Beginners Guide to Quora
What is Quora? To describe it in very simplistic terms, it is a question-and- answer online forum. For questions that bubble in our minds daily, Quora is likely to be the site to go to receive opinions and most importantly, answers. To give it a try myself, I asked Quora, what is the future of Pinterest?
Here’s what I found.
In addition to the answer that I was looking for, I also found many other questions that were related to the same topic, answers from various people, as well as different perspectives related to Pinterest.
This seems resourceful and informative right? But then, can I rely on these answers? Why won’t I just Google this anyway? What would be the difference?
Like me, all of you must be thinking the same way. Let’s explore Quora to find it out.
Founded in 2009 by two former Facebook employees – Adam D’Angelo and Charlie Cheever, Quora has created a lot of buzz for itself. It is known as a question-and-answer website created, edited and organized by its community of users. However it has a formal definition too. Adam D’Angelo, Quora founder defines Quora as:
“Quora connects you to everything you want to know about. Quora aims to be the easiest place to write new content and share content from the web. We organize people and their interests so you can find, collect and share the information most valuable to you.”
Personally, this statement and the experience makes it seem more like a social network than just a question-and-answer site. I wondered if the aim was to gain more market share from the big players in the social networking environment. If it is so, in such a competitive environment, to curve a mark for yourself, businesses need to provide some unique differentiating features. Does Quora have anything like that? I guess this is the most important question that Quora needs to answer. Let’s ask this question…
How is Quora different from other social networks?
On Quora, your main identity is your interests and your expertise. Your friends can see what topics you are interested in, and what questions you are answering. You gain status by having a well phrased answer that properly addresses the question. You can follow people you find insightful and through them you find new people.
Sounding similar to the popular websites? Indeed, but Quora seems to be different in a way that…
Quora is Yahoo! Answers – But instead, the same questions and answers are continually being edited, reviewed and added to. It comes with a user friendly interface, which focuses on real identities of users, and has no limited window to answer questions.
Quora is Google Search – But instead, you get your answer from subject matter experts along with different views and explanations; instead of various and sometimes low-quality links to the same question.
Quora is Facebook – But instead, you follow categories of interest and topics versus people such as friends and family. Your main identity is defined by your knowledge and expertise instead of your profile page where you upload photos and your friends post on your wall.
Quora is Wikipedia – But instead, it answers your specific question rather than being just an encyclopedia. It provides a mechanism for social and interest-specific real-time distribution of information. Quora effectively supports multiple points of view, discussions and allows you to get to know other respondents.
The infograph here shows the anatomy of Quora’s question – answer community
In short, Quora’s uniqueness comes from the fact that users have the ability to seek information independently, by asking a question that is tailored exactly to what they want to know. Its biggest strength and what sets it apart from its competitors is its ability to act as a focused crowdsourcing clearinghouse. The ability to follow topics and questions in a niche, allows it to be a great market research tool.
Quora is growing fast
With an initial flush of $11 million in funding from Benchmark Capital, Quora’s value has skyrocketed from $86 million in March 2010 to more than a billion dollars today. The infograph shows the meteoric growth of Quora by 150% from 2010 to 2011. In one year, its user base escalated from 1470 to 547,777 with an increase in the number of visitors per year from 60,187 in 2010 to 283,500 in 2011. A recent report says that Quora has also stepped on the mobile platform with the launch of its free mobile app and mobile website.
In light of the above figures and various other research and review reports, it can be said that Quora is dramatically expanding. It has been able to secure a rank for itself as a resource library that contains ‘bite’ sized modules of highly contextualized learning. The buzz is in the air that Quora will be a lead player in 21st Century’s global learning revolution.
How businesses can benefit from Quora
It’s important to note that Quora currently won’t let brands or companies set up organizational profiles however there are few exceptions. One of the better ways to participate is through the profile of a high-ranking executive or spokesperson. Below are six ways your company can benefit from using Quora.
Monitoring. Quora can provide a monitoring platform for your business. Whenever a question is posted that is related to your business, you can tap on the interest generated instantly. Your designated Quora user can also respond to the query and also create the much needed eminence.
Customer interaction and relationship building. Quora is quickly gaining the status as the new social media sensation. It’s user friendly interface allows you get a sense of the most active participants within a topic area. Though it would have to be done very carefully and within the site’s guidelines for acceptable use, you could potentially initiate further interaction with such users on Quora or elsewhere to address their problems. You could also give loyalty recognition or establish some sort of deeper relationship with users who contribute to the forums.
Research and feedback. With an active base of participants who follow or at least are interested in your company or products, Quora also offers a platform for soliciting feedback for use in product design, marketing or other strategies.
Customer support. Once you’re aware of the content on Quora that relates to your business, your business can incorporate the content into customer support. In some ways, it could end up like an external FAQ, offering hands-on reviews from users of your products.
Brand awareness. Quora is gaining a lot of attention among the small-business community for its unique social sharing feature combined with the question-and-answer format that enables easy communication between users. The more you share and participate within your network, the higher gets the chance of more people knowing your business.
Network building. Integration of Quora with the social networking giants – Facebook and Twitter, helps to tap on the vast user base of these networks and in turns aids in expanding your network. The more your company appears on the web, more people follow you, thereby increasing your digital eminence.
In order to experience these benefits, below are some additional handy tips which you can execute to get the most out of Quora for your business.
6 actionable tips on how to use Quora for marketing
- Integrate Quora with your website and make sure you follow topics including not just your company name but also relevant products, issues, competitors and even specific users. Utilize the “Post to Quora” browser button that enables instant posting of content from any website with your Quora network
- Try to answer questions in your niche so that you can establish the impression of thought leadership.
- Visit Quora frequently to draw ideas for your own articles or blog posts. Follow relevant topics which will help you keep tabs on the pulse of the small-business community and your competitors.
- Build your network by connecting with users with similar interests.
- Integrate Quora with other social networks, such as Twitter and Facebook. According to social media strategist-Angela Stringfellow, sharing your content on Twitter and Facebook will not only allow more people to know about your business but will also help to maximize search engine indexing.
- Connect with journalists for free PR as journalists are one of those early birds who would use Quora to obtain valuable opinion for their new stories.
Before you begin using Quora, here is a handy Quora user guide you can refer to.
All you need to know to start using Quora
How to sign up?
Needless to say, this type of service heavily depends on the users who contribute to it. That is why the website discourages anonymous logins. In fact, the service encourages joining up with popular social networking sites that you’re already a member of.
In case if you don’t have a Facebook or Twitter account or simply you prefer to have a standalone login, there’s a link where you can create your profile with your full name, email and desired password. Regardless of how you join, Quora is free.
How to get started using Quora?
According to veteran users, the most important thing to do in the beginning is set up a good feed with your interests. Right after signing up, you can choose to follow items suggested by your Facebook or Twitter accounts. But in case you miss that and start wandering around the site and come back later, Quora will remind you again. In any event, your activity feed will then appear each time you visit the home page.
Quora suggests following and searching for topics, people and questions to get started. When you follow a particular topic, any questions and answers tagged with that topic will appear in your feed. The same also applies to people. Likewise, any question that you choose to follow will be tracked and any new answer that comes up in the future will appear in your feed.
How to ask new questions?
Simply click the “Add Question” button on the right hand side of the page and you’re off and running with your first entry. Users are suggested to adhere to certain guidelines, which would in turn help the users to get the exact answer that they are looking for. Example: Quora recommends that good questions always ask “Why?” which request for narrative answers. That means questions should seek an explanation, rather than a simple, more direct answer. For example, “Are there any iPhone notepad apps?” would be better phrased as “What are the notepad apps for the iPhone?”
What about Answers?
Clicking on any question in your feed or search results will open answers submitted by other members, where you can add your own question details, add a comment or even flag a question that may not be appropriate. Quora also provides a comprehensive help page for submitting good answers to the website.
In all cases, a good answer should be truthful, authentic, correct and responding directly to the question, as describes by the service. Quora also encourages members to support their answers with outside sources of data or other research, and to keep answers concise and clearly formatted.
As we have reached the fag end of this blog, I hope by now you are more or less well versed with Quora and probably thinking about using it for your own business. If you have questions, you now know whom to ask!