Each and every day, businesses are looking for new and creative ways to bring more leads and more fan engagement to their site using word of mouth social media marketing. One method that this is often times over-looked is the creation of conversation using question and answer sites like Yahoo Answers. Answer sites provide a place for people from all walks of life to post questions about whatever happens to be on their mind. These questions can range from life advice, to business questions, or even something more basic like cooking and how-to topics. These questions are then available for anyone and everyone to answer. Open forums like this are ultimately designed to connect the right question with the right expert. At first glance, question and answer sites like this may not look like much, but they can actually be a goldmine for businesses that are looking to establish themselves as an expert online. Here are four really important reasons why you should consider using sites like Yahoo Answers to engage online conversation.
1. You get to be helpful
The creation of quality online content is still one of the most sure-fire ways to develop online traffic for yourself and your business. People will always be attracted to content that is helpful. I think that this is what really makes question and answer sites so perfect for online engagement. Simply put, they provide a connection point for people that need help and those that can provide it. If you already have an online strategy focused on creating helpful content, then answer sites could provide a great way to extend your reach.
2. Build an audience
When you reach out and help someone that is in need of your expertise, you create an immediate relationship with them based on trust. It is very likely that this relationship could easily turn into a blog or email list subscriber if leveraged right. You also have to remember that because of the power of search, other people with the same question may eventually find their way to your answer, and then hopefully your website.
3. SEO power
Every single time you leave an answer, you should also leave behind a link to your blog or a specific landing page on your site. This can provide great content for search engines link Google. When answering questions, I often refer people to my own Facebook marketing course when I feel that it is something they would find helpful. The key here is to choose your links wisely. Remember, your goal is to be helpful, not to stuff the site with links.
4. Get blog topics
One of the most unexpected benefits that I have experienced with answers sites, has been the collection of ideas that I have collected for blog posts. With these sites, you are right on the front lines and can really see what it is that people are wondering about, and needing help with. If you are in the business of creating helpful, value based content, than this can be a very powerful resource for endless ideas.
Question and Answer Sites
Along with Yahoo Answers, here are a few other question and answer sites that you should consider using.
Did you know that Twitter’s own search page allows you to limit your search to questions? Some topics are very crowded with spam, but overall this is a very simple way to find some great questions that you can answer.
The answers section at business.com is great for very focused questions around business and marketing. While it is still small, the quality of questions asked remains high. If you are able to answer questions about business and marketing, then this site could be very valuable to you.
This could be the least business focused of the sites on this list, but can still be a great place to find questions. Mahalo focuses heavily on ‘how to’ topics and connection people the right web content for their subjects.
This is a new comer to the list, and is already known for it’s explosive growth and it’s high caliber of questions. For online businesses and technology companies, this is an essential site for participation.
Like any good online strategy, using answer sites takes an investment of time and talent to accomplish. While it won’t give you an immediate rush of people banging down your door, it will give you a solid connecting point with a key audience in your market. There is a lot of long term success that can come if these sites are used properly. I personally have seen the benefits of this strategy for both myself, and for many of my clients. In fact, we have found them so successful, that we worked them into our flagship social media marketing software Todaypulse. So, how about you? Have you tried using question and answer sites for your business? How did it work?