5 Unique Ways to Benefit from Quora

By Michele Weisman With the rise in the use of social media, businesses and consumers are now more interested in focused social interaction. Quora, launched by Adam D’Angelo, former Facebook CTO, is a great resource for providing its users not just with answers to their questions, but also an opportunity to network with other professionals. As more users chime in with their knowledge, experience, and opinions, the site becomes more robust. By sharing information on the best vacation spot in the world, the CEOs to follow on Quora, or the Oscars, each user has the ability to ask or answer a specific question as well as follow topics of interest.

The rapid growth of Quora has generated an exponential spike in chatter on Twitter.* Despite attracting a lot of buzz and a significant increase in new users, opinions on the growth of the network vary. Quora is very social by nature allowing users to share their posted questions or answers to both Facebook and Twitter, essentially spreading its social reach in recent months.  I believe this is a HUGE reason why we've seen an accelerated growth. While the fate of Quora is still undetermined, the numbers speak for themselves. Here are 5 simple tips to help guide you through Quora.

1. Follow topics and people that interest you. Make the site a great resource for people who want to learn.  Ask questions and always ask the implicit “why”? Be clear and avoid posing yes or no questions. Avoid posting questions that are already out there. To do this, ALWAYS search for your question first to see what’s already been asked and answered.

2. Become an expert. Add answers to questions you know about. Ask smart questions. Use proper spelling, capitalization, and grammar. Be specific. Don’t survey people’s opinions. Keep your questions simple but smart. Have fun and be polite. Learn from others and give feedback. Challenge users with your opinions but be respectful and considerate.

3. Improve question pages. Edit questions, add topics to questions, and explain your answers. Questions never expire on Quora. Develop a love of helping others. Vote on questions and use the thank button when appropriate. Follow Quora's questions guidelines.

4. Crowdsource ideas. Ask for product feedback and survey your target market. Research story or blog ideas. Recruit new employees. Ask questions about your competitors and evaluate your competition. Questions can even be asked anonymously.

5. Learn from the best. The quality of answers on Quora is impressive. Quora users can tap into the minds of celebrities and social media experts. Find out what Dustin Moskovitz, co-founder of Facebook, thinks about The Social Network. Want to know what it's like to work at Foursquare? Tristan Walker, Director of Business Development at Foursquare, provides some insight. Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks gives his two cents about whether or not NCAA athletes should be paid. Twitter has improved communication barriers between the general public and celebrities. By following, reading, and answering the "Hollywood's hottest" questions on Quora, users have the ability to converse with celebrities in more than 140 characters.

What are other ways to use Quora? How is Quora different from other social question networks? Share in the comments section below.

I posted these questions on Quora to receive advice and opinions from others. Thank you to those who contributed to the discussion. If you’d like to share your thoughts, click here. If you would like to follow me on Quora, click here.

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*Infographic from Sysomos