Friday, January 7, 2011

Making Sense of Quora

Has social question and answer site Quora begun a Twitter-esq run to relevance?

Online communities, social networks and Web 2.0 tools face that cliched "chicken or egg" conundrum.  During their start-up phase when time and resources are constrained, they must rapidly build their user base to a critical mass that delivers on the value proposition and leads to a sustainable economic model.

Facebook achieved this feat by opening their network to third-party application developers, thereby enhancing the stickiness of their community without a significant capital outlay.  Twitter did the same by creating buzz at geeky conferences like the South by Southwest Interactive Festival, as well as hyping participation by celebrities such as Ashton Kutcher.

Quora's Charlie Cheever, Adam D'Angelo.  Source: WSJ
Now along comes Quora with a high level of entrepreneurial pedigree from its founders who were early employees at Facebook.  After an initial eight weeks of participation on the site I had six followers.  I've added 60 new ones in the past four days.

Plus, Quora has begun to score some national press attention, such as a recent profile in Fast Company magazine.

At Strategic Communications Group (Strategic), we've just initiated the process of evaluating how participation in Quora can support the success of our clients' social media marketing programs.  We have a couple of preliminary concepts we are thinking through:

1.  Quora as a source for industry research and intelligence gathering.  This seems to be a given as it's consistent with the mission of the site.

2.  Quora has a venue to demonstrate an executive's thought leadership and market expertise.

3.  Quora as a channel to appropriately connect with decision-makers and market influencers.  We're believers in participation in social media to achieve measurable sales benchmarks.  Can Quora help?

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