The Ultimate Guide to Linkedin Answers

Update: LinkedIn has decided to pull the plug on LinkedIn Answers. For the news and alternatives for LinkedIn Answers, click here.

Linkedin Answers is a feature frequently cited by social media marketing experts and marketers as a source for B2B businesses to generate traffic, leads and sales.

Linkedin Chocolates

However, the layout of Linkedin Answers can be very overwhelming for first timers. Where should you start? Where will the traffic, leads and sales come from? How to use Linkedin Answers for marketing?

Let’s not panic and start with why it has the potential to become your top channel for sales, leads and even traffic.

Why Linkedin Answers?

Linkedin Answers is basically a Question and Answer (Q & A) section of Linkedin and it is thriving thanks to the consistent flow of questions and quality answers from users.

The following are two major ways you can use it for marketing:

  • Identify Influencers: Many influencers with strong domain expertise are here to build their authority and credibility by answering questions that others have. These influencers may have a large following that your business is interested to reach out to.
  • Build Authority: Your prospects might be looking for answers or solutions here and by providing them with useful answers, you get to establish yourself as an authority and they will be more willing to read what you have to offer or to connect with you professionally.

Linkedin Answers can be used to identify influencers and build authority. – Click to Tweet!

Sounds pretty easy, right? Now, let’s make sure your time and efforts are well spent.

Finding Questions to Answer

Tons of questions are posted onto Linkedin everyday. Let me share some tips that you can use to find questions that fit right into your area of expertise and how to make your answer stand out from the rest.

Subscribe to Categories

Linkedin Answers Categories

Questions are nicely sorted into categories. To stay updated on new questions that are added, you can browse to each of the categories and subscribe to them via RSS feed. Only subscribe to categories that are relevant to your business or expertise because you don’t want to be overwhelmed by a huge number of unread feed items.

New Questions RSS Feed on Linkedin Answers

Quick Tip: Recommended Categories

Even the list of categories looks overwhelming to you? Well, there is a section on the main page of Answers that recommend a list of categories based on your past answers and expertise. Problem solved!

Linkedin Answers Recommended Categories

Reaching Out to Questions Beyond Your Network

By default, Linkedin presents a list of questions posted by people that are the closest to you or your connections. In order to reach out to people that are beyond your network, you can click on “more open questions >>” and select “Date” instead of “Degrees away from you”.

Linkedin Answers Sorted by Date

Advanced Search

Most of the questions posted on Linkedin will get at least 5 to 10 answers in the first 3 hours and if you want to add your answer to the list, it will appear last unless it is lucky enough to be chosen as the best answer.

Many users often missed out Advanced Answers Search. As you can see in the screenshot below, it gives you an option to return unanswered questions only.

Linkedin Advanced Answers Search

If you decide to answer these questions, your answer will appear right below the question itself and ahead of all the answers that are going to be posted by others.

Selecting a Question to Answer

First things first, short one line answers providing an absolute solution will not work on Linkedin so you must be an expert on the subject matter relating to a question that you are going to answer.

Secondly, avoid answering general questions. The answer for questions like “What is SEO?” or “How to start an online business?” can be easily found online and here are three reasons why answering these questions is counterproductive:

  • The time needed to come up with a good answer for these questions can be better spent on creating pillar blog posts or content that promises better return on investment.
  • The person asking these questions often do not have a strong intent to solve their problems. If the intent was strong enough, they would have Googled for the solutions instead of posting a general question on Linkedin Answers.
  • Questions like these attract a lot of crappy answers that will bury the one submitted by you. Position yourself to be an expert that provides unique insights and customized solutions that stand out among the rest.

How to Answer Questions?

  • Before you start typing, plan your answer.
  • Saying hi is fine but don’t let your introduction go beyond one line. Dive straight to the point.
  • Always elaborate on your points and provide a personal example or case study if applicable.
  • If a question is about comparing two options available, make sure your answer covers the pros and cons of both the options.
  • Context is key. You might have the best answer based on your experience and expertise but good answers take into account the context of the person asking the question. Read Why Context is So Important? by Joel Gascoigne.

Context is key to answer questions on Linkedin Answers. – Click to Tweet!

Write a Note to the Person Asking the Question

When we are answering a question, we tend to ignore the note section because it is only optional.

However, this is actually a very useful feature to reach out to the person asking the question with a personalized note or response. Here are some ideas for things that you can include in the note:

  • Do you have a blog post that offers a more detailed explanation to the question?
  • Do you offer something that will help solve the problem?
  • Do you need to ask questions that are more specific so that a better answer can be provided?
  • Can you offer an hour or more of your time to give a more personalized advice?

Linkedin Answers Write a Note

This is arguably the most underutilized way to generate interests, leads and even sales on Linkedin Answers.

Following up is the most underutilized tactic on Linkedin Answers. – Click to Tweet!

Suggest an Expert

If you don’t have the expertise to answer a question but you do know somebody within your network that is capable of doing that, why not suggest him or her as an expert to answer the question? By doing so, you can strengthen your professional relationship with the person because in a way, you are acknowledging his or her expertise on the subject matter.

Linkedin Answers Suggest an Expert

Always Try to Follow Up

This is another way to stand out from the rest. You cannot really send a message to a person with a free Linkedin account unless both of you are connected.

However, if you have answered a question, you can invite the person who asked the question to connect with you. In your invitation, you can ask whether the problem has been solved or whether your answer is useful for him or her.

Many Linkedin users don’t do this so if you start following up, the chances of you establishing a new connection and making a positive impression is way higher than the rest.

How to Ask Questions?

Moving on to the other side of the spectrum, asking questions on Linkedin Answers is a good way to discover experts that are relevant for your business.

Keep the following tips in mind when asking questions:

  • Ask clear and specific questions. Search for solutions online before asking a question. Giving people a brief idea on the context (the industry that you’re in, the size of your business and if any, actions that you have taken) will help.
  • Avoid posting URLs in your question. A question with a link is normally seen as an attempt to spam so avoid it.
  • Clarify when necessary. Linkedin members might take your question the wrong way. If the first couple of answers are not what you are expecting, it is important to add a clarification as soon as possible.

Linkedin Answers Clarify Question

Invite Connections to Answer

Similar to the Suggest an Expert feature mentioned above, you can invite up to 200 of your Linkedin connections to answer the questions that you have posted. Customize the personal note and if possible, acknowledge the expertise of your connections by telling them why they are chosen to answer the question. This will help to increase the response rate.

Share Question with Connections on Linkedin Answers

How Are You Using Linkedin Answers?

I will continue to update this post with tips and tricks that I discover.

Are you actively participating in Linkedin Answers? Are you using tricks that are not mentioned in the post? Feel free to suggest them in the comments section below and I will be glad to add them in.

Image courtesy of nan palmero

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Comments

  1. Liz Hancock says

    I haven’t utilized linkedin yet but this is a great reason to start! Thanks Wayne for the great reason to get more involved with this social media giant.

    • says

      Thank you so much for your comment, Liz.

      Hopefully you’ll get some results from Linkedin. To me, it is one of the most understated social media platform out there as compared to others like Facebook, Twitter or even Google+.

      All the best,
      Wayne

  2. says

    Wow, this is very comprehensive information that I need to book mark and follow through again as I want to use LinkedIn more effectively. Thanks for sharing on BizSugar.com

  3. Janis says

    Hi Wayne,

    Thank you for sharing this valuable information. I thought Yahoo was the only one who had the “Answers”. I’m happy to see that Linked in is also doing this. I’m looking forward to your newsletters in my inbox.

    • says

      Thank you for taking time to leave a comment and to subscribe to the newsletter. Your email sparked some great blog post ideas for 2013. Stay tuned for the awesomeness. Merry Christmas and happy holidays! Enjoy!