The Internet makes it possible, even for sole proprietors, to compete against their big competitors because there are so many different ways online to promote expertise.
One of them is by answering questions in your specialty area.
Yes, it’s time-consuming. But it’s a free way to market yourself.
Here are the five best places where you should be answering questions to make a fabulous impression and get sales leads:
1. At Your Blog
Your are blogging, aren’t you? If not, start.
A blog is your main platform from which you can share your knowledge, answer questions, stimulate interesting conversation, and promote.
Encourage people to send you questions, which can be the basis for blog posts. Sometimes I’ll use a question someone has emailed to me, and turn it into a blog post.
2. On Twitter
Many of us are so use to sharing links to helpful information that we think people want to know about, that we seldom take the time to ask them what they need.
Go ahead. Ask your Twitter followers what’s bugging them. You’ll receive lots of clues that you can then use to create content such as articles, information products, blog posts and tips lists (“The 10 Best Ways to…”)—after you answer their question on Twitter.
The big payoff will come when you provide an answer that saves somebody thousands of dollars or hours of time, and they rave to their thousands of fans and followers about how great you are.
For example, when I tweeted that my Facebook fan page had disappeared, Dave Kerpen of Likeable Media responded, asked me to make him an administrator, logged in to my account, found a problem in the settings, fixed it, and my page was alive again! I blogged about the nightmare and the happy ending. And then I continued to sing his praises on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and in my ezine, The Publicity Hound’s Tips of the Week.
Follow me on Twitter and ask me a question.
3. On Facebook
If you’re willing to spend the time, you can use your Facebook page as a town square where people hungry for content—and answers—can get them. No one does a better job of doing this than Mari Smith, arguably the world’s Number One Facebook expert. Almost daily, she receives doezens of questions and answers them on her page.
I receive quite a few email questions on a wide variety of social media and publicity topics. I encourage those people to post the questions to my Publicity Hound fan page, where I can answer them for the benefit of everyone who visits. Some people don’t bother. But some do.
Follow me on Facebook and post a question on my wall.
4. On LinkedIn
There are two ways to answer questions: By using the Answers feature and within Groups you have joined.
To use the Answer feature, go to the menu bar and click on More > Answers and you’ll see questions that other LinkedIn users have asked. You can also use the search function to find questions that include certain keywords.
Within Groups, people ask questions frequently because they know that special interest Groups include other people who share their same expertise.
LinkedIn expert Wayne Breitbarth, who was my guest on two recent webinars, says answering questions within Groups is better than simply using the Q&A feature. That’s because questions within groups usually focus on specific topics that people within those groups will find of value. Using the Q&A feature can be time-consuming because you have to hunt for questions within your area of expertise.
Connect with me on LinkedIn and tell me what you need to know. I’ll be glad to help.
5. On Quora
Quora is the perfect home for experts because it’s quickly gaining considerable traffic and attention. (See 6 reasons to use Quora to promote your expertise.)
Many journalists are using this site to hunt for experts and sources. Even the New York Times is using Quora so three of its writers, all authors, can answer questions about their books and subject areas.
Readers who like your answer can “vote it up” within all the other answers. They can also f0llow you on quora so that whenever you answer a question, they don’t miss a thing.
Here’s a video from Mashable on how to ask and answer questions on Quora:
That’s my list. What about you? Where do you answer questions to promote your expertise?
Tools That Can Help You: