Online marketing strategies and tactics are always evolving as new sites and tools are introduced to marketers. One of the newer kids on the block is the question-and-answer engine Quora. This platform can be a powerful tool for people to find knowledgeable experts in their respective fields.

The site has grown from primarily early adopters of new technology to early majority users with a broader range of questions. The larger user base and more diverse audience mean marketers are trying to figure out how to use Quora to bring in new business.

Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest are pretty well-known for their traffic generation benefits, but what can Quora do to help your company get more business? It’s not like social networking sites where you can post updates with links to your audience’s feed. The value of Quora lies in the quality answers you can provide to the community.

By providing well thought out answers on Quora, you can do three things to help bring your company business: position yourself as a leader in a specific topic, increase your company’s search engine optimization, and identify potential leads. These three reasons are why marketers and companies should dedicate some quality time to Quora. 

Establish Yourself as a Topic Thought Leader

This is the most important way Quora can help your company land sales leads. Everyone wants to work with the best. People trust those who are trusted by many others. So it won’t help your company if you rush to leave a brief, casual answer to a given question on Quora. It offers little benefit  to the community. Take enough time to think through your answer, cite examples when necessary, and make readers think, “Wow, that’s a great answer!” These types of answers are what will garner you votes and notoriety in your chosen topic.

Be sure to carefully choose what topics you focus on. Answering questions on Quora can be time consuming. You want to make sure that you’re spending your time on the most appropriate topics that could translate to potential business. If visitors start to continually see your name at the top of the answer threads in your field, your reputation and opportunities for sales will increase.

Increase Search Engine Visibility

In a previous article on Insights, we outlined how SEO and social are colliding. Social activity is showing up in our search engine results, and Quora is no different. Because Quora is a Q&A engine, people are already asking inquiries that are similar, if not exactly the same as web searches. Search engines can crawl Quora’s content, find these questions, and add them to your search results.

Keep in mind, that Google’s Panda update has put a renewed focus on high-quality content. Google is looking for trustworthy, engaged, and reputable information. This aligns well with the content you’ll be creating on Quora. As you can see from the image above, if we type the question, “Have you ever used Sprout Social?” in Google, we see a Quora result ranking first in the search engine results. Quora is a reputable domain name, therefore users are likely to click on the Quora link.

Find People Who Need Your Help

If people are asking questions, they need help. They’re looking for answers. And while Quora might help satisfy some of their questions, that doesn’t mean they’ve become experts. Why not follow up with them and reach out personally?

But be very tactful with this approach. There are a lot of black-hat marketers out there who habitually spam Quora, and the community hates this. Do not leave sparse answers with links back to your own blog and then message a user for business. This will do more harm to your reputation than good.

People want to read the content on Quora. The Quora community gets very upset when sleazy marketers just link out to their sites. If you do this, it could ruin your reputation. But if you respectfully approach someone after you’ve carefully answered his or her question on a Quora thread, you have the opportunity to continue a relationship with that person.

Do Not Half-Ass Quora!

The largest takeaway from these tactics is that you must start with the highest quality content possible. None of these tactics will be successful if your content is not great. Don’t waste your time if you’re just answering questions casually. Sure, you can answer “How Can I Get More Blog Readers?” with a quick reply like, “You can promote a blog through Facebook and Twitter.”  But that’s not going to blow anyone away and assure them that you are the very best resource for blogging. Make your answers count!

Quora is a great tool with intriguing prospects for marketers. It can build your reputation, increase SEO visibility, and help you find people who might need your product or service.  But be sure that you take the time to give thoughtful answers. If you don’t have that time (or the absolute best content), make sure that you do, before considering Quora as part of your social media marketing mix.

[Image credits: Marco BelluciNASAblueshift, CollegeDegrees360, inazakira]