On January 31, 2013, LinkedIn's popular (or maybe not so popular?) Q&A tool met its untimely end. We loved the Answers feature for a number of reasons, but mainly for its value in generating customer referrals and high-value leads for social brands.
But LinkedIn Answers’ demise could become Quora’s gain. Sure, LinkedIn had the numbers—200 million members, to be exact—but Quora has grown more than 350 percent through 2011, boasting 150 million visitors as of July 2012.
Here are three key ways your company can utilize Quora for better lead generation and valuable customer referrals:
1. Establish Yourself as an Expert
This is something you should do on any Q&A site. But Quora has a cool feature that lets you set up a different bio for each topic you follow. For example, if you’re following a referral-marketing topic, you might include a link to either a helpful blog that you write content for, or your referral program’s landing page.
Quora uses a more diverse search feature for finding topics as well. It helps you look for answers in a more targeted way and analyze what types of questions your customers have. The benefits are two-fold: you can provide valuable content for potential customers and gain insights into who your target market actually is.
2. Leverage Quora’s Robust Analytics
On Quora you can see how many people viewed your answer and, more importantly, the profiles of the people who are following the question. That means you can reach out to followers personally and engage them with targeted offers. Doing so will not only keep them happy, but also drive them to important landing pages that will get that sale.
Quora also allows for easy sharing to social networks like Facebook and Twitter. Sharing your expert answers will get more exposure for your brand and help you build a reputation for thought leadership in your niche.
3. Build Valuable Trackbacks for SEO
Whenever someone links to your site or blog, Quora sends a trackback to help build SEO—which is pretty rare for Q&A forums. This doesn’t mean you should spam your answers with obvious marketing tricks. But using Quora honestly could help improve your search rankings. And Quora’s results are popping up more and more in Google searches now, making it an excellent SEO tool in addition to being a strong forum for engagement.
One final note: Quora is a community-driven site, which means its users aren’t looking to be marketed to; they’re looking for answers. When leveraging Quora’s trackback utility, make sure you’re providing value for the people using the site. You don’t want to get a reputation for hawking your brand; that’s just bad business for everyone involved.
Have you been using Quora? How has it helped your brand?