Our hosts on The Bella Buzz podcast, Desiree Scales and Joe Magennis discuss the use of commenting on blog posts and activity streams, as a way to contribute to the overall conversation on the web. Each blog post should simply be the catalyst for a conversation, with the comments from the readers & listeners as the different ingredients that combine to form an even more interesting dialogue.
The idea for this topic began with a simple statement from Desiree on her Facebook profile, that turned into a multi-post article that helped direct one (if not many) readers towards a better understanding of how to use an application. We applaud the integration of commenting functions in social networks, particularly Facebook.
Unlike mass media outlets which are a one way dissemination of content, a blog post or a podcast is an open invitation to engage the audience like never before. Taking the time to add to the post via a well thought out comment is a great way to develop a significant relationship on the web and to promote your own brand by demonstrating your knowledge and understanding in a very meaningful way. Comments allow you the opportunity to fully express your opinions beyond the limitations of 140 characters.
But it’s not all about using comments to promote, as may bloggers are extremely concerned about comment spam and comments blatantly designed simply to link to your own profile. Done correctly, you have inserted yourself into a topic that could lead to other opportunities. As a small to medium sized business owner, you should make it part of your regular efforts to respond to the posts that you read with a comment .. you will find it can lead to greater rewards.
There are also networks on the web that allow for a follower/following relationship for comments. As you contribute to blogs around the web your followers can see your messages in a social way. This is also great for blog owners as a single commenter with a large following can lead many others to see your original post.
Integrated blog commenting tools such as Disqus and Intense Debate are great examples of these types of networks, while the web service BackType takes a more holistic approach to tracking comments via email address. A great advancement on the Disqus system is the integration of Facebook Connect as part of the social sharing of your comments, and may even disintermediate the need for having yet another social network to participate in… by having your comments feed into the Facebook Activity stream you are reaching your audience and sharing your web participation with them.Your Facebook followers can see your activity on the web, migrate to the site where you left the comment, and participate in the ongoing conversation.
As a site owner you have business decisions to make regarding the implementation of commenting systems on your own site.
In discussions with companies venturing into the use of blogs and social networks for the first time, a typical response is voiced .. “we’ll do a blog but we want the comments turned off, we don’t want anything bad to be said about us on our own web site!” … This is improper thinking about how commenting can help a business owner. Positive comments are of course peer to peer endorsement that carry much more weight than any content you could every write. A good comment can also help you to expand upon the meaning of your original post by drawing out more examples that make your point, making your content even better.
Negative comments give you two opportunities; one is to address the deficiencies that are voiced in the comment and become a better organization, and the second is to craft a response to the negative comment that demonstrates to the rest of the readers that you are listening, responsive and engaged. Don’t fear negative comments .. embrace them and use them as a tool.
In the end, don’t overlook the power of comments on the web. Feedback via comments is in many ways a motivation to continue producing the great content that we all enjoy on the web, and can be a great tool for business owners to use to help expand brand reach.
Do you leave comments around the web? Are you contributing to the dialogue by jumping in to the conversation. Are you a site owner using comments to expand your business? Let us know, we’d love to hear from you.