you share. The key is to become a member of the community now and start to participate heavily to gain a guru status before you start to market anything.
While there are many sites to choose from, and the more exposure the better, Yahoo! Answers and LinkedIn Answers can provide the most benefit and ROI for your time investment due to their publicity and user-volume. That’s not to say you shouldn’t experiment to find out what works best for you and which community you fit in best.
Jordan Kasteler (Utah SEO Pro) is a seasoned professional and consultant in Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Social Media Marketing, Web Design, Web Development, and all aspects of Internet Marketing.