Quora is a rapidly growing Q&A social network. Essentially, it’s a human powered Google.
Just like any other social network, the community has its own nuances, style and language. It’s a network comprised mostly of people who are genuinely curious and intelligent and are looking to engage in interesting discussions.
There are all sorts of topics, questions and answers ranging from startups to philosophy to hip-hop.
The site allows users to follow certain topics, questions and individuals, so while there is an enormous amount of diversity on the site, no two individuals’ feeds look the same.
All of this can be a bit intimidating and difficult to digest initially, but just remember that in the early days of Twitter there was a ton of confusion around that as well, and still is. As a matter of fact, if you Google “How to use”, How to use Twitter is the most common search.
So, it goes without saying that all social networks have a bit of an onboarding process, and I hope I this post not only serves as a starting point to understanding Quora, but also to demonstrate how you can effectively engage with big time, influential figures on the Quora platform and ultimately stir up some lively conversations around your answers questions.
The best way to get your feet wet with Quora is to spend some time internalizing what others are doing on the site. It can be a lot to take in at first and a bit intimidating, but it’s a very welcoming community. You’ll quickly notice that the answers that earn the most attention are both detailed and thoughtful. The most popular answers aren’t self-promotional, nor are they spammy.
Quora provides a space alongside your name where you can describe yourself/occupation/business, and I believe that since that space is there it does a good job of allowing people to write great content while having their signature in a highly visible spot so it disregards the need to self-promote.
In addition to just writing compelling content, it’s extremely important to take note of a few things before you go about spending a lot of time and resources answering a question remember this.
So, what are these key takeaways? Let’s start with the basics.
Quora grants each user 500 credits when they sign up, and credits can be earned when you submit quality content that receives votes from the community. These credits can then be used to promote an answer or question that you have to other people on Quora which increases your chances of receiving more interactions and therefore creating more of a “ripple effect” as each new up vote you earn means more people see your content.
But, since credits are earned and can be used up fairly quickly, it’s important to be observant of other ways to promote your posts. In order to do this, you must understand which posts are “active” and which posts are “dead”.
Active posts will likely have just been submitted, promoted, voted up or answered. This means that people expressed recent interest in the post and therefore is more likely to spark an interesting discussion. Also, people can “follow” questions, so it’s equally as important to note if a question has followers or not. The more followers the better as your answer will automatically notify the individuals who are following the post and it will increase your chances of gaining more views and votes.
Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s talk about a few ways to not only create engagement around your posts, but to attract influential figures into the conversation.
A few months back I answered a question on Quora that broke every rule I stated above. The post was dead and no one was following it. However, I decided to include a quote from Aaron Ginn who’s a respected authority in the growth niche and he ended up sharing it on Twitter and then the votes started pouring in, including other influential individuals in the startup and growth community such as Sean Ellis and Dave McClure.
Of course there are posts with thousands of votes, but achieving that kind of reaction is rare. You need to really combine a lot of the value I’ve mentioned in this post as well as a bit of luck. If you continue to produce high quality content and look for active, engaging posts, I’m confident that your answers will receive a lot more attention than simply half-baked writing answers for the sake of it.
Ever since then, I’ve made sure to not only mention people with influence in my posts but to also compliment them to encourage a vote, which then broadcasts my answer to all of their followers on Quora. Now, before you go mentioning everyone on Quora with a large follower base, make sure that you have a good reason for doing so. Whenever I do this I am genuinely complimenting the individual and referencing them because it adds value to the post.
Also, even if you follow all these rules, it’s absolutely crucial that you answer questions that you are familiar with, interested in and actually enjoy writing about. Don’t try to create an entirely new persona just to you can get a few votes.
- Quora is a valuable way to share content, learn from others and connect with influencers in a more meaningful way than other social networks.
- Take some time to learn the language and community of Quora
- DO NOT self-promote
- Long, detailed and helpful answers are the only answers that matter
- Be mindful of what posts are “active” and which ones are “dead”
- Get creative with mentioning influencers in your posts and keep it relevant