A few years ago, we surveyed most of our clients. We wanted to do a recap of a certain year and see what we could do better. Some of the standard questions revolved around our key services, what are the things we do best and where we fail the most.
But we also wanted to learn where they spend their time online.
I had expected some unique revelation about secret Facebook groups, LinkedIn communities, blue-chip forums and mastermind groups. It would have been a good target for joining in and meeting other entrepreneurs, discussing business problems, or prospecting.
Many people were mainly busy with their own work tasks or projects. These could be short jobs that take a few days or big projects that last months. They often work alone or with their team to get these tasks done.
Talking to people they trust is another big part of their day. This could be close friends at work, mentors, or their own team members. These chats help them get new ideas, solve problems, or just stay connected.
So, in simple terms, their day is a mix of doing their job, learning from trusted sources, and talking to people they know and trust.
There are only a few online communities for entrepreneurs or CEOs.
If you’re reading Entrepreneur, Inc., Forbes, HuffPost, or any other website that entrepreneurs and business owners read occasionally, they don’t have public communities for their followers. No forums or Slack groups for everyone interested in joining. No actively maintained groups across social networks.
Quora.com is one of the very few places that seem to question one’s experience and happens to gather various business owners and managers around. There are 3 main reasons why.
- Quora presents targeted questions
- Quora enables learning and sharing
- Lastly, Quora brings validation
Let’s discuss each of these reasons further.
Quora Presents Targeted Questions
Questions on Quora.com may be widely generic or incredibly narrow. People have different preferences; some prefer to approach philosophical theories while others are laser-focused on specific problems. This brings the best of all worlds and there’s plenty of room for everyone.
Blogging about a very specific problem in 200 words isn’t really news-worthy. Failing to cover the complete context of a generic answer leads to follow-up questions and different perspectives which may be extremely valuable (except for trolling).
As a CEO, I have connected with like-minded people and follow other CEOs who tend to spend some time on Quora.com themselves. I’ve learned a lot and I’ve forced myself to do some research before posting on some intriguing topics in order to build a more complete picture for readers. The larger traffic has led to more opinions and feedback which has taught me a lot as well.
I don’t see an equally valuable community with as many CEOs with different points of view (and such diverse experience) which would be worth my time more than Quora at this point in time.
Quora Enables Learning and Sharing
I spend half of my time around reading and digesting new information. I fill up the gaps in fields where my experience is limited (branding, PR, outbound sales, time management). I’m curious to learn from others who are tasked with similar responsibilities to mine.
I’m also happy to share my insights and experiences with others who may benefit from that knowledge. Having numerous answers to the same question is great. You can explore different perspectives and see how people think at a certain point in time.
It’s always intriguing to read how solopreneurs approach a problem, what SMB owners see as feasible, or what works for others running $10M-$100M+ businesses. Often times, processes evolve as a business grows.
Quora Brings Validation
In addition to learning and sharing, there’s the community aspect combined with the solid traffic that Quora.com gets. Blogs don’t get the same traffic and attention if you want to share your thoughts without spending years and actively promoting your blog. Comments are also not as common as they were 5–7 years ago.
Blogs and magazines are often perceived to be one-sided publications. Readers don’t expect to spark a conversation or bring a new perspective that could be challenged. Quora is different as everyone is free to post an answer placed along with others’ opinions.
Now, if you are a company founder or business owner who needs more convincing before deciding to sign up on Quora, check out these top 9 uses of Quora for business owners.
1. Lead Generation
Generating additional traffic and potential sales for a startup product is not unlikely. Some popular Quorans have reported the platform to be a reliable source of leads. Unless you are over-promotional, direct results are also possible.
Quora is a great place to build partnerships, find service providers, hire employees. As a vivid community, people tend to be open and communicate proactively. It’s easy to study one’s behavior, habits, and perspectives of life through their existing answers.
Some users solely use Quora as a source of reading. If they have followed you and you know them personally (or just feel like following back out of courtesy), that can happen. They may as well decide to start answering soon.
Also, when you sign up, you can connect your social media accounts and follow the people in your Facebook/Twitter circles. This is one of the most common ways to get a new user signing up to a hundred followers for starters.
3. Content Marketing
My most effective content marketing approach is hanging out on Quora.com a few days a week. The variety of questions is crazy and I can share tips or stories based on what happened throughout the day/week, though I’ve shared other practical tips in the piece as well.
But unless you run a popular blog nurtured for years, chances are that Quora will give your content additional exposure. CEOs can share their ideas in a natural way, seamlessly and non-intrusively. It helps in receiving candid feedback and improving your writing skills as well.
4. Building a Community
Building a personal brand is important for most experts out there. Business owners are in charge of their business and Quora.com is a natural platform that could bridge the gap between anonymous readers and the startup team.
There is a feature on Quora called “Spaces” which you can take advantage of. Check below and find some existing Spaces on Quora.
Basically, Spaces is a platform that allows Quora users to create or join communities based on shared interests. You may look for communities that you are interested in and search within these “Spaces” for answers to your questions on certain topics, or to engage with existing answers, and even ask some yourself.
5. Learning From Others
Business owners have to deal with product development, startup strategies, marketing, sales, scaling a team, recruitment, investment — you name it. Unless they have been building businesses for 30 years, there’s a lot they need to study. Quora’s database of invaluable questions is vast, and so is the pool of opinions shared across those relevant questions.
6. Reality Check
Quora acts as a virtual round table. While you may be confident that a given strategy works best, you may very well receive a contrarian opinion or read an answer that works better in different cases. It’s a great way to validate your ideas and receive constructive feedback every now and then.
7. Additional Exposure
Answers are occasionally sent through Quora’s newsletters. Your answer could be broadcasted to thousands or even hundreds of thousands of people who are targeted based on their interests and interactions with the platform. Moreover, dozens of answers get republished to major media outlets every couple of weeks.
But aside from the possibility of getting your Answers shared across different media outlets besides Quora, the ability to build your profile and provide as much information about you and the work that you do for those whose interests you captured from one or two of your answers can be highly beneficial for your brand and social media presence.
8. Organic Ranking
Many Quorans have joined the platform after repetitively seeing relevant questions ranking among the first results of their search query in Google. Quora ranks extremely well for tons of search terms and your content may naturally reach your target audience.
Most people just hang out on Quora because of its home feed, the email digest, and the top answers across each and every topic. Questions containing dozens or 100+ answers are also structured in a sensible manner thanks to an algorithm sorting the answers based on different criteria (number of views, upvotes, previous activity from the author in this topic and many more).
9. Repurposing Content
Quora’s content policy is fairly liberal. You are free to republish your content on LinkedIn, Medium, your blog, or somewhere else.
Some Quorans have written books that aggregate their answers on a given topic. In fact, I was one of those who were able to put together my Quora answers and produce an entrepreneurship book that is now up for grabs on Amazon.com: 126 Steps to Becoming a Successful Entrepreneur: The Entrepreneurship Fad and the Dark Side of Going Solo eBook: Mario Peshev: Kindle Store
Over the years, Quora has served as my content marketing hub – my go-to resource for the blogs I write on the web or for my speaking engagements. I only need to gather my previous answers on Quora relevant to the topics at hand to be able to have content for my writing or speaking engagements.
Sourcing relevant questions that your audience would love to learn more about is another perk of using Quora.
Realistically speaking, what are the alternatives for most business owners? Local conferences and meetups are not always productive. Hanging out on Facebook is often a waste of time. The amount of spam and noise on LinkedIn or Twitter is unbearable. Reading media sources doesn’t spark discussions.
Quora brings the best of both worlds and creates an active ecosystem that’s welcoming for diverse groups — startup CEOs included.
Building a better personal brand, selling, networking with others, coming up with strategic ideas for content or innovation are just some of the things that could be planned on the roadmap with Quora for business purposes.
All of those are legit. Quora has some unquestionable benefits for people who spend a lot of time around. But so does any other activity when people invest a ton of time and grow their own community.
Are You Finally Signing Up On Quora?
Here are just a few reminders to help you guarantee a worthwhile Quora experience.
The most common problem that I see several times a day is treating Quora like Facebook or Twitter – Just browsing a couple of dozen questions and look at the answers at the bottom – including the collapsed ones.
These short answers that could easily fit in a tweet are informal, thoughtless, brief and non-productive comments that simply distract readers from receiving any valuable insight whatsoever.
Hence, I have two actionable pieces of advice for new Quora users:
- Don’t answer questions that you can’t contribute to. If you don’t have expertise in the field or simply don’t bring any value to the conversation, avoid jumping in.
- Whenever you have something to say, elaborate on your answer. Include a personal story that is relevant. Share your corresponding experience. State your background that sheds some light on your perspective.
As long as you’re answering the questions you can actually contribute to and bring value to the conversation, you’re good to go.
If you want to know more about how I leverage Quora for business, check Quora: 1 Year and 1 Million Answer Views out next.