The Power of Questions: 5 Secrets to Strengthen Your Brand

December 5th, 2007 | by Jason Alba |

This is a guest post by friend and fellow blogger, Director Tom. More on him below his post.

Roll the dice - see what you get!Have you ever noticed how certain questions naturally grab you?

Why is it that some questions jump off the screen and get your attention while other questions just fall off your radar?

To see what I mean, head on over to LinkedIn’s “Answers” section. Which questions grab you?

If you spend a few minutes poking around the different areas, you’ll notice a continuous stream of questions being generated.

  • Why are so many people asking questions?
  • What’s the benefit?
  • Is there a trick to asking the right question?
  • Why is the “Answers” section on LinkedIn so popular?

Perhaps it’s because the right question can:

  • Bring fresh insights into old problems.
  • Move you to get inside your customer’s mind.
  • Drive traffic to your blog.
  • Raise awareness about issues you are passionate about.
  • Grow your professional network.

At this point, you might be asking, “Is there a way to use LinkedIn’s “Answers” feature to my advantage?”

You bet! Let’s take a look at five “real life” examples for ways you can enhance your on-line visibility while growing your professional network simply by tapping into the power of asking questions.

1. Generate fresh insights.

Ever wish you had an answer to a question but didn’t know where to turn? Well, you’re not alone!

As a filmmaker producing corporate films, no one has ever successfully answered a question I’ve been seeking in over 20 years. So, I asked the folks on LinkedIn for their thoughts…

ROI Using Corporate Videos? Is there a way to measure or express the return on investment with corporate videos…financial or otherwise?

Bingo! I wasn’t stuck anymore and had a goldmine of information I can use in future presentations. Are you stuck, too? Don’t be shy! Just ask away.

2. Think like your customer.

Sometimes you want new approaches and need a fresh perspective to your projects.

For instance, recruiting and retention is becoming a number one issue for many companies. Curious to what others would like to see in a recruiting film, I threw out this question:

How Can Video Help Attract & Retain Top Talent?

Asking questions to jump into the heads of prospective customers is a valuable tool to get out of your own head and into your customer’s. Remember; be specific when asking your question. It will help give your question the focus it needs so readers can give you specific answers.

3. Drive traffic to your blog.

Then again, there are times when you don’t want to be too specific in your question; like this: What’s your networking goal?

Scott Allen, co-author of “The Virtual Handshake,” liked the question so much he answered it in the forum and then followed it up by posting his thoughts on his blog, Linkedintelligence.

Asking an open-ended question like this can do two things for you:

  1. It can generate lots of answers because people have so many goals in common.
  2. It can increase the number of people reading your blog.

4. Raise awareness about issues you are passionate about.

If you are passionate about an issue, why not let more people know about it?

For instance, I remember reading an article that inspired me to ask, “Is corporate video art?” I couldn’t imagine the incredible variety of answers that poured in!

These answers got me thinking, why corporate videos are rarely ever part of the branding conversation. Why Not?

What are you passionate about? Why not start a conversation?

5. Grow your professional network.

Want a great way to meet interesting new people while increasing the quality of your professional connections? Ask a question that gets your readers wearing a different hat, like this one did: Yikes! I Have to Produce a Video…Now What?

Try asking a question that puts your potential prospect in a situation that you often encounter at work. Not only will you appreciate someone else’s point of view but chances are you’ll connect with some interesting new people.

In Summary

Asking the right question to produce the answers you want takes a little practice.

Now that the secret is out, what are you waiting for? All you have to do is ask!

Director TomDirector Tom is an excellent blogger and film maker. I met him in person at the SOB (that is, Successful and Outstanding Bloggers) conference, and was so impressed with his online personal branding strategy that I awarded him a You Get It award (yes, that coveted award). Tom has a very active Answers strategy and I really wanted to pick his brain, because I know it’s working for him. Hopefully his suggestions and insight help you develop your own Answers strategy!

  1. 7 Responses to “The Power of Questions: 5 Secrets to Strengthen Your Brand”

  2. By Lewis Green on Dec 5, 2007 | Reply

    I met Tom today over lunch. He is everything you write and more. When we meet someone such as Tom, we know there is hope for all of us.

  3. By Phil Gerbyshak on Dec 5, 2007 | Reply

    What a fantastic article about the power of questions! I agree that questions are critical to understanding your brand, and your audience. The more you know, the more powerful you can impact your life, and the lives of others.

    GREAT job Tom, and thanks Jason for sharing Tom’s genius with us all!

  4. By Maricel Quesada Jara on Dec 6, 2007 | Reply

    Very valid points, I think another one would be that it is free, you ask something and if you ask it in the right way, you would get a lot of valuable information for free, that is just great!

    Another thing is that if you give good answers you can also become an expert, so your name becomes more visible inside the site and probably out as well.

  5. By Bruce Barber on Jan 4, 2008 | Reply

    I’m and independent radio producer, and was fortunate enough to meet Tom through a mutual friend a couple of years back.

    He turned me on to Linkedin, as well as several other social/business networking sites, and I’d be way behind the curve right now if I hadn’t taken his advice.

    I am constantly in search of good topics for my public radio show, “The Real Life Survival Guide”, and it seems as though I’ve just found a great new resource.

    Thanks again, Tom!

  6. By Mark McGuinness on Jan 4, 2008 | Reply

    Thanks Tom, excellent piece. I must admit I didn’t even know about linkedin’s questions feature.

    Asking questions has been integral to my work as a coach and psychotherapist for the last 12 years and I can wholeheartedly endorse your points about the power of questions to raise awarenes, engage people and generate insights.

  7. By Jane on Jan 25, 2008 | Reply

    I’ve been reading through a lot of LinkedIn Answers over the past few days, and overall there is a great level of quality and informativeness on interesting topics.

    However, there is one issue I’ve occasionally noticed (although much less prevalent than it is on some other sites), and would like to point it out here in the hopes of perhaps a few people improving their habits.

    When posting a question, please write a title that clearly and concisely identifies what the question is about.

    This enables both potential answerers and future readers to actually have some idea of whether it is relevant to them and worth their time. Vague generic titles such as “what’s the best”, “what should I do”, etc, are useless without further clarification.

    Of course, this is also true for emails (and often an even worse situation there, with the clueless people who sometimes don’t bother to include any title at all on their email messages – at least LinkedIn requires a title of some sort).

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