What Is Quora?
Quora, one of the fastest-growing sites in recent memory, bills itself as "A continually improving collection of questions and answers created, edited, and organized by everyone who uses it." A startup founded by ex-Facebook employees, including former CTO Adam D'Angelo, Quora contends that "The most important thing is to have each question page become the best possible resource for someone who wants to know about the question."
At its core, Quora is a "Questions & Answers" site, joining Yahoo Answers, Ask.com, Aardvark, Stack Overflow and others in the growing constellation of Q&A sites that attempt to get your questions- esoteric or mundane - answered online. Essentially a crowd-sourcing of knowledge, this idea is not new, but Quora aims to rise to the top of the heap with its combination of a simple user interface, a prohibition on anonymity (members must use their real names), a member roster that boasts several authoritative industry experts, and allowing its users to rate, edit and comment on answers provided.
Why Does It Matter?
Leading technology blog TechCrunch charts the meteoric rise of Quora as it opened to members (no invitations required anymore) in December 2010 and the subsequent doubling of its user base in the first week of 2011.
This chart chronicles the recent growth spurt:
The blogosphere has been animatedly talking about Quora as well, as this graph shows. Well-known tech blogger Robert Scoble has been an enthusiastic proponent of the site, and heartily participates in discussions on technology, startups and blogging and more. Quora went viral over the past month, with new members inviting their friends and contacts to join the service and take part in the discussions. The result is a huge spike in membership and a broad pool of crowd-sourced knowledge.
With answers and comments that can optionally be posted on members' Twitter and Facebook accounts, it is inevitable that Quora will also become a valuable resource for companies that participate in social media monitoring and customer engagement.
Once they sign up, members can choose their areas of knowledge, and are shown questions on those areas that are posed by other members. The level of curation is high and there is virtually no spamming or trolling in spite of the tremendous growth of the site. Quora has thus engaged users with interesting topics, insightful answers from industry insiders and neophytes alike, all designed to enhance the conversational flow. Members with relevant knowledge have the incentive to build their brand by answering questions, sharing insights and posting thoughtful comments.
At Position², we foresee a rapid growth of companies and individuals participating in the relentless Q&A at Quora to build and defend their brand in the social media sphere.
How Can You Get Started?
- Establish your company's presence on Quora, clearly identifying your company's name, brands, products or services.
- Delegate a knowledgeable team empowered to promptly answer questions, provide solutions to customers and interact with the audience at large.
- Engage the Quora community with answers to questions relevant to your company or specific product/ service.
- Correct misstatements and factual errors, if any, made by members regarding your company's products and services.
- Be careful while disclosing sensitive information - ensure your company's disclosure policies are enforced.
- Seize the initiative in discussions by highlighting positive facts and reviews. This does not mean that negative sentiment can be ignored - own up to errors and lapses, and your customers will appreciate the honesty!
Very soon, our Brand Monitor™ solution will have real time data and engagement features for Quora too! Stay tuned!