Quora – Answer Questions & Build Trust

Posted by Justin Rondeau | Posted in Advice, Networking, Small Business, Social Media | Posted on Aug 26, 2011

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It is just as hard to Ask a Question as it is to Answer One

I think people really forget that social networks were not pioneered by sites like Myspace, Facebook, or Twitter but through online forums and chat rooms.  I have fond memories of spending my time in topic based chat rooms and scrounging through forums answering questions and adding to the group’s discourse. If you are overlooking relevant forums with your digital marketing efforts you are missing some major opportunities.

Here are 3 ways forums and Q/A sites can help your marketing efforts:

1. Makes you an authority

By answering people’s questions with relevant and accurate answers you will begin to build yourself up as an authority figure in that subject. This is a great way to separate your company from your competition. The better your answers, the better the response. On Quora your answers can be up voted, and having a top answer is a huge deal.

How often do you have a question about something and your friend snarkily remarks ‘Google it’? Well when you ask your question in Google, the most relevant information comes up. If you built yourself up an an authority and your site comes up in the search, people are more likely to click your site because you are a trusted source.

2. Increases Site Traffic/back links

If you ad quality content on the forum, and you think your website could pose an even better solution, toss a link to your site into your comment.  Make sure to fully disclose that you are an employee of the company or the webmaster of the site.  Also, don’t just post a link to your site! Make sure to actually add to the discussion, forums have moderators and your post will be deleted and you could also be banned.

3. Increases brand awareness

Now that you are an authority on a topic, your brand will be known for more than just its great products and services. For the longest time I actually didn’t know what Hubspot did as a company. I followed their blog, subscribed to their RSS feed, and even used their web tools. It wasn’t until months after reading their posts and utilizing their tools that I realized they were a marketing agency. I just used them as a trusted resource for marketing topics. If I were ever in the market for inbound marketing tools or or automation applications (which I am not, very happy with our Infusionsoft suite), my decision to use the Hubspot tool would have been greatly influenced by all the work they did building their brand up as an authority. Granted we didn’t convert to their tools, but they get a huge referral whenever I am discussing marketing techniques.

My Two Cents

Overall, you need to look past the major social channels and really start to get your hands dirty on forums. I know that forums don’t have a refined look to them, and joining a community can be intimidating! Just remember, if you are passionate about your industry you will always have something of value to add to the community.

Do you use sites like Yahoo Answers, Quora, or belong to any forums?

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