Responding to Positive Web Comments

 Jeff Korhan

Why does the concern for managing negative web comments overshadow the practice of skillfully responding to positive comments?

Positive comments are the seeds of conversations and the beginnings of new relationships.  Shouldn’t this be the focus of your social networking?

The focus on having a strong defense (as opposed to a strong offense) suggests that many businesses are using their social media to market in a traditional fashion. In other words, they want to control the message, instead of giving up control to their customers to get them talking favorably about their brand.

If your response to favorable comments on your social media channels is “Thanks,” then it’s time to learn how to better use this interactive platform to more effectively accomplish your objectives.

You’ve Received a Comment: What’s Next?

The first thing that should come to mind when receiving any comment is what to do next.

One thing is clear, any response to a comment is always better than none at all.

Fortunately, networks such as Twitter, Facebook, and Google+ allow you to favorite, retweet, like, +1, and share. These social signals are a quick and easy way to acknowledge comments with the bare minimum effort. This should be standard practice.

When you respond to social media comments you honor the commenter.  In most situations, that is enough to give a boost to their day, especially if you happen to be influential or someone they look up to.

You would think that influential people with large followings are mostly unresponsive to comments. My experience and that of others is quite the opposite. While they may be using a team to manage their social media, they understand the need to be actively engaged with their followers.

Of course, there are people with large followings that seldom if ever respond, and if they do, it is usually only to influentials and their very best friends. This is a bad practice, sort of like giving preferential treatment to your largest customers and ignoring the others.

Remember that social media democratizes media, so it’s always best to be inclusive.

If you are a business, you should endeavor to respond to every single tweet, share, and comment, regardless of the social channel.

Responding to Positive Comments

1. Acknowledge Intent

The primary value of a positive comment is its intent, not necessarily the usefulness of what may have been shared. Thus, when you acknowledge that you honor the person making it.

2. Make a Connection

Do you have something in common with the commenter?  If so, blend that into your comment. Now you are referencing a shared relationship to thereby establish common ground.

3. Share an Idea

We talk a lot on the social networks about sharing value, but that isn’t always appropriate with brand new connections. It could be interpreted as “selling.” A better practice is to introduce a new possibility.

4. Suggest a Next Action

This can be a little tricky. Once again, avoid the inclination to promote. Simply encourage the commenter take action on what they specifically acknowledged in their comment, which often is the message of your blog post or article.

5. Keep the Conversation Going

If you are building your systems, you will have a method in place for circling back to take the conversation further. This could be running through your starred tweets or recent comments on your Facebook business page. However you accomplish this, it should be part of an integrated plan.

Your Social Media Implementation Plan

If you are a subscriber to my weekly newsletter, you have already seen this recent issue for building Your Social Media Implementation Plan. If not, you can subscribe right here to get future (and free) updates.

Responding to comments, both favorable and unfavorable, should be a micro-process within your overall social media marketing plan. My experience is that most businesses do not have a social media implementation plan, or if they do it is not written down.

Your social media will not come alive until you discipline yourself to build a plan, have it written down in a step-by-step manner, and then endeavor to update it periodically. As you know, technology changes, and that will affect the focus that your business should be taking.

You will most skillfully respond to positive web comments by taking a few simple actions. If they are part of a larger plan, you will have the confidence that your entire team is working in sync.

And that’s a positive thing!

Share your thoughts with a positive comment.

About the Author:  Jeff Korhan, MBA, helps mainstream small businesses create exceptional customer experiences that accelerate business growth. Get more from Jeff on LinkedInTwitter and Google+.

Jeff is also the author of Built-In Social: Essential Social Marketing Practices for Every Small Business – (Wiley 2013)

Photo Credit

Blog Commenting Guidelines

Commenting is what makes a blog article a living and breathing document.

When you make insightful, witty, or thought-provoking comments, you encourage a dialogue that adds value for the entire community of the blog – for today and into the future when new readers happen along.

Our Blog Commenting Guidelines

1. Be Yourself

2. Be Respectful of Others

3. Add Value

Unlike some of the mega blogs, the comments here predominantly fit those guidelines. Thank you all for that.

In putting these guidelines together, I read many blog commenting policies.  Policies are rules and that is why we have guidelines that assume your intentions are good.

Having good intentions does not necessarily mean you cannot take a contrarian view. By all means, share your perspective.  If you do that respectfully, that’s one way of adding value.

Thanks to the technology in place here on this WordPress blog on the Genesis theme framework, most spammy comments are automatically rejected.  So, for example, inserting more than one outbound link in your comment will explain why it did not appear in the list of comments.

Your Comments Reflect on You

Comments are just like anything else you place on the web, they are there for a long time and they point back to you. They become part of your social graph, which means they in part define you.

This social web is a mirror of society in general.  When you add value you make more friends and become welcome wherever you go. That’s a primal need for nearly every human being, so take a moment to choose your words well.

If you really want to get your point across, consider how you can positively make it without challenging the viewpoint of the author or another member of the community.

The Best Commenting Strategies

Everyone has had the experience of enjoying the value of a blog post and been inspired to leave a valuable comment, only to then be at a loss for what to say.

In that case, just be yourself. 

We have also all experienced a situation where a follow-up comment to one of our comments challenges our perspective, or worse yet, our expertise.

Resist the temptation to strike back. Be respectful of others.

If you want to leave a comment but are at a loss for words, simply ask yourself how you can add value to the conversation.  When you do that, the words will come.

Nearly a year ago to this day I wrote an article that provides 10 Blog Commenting Strategies.

I could probably now add 20 or 30 more ideas to that list.  One that comes to mind is motivation.

Most commentary on the social networks is quietly designed for seeking agreement, acknowledgement, or understanding.

That’s why one of the best commenting strategies is to respect the author and the community by sharing your understanding of what has been said by those that have preceded you.

Then you earn the right to add a little bit more – and you will be respected and understood in kind.

How about you?

What guidelines do you suggest encouraging more productive conversations?

Share your comment below.

About the Author:  Jeff Korhan, MBA, helps mainstream small businesses create exceptional customer experiences that accelerate business growth. Get more from Jeff on LinkedInTwitter and Google+.

Jeff is also the author of Built-In Social: Essential Social Marketing Practices for Every Small Business – (Wiley 2013)

Managing Negative Comments on the Web

Responding well to negative comments starts with being the first to find them. You will eventually find an unflattering comment made about you or your business. Yet, in virtually every situation those comments can be managed to create favorable outcomes. Most of them are the result of misunderstandings.  And once in a while, you run […]

Read the full article