Quora is the biggest online platform where you can find user-generated answers to questions about anything. People ask about work, DIY help, relationships, and personal life experiences. And there are usually people ready to give answers. This article lays out why you should pay attention to Quora, and what you need to do to build your online reputation and help to build the profile of your social enterprise. So how can you use Quora to build your reputation and grow your reach?
The Quora community is very open, which I assume is what the founders (Adam D’Angelo and Charlie Cheever) had envisioned when creating the platform. Quora’s network is largely organized and maintained by its users. This means that over time, many people have been able to build their reputation as authority voices or influencers in their industry sections on Quora, just by being active on the platform and answering questions that relate to their expertise.
Before we go ahead, you should know that the reason why Quora has been able to stay neutral and not turn into another marketing nightmare is that they are strictly against using the platform to “sell” yourself.
“Your interactions on the platform should be purely out of a need to help people.”
If you chose to answer questions by leaving links to your website, Quora will find out and send you a warning, or worse, suspend your account.
Now you’re wondering, “If I can’t promote myself, what’s the point?”
Well, the point is that Quora has a total user count of 100+ million. The platform also ranks highly on Google, which means that when you Google a question, it’s highly likely to find a Quora answer on the Search Engine Result Page (SERP), which means that the right answer to the right question can rocket to page one of Google, bringing exposure to you along with it.
As you respond to questions about your sector or related to your change project users continue to see your name pop-up with relevant answers, you begin to build a reputation, even with Google users who just landed on the Quora page. These users begin to build trust in your information. With a profile that talks to your vision, you will stay top-of-mind for them.
The first place we all go to when we need answers is Google. Business owners who are confused about certain things in your industry will naturally go to Google, and then find your answers. If your Quora answers are detailed and helpful enough, and your profile shows that you offer solutions to the hurdles they are facing, that increases the possibility that they contact you for help.
When clients are looking to buy products or services from your social enterprise, they want someone who is clearly an expert in the sector.
Your industry authority built using Quora shows potential clients that you have detailed knowledge and experience enough to share with other people. With this type of reputation, you can charge what you’re really worth because you’ve proven your value.
As your reputation grows, you also find yourself connected to industry leaders who are also helping to drive impact. You can learn from them, and build networks to grow your businesses. Many social entrepreneurs will tell you that a large chunk of their clientele comes from other people in their networks who recommended them.
We’ve outlined some of the benefits of using Quora as a freelancer. Now, here is a step-by-step guide on how to build your reputation on the platform.
With your Quora profile, more is better. It should contain a clear summary of who you are, and what you do. Don’t be afraid to highlight your credentials and some of the recognizable organizations you’ve worked with. Because the platform has no way of verifying answers before publishing, users will take your answers seriously only if they believe that you have a good understanding of the areas in which you wish to appeal. Credibility is key. Your profile picture must also be clear and professional-looking. Don’t use vague pictures; you want to come across as trustworthy.
To find questions in your niche, you will have to follow relevant topics. For example, if you are working in homelessness, a quick search on google for “quora homelessness” will lead you straight to the topic where you might choose to answer any one of 100’s of questions. You can also follow pages that interest you personally like Psychology, Entrepreneurship, etc.
Once you pick your topics of interest, Quora will automatically push questions to you for answers, based on chosen topics. You can also run searches using keywords on answers you will like to share.
There are thousands of questions being asked on Quora every day. It is impossible for you to answer every question in your industry! To get the best visibility, choose questions that have a high following, this means that people are looking forward to the answer, and you will stand to gain a lot of impressions by publishing a valid answer.
However, regardless of how much following it has, if someone else already provided a relevant answer with all the needed details, it is better to ignore the question. This is because the followers have already gained the needed information. Also, if new users find the question, they might just pay attention to the first relevant answer and move on. You should target questions that have not been answered, or have poor responses.
It is definitely quality over quantity. Don’t try to answer as many questions as possible, and risk giving sub-par efforts. Your answer should be structured like a blog post, but not necessarily as long. Include a short intro as a prelude to the answer. It can contain your reason for answering the question, which is probably personal experience or good knowledge of the field.
Use bullet points to isolate points and bold fonts for keywords. The answer should be easy-to-scan, because most Quora readers are consuming loads of content within each minute, and don’t have time to read through everything.
Your answer should be detailed enough to solve the problem in the question and then some.
You’re not allowed to drop links in your response, but you can still include your experience along with your business name. The experience section is provided so you can show why you are in a great position to answer the question. For example, if a user asks a social entrepreneurship-related question, your experience section could say something like “working with homelessness developing my social enterprise over the last 2 years”.
That way, they can be assured that you have good knowledge of the topic. It will also increase the possibility of a reader reaching out and engaging who came across the question because they need help or have an interest in the area.
Your engagement shouldn’t be one-way. Ask relevant questions just as much as you answer them. Not only does this show that you are not there for self-promotion, it also gives you the opportunity to engage with other industry experts who could become a part of your network. Relevant answers will come from relevant people, and you can choose to take your engagement further.
Just like you, there are other social entrepreneurs trying to build their online reputation and grow their reach. You can use their experiences shared on Quora to shape your own journey.
We’ve shared the benefits of using Quora to build your reputation, but just like every business owner, social entrepreneurs should not be putting all their eggs in one basket.
Building an online reputation involves leaving footprints in every relevant place that you can. To further expand your online reputation, here are some relevant platforms you can also use:
Reddit is an online platform with 170+ million users. Its features include link sharing, discussions and community building. Users can create posts that are open to being commented on, discussed, upvoted or downvoted (much like Quora). It is also big on communities, which are usually set up based on industry or personal interests.
You can use Reddit to join powerful communities of industry experts, share knowledge with potential clients and establish yourself as an industry expert. Reddit is a lot stricter than Quora and requires high-value content and contributions from you before you can gain any measure of recognition.
Snapzu is an online community where members can submit content ranging from pictures to articles, links, and videos for others to discover and engage with. Members can also join ‘tribes’ that are related to their industries. They give ‘reputation scores’ which show how well people are interacting with your content.
With Snapzu, you can share links to relevant content around your industry to increase your chances of being found by potential clients. Reputation scores are determined by relevant engagement, so comments like “LOL”, or “haha” don’t count. This goes to show that the platform isn’t just concerned about engagement, but the value of engagement.
As a refresh, here’s a summary of everything I’ve shared with you about building an online reputation with Quora to help develop your reputation and reach:
Building an online reputation doesn’t just get your name out there; it makes marketing your services easier for you. One limitation many social entrepreneurs struggle with is getting new clients. When you build yourself as an industry expert, clients start to find you instead, and you no longer have to spend hours finding and pitching yourself to those potentials clients. Quora is an important piece of the puzzle for building your online reputation.
Jen’s a passionate environmentalist and sustainability expert. With a science degree from Babcock University Jen loves applying her research skills to craft editorial that connects with our global changemaker and readership audiences centered around topics including zero waste, sustainability, climate change, and biodiversity.
Elsewhere Jen’s interests include the role that future technology and data have in helping us solve some of the planet’s biggest challenges. She’s also busy researching and exploring technology applications for product development for a changing world.