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Quora for Marketers: an Exercise in Building Community

Social media marketers – let’s take a deep breath, step back for a minute, and remember what social media is in its purest form: a way for us to be social! Too often, we apply statistical analysis and sales tactics to our social behavior, and end up chasing away the organic communities to which we’ve sought entrance. We should be creating great content and nurturing communities first, and counting “Likes” second. Let’s look to Quora for some examples of how to return to our roots.

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Quora’s question-and-answer structure and upvoting algorithm allow for a unique opportunity: to be a part of a knowledgeable, insightful, and entertaining community that rewards curiosity and expertise side-by-side. And while decision-makers might stop by Quora for answers, they’ll be highly resentful of obvious marketing overtures. With that in mind, here are a few ideas to take home:

1. If you’re part of a larger organization, think about which team member or members you want as contributors. Don’t send the wrong message by having a VP of sales or marketing as your sole user. Loop someone in who can share some technical knowledge, or can be an expert in some contingent areas.

2. Don’t have your Quora users only subscribe to the most relevant topics. While they should align themselves with your organization, they’ll have more credibility if they have other interests and areas of expertise, and they’ll cast a wider net.

3. Don’t ask terrible leading questions that reek of self-promotion. Just don’t. Please? Let’s generate a discussion, not go fishing for Salesforce leads. Community members can smell a sales pitch from a mile away.

4. Don’t hesitate to rely on personal experiences. People want relatable answers, not perfect ones. Give an example, crack a joke, drop an anecdote in there. Remind them that there’s an actual human being behind the keyboard. Be social!

 Now, all this isn’t to say that there’s something wrong with what you’re doing. We run into incredibly savvy social media marketers every day! Just a quick reminder that social media can be as simple as a simple question or an honest answer.


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