In kindergarten, we were taught to raise our hands if we have a question. We had to wait our turn to be called on to ask our question. As adults, we turn to the search engines such as ask.com and Google for answers to our questions. They provide us with answers through algorithms that determine what websites provide the best information related to the questions we ask.
While a computer has beat out a human on jeopardy, the world isn’t quite ready to rely on computers for all of the answers. We still want that touch of human.
Over the last few months a new social network has started to gain popularity, Quora. It is not a social network that will replace Twitter or Facebook, but Quora is a tool that will help companies in a variety of industries and people around the world get the answers they’re looking for, from fellow humans.
The Basics of Quora
Quora is a social network that allows people to ask questions. It’s as simple and as difficult as that. Other Quora users have the ability to answer those questions and create discussions based on the original question.
The topics on Quora range from “Day tours in Portland?” to “How many employees does Mozilla have?”. There are a wide variety of industries featured on Quora and you can pick the specific ones you want to follow.
When you sign-up, you have the ability to choose exactly which topics you want to follow on Quora. If you have your email notifications turned on, you’ll get an email when there are new questions in those topics.
Quora is one tool that serves a number of purposes.
Quora as a Learning Tool
If you are new to an industry or looking to learn more about a specific industry, it is easy to spend a few hours browsing the Quora database. With new questions being added each day Quora is a place that can jumpstart your learning just by looking around.
Through human’s answering questions, you will start to learn more and more with each question you read. Other members of the website have the ability to vote an answer up or down. As you look through some of the answers, pay attention to which ones have more votes.
If you don’t find an answer to the question you have, don’t wait to be called on… ask it!
Quora as a Branding Tool
Not only is Quora a tool to learn with, it’s a tool to help your company with it’s branding. Encouraging other employees at your company to sign up for a Quora account creates brand awareness on the social network and shows a new level of customer support.
Hubspot is a perfect example of expanding their brand through Quora. Someone asked the question:
“Does HubSpot completely follow Inbound marketing or has it mixed some outbound marketing in its campaigns?”
Hubspot’s founder, Dharmesh Shah, jumped in on the conversation and gave an answer. Following his answer, other HubSpot employees joined in as well.
Seeing a topic like this show up as a suggest topic on other members profiles promotes Hubspot’s name. As users click farther into the question they see the founder engaged in the conversation. These days customer service is all about quick responses.
Hubspot has a variety of questions already asked and answered about them. Have you thought about engaging your potential customers in a question and answer session?
Quora as an Idea Tool
As a blogger, Quora is a place where I go to find out what people want to know. There is a good chance that people are asking questions on Quora because they didn’t find the answers they were looking for anywhere else. By knowing what questions people want detailed answers to, bloggers can spend some time on Quora and move onto creating a new blog entry based on the topics they find.
If you are a company looking for the step ahead in your industry with a website redesign, Quora can also help you get a head start. As you start planning your website content, spend some time on Quora. By looking through the topics in your industry, you have the chance to see what people want to know. It’s possible that the question you thought everyone was answering, never got answered. Use this as a basis of your website redesign.
Quora as a Social Network
Quora is slowly building a community around their question and answer application. As you vote answers up, you are giving credit to Quora users. This is earning fellow Quora users respect among the community.
Each industry has a respected set of users off of Quora, but new leaders are beginning to grow within this social network.
Don’t wait for someone to call on you before asking your question. As Quora evolves over the next few months, it will be creating a database filled with thousands of questions, ask yours today.