Comment Etiquette and Other Important Tips for Your Social Media Plan
Blogging as a part of your social media plan is one thing. Blog commenting is a whole different animal. In a sense, blogging may even be a little easier. Why? You’re creating your own content, then inviting others to respond. You hit “Publish,” then you sit back and wait for other bloggers to chime in (so you can respond accordingly). When you’re on the other end of that publishing platform, however, things can get a bit harder, especially if the poster didn’t ask a question at the end of the post. “Thanks for the insight! Great post!” is a classic way to comment, but these remarks don’t do much to convince the blogger to click over to your own site. To help you become a better blog commenter, we’ve compiled some tips on how to leave blog comments that will drive more traffic to your website.
1.) Comment Early
Ever scanned the comments of a blog and felt sad to see that a commenter had already said exactly what you wanted to say? Try to beat them to the punch and comment on an article as early as possible, instead of putting it off until later. If you find you’re a little late to the party, you can always say something like, “I agree with Nancy. In my experience…” Which leads us right into our second tip.
2.) Write About Your Experience
This is one of the easiest ways to respond to a comment, and it’s helpful for the reader, too. When a variety of people weigh in with their personal experiences, the result can be a potluck table of varied and interesting views. The AskAManager blog, for example, always gets lots of comments based off the responders’ personal experiences. Blogger Allison Green is a great resource in and of herself, but the comments make her blog an even better read—a fact that she graciously points out.
3.) Ask a Question
If there was something that you still wondered, ask the blog author. Chances are, some other reader had the same question. If they didn’t, however, you’re still helping other readers learn extra information. This may even hold true for the blogger, too, if they don’t have the answer right off the top of their head.
Don’t disagree just for the sake of disagreeing, but if you have a different opinion, say so. Explain why you disagree with the author, but be respectful. Nobody likes a troll. Plus, nothing raises a blogger’s ire faster than unnecessary flame war. Disagreements are good for sparking further discussion, but it’s key to handle them in the right way.
5.) Explain What the Blog Did for You
Not everything is one-size-fits-all. If the blog gives some sort of advice (ahem), then a great way to respond is to tell the author and readers what you did with that advice. As Tamal Anwar writes on the Famous Bloggers site, “I want to fall asleep early when I go to bed, and I watched a video that shares a tip that helped me go to sleep easily. So, I went to that video again and wrote a detailed comment on how it helped me, how long it took, and shared with others that it exactly worked.” This is a great way for you to get a feel for how a blogger’s advice can be tailored to fit your specific needs.
Did the blogger miss a point that would have enriched their post? Boom. There’s your comment. You get bonus points for giving both author and readers a taste of your expertise.
7.) Think of Readability
So far these tips have catered to those who don’t know what to say, but those who have a lot to say might not be getting the right traction, either. If you’re a wordy commenter, heed the advice of For Bloggers by Bloggers’ Judy Dunn: Write and format your comment with care. Just because you’re not the one writing the blog post, that doesn’t mean you can throw all formatting and organization cares out the window. Keep your comment on-topic, and for the love of Seth Godin, don’t write a huge chunk of text. Few people will have the patience to read it.
8.) Read Others’ Comments
A comment responding to Dunn’s post is a perfect example of adding to the discussion, and it makes for another great commenting tip. A poster by the name of Russell J. Barnstein wrote, “I read at least 5-10 comments before I create my own. Why? Perhaps other readers got something out of the post that I missed, or perhaps someone offers important supplemental information. By reading what the host and her guests have said, I have a better idea of the dialogue before I jump in with my ‘two cents.’”
Tip No. 1 of our list assumes that you’ve taken the time to read others’ comments. If you haven’t, you could just be regurgitating a point someone else has already made. On popular blogs that get lots of comments, some people are upfront and preface their comment with “Haven’t had time to read all the comments, but…” Unless you’re responding to a similarly comment-heavy blog, it’s always a good idea to take the time to read others comments. This will help you craft a thoughtful comment of your own.