Quora has become a popular question and answer platform over the past few years and has been heavily touted by online marketing experts as a great place to build your reputation and drive traffic to your blog or website. But how about using Quora for networking? Is it even possible?
Well, the answer is yes. The truth is that any online space where you get to interact with new people is good for networking. I have personally found several high-quality network connections on Quora (to be honest, some of them found me).
But how does Quora stack up against other similar platforms?
Quora can be a very effective tool for not only attracting attention to you and what you do, but also for identifying proactive, engaged people who would make ideal network candidates. The fact that the longer form, in-depth answers posted on Quora are the most popular alludes to many in its community being erudite and accomplished. Many of those answering questions are entrepreneurs, professionals, trendsetters and “gurus”.
According to Michael Stelzner on socialmediaexaminer.com “Quora’s question-and-answer format is ideally set up to earn credibility and establish yourself as a thought leader in your industry. For this reason, many C-suite executives and VPs have increased the amount of time they spend on the platform over the past two years. Coaches, consultants, and marketing managers can benefit from Quora as well.”
Factor in that Quora gets around a million visitors a month as well as that Quora has developed a robust community and messaging system, and you’ll see that it is potentially a great tool for reaching out to others. Bear in mind that strict community rules prohibit promoting or selling anything on the platform, though.
So, let’s take a look at how to go about networking on Quora, one step at a time.
First, Become an Expert
That sounds easy – I am being sarcastic. However, becoming an “expert” on Quora isn’t as difficult as it might sound. It can take a little while, though. To become an “expert”, at least in Quora’s eyes, you need to answer people’s questions in such a way that your answers are liked and upvoted. That’s fairly easy if you know what you are talking about.
As you answer more and more questions, people will start to follow you and interact with you by leaving comments. This is what you have been looking for. The algorithm will start to promote your content and give your answers preferential ranking on the answer pages, which can have several score answers with which yours must compete.
Posting answers regularly will also help establish you as an expert in your field and someone worth talking to. This alone makes contributing to Quora worthwhile. Some Quora members will eventually start reaching out to you while others will look at your answers when you reach out to them to evaluate you. If you haven’t answered any questions or your answers are anemic, those you try to connect with might be suspicious of you.
Hint: Use your credentials tagline to say something memorable about yourself. This text that accompanies your name above all of your answers can be modified and is a great place to say something that grabs attention.
Second, Mine Your Comments and Upvotes for High-Value Prospects
Take note of comments and upvotes and use your discretion to reach out to some of those who sent them. This should be done for positive comments especially.
You can reach out by asking questions like;
- How long have you been on Quora?
- How much time do you spend on Quora?
- Which has been your most successful answer?
- What do you think of Quora?
Focusing your questions on Quora keeps the conversation “safe and light”. You can also obviously ask questions about them and what they do, but I would suggest leaving that for later interaction.
If they respond, then you have a prospective network connection.
At this point, it’s important to try to move the conversation off Quora to one more conducive to “talking shop”. That’s why we now move to the third step …
Third, Research Your Prospects and Reach Out … on LinkedIn
Assuming that your prospect has responded to your outreach (thereby demonstrating their willingness to engage with you) it may be beneficial to do a little research on them before continuing. You want to make sure that they conform to the requirements of your network plan.
Research is a simple process that involves searching for their name on LinkedIn (for specific, business-related information about them) and Google (for general information).
If they have a LinkedIn profile, you can ask them – via Quora – if it would be okay for you to send them an invitation on connect. They should say yes, and if so, you can proceed with your network building efforts on LinkedIn.
If they don’t have a LinkedIn profile, or if it is old or obviously unused, you can ask for their email address (or contact them through their blog or website, if they have one), proposing that you continue talking to one another outside the restrictive environment of Quora. If you feel it’s necessary, assure them that you are not selling anything and simply want to keep in touch.
If they are willing to move your conversation off Quora, then you have acquired a new network connection. Well done. If not, it’s their loss. Simply find and approach a new prospect.
Although Quora has become very popular among the online marketing crowd as a way to drive traffic to websites, it has been completely overlooked as a source of decent networking connections.
By establishing yourself as an expert in your field on Quora, something that is very doable, you can not only reinforce your place in your industry, but you can also attract the attention of high caliber people that are premium potential network connections.
Overall, Quora is a hidden gem of an online networking “feeder” tool. It takes some elbow grease to get the most out of it, but it is a source of network candidates that should not be overlooked.