I’m sure as marketers many of you have probably heard of Quora. If not, you’re gonna hear more about this little Q&A site in the months to come. Some of you may have stumbled upon an erudite explanation of mundane questions you’d always wondered about (here's an example), which then may have led to your wondering why and how does Quora matter to you professionally.
And, then you'd have questioned its use for business.
Before we get into why Quora could be important for your business, here’s a two-minute primer on Quora, for those of you wondering what I’m talking about.
Quora is to information networks what Facebook is to social networks.
Let me explain. Sites like Facebook and LinkedIn (I work there) are focused on the relationship networks that bind us. Sites like Twitter, Quora and Yahoo!Answers are focused on the information we possess and share among those networks.
On Quora, what you know is more important than who you know.
So, for an information network, organizing all this random information is a pretty monumental task. Twitter still hasn't figured out how to do all of that, but Quora is built from the ground up to organize this info along related topics and categories.
Once organized, it not only massively scales to potentially any topic on the planet but also think of it as Wikipedia, just bigger and potentially covering the long-tail of topics. In particular, I think this post by Semil Shah on Quora as a wedge product that could drive growth in many industries nails it.
But I believe this initial activity is just Quora’s thin edge of the wedge. The first arena the site has been successful in altering slightly is the concept of network blogging, all of which has been well documented by others—many times over.
As the product matures and as contributors, consumers, and search engines crawl across the site looking for structured content, Quora could be slightly reorganized and positioned in a variety of new ways to challenge existing Internet products and services, many of which today are themselves large, multi-million dollar businesses. In no particular order, here is a list of markets where Quora could offer an alternative, leading all the way to the other edge---the thick edge---search.
So, why should your business be on Quora? For starters, search. Currently, Quora hasn’t scaled well enough for it to be a no-brainer for your business, but it may soon be in the same way that businesses slowly started getting Twitter's value.
Now, even if you'd like your company to be on Quora, they'd rather not. They just recently banned Mashable's account. I guess this could be more of a reflection of their priorities today and less of a disinterest to support organizations. Only time will tell.
Alternatively, I'd be surprised if they'd rather brands use company ambassadors (as David Armano mentioned recently) respond on behalf of brands instead of creating separate brand IDs. A more elegant and authentic solution, in my opinion.
For Businesses: To Quora, or Not to Quora?
Since I started using Quora more aggressively, its potential benefits are pretty obvious to me as a blogger who writes about marketing. But I’m sure all of us will get to wondering if Quora is of any use for the companies we work for?
The answer to that is: Maybe. If your team (copywriters, customer service, etc.) or your company (Zappos, Sears, Best Buy, etc.) are in the information business and shares unique information about their brand regularly (like on a blog for example), Quora may be a better place to do that than the 140 characters on Twitter.
That said, since Quora doesn't encourage businesses having a Quora account today, I'd instead urge you to give it a shot and let me know what you think.
And if you’re wondering how to get started on Quora, here’s a post I wrote that walks you through the five stages of Quora adoption. And here’s why I don’t buy the contrarian viewpoint that Quora is hyped.
Leave a comment on your specific Quora experience. Do you think it’ll help your business?