Content Marketing,  Marketing Strategy

Is Quora the New Social Media Player?

Somebody recently asked me – are you on Quora?  And I thought – Oh my goodness (sigh), another social media network to invest time and energy into.  What on earth is Quora?

Just when you thought you were getting a handle on your social media accounts, and you’ve developed your rhythm, another network starts gaining ground and you wonder if you should be paying attention.

So, What Exactly is Quora?

The site officially started in June 2009, and became available to the public for use in June 2010.  Likened to other Q&A sites like Yahoo Answers, the official definition from the website is:

Quora is a continually improving collection of questions and answers created, edited, and organized by everyone who uses it.

Basically, it feels like an extension on current social networks (like Facebook and Twitter) as well as another social network unto itself, where users can “follow” or “be followed”.

How does Quora Work?

Quora is a little bit like Wikipedia, but more Q&A focussed, and more frequently updated.  Once your profile is set up and you’ve linked it to your Facebook Profile and Twitter account, you can then start asking Questions, or under various topics, you can write out your answer, in response to other’s Questions.

The Basics of Quora

Your Profile

Once you have opened your new Quora account, you need to set up your personal profile.  You can open the account with your Twitter account or your Facebook account, or you can connect to these accounts once your profile is open.

You can also connect your Tumblr blog or WordPress blog, to share Quora onto your blog, if you wish to.

Then, on your personal profile page, you have the ability to add a tag-line about yourself under your name.  This can be areas of interest for you professionally, or your job title.

To expand on this, on the right-hand side, you have an area where you can write more detailed and descriptive information about you, your profession and your company.

Importing Friends

If you decide to connect Facebook to your account, you can search for contacts and friends you have which may already be using Quora.  Or under “Invite People to Join Quora”, you can enter your email address and password, to invite additional contacts, or you can invite people one by one through a tailored email.

It may be a good idea to import your friends in the beginning, to give your account a kickstart, and show people that you are now using Quora.

Topics

If you connect your account to Facebook, Quora may automatically import your profile’s “Activities and Interests”, and set them up as Topics in your Quora profile.

If you are using your Quora account, as a professional account, you may not like to be answering questions under the topic of “Pearl Jam”, so if you go to your main profile page, and click on “Following ___ Topics”, you can easily unfollow and amend the topics you follow.

To search for new and more relevant topics, you can click on “Suggested topics for you”, or you can go to the Search box, and look for a specific topic.

 

The topics you follow and engage in, really are the pieces of the Quora puzzle that form your overall profile.

Why Use Quora?

Quora is gaining social media ground at a rapid rate, and has great potential to become an excellent and established Q&A site.

Starting out in Silicon Valley, heavy users already consist of  influential people such as:

and many more…

Posting Questions and Answers

On the top bar of the website, you can post any question you like.  So if you’re a business owner conducting research, this is an easy and excellent way to get some answers.  As you post the question, the bar works just like Google Instant, and you can see if someone has already asked the question before.

If your question doesn’t appear, you are free to click on “Ask Question”.

Just as an Example, the answer to the question – how many people use Quora?  Was = December 14th, 2010: 378,639.

 

Post a Message to your Followers

On your own profile wall, you can build up your credibitility by posting a message on your wall, that your followers can see.  When posting the message, you can give the post a Title, then add whatever text, links and images you like below, with some simple WYSIWYG editing options (like Word).  You also can link of other Questions, Topics OR People on Quora.

Suggestion:

You can use this space to share your “Thoughts of the Week” or “Thoughts of the Month”.  Or to comment on a recent event.

Business Opportunity

What makes Quora different for business owners, is that your business can be set up as a “Topic”, which people can follow, and ask questions.  This could be really helpful for SEO as well, as the site has been set up with very SEO friendly links in the title heading.

Once your business is set up as a topic, you can:

  • Add a main business photo/image, which could be your business logo
  • Type up an introduction, which could be your business topics, or a little summary about what your business can do
  • Add a FAQ section, which is a wiki of frequently asked questions about your business

The opportunity here to show your business expertise, but also engage your customers, potential customers, contacts and friends is huge.

In Summary

Quora stands as a new tough contestant in the overwhelming world of Social Media.  And definitely gives further boost to the new popular profession – Social Media Manager, as businesses are counting the hours and energy required to keep their social media profiles and networks in sync and up to date.

I like Quora, and I would recommend it, only for business professionals and owners who are already established in Blogging, Twitter and Facebook first.

What do you think of Quora?  Are you already spending time on other Q&A sites?  Could you now be spending time on Quora as well?

Feel free to comment.

Marketing Marketing, Content Strategist and Writer driving Engagement and ROI. On weekends I'm a Property Investor, Traveler & Coffee Snob

19 Comments

  • pcd2k

    I joined Quora on the basis of Pelpina Trip’s WebBeatTV podcast tip without knowing to much what it was about and this well written article helps me greatly, thanks. I do wonder how though Quora differs from Formspring, joined via Digg Video and App Judgement podcaster Annie Gaus ?

    However, I’m still confused about what sort of questions are anticipated to be asked on Quora. I mean is it completely open ended ?

    • Fiona

      @pcd2k, Hi Paul, Thanks for letting me know how you found out about Quora. I first saw it popping up in my twitter feed, and then after I was asked about it, I thought I better look into it. I’ve never heard about Formspring either, so I really cannot compare.

      Do you use Formspring?

      I think the questions on Quora are completely open ended. I will know more once I’ve spent some time there. Thanks for your comment.

      • Ileane

        @Fiona McEachran,
        Fiona, I see you submitted this to BizSugar already 🙂 I gave it a vote.
        btw – the question of Formspring came up the other day in the Facebook chat on Social Media Examiner with Kristie Hines. That’s funny Paul is mentioning it now too.

  • Melanie Kissell

    One of my Facebook contacts, Andrea Vahl, introduced me to Quora, Fiona, and at first my thoughts were the same as yours … oh, no … yet another social media site to manage. Sigh.

    But since then, I’ve changed my attitude about it. I can see where Quora can be a benefit to me in branding my business and showcasing my expertise.

    I’ve been hearing from some of my online friends who are saying they like and prefer the Q&A on Quora MUCH BETTER than “Answers” on LinkedIn. I can’t really voice an opinion since I haven’t honestly used that feature on LinkdedIn yet.

    Thanks for an awesome overview, tutorial, and welcomed editorial on Quora! 😉

    • Fiona

      @Melanie Kissell, Hi Melanie, That’s great to know how you heard about Quora. You must of fell onto the site around the same time as me 😉 … great minds, you know.

      Yes, I’ve never spent much time on other Q&A sites, since finding relevant questions and discussions has always proven to be tough. But I do like Quora. It’s a nice alternative, with some great people on there.

  • Daniel Sharkov

    Hey Fiona,

    Nice overview on Quora! This is the first time I hear about the site actually, but the concept seems quite interesting. If used properly that social media can prove a great way to build a name for yourself. I’m not sure how effective this is going to be though. Still 10-15 minutes a day are not that much and I will probably give it a shot. Thanks for sharing!

    • Fiona

      @Daniel Sharkov, Hi Daniel, Thanks for your feedback. Yes, I liked the concept too, and it looks very SEO friendly and blendable with other networks, so it should slot in nicely.

      Let me know how you find it, once you get started. 🙂

  • Ileane

    Fiona,

    I’m not very fond of Quora yet. I did see some of the heavy-hitters there but I asked a few questions that didn’t get answered. On the other hand I did see some interesting exchanges when I searched topics I’m curious about. Let me give you an example, which I’m sure you can relate to. Here’s my question – When you post a link on Facebook, how can you control which images appear in the thumbnail?
    Turns out someone else had a similar question and there was a response from an engineer from Facebook that provided some code we can insert on WP blogs. The code would restrict when images FB grabs for the thumbnail, but that’s only for your own blog, not other blogs. So the information was somewhat helpful, although it was not exactly what I was looking for.

    I like the idea you’ve come up with though. Quora might be an excellent vehicle for small businesses to carve out a niche for themselves. I’ll share this over on Biz Sugar. Thanks!

    • Fiona

      @Ileane, Hi Ileane, Thanks for sharing your thoughts on Quora. There is still a low number of users, compared to other networks we are used to, and it may take a while for Quora to become a must-use resource.

      Also, at first glance, the whole set-up can appear a little overwhelming and confusing, which may be stopping a lot of people from participating. Only time will tell how valuable a network it will become.

      And I appreciate your support at Biz Sugar, it’s a great site and community 🙂

  • Extreme John

    I couldn’t hep but click over to this article from my reader, I literally juuuuuusssst signed up for Quora a few minutes ago, aside from hating the name I like the concept. No doubt it will do very well over the next few months, at which point we can see if it makes the cut and moves into the future.

    • Fiona

      @Extreme John, Thanks John for your thoughts on Quora. I have no idea how they came up with the name, but it certainly is a mouthful.

      It would be great to hear more feedback from you, once you’ve had a chance to play with it.

  • Sheila Atwood

    Fiona,

    I am like Daniel, 15 min a day is not bad. I will have to check it out too. I am always looking for a good ROI especially when it comes to social media. It can be time consuming.

  • Nancy Lynch

    Thank you for the great information on this new social media platform. I am finally coming into the 21st century with my blog, LinkedIn, Facebook etc. Now another one to try to master. Like you said, I will hone these ones first and then look into this one. I know social media is the best way to connect with a target market that is global.