Anyone who’s used the Internet to market their brand or services knows that time and effort must be met with steadfastness and vigilance. This is especially true when a business uses social networking as a tool to help garner consumers by reaching them in a more personal and direct way.
If you’re tired of trying to gain “followers” or making posts on message boards that no one responds to and want something with actual substance, then Yahoo! Answers is a great source to consider. Here’s why.
- Big-time traffic: Yahoo! Answers is the number-two reference site on the Internet. Thanks to its search engine optimization-based back-end, many people often find what they’re looking for there first. It has links and answers to specific questions rather than the paragraphs upon paragraphs of information to sift through provided by its reference rival, Wikipedia.
- Expert credibility: It will allow you to brand yourself as an expert in a particular field or service by giving you an open forum in which to offer concrete answers to questions asked by users. When you give good answers to questions, not only do you build trust within your field of expertise, but you also brand yourself and your business as a reputable go-to answer station that’s sure to have people coming back for more.
Yahoo! Answers was built with business and marketing professionals in mind — essentially, Yahoo! felt this tool would work best if the people asking the questions could get the answers they were looking for by allowing the “experts” in a particular field or service to weigh in and provide relevant links and suggestions in the form of Web sites or blogs.
And although Yahoo! Answers clearly addresses the issue of spam, the rules are pretty straightforward and easy to abide by. Yahoo! states that spam is considered to be an off-topic conversation — only links that are relevant to the conversation will be acceptable. This brings up an important point about using Yahoo! Answers for your business: Although it’s in your interest to direct people back to your Web site or blog, the tool works best when you give good, complete answers, not leading statements to get the visitor to click your link. Not only will this help you shine on search engines by bumping your topics up the ranks, but it will also build credibility among the community you’re serving and people will trust you more when you provide off-site suggestions. This is made evident with an expert’s “star” answer rating, much like eBay’s seller rating.
Be an Expert
Getting started is easy. If you have a Yahoo! account you’re already on your way. If you don’t, just follow the simple steps on Yahoo.com to get one.
Once you’re ready, the first thing you want to do is see what category your expertise best serves. There are a number of categories such as “Restaurants & Nightlife,” “Environment,” and “Home & Garden,” to name just a few. Don’t worry about getting bogged down if you think you fit into too many categories and can’t possibly answer all the questions that you’d like to. Yahoo! Answers offers RSS feeds you may subscribe to within each category and gives you the ability to further refine your search and only receive questions that are tailored to a specific topic. So if you’re a Mac aficionado or Apple reseller and only want questions based on Apple’s Snow Leopard operating system, then you would sign up for the “Computers & Internet” category and find the Apple RSS feed.
What’s also nice is the ability to search for questions if the general category route isn’t working out. And Yahoo! Answers allows you to make an RSS feed available for the searches you conduct so that you never miss an opportunity.
By keeping these tips in mind, sticking to specific categories, and providing good, solid answers, you can achieve recognition as a reliable go-to source for information in your field of work. It will also help build direct referral traffic to your site or blog and help you climb the search engine ladder and get indirect search engine traffic from people looking for the same or similar question and finding your answer.