Should Your Business Accept Blog Comments

One of the top blogs on the web recently discontinued comments, and this came as a surprise to their community.

The truth is many of us have struggled with comments over the years on our blogs. This is one reason why notable marketer Seth Godin discontinued comments on his blog way back in 2006.

During the session I facilitated at the Social Media Marketing World conference this past week, a small business owner asked a question that is near and dear to me: “How do we determine which social media channels are right for our business?”

Every business needs at least one channel that it owns, with a blog being the most powerful. Managed well, a blog becomes a digital marketing asset that drives traffic to your business 24/7.

Read further to learn why choosing a commenting strategy is vital to your web marketing success.

Commenting Communities Must Be Managed

There is a great deal of value in thoughtful comments. It’s how I’ve met many of my good friends on social media. This is one reason why I’m reluctant to not accept comments.

However, times have changed and the practice of commenting seems to have declined. Most small business blogs, including my own, receive few comments. In fact, this is true of many large blogs such as The Huffington Post and Forbes.

These businesses have adopted the practice of requiring commenters to register. In other words, there are no anonymous comments. While this may eliminate spammers, it also discourages well-intentioned commenters.

The purpose of comments is building community, but that is not going to happen if it is difficult to use or manage. This is one reason why I’m strongly considering shutting off comments.

Social Media is a Better Place for Comments

In the early days blogs were free-form journals. These days they are legitimate sources of credible media. Should your business risk allowing others to compromise that content it worked so hard to create?

The benefit of encouraging comments on your social media channels is reaching a wider audience, but it goes much further than that. All of the social media channels are designed to encourage interaction and discovery.

That’s what they do!

The more interaction your content receives on Facebook the more it tends to attract. That’s one benefit of Facebook comments. Although, keep in mind that Facebook activity is confined to your Facebook friends and followers.

In contrast, content shared on Google+ is readily discoverable within organic search, making Google+ a powerful platform for interacting with your online community.

Therefore, don’t be surprised if Google+ soon becomes the go-to place for interaction with businesses on the web.

You Decide

All of this comes down to what is best for your business.

My friend Michael Stelzner, the founder of Social Media Examiner, was recently commended on the commenting activity his site receives. To that he responded (paraphrasing): “Not really when you consider we have 250,000 subscribers.”

Your business must decide how to best interact with your online communities. Unless you have a particularly engaged blog community, that place may not be your blog.

For me personally, my Web Marketing Newsletter is a good place. You know I always invite your comments, and they will be personally answered by me. If you haven’t already, please consider subscribing.

Moving forward then, you can best engage with me (and other like-minded business professionals) on the social media channels linked below where I hang out as much as possible.

Want to leave a comment? Go for it while you can!

About the Author:  Jeff Korhan, MBA, is the author of Built-In Social: Essential Social Marketing Practices for Every Small Business – (Wiley 2013)  

He helps mainstream businesses adapt their traditional growth practices to a digital world. Connect with Jeff on LinkedInTwitterFacebook, and Google+.

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Social Media Success in Two Words or Less Social Media

How is your business leveraging the unique qualities of each major social media channel?

One of the commonly expressed social media challenges is communicating a congruent business or brand message while managing multiple social channels.

The solution is to distill the primary success factor for each social media channel into just a couple of words – or less.

Then commit these words to memory to organize your social media marketing process.

Each social network has a theme that can be defined in two words or less

Use this to guide your social media marketing.

LinkedIn is for Business Professionals

The true power of LinkedIn is in your second connections. If you are making connections on LinkedIn to create new opportunities, just as you would by exchanging business cards at live events, you will discover that your hundreds of first connections translate to hundred thousands of second connections.

Thus, you only have to connect the dots on LinkedIn to create more business opportunities than you can probably handle.

Facebook is for Showing Off

The cardinal rule of Facebook is to keep everything positive. You want to show off – to celebrate life and business – and to help others do the same by leaving encouraging comments or sharing their message on your newsfeed.

There is often more than one view to certain issues. Therefore, it’s best to simply support your view and those of your friends. Anything else is counterproductive.

Twitter is a Fire Hose

Twitter is as close to traditional marketing as you will get with social media. The Twitter stream is largely populated by advertisements, announcements, and a blend of conversations. Many of them announce “look at this,” a good number say “buy me,” and some ask “how are you doing today?”

If you use Twitter to accomplish all three, you will get the most value from it.

Pinterest is Visual

Photo pinning site Pinterest is clearly visual. Pinterest is commonly used to share photos to communicate what you are passionate about. While this is effective, you can take it a step further.

A more useful way for leveraging Pinterest for business is to create “how-to” images that illustrate how to best use your products or services.

Instagram is Intimate

Instagram is seductively intimate, at least for now. This was true for Facebook, Twitter, and other social networks during their early days. Plus, Instagram seamlessly integrates with Facebook to give your photos further reach on larger platform.

Therefore, use Instagram to be more intimate and personal with your communities, while also leveraging its integration with Facebook. Also, be sure to use hashtags with Instagram to drive your message on its platform – and Facebook.

YouTube is Experiential

Your business should consider using YouTube to take your ideal buyers on an experiential journey.

The number one challenge of local businesses is getting people into the store.

A viable social media strategy for accomplishing this is to create videos for using YouTube to bring the in-store experience to new buyers.

Google+ is an Identity Service

Google+ wants to be everyone’s window to the social web. 

Just recently Google+ began rolling out personal URLs for everyone. This is a signal of things to come; namely, that Google+ wants to be everyone’s window to the social web.

Initially thought to be Google’s answer to Facebook, Google+ has proved to be much more than a social network. By allowing users to import their feeds from where they publish content around the web (including other social networks), Google can more easily index that information for search.

You cannot ignore Google+ if your business wants to be relevant for the millions of consumers that are searching the web to find new businesses to serve their needs.

Back to you. 

How is your business leveraging the unique qualities of each major social media channel?

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)

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