Social Media Social Good: comment Comment COMMENT

Category: Social Media Social Good Series

Blog commenting

I’ve been a comment evangelist for a long time. I believe it is one of the best tools to advance your “influence” and presence online. Its rewards are many and it’s one of the easiest things to do. In my early days writing and blogging and learning Social Media, I developed a strategy of commenting that I believe served me well. Social Media is to a large degree – as I’ve chosen the name for this blog series – about Social Good, at least as I choose to view and use it. Commenting will help you achieve results in doing good, doing well, and doing better.

The Cookie Monster Wants a comment

The question often asked by new bloggers is how to get more readers to come visit their blog, their website. Frankly, I don’t like the term, “blogger” or any version of it to describe what I do, but it is the popular vernacular of the day. I believe that blogging is a form of writing. A perfectly fine form, but since I do so many different kinds of writing, I prefer to reference what I do as writing and what I am, as a writer. But, I digress (that is the first time I believe I’ve ever written those three trite words!).

Getting people to read your writing, your blog, is easily achieved by commenting. There are numerous websites that can provide lists of bloggers that write about things in your particular niche or interests. Find those bloggers. Read their writing. Immediately you will get the benefit of learning from others that may have achieved the success you desire.

Now, begin commenting. I’ll give you my dirty-little-secrets about commenting later, but let’s start with simply reading the blog and making a simple statement of affirmation and perhaps add an idea or ask a question. If you disagree with something in the blog, perhaps you should choose your words carefully in how you express that. Disagreement is fine as long as it’s done with respect. In fact, I welcome disagreement because it often elicits more discourse. I’m sure most writers would agree with me.

Funny animal comment photo

It’s those comments that are simply name-calling or don’t back up their disagreements with thoughtful arguments that are frowned upon. I wrote a column disparaging the Occupy Wall Street movement and it garnered perhaps the most comments of anything I’ve written. A good 75% were incredibly well thought out agreements and disagreements. I replied to every one of those, which is something that will encourage further dialogue. To those name-callers, I simply let their comments stay put because I felt they shot themselves in the foot with their angry diatribes and only reinforced my ideas.

What will happen, after a while, is that the writers on whose sites you’re commenting will notice you. You may engage in a comment debate. These debates may lead to – gulp – some meaningful real-life interactions, perhaps first with emails outside of the comment-sphere and later phone calls and possibly, as shocking as it may read, a real life encounter.

When I began doing my commenting, I did it religiously as part of my morning routine. I learned tricks to make it easier. I learned shortcuts. And, I made terrific relationships. Some even dubbed me, “The Comment King.”

World image about commenting

What are some of the tricks and shortcuts I employed? Sorry, you’ll have to kill me for those. Nah, here’s a short list – but beware – do them at your own peril (I’m serious):

~~ Not every comment has to be genius. Sometimes I would simply say something positive and something additional to the topic of the blog without even reading the whole thing.

~~ Writers/Bloggers love feedback. So, going one step beyond the previous tip, I learned to make valuable comments simply by knowing the writer (after reading enough of their material) and reading only the title of the blog!

~~ I created what I call a Comment Posse. This is a terrific thing to do since you build a little community of other writers and bloggers that you’ve met virtually or know in real life. You agree to comment on each other’s material. It’s ad-hoc and I probably had a rotating group of a dozen or so for well over a year. We only commented when we had something of value to add. There was no formality or sense of obligation.

Ironically, as my Social Media life progressed, I became too busy – or so I thought – to comment as regularly as I had earlier in my career. The topic of comments and its value came up at a #blogchat not so long ago and I suggested forming a new Comment Posse on Triberr. It’s been going strong for several months now and it got me back to regular commenting so I’m back to doing what I preach!

~~ Reply to every legitimate comment. Make sure you have a user-friendly comment system (Disqus and Livefyre are both excellent) and do NOT moderate comments. You should check your comments regularly enough that if the occasional spam or obnoxious comment slips through (a good comment system), you can delete it. Moderating and poor commenting systems discourages people to comment at all OR to comment again.

~~ When you reply, respond to what was written. Don’t just say, “Thank you for your comment.” Try and add to the comment so a string of dialogue may ensue. And, try and address each commenter by name. Good comment plug-ins allow you to easily include the name of the person who commented.

So, are you ready to begin commenting? I have a last suggestion.

Leave a comment here…

Funny cartoon about Hangman Game

This bears no connection to this column, but I thought it was funny so here it is!


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Dealing with The Empty Nest

  • Jack Durish

    Let me be the first to comment… I agree. Comments are golden. If nothing else, people have to hang around a few moments longer to comment and that helps my “Avg duration per visit” stats. Seriously, comments prevent me from feeling like my blog is an empty room where I’m talking to myself. Unfortunately, now my visitors are talking to themselves. I changed my blog settings to require approval for comments. That’s when I discovered that there’s a flaw in my website/weblog coding that prevents me from approving comments. Now my visitors must be wondering what happened to me. Have I left? No, I’m waiting for the techies and geeks to correct the issue. Hey, everybody, I’ll be back and I’ll approve and respond to every comment as soon as I can. Can you hear me from here?

    • Bruce Sallan

      I hear you @twitter-189186958:disqus – don’t worry, EVERY website has similar glitches – they’ll come back…you write good stuff and they’ll ALWAYS come back for that. I’d discourage you from moderating comments though…a good comment system will eliminate most of the ca-ca!

  • Linda Paul

    I, too agree. Even though I’m fairly new to this social media thing, I’ve watched, even helped newbies get their blogs up and running, but they go nowhere, because they don’t engage with the community. If you lock yourself behind curtained windows and locked doors, your magic will never be seen.

    • Bruce Sallan

      I love your use of the word “magic” @twitter-503048479:disqus

  • Stan Faryna

    CommentLuv might bring in more comments – if you self-host your blog. I don’t (self-host) so I’m stuck with the basic WordPress comment system.

    Comments, of course, are a part of the social currency – as are FB likes and Google +1s. So the Comment Posse is a good idea. But if it can go beyond comments to include mutually enthusiastic Google +1s and likes on Facebook, then you’ll have your bases covered.

    Bruce is a master community manager, so take notes.

    Recently on my blog:
    Season 3 Finale of The Walking Dead

    • Bruce Sallan

      You’re right about Comment Luv @faryna:disqus – thanks for mentioned it since it should have been included as the 3rd in examples of good comment plug-ins. I’m on WP custom theme and I was able to install Disqus – but I self-host so I guess that’s the difference?

  • Jennifer G. Hanford

    Hi Bruce, what a great post! Actually, I like many of your posts, but I haven’t commented on any of them before. I worried that the author of the articles might find my comments were lame and judge me. The more I blog though, the more I realize how good it feels to receive any kind of feedback (other than spam, of course!). Thanks for sharing your ideas – let me know if you need another member in your comment posse. haha!

    • Bruce Sallan

      Thx @twitter-250743015:disqus – I’m glad you finally commented! And, appreciative! I actually have a new Comment Posse on Triberr and I do have openings? Want it? Will you commit to it?

      • Jennifer G. Hanford

        Yes, count me in! Sounds great!

        • Bruce Sallan

          Okay @twitter-250743015:disqus – look for the invite!

  • Laura Hedgecock

    Very helpful post. I’ll keep on commenting.

    • Bruce Sallan

      And so will I @twitter-25289271:disqus !!!

  • Jaime Dubey

    Great advice, I have just learned this with my twitter account and found out how many people have started interacting with me. Now to just get them to do the same with my articles and I will be golden!!!!

    • Bruce Sallan

      @google-654ae896dd21d7f68fd878414a790920:disqus – patience Jaime – just keep on doing it and they will come! Hmmm, good line! LOL…

  • Candy McCracken

    Bruce, your comments on #blogchat … about commenting … encouraged me to come out from hiding and comment on blogs, etc. Amazing how quick the interactions occur and relationships begin to form. Thanks for the practical input and encouragement in this article.

    • Bruce Sallan

      That makes me VERY happy @twitter-893801209:disqus and I’m soooo glad it’s working for you! YES!

  • Steve Cassady

    Comments are a great way to engage and have a discussion. Reminds me that I need to comment more.

    • Bruce Sallan

      You jus did @twitter-14905019:disqus !!!

  • Pioneer Outfitters

    Well, this is my very first time over here! Sheesh, Bruce!

    I just passed my own 3rd birthday online. I’d like to think the echos I hear over at my website are the whispers of humans hiding in the shadows… however I am almost certian that instead it is the fact that I am still searching for those looking for me.

    Which isn’t to say I don’t have and respond to comments! I do… but there is always the thought in the back of my mind that I really do want to touch the world, bring them closer to us, create real relationships… that may lead them to us (of course) and help us form even stronger relationships.

    I have no intention of stopping and I will never quit..

    • Bruce Sallan

      Good for you @google-77483dcbec87e3da71e33bf7cdd89eee:disqus – come to #DadChat on Thursdays so meet some truly GREAT people and trust me you’ll reach more people through the relationships that will follow!

  • Jon M

    Agree on your views, Bruce. It is two-way, both commenting and then providing a response back. In leaving a comment, it sparked a blog idea for me and, in some of the comment interactions, added ideas are sparked. It is in the interaction where we get ideas. Social commenting does good! Thanks. Jon

    • Bruce Sallan

      @JonMertz:disqus – It is so basic to me! Such a win-win all around. You win by learning and reading at the least. And you may win-win by making a great new connection and possibly a friend. It’s easy; it’s just about managing your time to do so (comment)…

  • Lisa Cash Hanson

    🙂 And you forget to mention tagging people via Twitter which you did with me LOL. But I realized not too long ago that I’ve stopped commenting just to get people to come to my site. I really enjoy reading what other people say ( time permitting) So I’ve added that as a part of blogging that I love. Negative comments? I’m immune LOL When I was featured on Yahoo! I had about 1200 negative comments. After about the 50th you either go numb or lose your sanity. I like my sanity 🙂

    • Bruce Sallan

      I’m with you…insanity if OVER-Rated @twitter-36761958:disqus – lol…

  • Brian Vickery

    I enjoyed the hangman graphic. I usually try to comment in the tweet, but it is hard to comment on so many blogs. When I do, I’m having to choose those which are likely to increase business visibility due to the topic. I not only have an opinion on the subject, I know that other readers/commenters will also have opinions – and may want to check out what I do for a living.

    My personal commenting has died down significantly because a lot more personal priorities are ahead of it. If I have time for personal commenting…that means I probably let something else slip with a senior going through her last high school years and picking colleges – and an older one going through wedding planning and being a young mom.

    Then there is the necessary coffee/wine/tennis with the wife!!

    • Bruce Sallan

      That’s all BV? @dbvickery:disqus

  • David Weber

    Good tips.
    I have been frustrated many times at various blogs when the process for logging in is long or tedious or riddled with difficulty of one kind or other. This blog’s system is easy/painless. Don’t lose it!

    • Bruce Sallan

      I always appreciate your stopping by and commenting, @7f990e539df4ddefe26884eb65a5f04c:disqus

  • Маргарита Фукс

    I agree, comments can promote your website or blog.U I have a list of 20 blogs with high traffic. There I leave a comment. As soon as a new post on them, I run to comment. It is important to get into the top 10 of the comments.

    • Bruce Sallan

      @mfuks:disqus – I used to be so much better but my life/schedule has intruded on my former commenting habit – now, I mostly respond to those comments on my own website…

  • Ashley Jones

    I love this post. I get questions about it all the time from local business owners about why thought ought to leave comments. I have to remind them not just any comment but one that adds value to the post and extends an opportunity at a conversation.

    I agree with ALL of your points. In fact, I have made several blogging friends and been introduced to some new strategic business partners that all started with a comment I left on blog.

    It really cements a reason for a blogger to also engage with me and share me with their audience when I’ve had the opportunity over time to show them how much value I can bring to both them and their audience.

    It’s not spam, it’s not asking for a single thing… it’s just having a conversation around the topic.

    Thank you so much

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  • Austin Bailey

    Through comments you can promote your blogs but sometimes you got a lot of spam through this. Commenting makes the people active on your blog which help your site to be popular. We should reply to every legitimate comment so that people can take interest in that. Social Media Trends Today

    • Bruce Sallan

      Thanks Austin for finding my website! I no longer write much or post here. Someday I may revisit it all. I found that commenting completely built my presence on SoMe, but it was a different time when I was doing that – oh so few years ago. My casual observation now is that commenting has diminished substantially.