Quora, the new social question-and-answer community, has definitely been in the limelight lately. From predictions that the site will overtake Twitter, to rumors that the startup rejected a $1 billion acquisition offer, buzz about Quora just keeps coming. Out of all the hype, one thing is for sure: Co-founders and former Facebook employees Adam D'Angelo and Charlie Cheever have been successful in building a smarter Q&A site while also attracting an elite user base. Where else can you go get your questions answered by Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz or former AOL chairman Steve Case?
Here's an easy guide for getting started on Quora today.
Follow questions, topics, and people that interest you
Quora allows you to follow topics and questions in addition to people. Before jumping straight into the conversation, browse relevant topics, questions, and people to get a feel for the community. See what types of questions are already out there, and who's contributing to the discussion (this will also help you find thought leaders to follow).
Listen to what your customers are saying
Use Quora to listen to what your current and potential customers are saying about your brand. Start by searching for your company. If it's already a topic, follow it, and if not, follow any questions that mention your brand. Take note of common themes in discussions -- are customers looking for more information, reviewing your products or service, or sharing positive or negative experiences? Are you seeing the same types of questions being asked? If so, use these insights to modify your marketing messages for added clarity.
Keep tabs on your competition
Don't forget to also follow your competitors to stay updated on what they are up to. Which of your competitors are generating the most questions and answers? How is your brand being compared to your competition within questions? For example, while researching social media monitoring tools, I stumbled upon the question: "What is the best social media monitoring tool and why?" and found detailed answers comparing several top vendors.
Comment on answers
Get your feet wet by commenting on others' answers to add further insights or clarity. You can also give feedback on answers. It can be something as simple as "Thanks for the informative answer -- very helpful" or "Can you please give an example?"
Answer questions to show expertise
Once you get a feel for Quora, begin answering questions to show your expertise. Feel free to leave longer responses (Quora is the perfect place for this) and make sure to cite your answers when possible.
When responding to questions and comments about your brand, make sure to disclose your connection to the company and offer a thorough and factual answer. This answer from Visible Technologies employee Jane Klausen is a good example of a brand engaging with potential customers on Quora. By providing a link to a recent webcast where the user can learn more about the tool and citing a third-party source, Klausen's answer is credible and not overly forceful.