Social media evaluation: Do comments on your blog actually add to the debate?

Put your hand up if you regularly comment on blogs. What, not even those by people you rate that are well written, engaging and leave the debate open? Not even if you have been asked as an expert in the field to share your thoughts?

The reality is that even prolific tweeters who are experts in their field are reluctant to comment on blogs, even when asked to and when doing so would benefit their own profile.

What does having no comments say about your blog to readers?

We have always felt that the Holy Grail of a good quality blog is good quality comments from relevant people. After all, social media is supposed to be about engagement and scrolling down a page of blog posts with no comments on them looks as static as a website.

Why don’t people comment on blogs?

Not only do many find commenting on blogs daunting, it is often not very easy to do if you’re not already registered on the site. It is much easier to tweet, comment on Facebook or post a LinkedIn update to share your thoughts on a blog. And that way, it is likely that more relevant people will get to see it. Blogs with no comments are often part of a much bigger conversation elsewhere on the web.

How can you make it easier for people to comment on your blog?

Many blogs now show the number of tweets and Facebook ‘likes’ a blog has received but not usually the content of comments made on other social media platforms. But some are now showing ‘reactions’ to blog posts from twitter and other platforms, rather than relying on people posting comments directly onto blogs. Blogger also have a ‘reactions’ tool that allows readers to rate the blog (as ‘good’, ‘bad’, ‘interesting’, ‘funny’) at the click of a button.

But, what about the quality of ‘reactions’ to your blog in 140 characters or a multiple choice descriptor? Will giving readers the easy option just make them even less likely to post a meaningful comment on your blog that actually adds to the debate?

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Victoria Tomlinson is founder and owner of Harrogate-based PR consultancy, Northern Lights. A former director of Ernst & Young, she started her career as a graduate trainee for Plessey and later with Bradbury Wilkinson, the banknote printers, travelling around the world to sell banknotes to foreign governments. She joined Arthur Young as part of their start-up marketing team and was made a director of client services on the management committee and managing a 100-strong division. Victoria sits on the boards of Bradford University School of Management, Northern Ballet Theatre and Common Purpose North Yorkshire. She is a Prince’s Trust mentor.