Being an online marketer, my job often requires me to come up with funny and thoughtful observations about random topics, and deliver short, witty lines and phrases.
So social media becomes a great place to try out new thoughts. Even though the validation we get from the likes and hearts feel good, we know it amounts to nothing.
Having said that, in the age of the internet, it is no secret that discover-ability means opportunity (especially if you are a knowledge worker). So it is becoming increasingly important to build your personal brand online.
And what better place to start other than social media?
Since there are hundreds of great guides available to help you build your personal brand on Linkedin, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. I would like to avoid writing about them again.
Instead, I would like to concentrate on Quora.
I will be sharing the lessons I learned by conducting small experiments on Quora. By using the below techniques and strategy, I have gathered over 1.3 million answer views and grew my followers from 0 to 3000!
So, what’s Quora all about?
To put Quora into perspective, it is a question and answers site. But at its core, Quora is a community of people willing to help each other out.
For example, you might have a question about Wikipedia and you can request its founder Jimmy Welsh to answer it. And don’t be surprised if he does.
The original members take Quora guidelines pretty seriously. So if you are writing an overtly promotional answer or plagiarizing content or trolling some, you will get crucified by the loyal Quorans.
Thinking of it, it is this community which will prevent Quora from becoming Yahoo answers(a troll spot).
Why should I build my following on Quora?
Currently, the platform doesn’t allow you to buy upvotes or followers as in Facebook or Twitter. So even a decent amount of following is credible.
Also because you get to hang out with cool people and read their thoughts. It is important because you become the person who you spend the most time with.
Actionable steps to build your personal brand on Quora
My idea with this post is to come up with an actionable guide to help you build your personal brand on Quora. So I will not skim the surface by giving you superficial tips like ‘be yourself’ or ‘write great content’.
1. Connect your other social channels to Quora
Connecting your other social channels to Quora sends out notifications to all your friends that you have joined Quora. Few of your friends will end up following you.
Go to Settings ->Connected accounts
When I started out in 2015, Quora was still pretty new to India. So I ended up getting only 128 followers by doing this step.
2. Don’t write answers. Instead, share your personal story
When I was new to Quora, I used to write answers about everything under the sun. My answers were crisp with the only intention to help people out. I used to write these answers and end up getting a few views with zero upvotes.
That got me thinking. If people could find these questions on Google, why are they asking it on Quora?
Quickly, I figured that they are looking for a story which they could model. A story with a personal touch.
So for example, when people ask what are the best hangout spots in Pune, don’t list all the places you know. Instead, write about a few that you have visited and the ones that you care about.
Don’t try and create a personal story just to write an answer. People can smell that and be brutal in the comments.
3. Repurpose old content which worked well
The most upvoted answer in my Quora account is a post which I had earlier posted on my personal blog.
You can read the answer here — How did you meet the love of your life, whether or not you married him or her, or if it was reciprocated?
Here is a screenshot of my stats for that answer:
Coming back to the post, I received good reviews for the post when I posted it to my blog. So I knew that the answer had potential.
So I repurposed my blog post according to the question and added relevant imagery. Boom and it was good to go.
As pointed out in point number 2, I didn’t just answer the question. Instead, I packaged my answer into a story.
4. Pick up a few niche topics
Again as a novice, I wrote about everything under the sun(even the topics in which I had limited knowledge).
If you write about everything, you will end up with a lot of upvotes with no loyal following to show for. When you write about everything, people get confused about what you do.
For one, even if you do the research and churn out a good answer, you would find it extremely taxing to respond to all the comments.
So it is advisable to write about the things which you really care about.
Remember that your readers are reading Quora in their office when they should be working. Neither they have the time nor the attention to remember your name.
Unless you are a celebrity outside of Quora, you can build a following only by constantly engaging with a niche. If the reader is interested in that niche, he will follow you. Eventually, he will remember your name. Not the other way round.
5. Establish expertise
If you have an expertise in a particular field, writing intelligent, relevant answers to key topics can strengthen how others perceive your expertise.
Once you genuinely provide value in your answers, you may notice that people will begin to request your input on related topics.
The more inbound requests you get in your domain is a measure that people are perceiving you to be an expert.
This is purely a tip that will you help your professional life -be it getting new projects or getting hired.
Writing about my expertise has gotten me a couple of freelance writing opportunities which I otherwise wouldn’t have.
At times, along with my blog, I also use Quora as my portfolio when I am pitching for freelance/consulting opportunities.
6. Engage in discussions
This is something which I am not particularly good at. I am more of a silent observer. Though I love engaging in discussions in real life, I haven’t felt like doing it on my social channels.
But discussions work. Once you’ve shared my post, check in a few times a day to respond to comments and answer questions people may have asked.
Responding to comments is a great opportunity to connect with people on a personal level. I have a few comments which have over 100’s of upvotes and I have built great relationships with a few of them who provided me with great value/feedback.
Here’s one super famous Quoran with whom I have developed a friendship with — Anuradha Tiwari.
7. Cross post your answers on other social media
I rarely cross-post my Quora answers on other social channels like Facebook, Twitter or Linkedin. But I have seen it work for so many people.
This can be extremely useful if you share the answer as soon as you write it or if the topic is trending. I suggest that because Quora’s algorithm works that way. If you get a lot of views and upvotes in the first 30 minutes, Quora shows your answer to a lot of people.
So it also becomes important to post your answers at an appropriate time. I personally observe a lot of activity on Quora during late evenings.
8. Quality or Quantity
Quality vs Quantity is one discussion that comes up when we talk about content creation.
To understand this better, here are some stats from my Quora account:
So I have just 5 answers which gather over 4000 upvotes individually. But they account for 50% of the total views. (720k views of the total 1.3 million views).
Looking at the numbers, you might think that you should write only a few quality answers. But I would disagree.
It might look like I had to write only 5 quality answers to get to 3000 followers and 1 million views. But the reality is a bit different.
When writing those 5 answers, I put in the same effort as I did for the other 200 plus answers that did badly.
The truth is you will never really know until the content is out for the public to view and decide. That’s the reason why even good film-makers have flops.
You will have to start with quantity to eventually arrive at the quality.
A few weeks back, I guest lectured at an institution. Frankly speaking, that’s not the kind of thing you’d put on your resume, but it’s perfect for social media. Social media is a wonderful place to publicize new projects or announce awards or achievements.
In Quora, you can go one step forward and showcase your expertise and also get under the radar of people who are interested in the areas you are interested in. I’d suggest using Quora and following as many people as possible in the areas you are interested in.
All the best.
PS: Introduce Quora to your parents and friends to show them why it is not such a bad idea to spend time on social media after all.