I have been using Facebook for a long time to keep upto date with all the cool stuff that we marketers get excited about. Of the 465 (as of last count) people on my friends list, a majority are from the media, advertising and social media space and between them post enough to give me an idea of what’s going on around my connected universe. So when a curious ‘Q’ started appearing like a rash on Facebook it perked me up like nothing before.
I discovered the great Scobelizer cat fight (those who follow tech and media will know what that means) and the many versions of what actually Quora does online. I must confess, I have been on the tool for around a week and am no where close to using it to its fullest potential. But here is a list of this that one can do with Quora – These are things that have come from random searches and cannot be attributed to any one article or source. Some of it have been discovered in the last one week.
Quora can be used for marketing or for self promotion. It is rather easy – set up your ‘bio’ for all the topics that you know about – in effect you can choose from hundreds of topics you think you know and then interlink it to websites and so on.
You can ask questions anonymously for topics or search for questions related to your areas of interest and follow them. You can also answer some of the questions that you have genuine answers about them or pretend you have an answer. The correct relevant answers are quick to rise to the top and your reputation is based on how many times you have risen to the top of the heap. Quora allows all kinds of questions to be asked – suppose I wanted to know more about the Kizashi from Maruti, I can look for a question relating to the same and then follow the question for as long as I want.
Considering that Google made huge moneys on the intentions of people by placing ads when they were looking for information relating to a topic, Quora has a potential to have advertising in some new innovative form placed along side questions and answers. In case that does not happen, very soon we will have brands creating questions and answers and then reach out to people who follow these – logic being that these people are interested in the topic or the product to which the question is linked. It is also possible that you will get all kinds of information about a product or a company from the people who have been linked with the company or brand in the past. Quora can then become a great research tool.
Mashable recently had a great article suggesting that people use Quora for job related searches. The easiest ways to attract people who are looking at talent in specific areas is to show up as the expert with you answers. You could also follow the people who matter and their topics and once in a while when you know what you are saying can answer a question to a topic and create a following. When that HR guy comes looking for a relevant position you will feature as an expert.
What is important about Quora is that it will never be able to solve your problem at any instant but over a period of time it can be used as a sounding board for ideas. It is great in finding the collective intelligence of the masses to any problem and like any solution to a problem it will take time for the answers to give results.
Small businesses and startups and eventually anyone in the world should be able to get answers to issues that are relevant to your life. In the last few days itself I have found people getting answers to natural child birth to parenting to marital issues on the site. In time this single system has the potential to give Google a run for its money in the race for being the knowledge repository of the human race.
Trust me when I say this – the site will become mainstream sooner than what is predicted. If Google became mainstream in 7 years and facebook in 4, twitter in 2, I would assume that given that everyone is connected more than ever before, Quora will be mainstream in 18 months. It will grow at a pace that will encompass facebook, twitter and Wikipedia.
What I am truly worried about is the pressures the team will face from the people who have backed the venture to create a revenue mode and the propensity of the social media experts to milk everything as a tool for shameless peddling of goods and services.
Would love to hear your thoughts on this…..