Social Media A to Z Series: C is for Comments-10 Dos and 10 Don’ts
It might be obvious but I thought that there may be “some worth” shining a light on “comments”. Comments are how you interact with the author and community of the site – be it a blog, group, forum or network.
So why would you want to comment? Isn’t it a little intimidating?
- When you comment, you are engaging.
- Comments are usually well received regardless of how small the response might be.
- Comments are a signal that someone is listening. So don’t be afraid to respond even if it is clicking the “like” button to say you liked the piece- it is a good thing. Don’t be shy.
Having said that, there are many reasons and motivations why people comment. Some include:
- They want to share their ideas.
- They are passionate about a topic and want to engage.
- They want to build a relationship with the author or community members.
- They want to share knowledge and expertise.
- They want to increase their visibility in the community.
How should you comment?
- Play nice. You can still share your perspective or alternative viewpoint, however be polite and respectful.
- Be part of the community and introduce yourself.
- Be transparent.
- Be on topic. It is about the conversation.
- Reach-out to author on very sensitive topics. If an issue is very sensitive and you find that you have a very strong reaction to what is being said, consider reaching out to the author before responding publicly. You want to manage your internet reputation.
- Be a global ambassador. You are communicating with many countries and cultures. Remember the internet is an international forum. So you need to be sensitive to this level of diversity
- Understand the audience and the site’s culture. It will help you formulate your response and messages.
- Be succinct.
- Abide by the rules. Many groups or forums have rules for posting comments.
- Share the post if the post resonated with you. The act of sharing is a very positive gesture. If you do not have a network to share with , you can click the +1 or Like button as additional endorsement for that post. Trust me, authors love it when you do either or both!
- Self promote.
- Promote products.
- Aggressively ask for favors especially without introducing yourself.
- Use all CAPS. It comes across as shouting.
- Be overly negative.
- Be overly sensitive. Communicating is 60-70% body language, 10-20% tone of your voice. Yet online, we are using primarily text. The probabilities are high for misinterpretation. So always seek clarification and specificity before reacting.
- Put yourself at risk.
- Be closed to new ideas or interpretations.
- Make sweeping generalizations.
Are your comments public?
- You should always be aware of the site’s/community’s privacy and security policies.
- In many communities the comments are contained within that community. You do have a level of control about who you want to share information with by determining the level of privacy in your privacy and security options on the site. However there are some communities where your comments are searchable by major search engines. So it is always a good practice to check the privacy and security policies of the site and community.
Remember when you are communicating, your tone and body language cannot be seen which is usually a very important part of communicating. So when writing your comments be descriptive and specific in your address. Secondly, remember that social media communities are about relationship building and conversations, therefore you should treat them accordingly. It is not a me mentality. It is about being social.
It is about many “Cs, namely: Collaboration and Conversations about the Content with a Cool Collective in a Community usually for a Common Cause or goal.
Thank you again!
- Don’t Forget to Engage: Hold Conversations – #3 out of 10 “Don’ts” of Corporate Social Media (blogs.forbes.com)
- Social Media Etiquette for College Students (studentloaninfo.org)
- How To Argue On the Internet