Quora is an online question-and-answer site that aggregates questions and answers around topics. It has distinguished itself with robust social features that allows users to edit posts Wikipedia-style and up-vote them like Reddit. Founded by two former Facebookers in 2009, Quora has taken up all the oxygen that other Q-and-A sites had hoped to fill.
Since Quora seeks to generate a near-universal knowledge base, there’s plenty there for folks interested in online media, mobile advertising, social networking and all things digital. Last year, Quora grew from 500,000 users to 1.5 million.
One smart thing Quora does up-front is it makes users log in with Facebook, Twitter or Google before they can access Quora content. The up-sides to this include Quora getting lots of usual data about its users and preventing idiots from being anonymous Quora trolls; the down-side is that you basically have to hand over your social account to Quora, and if you’re not careful, Quora will tweet for you without your knowledge.
So we logged into Quora for you to save your Facebook account from one more data-mining expedition and to bring to you some of the most interesting media threads that Quora has to offer. You can see what’s up before choosing to hand over your data to the Quora hive mind.
1. What roles should the first 10 employees of a tech company be? For this question, you can see answers from Paul Armstrong, Co-founder of ChoreMonster; Michael Mahemoff, Creator of Player FM; and Dave Black, Founder of Thingsly. But the top answer (with 96 up-votes) comes from Andy Swan, founder of Voomly: Employees 1-9: Jack of all trades master of a few; employee 10: someone who can sell ice to eskimos.
2. What's the next big innovation in Web interface design? With 116 up-votes, here’s the top answer, edited here because it’s rather extensive:
“From an experience point of view, I think social gaming is where the innovation action is in web interface design today.
Two [Three] design principles that are emerging:
• UI is no longer about ease of discovery. It's about pushing recommendations and suggestions to the user...
• The first time user experience is not about explaining and selling, but hand holding and guiding...
• Synchronized asynchronous experiences... Not just real time updates, but, web clients synchronized in real time.
3. What are some of the funniest and most clever advertisements? There are lots of fun answers to this question, but the winner -- with 1,500 up-votes -- is a clever but simple ad from the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam of a tea-cup missing its ear-shaped handle.
4. What are some of the best free SEO tools available? Here’s the best answer: “One of the newest but is my favorite one is WebMeUp backlink tool: Here's a new huge publicly available Backlink Index by webmeup. Adds 15 billion new fresh links daily!”
5. What iOS app store SEO tricks have you learned? This is a great example of how Quora has made its content relevant by requiring users to log in under their real names. Someone asks a question like this and gets an answer from an expert:
“I note down all the phrases that I want to position for, and after the update hits the store I check whether the phrases really worked. If not - I remove their keywords, and add some other ones. (I built a tool around it - AppCod.es)”
6. How would you measure the ROI in social media? How to measure the impact of social media use in marketing, selling, in creating social capital? Metrics, tools, ways?
First, think about the outcomes. At a macro level, there are two.
1. Did you change/influence a behavior?
Examples of behavior:
• Shifting attitude, or perception
• Driving trial
• Generating awareness
• Creating advocacy
2. Was there some kind of economic success?
Examples of economic success:
• Increase in sales
• Cost savings
• Increase in shareholder value
• Increase in lifetime value of a customer (loyalty)
Next, separate ROI from Measurement and Metrics. They are related but not the same. Metrics are anything which can be measured... Few thoughts at a high level as the question is too complex to answer deeply. But this may be a start.
7. How can I generate website traffic with $0 marketing budget? The most popular answer is from someone who knows a thing or two about how to navigate the worlds of social media. Here’s the short version of his answer:
The Grenade: The Grenade (tm, just kidding), identifies a controversial topic that is being heavily debated by your target audience and targets it. For example, let's say you have a product that targets housewives. And let's say its early 2011 and rumors are spreading around Oprah leaving her show. This is inspiring heavy debate between haters and fans. This is your opportunity! Many of those Oprah fans are housewives!
So now you go on to all those discussion forums, Twitter hashtags and blog articles and start posting comments that are contrary to the popular opinion. For this to work, your "opinions" need to be controversial enough to spark interest and discussion, but not so controversial that people will dismiss you as a troll.
You should have a blog post set up with an article providing support and credibility to your argument... and also packed with ads for your company's product. It goes without saying that the blog should not be on your domain or under your name. For example, here you would buy the domain "Oprahshouldhavequityearsago dot something" or something along those lines, create a blog post, and generate 20-30 comments/discussions to make it appear very active and have people feel like they need to join in on the argument.
8. What are good ways to learn to become the best digital marketer? The most popular answer here comes from a digital marketer and strategist since 2008. Below is just the second paragraph of a longer post that is perfectly on-topic, relevant and useful:
“Part of being a good digital marketer—especially the "best" digital marketer, as this person queries—is being able to jump to the next curve. Sure, you need to be able to repeat tried-and-true techniques—but you also need to be able build communities and campaigns in new environments. How do you do this? This means 1) investing in your skills and not just in quick fixes and 2) getting the most experience you can in the smallest amount of time. Digital marketing is unique in that the startup costs are low and the available analytics are many. What guides the strategy and tactics can become pretty instinctual (akin to riding a bike), so the trick is to quickly hone that instinct.”
9. How do social sites (e.g., Hunch, Foursquare, Reddit, Digg) go from 1 to 100k users? The most popular answer here comes from Richard Ludlow, founder of Academic Earth, who breaks his answer down into 8 easy to understand points:
1. Invite all your friends and acquaintances. This should get you your first few hundred to a thousand visitors/users.
2. Word of mouth. When a site is good, people tell their friends about it even if the 'viral loop' isn't yet perfectly optimized.
3. Blog and media coverage. You can get those first major stories either by coming up with a great pitch, or by working your network to get a warm introduction to the right blogger/journalist.
4. Buying traffic/users. Facebook ads and Google AdWords are the most common.
5. SEO. Even a 'social' site can be structured to generate a bunch of content pages that will do well in search engines. Yelp is great at this, and it looks like Hunch is going that way too.
6. Viral Growth - Invites. As the other answerers have said, your user flow and service need to be optimized so that users are incentivized to invite their friends.
7. Viral Growth - Content Creation. Sites like YouTube, Flickr, and Posterous grow largely because users create content that draws in visitors, and some of those visitors convert into users that create more content, which draws in visitors...
8. Retention. The oft-ignored aspect of growth is keeping your old users around. If they're leaving, then you have a leaky bucket and your true active user count lags behind your registered user count. If they love the service enough to stick around, then you can take the time to figure out the right way to get them to invite others.
10 . What are some of the most ingenious ways to increase traffic to a website? Sometimes the top answers are the ones you don’t want to hear, like this one:
“...The truth is that the most "ingenious" way to get traffic is actually to stick to the boring basics...
Step 1: Find keywords...
Step 2: Optimize site for keywords...
Step 3: Set up and commit to a long-term strategy...”
What interesting digital media threads or experts do you follow on Quora?