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Should I Care About Quora?

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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?

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Mario Sundar has over five years experience in leadership roles both in Marketing as well as in Software Development. Mario currently works at LinkedIn, the World’s largest online professional network, as Community Evangelist. Prior to that, he helped develop & manage marketing initiatives for Fortune 50 high-tech brands. Mario is also on the board of the American Marketing Association (Silicon Valley Chapter).

In May 2006, Mario launched his marketing blog where he discusses customer evangelism, community marketing and social media strategy. Ranked as one of the fastest growing Wordpress blogs in July 06, “Marketing Nirvana” continues to expand its readership each week. The blog currently (as of 04/07) has a Technorati Rank of 7,113 and an Alexa Ranking of 142,830.

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  • by Ken Jansen Wed Jan 26, 2011 via blog

    Nice article Mario. You have convinced me. :) I will give Quora a shot this week and see how I like it.

    Thank you.

  • by Roy Young Wed Jan 26, 2011 via blog

    As Mario says, Quora is definitely something to actively consider. The Q&A space has been recognized by many for some time. is widely used. Yahoo Answers works, while Google Answers did not. MarketingProfs Know-How Exchange (Forum) has worked well since 2004. Quora's advantage might be the link to FaceBook. The wide exposure due to the network of the users may be a game changer.

  • by Claire Wagner Wed Jan 26, 2011 via blog

    Same here. This is the best overview I've seen, and I appreciate the link to your "how to" post.

  • by Kellye Crane Wed Jan 26, 2011 via blog

    Good arguments here, Mario. Perhaps I'm mentioning the elephant in the room, but I find it intriguing that LinkedIn's "social media guy" is so pro-Quora. When would you recommend using LinkedIn Answers vs. Quora? Thanks in advance!

  • by Kevin Horne Wed Jan 26, 2011 via blog

    Great - one more shiny toy to distract marketers. Won't take long before companies try and game this one - seed questions that your "brand" can be the expert to answer. For gaming examples, see Digg.

    I could see how a one-person shop (IT consultant, marketing consultant, etc.) would be tempted to build credibility here by answering questions in his or her lane of expertise. But good luck with that - Quora is an infinite pond, with millions of fish who seem to have a lot of time on their hands bouncing all day long from TechCrunch to Mashable to Twitter to Facebook to (now) Quora.

    All in the hopes of rising a couple spots in organic search...

  • by Jeff Woelker Wed Jan 26, 2011 via blog

    Thanks for the overview. My question from either a B-to-C or B-to-B perspective is why should I use Quora and not my own website? For instance, if I can identify the topics I want to post on Quora, why wouldn't I just post those on my own website to generate my own long tail content? Why would I give this information away to another website, merely to show off my expertise? Let's use a real world example. If I'm a steel manufacturer and I know everything there is to know about smelting, iron ore processing, melting points, etc. Why do I want to post that information on Quora and not post it on It seems like I can boost my own authority in the industry, as well as help my users answer their questions, and most certainly in the eyes of Google and other content aggregators, I look like I'm making a serious effort to improve the overall breadth and depth of my content. I appreciate the efforts Quora is taking to categorize all of the worlds information, but why? It seems like if I have the knowledge, expertise, writing ability, and gusto - why don't I just go put this information on my own website?

  • by Cara Pring Wed Jan 26, 2011 via blog

    It's interesting that Mashable's account was banned - I had not heard about that, but I can see why they would do such a thing. I think at this stage Quora is much better for building your personal brand (and fostering thought leadership) rather than promoting a company. That being said, as you have mentioned in a lot of cases if you build the personal brand of a high-profile employee at your company there will be flow-on effects to your business.

    I recently wrote a post on Quora and why you need to be involved for my website - if you're interested in checking it out you can find it here: I've certainly found it to be useful to build connections and increase my Twitter following so far. I expect big things for this one!

    Thanks for the post
    Cara :)

  • by Elaine Fogel Wed Jan 26, 2011 via blog

    Roy may be right. Quora appears to be a force to reckon with, even at seven-months-old and growing. From my perspective, the advantages include building SEO, brand reputation, thought leadership, and community relationships. For those who can't always afford to hire "experts" when they have burning business questions, Quora can make a decent space to find the answers. It'll be interesting to see what happens when it reaches its viral "tipping point" - and if the model is sustainable.

  • by mack collier Thu Jan 27, 2011 via blog

    Very astute question, Ms. Crane, because in my VERY limited time with Quora, it seemed to be very similar in functionality to LinkedIn's Q&A section.

  • by Jason Konopinski Thu Jan 27, 2011 via blog

    I'll disagree on a single point - that Quora is about 'what you know'. In my limited experience in browsing the site and active participants, the questions that they are answering aren't really, well, answerable. They are theoretical and analytic answers about forecasting trends, etc. The reward is for a well-argued position rather than a correct answer.

  • by Greg Taylor Thu Jan 27, 2011 via blog

    I care for one reason only - it's a place where my market and my audience goes to get answers. It's an easy way for me to see what issues are hot to CMO's and other Marketing Executives.

    Recent post:

    Thanks for bringing this topic up and opening up a discussion.

  • by Mario Sundar Tue Apr 17, 2012 via blog

    Thanks for sharing! Glad to see there are others investing in newer sites like Quora.

  • by Mario Sundar Tue Apr 17, 2012 via blog

    Great question. I think it's always better to create and generate content on your own blog. Sites like Quora though, do a terrific job of directing your posts to the right audience automatically.

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