What Is Quora?
Quora is a question-based social network that enables users to ask, answer and moderate questions on broad topics down to very specific questions. Think of it like a Wikipedia meets Yahoo Answers plus LinkedIn multiplied by Facebook. In fact, Quora was started by two former Facebook employees, who decided to branch out and build their own network. Made public in June 2010, the social network has seen steady growth in user subscription, getting past 500,000 users as of January this year.
Quora allows users to:
- Ask questions.
- Comment on questions (either asking for clarification, adding to the question or simply expressing an interest to know the answer as well).
- Answer questions.
- Vote for answers (great responses are voted on by the community, elevating the ranking of the answer, pushing it to the top of the answers list, with poorly answer questions left at the bottom to fade into the digital abyss).
- Follow topics, questions and other users (allowing the user to keep track of new responses to the questions they are interested in).
Business and Brand Management
So, what benefit does Quora provide a business owner looking to branch into more social networks?
Quora provides a platform for someone managing a business or a brand to monitor sentiment and discussion related to their brand or industry. With an easy to use search function, questions can be found by topic, allowing the respondent to find questions related to their field of interest and expertise. Quora’s answering system also provides the opportunity to build ideas and answers infused with historical and emotional content. Imagine asking a question about a particular brand’s journey and approach to business and getting a response from a representative of that brand (i.e. you!) laden with personal experiences. A great example is for the question “What Is The History of Instagram?” with the top answer being provided by the CEO himself, Kevin Systrom. In his answer, he details not only the business processes involved in the creation of the app, but also provides some insight into the mental process he went through (eg. deciding to name the app Instagram because it sounded “camera-y”). That’s not something you can get from Wikipedia.
Being active in Quora, answering questions using your knowledge of the industry and enagaging with other users will also improve your reputation and the trust confided in you by other users. You can become the go-to person to field questions related to your business or brand, providing a personal and honest response to questions. This is much better than leaving it in someone else’s hands, especially someone who may be your competitor.
It’s not all just about you, your brand and business though. Quora is a goldmine for knowledgeable and engaged people, all willing to share and develop knowledge on Quora. It provides an excellent networking platform where you can find other experts in the industry to discuss new ideas with. Leverage that network to pursue growth and learning, developing your knowledge of the industry and obtaining a perspective from a professional in another city, state or country.
Got any questions about the industry? Simply ask and watch as the answers roll in. Be prepared to receive some that may not be of the greatest quality, but also expect some fantastic answers from experienced professionals too. Quora is a great place to crowd-source your knowledge, letting others fill in knowledge gaps where you may be lacking.
At the moment, the interface needs a lot of work (I’m a design junkie), but otherwise is quite stable, with a solid user base. The voting system for answers is quite simple and for the most part, it is quite easy to keep track of discussions and general topics of interest. Definitely worth signing up to and tinkering with!