I wrote a post about Quora taking a more authoritative approach to Q&A than other existing mass market answers websites, and it has had plenty of traction, and tonnes of coverage off the back of it.  What it hasn’t had is the expected influx of new visitors.  Sure, it’s getting traction, but it’s not really capturing the interest of the world at large:

Google Trends for Yahoo and Quora

Google Trends for Yahoo and Quora

Early days though, and Quora will probably get bigger and bigger, however with Yahoo Answers still being pretty big, it makes sense to look at it from a social traffic perspective to get an idea for making it part of a marketing strategy.

Caveat

The point of Q&A websites is that people ask questions, and other people provide them with answers.  These websites maintain their levels of trust because of the perceived quality of the responses and the ability of people to vote for the most appropriate or best answer.

Spam will rarely succeed on Yahoo Answers and other websites because it gets voted down and is often easy to spot.  Also, asking your own questions is not necessarily a valid idea, because those answers probably won’t get a lot of traffic.  Think about Yahoo Answers as being a one to one channel where you’re talking to the individual who has asked the question, rather than the wider market who may arrive at the page via a search, and you will generally get better results.

You need to be transparent with users when you recommend a product that is your own.  There are two reasons for this.  In the UK, there is the new ASA CAP Code, which requires disclosure for any online advertising carried out including that done via social media.  There is also a moral requirement not to mislead customers.

Set Up Your Account

This seems a bit too obvious, but you should put some thought into how you are going to present yourself on Yahoo Answers.  Bearing in mind the CAP Code and Social Media it might be an idea to include your brand – people will appreciate your honesty.

Set Up Some Feeds

You probably don’t have time to waste hanging around on Yahoo Answers looking for questions, so setting up some alert feeds is useful.  Yahoo will let you set up an RSS Feed of any set of search results which you can then use in Outlook to manage work flow and ensure that you know about any new questions when they are asked.  Make sure that you order results by “Newest” otherwise you will get an awful lot of irrelevant and out of date questions being sent to you.

Contribute

All online communities have rules – both explicit and implicit – and Yahoo Answers is no different.  People who only take from the community will soon find themselves ostracised insulted and ignored.  If all you do is scream about how awesome your product is whenever anyone asks a vaguely related question, you will come across as a dick and pretty soon, the only content associated with your name on Yahoo Answers will be a load of people moaning about your abuse of the system.

One of the reasons I would suggest that you use your own brand in Social Media is that you should want to protect it.

By contribute, you should participate in threads that you don’t have a direct gain from appearing in.  Support other members of the community by voting for them when they have a good answer, and also be a good citizen by voting down spam and trolls.  Answer questions only when you have the best answer, and be descriptive and helpful when providing information.

Include Links

Yahoo Answers will allow you to include links to specific pages that provide further information to the users on their service.  As with most social media links, these links have limited conventional SEO benefit, so it might be an idea to use some kind of tracking variable on the URL (UTM_SOURCE=Yahooanswers) so that you can measure the benefits that you get from Yahoo Answers.

 

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