It isn’t much, but already Quora is making a splash in the freelancing world. The new kid on the block, it is a simple to use questions application still in the early stages, and for the most part a secret to all but those on the lookout for new websites and products. But it is growing rather quickly, with ever-expanding categories and more users ready to make it more popular than ever.
So, what is Quora? It is a social networking site based on questions, similar to Yahoo Answers or Ask.com. It works by allowing users to post and answer questions on anything from food to start ups, for the purpose of organizing a major knowledge database. Unlike other sites, it is based more on the ability to easily search out past questions, rather than post duplicates for endless dead pages. So far, it is also nicely devoid of the overwhelming spam of other databases.
But what does it mean for freelancers?
Using Quora for Freelancing
You may be wondering what any of this means to you as a freelancer. You can use Quora to help boost your career in several very real ways, no matter what industry you are working in. This is an especially great resource for graphic designers and web developers.
No matter how experienced you may be, you can always use a little more info. People often post interesting and in-depth questions that relate to various software updates, new programs, or just running a business. This includes asking questions about the latest job boards and open positions, and ways to increase your hiring chances.
Searching out questions, reading through current topics or posting your own questions are great ways to learn something new about your trade.
Here are a few actionable tips for you to leverage Quora to broaden your outlook and learn new things daily:
Use Search to find new relevant questions:
Subscribe to new topic and relevant questions (you’ll get email alerts of new replies):
Use built-in discovery tools. Browse through related questions (in the right-hand panel):
Because you have to sign up for an account, this is a nice way to network with both other freelancers, and with potential clients. There are often questions open about finding the right person for a project, or about starting up some kind of affiliation. Searching through these is a quick way to give your portfolio the shot in the arm it needs.
Quora has a few great built-in features for an individual approach.
A great way to approach a niche influencer or an expert is to tag him or her in a reply. Tagging users works the same way as in Twitter and Facebook. Just use @ sign and start typing the name:
This way the person will get an email alert of a new direct public question:
Another way to make friends on Quora is to “Thank” people for good informative answers:
In this case the user will receive your “Thanks” notice as a dashboard notification:
Similarly, always be sure to treat each “Thanks” sent to you with attention.
When I say ‘advertising,’ I don’t mean spamming. But I do mean putting yourself out there to be seen. You can show off your expertise, which will be impressive for clients, or even for other freelancers looking for someone to share a heavy workload. This is self-advertising and self-branding, which is the most important tool to a freelancer.
- Use built-in monitoring and tracking tools to give timely answers to hot relevant questions.
- Create a strategy and include Quora into your daily working schedule. Make it one of your daily tasks (like checking mail, answering blog comments, etc).
- Only answer if you have something to add to the discussion. Remember this is not about posting as much as you can. This is about showing off your brilliance.
Another very important factor in building your personal brand on Quora is to smartly use your profile bio section. People add their titles, domains and expertise there, but the main purpose is to make it create sticky associations with your brand and industry.
Remember! Your bio is what people see next to all your answers (which means it works wonders in terms of identifying your brand and building your reputation):
Also, remember that you can create a different bio for each topic you have expertise in–which means you can build your brand awareness for each of your projects separately:
Quora is a great site, and it is ever expanding. Now is a great time to get involved, because it is still in its early stages. That means you have every chance to help shape it into what it will become in the future. Not to mention the benefits listed above, which will make your own freelancing career that much sweeter.
Are you already using Quora to market your freelancing business? How’s it going?
Do you have any additional questions about Quora that we didn’t cover? Share them here and we can help each other as a community.