Dear Comment Spammers & Bullies: 15 Tips for Comments that Help, Not Hurt Your Brand
We have all seen them. The blog comment that just doesn’t belong. The comment that we all know shouldn’t be there. However, because of blog norms and social etiquette we leave it there and feel an unjustified obligation to respond.
You know what I am talking about. Either you are one who leaves these types of comments, receives them or have seen them. They are hard to avoid if you’ve spent anytime online in the past decade.
My question is what value are the people leaving them providing or receiving? There seems to be more and more poor and self serving comments left on high traffic sites. Either the commenter is so dense they aren’t purposely doing such or they are obviously doing it because they place more value on visibility and assumed clicks to their blog over building a brand and business based on thought leadership, providing real value, engaging authentically and fitting in with the community in which they are participating.
15 Blog Comment Tips to Help Your Business & Brand
1. Take the time to read the entire article with an objective to understand, not just read. A single blog post can not always be written to satisfy the needs of varying audiences. It’s impossible to target a social media expert and newbie to social media with a “How to Get Started in Social Media 101 article.” Example: Don’t write a five page dissertation and inappropriately assume the writer doesn’t understand the importance of integrating social media into the DNA of a business if it’s an article targeted at social media newbies.
2. Stay on topic. Ensure your comment is about the post you are commenting on, not your latest blog post link you provide at the bottom of your signature. Blog articles are not designed to be a book. They should however provide enough information to be useful, inspire and hopefully connect with an audience. Example: If the blog post is about the top Twitter widgets for wordpress, keep your comment relevant to such vs commenting on how to best design an entire social platform using Twitter.
3. Think before you comment. Leave pointless emotion at the door. If you are in a bad mood, feeling feisty, get off the comment box. Hit the gym, take a break. You never know who you might turn off that could have been a great contact or lead for you.
4. Use your head and focus on value. If your gut tells you what you are writing is not providing value, then by all means delete and leave the page. You are doing your business, your brand and yourself no good by leaving a comment that provides no value.
5. Focus on relationships. Commenting is a great way to connect with people when done right. Keep your comments and your online social conversations purposeful and aligned with your goals and objectives. If you market yourself as a helpful, easy going web consultant then don’t tweet tweets all day blasting your competition and leave comments with an intent to pick a fight. Focus on connecting authentically with the people you would like to do business with or get to know better.
6. Comment to others how you want to be commented. Pretty straight forward. Think about what you would think if someone left the same comment on your blog, Facebook page or other social network platform. If you wouldn’t want on your turf, then unless you have a valid reason, have the guts to walk away!
7. Leave your ego at the door. Even though you may think you are the best person to do whatever job you do for your clients, you have competition. If you find a smart person who does what you do, partner with them. There are plenty of fish in the sea and more than enough business to go around for those that play nice. If the blogger has similar interests and skills as you, partner with them! You'll be surprised what you can accomplish when teamed up with a smart person who understands your business.
8. Be open minded. Realize there are possibly better ways to do something than the way you have been doing it for 10 years. Be open to ideas, feedback and new ways of looking at things.
9. Do NOT leave a comment as anonymous. Most bloggers simply laugh at comments left as anonymous. If you don’t have the guts to leave your real name then you probably shouldn’t be commenting. Also, you never know what analytics the blog owner has on their site. Depending on what computer and network you are on when you leave a comment, the owner may be able to figure out it was you.
10. Leave the SPAM in the can! Links are not always going to drive traffic to your site. Just because you post a link to your site and spam the comment in general, it doesn’t mean you are going to get a ton of traffic to your site. Truth is you’ll probably drive more traffic by authentically engaging and adding real value.
11. Think Return on Investment (ROI). Why waste the time on something negative when you could be doing commenting on another blog post somewhere else that could actually have a positive impact on your business and brand.
12. Don’t be afraid to challenge thinking. Any good blogger welcomes and often times writes a post with an objective to start conversation. I like when people challenge my thinking. I love studying the ecosystem and psychographic behaviors of peoples as they engage in social media. Don’t be afraid to challenge. Just make sure you take the time to read and understand the full article before you do so. If you are going to challenge, simply do it with your head attached.
13. Be a good comment friend and don’t forget the little people. If you are an expert in whatever you do, don’t make it a daily ritual to find a newbie blogger and tell them how stupid they are. You were probably there once too. It is a tough economy and tough times in general. The person is probably having a hard enough day without having to waste 15 minutes figuring out how to respond to your rude comments.
14. Register for the top tools & resources supporting comments such as Comment Luv, Disqus, Gravatar etc. Doing this will enable blog visitors to easily link to your site even when you don’t leave a spam link! It will also save time as with Disqus for example you can sign in within seconds using your Twitter logon.
15. Balance time on other peoples blogs with working your own business. Don’t get hung up on following your competition or spending all day reading and commenting on blogs. If you have that much time on your hands, maybe you should start or focus more on your own blog. Set time limits for listening in social media and ensure an adequate time is allocated to building your own content, brand and online platform that will grow and sustain your business.
In summary engaging anywhere online including commenting on blogs should be no different than in real life. If you wouldn’t want your mama to hear you say it, then keep your trap shut. Your time is your most valuable asset. Use it wisely!
What are your thoughts? Are you an admitted spammer or bully commenter? Do you have other tips you can share?