Not every question can be answered within the 140 character constraints of Twitter. So where can your subject matter experts engage with influencers and those looking for information about what your client knows best?
The answer is Quora. This question and answer site is rapidly becoming the most buzzed about new social media platform, and was hailed by Robert Scoble as "the biggest blogging innovation in 10 years." Billed as a “continually improving collection of questions and answers created, edited, and organized by everyone who uses it,” Quora allows users to ask and answer questions on a growing number of topics. By linking a user account to either Facebook or Twitter, a user can share their answers and expertise across their other social networks.
Quora is still in the early stages of gaining popularity, and those who are evangelizing the benefits are many of the same early adopters who realized the value of Twitter as the next big social communications platform. But if you've already made the investment in social media with a presence on Facebook and Twitter, what's the value of being involved in yet another social network? In a recent conversation with James Hritz, he gave the most compelling answer I've seen on the subject when discussing Quora vs Twitter within the thoroughbred racing community. James makes a valid point that applies across all industries.
Twitter has some issues and from the standpoint of being a communication tool, its not always the right tool for the job. You wouldn't try to build a house with just a hammer right? Well, forget the term social networking for a second and just think old fashion communications. Sometimes you need to communicate short messages and other times something longer is called for.
While still in its infancy, you may be surprised to learn that users are already talking about your brand on the site and you have a tremendous opportunity to leverage Quora to engage with users to share insights about your company and your fields of expertise. Just as the goal of traditional PR was to make you a resource to journalists, the new model of social engagement requires you to be a resource to an evolving spectrum of influencers and stakeholders. To ignore Quora when developing social media strategies will likely drive you to the site within a year to ask how to remedy your oversight.
Here are a few ways that Quora can be incorporated into PR:
- Get your spokespeople involved in the discussions by asking and responding to important and timely questions about their industry. This shows media, online influencers, prospects and current clients that they have an active voice and unique insight within their field of expertise.
- Put your clients where people are talking. Having a social media presence means being involved where people expect you to be - having a Facebook page or single Twitter profile for your company just isn't enough anymore.
- Raise your spokesperson's visibility with media and customers seeking information on their company and industry. As Quora's user base grows, the opportunities for engagement with traditional and social media influencers will drive media coverage, brand awareness, customer loyalty and business opportunities.
- Demonstrate the benefits of Quora beyond a single site. Quora's SEO platform ensures questions and answers from their site surface on search engines. The more your experts contribute to Quora, the greater chance of being found in a search of questions related to their expertise.
Becoming familiar with a new platform can be intimidating at first, but if you have any questions on how to get started, I'm sure you'll know where to go for answers.