There are countless business that have bought into the idea of social media automation because it saves time and allows them to post status updates when it may not be feasible (such as late into the night when they (or employees) may be off-duty).
An unfortunate side effect of automation and dis-information about social media has lead many businesses to treat social media as a one-way channel. The businesses use the platforms to share information but rarely engage those that show an interest in the content they have to offer.
By neglecting the community more harm is being done than good:
- First off there is the issue that it makes the business come across as lazy. The audience feels they are on a one-sided conversation so it gives them no incentive to respond or share those pieces of content.
- Second is the fact that by refraining from talking with the audience you are forgoing the chance to gain valuable feedback to grow your business. Taking a passive approach to posting is like getting on stage, talking about your business, but skipping the valuable Q&A portion.
- Third is that you are leaving money on the table. When someone is willing to invest their time to respond to your content it shows they are interested (a lead) and by failing to respond to those comments you not only shoo them away from posting again but also give that impression to others that were thinking about joining the conversation.
Let’s look at the benefits of commenting now that we’ve gone over the troubles of not responding and see if it could change your mind about your social media participation – here are some benefits:
- Responding to comments continues to drive the conversation which then allows you to understand a customer on a deeper level; this understanding can be used to tailor your future marketing/advertising initiatives to hit those key points that was discovered through the conversation.
- Comments allow for long-tail keywords to become present on a page or within the social media forum so that it’s likely to be indexed for those valuable terms which lead back to your business.
- Having a lively conversation works in your favor because it increases the chances others will share the content. People want to share what’s popular and what’s hot. Shares that rarely receive any attention aren’t likely to pick up the steam like that of one that has dozens (hundreds, or thousands) of mentions, likes, retweets, and the like.
- Commenting also unveils areas of your business (and its content) that could be a better fit than the lone research you may have done during the development phase. By tapping into the comments you can find content and talking points for future content that will keep the discussion going.
- By speaking out and being transparent it also aids in your authority and credibility. You are given an additional opportunity to explain your opinion or share your knowledge with an individual (and others that are in on the conversation). Building a better set of credibility and authority will naturally lead to a greater appreciation of the brand and thus easier sales.
In short: Take the effort to respond to your comments because people are taking their time to respond. Commenting can be quite effective at increasing conversions because it shows that your business is listening and takes an active approach to social media (enticing others to join in and share). Commenting doesn’t need to consume your daily activities as just an hour or so is more than enough to respond to the majority for most small businesses so get active, start talking, and keep that conversation alive.
Image by Jusben