There are a lot of brands that are hesitant about online comments and it’s easy to understand why.
When you’re just starting out you may want to be the one in control of your brand and what you’re putting out there. It seems like common sense.
But in reality, there lies a great opportunity for you to enhance your brand by allowing online comments that can bring you gains that you can’t get any other way.
Yes, there is some risk involved but that is the case with everything that can bring you above average results.
In this article, I’ll demonstrate how you can benefit from attracting online comments and all the different ways to do it and manage it well.
Depending on what you do and who your target audience is, you can choose out of the four major online comments subcategories and apply it to your site to help it grow and get more opportunities for exposure.
Consider this a new way of looking at online comments.
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Facebook Comments are a good basis to start with. This may seem like it could get out of hand pretty quickly and honestly, you might just be right.
The good thing is that if you’re offering good content/services it will instead help you boost yourself without paying extra for sponsored posts.
Facebook comments are easy to get into since it follows the exact same model as your personal Facebook page.
A lot of brands nowadays take the approach of blocking any possibility for negative reviews. You might think this is helping but comments actually do a lot for making you seem approachable, legit and interesting. Nobody really wants to engage with a brand with zero personalized reviews, good or bad. Everyone is expecting a few bad comments, it almost never happens that you get a page or a promotion for a brand that has all positive reviews.
You should not overestimate the importance of negative comments over the ones that will actually catch the attention of customers that will stick around for longer. Nowadays, actually, if something has all positive reviews, people start to look at it with suspicion.
It has been proven time and time again that personalized messages and incentives work the best when it comes to driving more customers towards your brand. Think of Facebook comments as these personalized incentives where you don’t really have to do much work.
You will have the option to prioritize some comments over the others and hide the ones that you don’t think will do any good or may be false or straight-up spam. This is the most popular approach from big brands when it comes to Facebook Comments and it seems to be working.
People don’t sympathize with brands that don’t listen to their customers, by allowing for a space that lets you directly communicate with your users gives the customer a sense of importance and a feeling that they are actually contributing in one way or another.
Don’t think of online comments as something that is completely out of your control. It’s an opportunity for you and for the users to engage in a conversation that can drive change.
Also, don’t underestimate your users in thinking they won’t be able to tell between the one bad review and those that are actually helpful or positive based on their experience. And if it ever gets out of control Facebook offers you an option to ban certain words or people from your comment section.
The big con of Facebook comments is that it doesn’t allow for pre-moderated comment sections.
Custom-made comments are a great option for those who deliver services. Different from Facebook comments that can be made by just any visitor of the page who has a Facebook account, custom made comments are an option for those who actually experience the service and they don’t need a 3rd party account to do that.
Custom online comments are a great way for your future users to learn about the experience and they are also a great advertising tool that doesn’t really cost you much.
By allowing custom-made comments you also get direct feedback from your customers/users. It makes it easier to gather feedback and information about customer experience and helps you engage with your audience and to make the process way more efficient.
Plus, it eliminates the worry of spam comments. You generally have more control over the feedback in this case and it is perfect for those businesses that are just starting up and building their reputation, where you’re more vulnerable to the abovementioned trolls and random comments that are based on nothing.
One example of custom-made comments would be the Nowescape London UK Escape rooms page. You get access to all the comments made about whatever game or other activity you’re interested in. Plus, you get the reviews of those who have experienced it and can tell you everything that the company itself didn’t put on their page and that you would still like to know.
Custom-comments are common and a large reason behind it is that while Facebook comments increase the chance of a wider audience seeing your content, custom made comments make your content seem more legitimate and trustworthy and are accessible to anyone.
Sometimes it’s hard to convince customers to stick around if other people aren’t voluntarily endorsing you and your product/services. So this would be a great marketing strategy if you’re just starting out and have already built a small but engaged audience.
As with Facebook, it’s important that the visitor knows that the company is considerate of the feedback and cares enough to engage and communicate with them. Custom-made comments can also be managed more transparently and hence save you the trouble of being called out for filtering comments.
While fairly easy to manage, they aren’t very engaging and don’t allow other customers to have a discussion with each other, as with Facebook comments.
CMS native comments
These types of comments allow visitors to post comments to a blog post or on a page of your website. If you manage a blog or often clone blogs this could be the type of comment that would bring you the best overall results.
If you host a blog and it has a native comments feature there’s generally a bigger likelihood of conversation between those who comment. The hierarchical arrangement makes for a better place for future visitors to start with and increases engagement with your content.
Like the two other types of comments mentioned above, CMS Native Comments allow for modifications and are not really out of your control, since you, the moderator, get to approve all the comments before they get published. Once you have approved of it, the comment will appear underneath your content.
If you’re using WordPress, which is one of the biggest websites that implement this native commenting model, you will be free to choose from a variety of comment displays. Hence, it allows you to build a community that feels more connected and likely to actually discuss something between each other than the other two models.
You can attach your comment, your name, email, and website to your comment. These types of comments allow for real discussions, not the ones that usually happen on Facebook and spin out of control soon enough. As the owner of the page or the blog, you will have the role of moderator allowing you to control the content that goes onto your page, while also allowing the discussion to progress in a civilized manner.
This way you can make sure that spam never gets on your website or that less relevant comments don’t take up too much space or distract from the really good ones that actually spark conversation.
The other option that makes this comment system beneficial is that you have the option to close the comment section on old articles. This way you get to keep the blog/page but you won’t have to deal with the comments anymore if the topic is no longer relevant or some information has changed since the publication of the article.
Overall this is a great option but it also lacks exciting features and can sometimes feel bland.
Third-party online comments software
If you have your own website and don’t have the resources to hire people to develop a customized comment section, then your second best bet would be third-party comment software.
There are a lot of software providers that cover this specific topic. The most widely used third-party commenting system is Disqus and you’ve probably used it before yourself.
First of all, Disqus is multi-platform so you will be able to use this for the mobile version and the regular desktop version. Another feature of Disqus is that comments appear in real-time so you won’t have to refresh the page.
You do, however, have the option to pre-moderate comments to make sure your comment section looks clean, engaging and spam-free. If you don’t feel like moderating the comment section, you can actually leave this up to your users.
This particular software allows other users to increase or decrease the reputation of each comment so the comment section can look engaging even if you don’t interfere personally. You also have the option to block some people or add them to the list of trusted commentators.
Recently, Disqus added a new reaction feature, something similar to what you’ve already seen on Facebook. It is better for your engagement and will make your comment section interesting to look at
Third-party comment software has more features than those mentioned above. You have an option to link to other articles or other products near the comments section of your page, which is another way to try and increase your engagement and visibility.
So, if you have the resources to invest in those extra features they will surely make your website look more appealing.
As well, software providers now offer auto-moderation based on machine learning. This might sound elaborate, but if you don’t want to leave the moderator duties in your community’s hands, and you don’t want to do it yourself, then you’ll love this addition.
Regardless of the model you choose from these options, it’s obvious that online comments can bring a lot of advantages to your business.
For the most part, each platform discussed gives you control over the comments section while still allowing the conversation to develop naturally.
So, if you’re not already using online comments to advance your business, now is the time to reconsider and add one of the above-mentioned tactics to your strategy.
Guest author: Konstantin has been in marketing and advertising since 2011. After leading marketing efforts of one of the largest financial brokerages and an innovative b2b fintech company, he decided to go solo and is now focusing on consulting financial companies on how to drive the best results from their digital marketing efforts. Next to this, Konstantin has been showing interest in the recent regulation of the most competitive industries – finance and iGaming. Stalk him on Quora or connect via LinkedIn to learn more.