As companies turn to Facebook to boost their business, they notice more people posting Facebook Status Updates, Notes, Pictures, and Video than are posting comments on their company blog. As a result, business owners and marketing managers tend to do one of two things:
- Discontinue blogging altogether, because all the action is on Facebook.
- Wonder what they can do to generate more comments on their blog.
Cross that first option off your list right now. Abandoning your blog for Facebook is a lousy decision, and I will tell you why in a post slated for next week. Opt for the second solution, instead - do what you can to attract more comments on your company blog. Following are five tips for doing just that:
- Allow your readers to subscribe to your blog's comments. This allows your readers to instantly receive updates via email or RSS (really simple syndication) anytime someone leaves a comment on a particular blog entry. (If you're running a WordPress-powered blog, adding this functionality is as simple as installing the Subscribe to Comments plugin.) This makes visitors more inclined to leave a comment, because they can follow the discussion or, more precisely, the discussion follows them via email or the RSS feed.
- Promote your blog posts on Facebook and Twitter. While numerous automatic feed solutions are available for sending your company's blog posts to your Facebook Fan Page or to your followers via Twitter, these should not preclude or excuse you from creating a custom Status Update or Tweet informing people of a new blog entry and encouraging them to visit and comment.
- Ask your readers to comment. This one is obvious but worth mentioning, because so few businesses actually do it! How easy would it be to end your blog entries - not all of them, mind you, but some of them - with a simple question like, What do you think? or Is your experience the same as ours? or We'd love to know what you--our customers and prospective customers--think about this, so please leave a comment below. Give it a try and then pop back here and tell me and the rest of the folks reading this post whether it worked.
- Install the What Would Seth Godin Do plugin. This WordPress plugin (developed by Richard K. Miller) displays a small box above blog posts inviting new visitors to subscribe to your RSS feed. After five visits, or when the visitor subscribes to the RSS feed, the message disappears. (You can customize the message, its lifespan, and its location.) For a live example of what this looks like, visit Productivity 501 and look for the "Thanks for visit..." message at the top of the page.
- Comment on your readers' blogs. As much as you like it when readers, customers, prospects, or anyone else leaves a comment on one of your blog posts, so do they (assuming they have a blog of their own). If someone commenting on your blog has a blog of their own, click to it and see if it makes sense for you to comment on one or more of their posts. Chances are, you have enough in common that it makes sense for you to engage with their blog as well, which creates both good will and further opportunities for people commenting on that blog to know about your blog and your business - in a very subtle way, of course.
Mikal E. Belicove is a market positioning, social media, and management consultant specializing in website usability and business blogging. His latest book, The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Facebook, is now available at bookstores. For more information, visit MikalBelicove.com.