[Update 6/5/2010: Added captions (English) to the video, click on the “CC” popup button on the bottom right of video. I also added a transcript of the video to the end of the blog post.]
Have you ever tried using Google to find answers to complex and niche business questions? I have, but sometimes the questions are so specific that they require custom answers from an expert. When that happens, I turn to my secret weapons, LinkedIn and Aardvark (Vark.com).
In this video, I’ll show you how to use the one-two punch of LinkedIn and Aardvark to get answers to tough questions from an army of experts in a matter of minutes.
I skipped over some of the nuances of using each tool so I included some best practices for using each network at the end of this blog post.
This Question was posted on LinkedIn under the “Internet Marketing” category.
LinkedIn’s Q&A feature allows users to post questions by category then allow LinkedIn members to answer them. Members usually provide rich and in-depth responses because they care about the subject and also to share some of their expertise.
As of May 26th, 2010, the question has received 13 high quality responses. The answers started rolling in shortly after it was posted.
- The Question should be brief and clear with personal side to it.
- If you’re going to eventually blog about a Question, mention that in the Question. Most people love being mentioned in blog posts. It’s great for PR and further establishes the responder as a topic expert.
- Follow up on each and every response. On this Question, I communicated with each responder via LinkedIn’s private message system. I asked follow up questions and requested permission to use the response on my blog post.
- The Q&A process is also a great opportunity to connect with responders and add them to your LinkedIn network. I often extend an invitation to responders.
- LinkedIn responses usually provide amazing feedback on difficult questions.
- This is a link to my LinkedIn profile. Check it out and let’s connect.
This is the question I posted to Aardvark.com.
You may not have heard of Aardvark. Aardvark is a crowdsourcing Q & A site. I first heard about it via technologist Robert Scoble (@scobleizer on Twitter). To use Aardvark, you have to sign up and become part of the Q & A community. To ask a question, you just go to vark.com, login, and submit your question. Aardvark figures out the related category then emails potential responders that have expertise in that field.
- The question received four highly relevant and almost immediate responses. That’s the main forte of Aardvark – you get answers fast.
- Make sure the question is brief and to the point. When people receive the response, they will most likely make up their minds in a second as to whether or not they are going to respond. If they have to figure out the question, they’ll be less likely to respond.
- While Aardvark provides rapid responses, it limits the number of responses. There is a “resubmit” feature though.
- I communicated with each person that responded and asked for permission to mention their response in the blog post. This is a great way to extend the conversation and get more helpful information.
- CAUTION: I’ve only used the Q&A feature a couple of times and I did not realize that the conversation was all posted online. Make sure you review your privacy settings and be careful what information you transmit.