I recently answered a question over on Quora entitled “How can Quora help promote local businesses?” and thought I would re-post it here in case you missed it. I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments – do you agree with my suggestions or care to offer a differing opinion?
How can Quora help promote local businesses?
Quora is a great forum for demonstrating domain-specific knowledge or expertise. If I were a local business owner, I’d use Quora to expand my influence as a local resource for all things related to my business niche, adding a flavor and perspective which can only come from living in my shoes.
Let’s say you own a small coffee shop in a busy downtown area of a bustling city, and are competing with the ‘bucks of the world. If you’re a decent writer, there’s an almost unlimited amount of topics on Quora which you could contribute to. Answer questions targeted at small business owners. Discuss how you go about conducting local advertising. Share the experience of starting your business on the entrepreneurial threads. Begin to see yourself as more than just a coffee shop owner – you’re an entrepreneur, employer, salesperson, and social media marketer. Share what you’ve learned along the way – I guarantee there are people out there who will appreciate your perspective.
If you use Twitter, Foursquare or Facebook to promote your business, share your experience with others. Have Foursquare promotions worked for you? What tips do you have for other local business owners trying to build a following on Twitter? Ask questions like “what makes a great coffee shop?”, or “which wi-fi setup is best geared for use in a coffee shop environment?”. Make sure you post under your real name while still tying your identity closely to your business – Quora profiles are set up well for this. [As a side benefit, posts made here will also give you some overall link juice with search engines, but please don't make SEO your primary goal.] One question or answer will lend itself to another, and before you know it you’ll have a steady following of people who trust and respect your opinion. Time goes on; your influence grows.
There’s very few people in this world whose personal Venn Diagram looks like yours (business owner/coffee fanatic/living in your geographic area) – use Quora as an opportunity to share your unique experience and expertise with the world, and you’ll implicitly promote your business at the same time.