Finding ‘Answers’ on

question answerLast week I mentioned how small business owners could use LinkedIn Answers to help them establish expertise in a certain vertical and drive traffic to their Web sites. This week I thought I’d focus on a different site – the Answers section of Answers is described as a social media Q&A site where business folks looking for products and services can ask for advice and recommendations on a wide range of different subject areas. I think the folks at offer a really unique outlet for SMB owners. Because all the questions are strictly tied to business concerns, it creates a completely different atmosphere than many of the other Question sites. It also significantly increases the quality of information.

For example, Senior Manager Erika Kerekes shared the following Answers “success stories” that SMB owners have had at

  • An employee wonders if she can be fired for staying home to take care of her flu-ridden child. She posts a question on Answers, and the same day, a labor lawyer specializing in employee rights responds with the details of the Family Medical Leave Act. Peace of mind! Link
  • A user in the retail industry asks for a recommendation for retail display accessories. The same day, another user in retail responds, recommending and linking to the supplier they use. Great advice! Link
  • We’re seeing lots of “How do I start a” questions from budding entrepreneurs – for example, one user wants to know how to start a pizza restaurant. The Answers team seeks out the owner of a small California pizza chain and brings his firsthand advice back to the site. Experts on call! Link

I did my own search to test the quality of information on the site (trust no one) and I was actually pretty surprised. A quick search for [Twitter] discovered people asking about the best small businesses using the site, how to use it for marketing, the type of content most retweeted, etc. They were legitimate questions with real business owners chiming in to help one another out. That’s not always the case on a site like Yahoo Answers were often joke and “funny” questions run supreme.

So how can small business owners take advantage of a site like Answers? Where do you start?

Create an Account

It shouldn’t be too surprising that in order to use the site, you’ll need to register first. makes this pretty painless and you get a great bio area to include lots of personal information about yourself and your business. The links are all nofollow’d but you may still get some traffic if you can provide answers that make people want to get to know you a bit better.

As an example of a user profile, you can check out Anita Campbell’s. [Disclosure: Anita is a Expert.] Or, I even created one myself (Lisa Barone) to show you how regular users look.

Answers Questions In Your Niche

You should set aside some time at the end of the day or maybe just a few times a week to peruse the site and offer help to SMB owners when in areas that you feel confident. First, it’s fun and it feels good to help others in your niche. Also, sharing information is one of the best ways to build relationships and make connections in your space. It’s worth noting that because is a trusted domain, the answers rank fairly well in the search engines. That means if you provide a good answer, you’re going to be the authority for whoever pulls up that listing in their search. It’s a great way to brand yourself as an expert and to drive traffic to your site.

Poll Your Colleagues

Did you know that 80 percent of small businesses are one-man shops and that 50 percent are home-based? In tomorrow’s post I’ll be talking about how small business owners can use outside resources to create that “office environment” they’re missing out on by working from home. And I’ll be talking about sites just like Answers. The Q&A portion of offers a great way for SMB owners to virtually pop their heads over the cubicle wall and ask someone a question or gather some input. If you’re not sure about a new piece of software, ask. If you don’t know the best strategy to do X, see if others do. Get involved in the community and create your own mentoring network. I think you’ll really be surprised at the quality of information you receive and the number of people who will offer to help.  And because the question pages rank so well in the search engines, you never know who may stumble on it and offer some suggestions.

Drive Traffic To Your Site

If you haven’t given Answers a shot, it’s definitely one to add to your list. Because it’s a community of professionals, it offers small business owners a rare chance to establish their own expertise, network, and even drive traffic to content.


Lisa Barone Lisa Barone is Vice President of Strategy at Overit, an Albany Web design and development firm where she serves on the senior staff overseeing the company’s marketing consulting, social media, and content divisions.

19 Reactions
  1. Thank you, Lisa, for this helpful write up! As you point out, I am an “Expert” at and recommend that people check it out. It’s a good way to position yourself as an expert. You can also get questions answered.

    – Anita

  2. I love Q&A sites because they are great ways to make connections, be helpful and showcase your expertise. Thanks for taking this on a test drive and giving us your opinion.

    Lisa, do they have an API?

  3. Thank you, Lisa!

    I have been able to answer a few franchise-related questions there, and it has a great interface.

    The Franchise King
    Joel Libava

  4. thanks for the tip.

    I have seen the benefits of monitoring answers section of linked in and now this one has been added to my list!

    Thanks and Regards

    Noel for
    a graphic design studio

  5. This is one of the few very useful posts I have seen in a long time.

    Great article… well thought out, useful and easy to get to the value!

    Getting found and engaging real customers or peers has changed significantly. With the web we can do it quickly and for free but there are millions of others attempting to do the same thing. So how do you get through the noise? How do you get valuable feedback?

  6. This is simply the gold of B2B internet marketing.

    Thanks for sharing.

  7. Terrific Info. Thanks. Doesn’t apply much to my niche but it is some great information.

  8. I have not tried yet, but reading this article makes me interested.

  9. I have to check out this site. Could you say that is a biz version of a “human-powered search” site like Maholo?

  10. Great article!, with the power of the Internet it has never been easier to connect with others that are in allignment to our target Niche. Many times the answers that I could not have found anywhere else, had came to the rescue.
    When in Doubt, Ask!.

  11. Note: your click thru to last weeks article doesn’t work because there is an extra %3e at the end.

  12. Thanks Patrick for the heads up on the broken link. Just fixed it.

  13. All great suggestions. I work as a consultant with small business owners and they are usually experts in their industry, but lack sales and marketing skills that are so essential for small business success.