Using Comments In Social Media

We’ve had some great posts this week about using comments to market your blog.

Thanks to BizSugar.com members Ana Hoffman, Ryan Biddulph and Ivan Walsh for the great contributions.

Though one link drew a bit of controversy, it’s a fact that commenting on blogs was one of the earliest forms of Web 2.0 marketing and today commenting remains important in a wide range of social media from larger more general platforms like Facebook and Twitter to more niche social media sites like BizSugar.com.

Here are some thoughts from the BizSugar team about what constitutes best practices when commenting in any social media community. We hope you find it helpful:

Be sincere.

People comment on BizSugar and on many other social media platforms for a variety of reasons. They may be simply responding to something they’ve read, adding to resources shared by others, trying to forge a connection with another blogger or member of their social community or, yes, marketing their own blog or social media site to others in the hopes they will connect. Whatever the reason, it’s important to avoid the appearance of being just an opportunist exploiting the community for your own selfish ends. Stay away mindless praise or short generic posts that add nothing to the conversation and, for God’s sake, never leave your Website homepage scrawled in someone else’s comment section asking them to have a look. Be genuine in your interest in the community and work hard to use your comments for the purpose of building up, adding value and enhancing real communication and the exchange of ideas.

Be thoughtful.

And we mean this in two different ways. First, be courteous to other members not simply hijacking their posts or links as an opportunity to spout off about your ideas or attract attention to you. Certainly, NEVER use a comment on someone else’s blog, Facebook fan page, etc. as free advertising space for your product, service, blog or career. Second, be thoughtful in your response to a blog post, link or comment from another blogger. Speak intelligently, become part of the conversation by leaving comments that show your understanding of the other person’s point of view. (Yes, this means you SHOULD HAVE READ THEIR POST before commenting.)

Be interesting

This is not a high school book report. Simply summarizing another person’s point or observation without adding some thoughts and value of your own is a one way ticket to an invisible post or, worse yet, a way to convince others you’re committed to doing the absolute bare minimum in order to insert yourself into the comment stream and gain some free publicity for your business, blog or link. The strategy is likely to have the opposite effect. Instead, why not try to add something new. Here’s a tip. Try to leave comments that start conversations by adding more information, asking a question, taking a stand (politely, of course :) ), responding to another commenter’s observations, etc.

Be cool

Never, never, never leave comments that abuse, insult or belittle other members of the community or that make wild, unfounded claims about members, groups of members or the community at large. Think about what you might say to members or fellow bloggers if you were standing in the same room together. If you’ve written something in anger, whether you believe it to be justified or not, take a moment and read what you’ve said before hitting the send button. Being honest is great but not at the expense of your reputation. Also remember, your comment will be seen by everyone not just your intended target. Diplomacy is the best route in social media even when strongly disagreeing with another member. Don’t forget that you too will be judged by the comments you leave. What does the comment you’ve written say about you?

No one’s perfect when it comes to leaving comments and we’re all prone to leaving messages we later groan upon reading. Think of this part of your social media efforts as a work in progress. We’ll see you in the commenting section. Leave us a good one! :)

6 Responses to “Using Comments In Social Media”


  1. Niall Devitt says:

    Great post Shawn, If you consider this post along with those mentioned you take with you a serious level of knowledge when networking online. Thanks for sharing, Niall

  2. Lee says:

    I agree, this is an excellent post. I think the same rules apply online as they do in person – you wouldn’t walk into someone’s house or business, ignore the conversation, and shout all about yourself. Irritating that so many people are happy to do the equivalent online.

  3. Joe Haugh says:

    Nice article, currently revamped our blog, but some additional work is required before it is ready. Certainly agree with all of the above, comments are great, allows people to give you feedback and interact..

  4. Whether is it Facebook, Bebo, MySpace or LinkedIn, socialnetworks are here to stay and businesses must adapt to interacing with their customers in a social environment.

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