Whether you are looking to brand your business or build a personal reputation as an industry thought leader, participating online with Q&A sites can be an impactful tool. Sites like Quora, LinkedIn Answers, and Yahoo! Answers provide a forum for their users to seek the guidance and thoughts from people with similar interests. Beyond the obvious opportunity to gather useful information, these sites also provide a legitimate marketing opportunity for businesses.
By responding to posted questions on these sites, you can present yourself as an expert. It is important to provide helpful and relevant information in your responses. This is not the platform for a canned commercial about your services and products. Here, you can build credibility and trust. Once you have established relationships and your new associates trust you, you may be able to present how your business can help another user.
You can include links and keywords in responses on most of these Q&A sites. You could answer a question briefly on the site and then direct users to your blog or website where the topic may be covered in more detail. This can assist Search Engine Optimization efforts, increase traffic, and support branding efforts.
It is important to approach Q&A sites with an open mind and without a tricky agenda. You need to come with a helpful attitude. The content you share will hold a higher value if other participants can actually use the information that they find. Keep other users in mind when either asking or answering a question.
With good, clean motives on a Q&A site, you can create a strong reputation of an expert to trust. That will generate new business opportunities without you even having to ask for them.