How to Engage Post Post: Views on the Etiquette of Blogging
I originally wrote the "How I write" series on LinkedIn. There,Dawna Bate suggested that I write one more. Dawna wanted me to write about dealing with comments.
Since Dawna inspired this post, I think it's fair that I start with a quote from her direct message to me.
I realized after I posted my first article that I had a responsibility to my readers. They take the time to comment. I need to take the time to acknowledge their feedback. :) --
Can I hear a "Halleluja"?
I think Dawna has the right idea. Some people talk about replying to comments as a way to develop engagement. It's more than just developing engagement. It's just plain old human politeness.
Nothing drives engagement like engagement (tweet)
We write posts for various reasons. Some of us just like to pontificate. Some want to establish a personal brand.
Most of us, I think, want to start a discussion.
By definition, a discussion is a two-way thing. (tweet)
That brings up three points
Not responding to comments defeats the purpose. No matter what your purpose is, this remains true.
The LinkedIn Influencer concept is inherently flawed because it is one-way. I may be wrong here. I don't follow many Influencers. I used to. When I first joined LinkedIn I followed dozens. Now I only follow three.
Only one ever responds, there. Bruce Kazanoff is more Bee than Influencer by nature.
Anne Handley also responds, but only on Twitter.
Maybe other Influencers respond to comments on their posts. I haven't seen any.
There is often more "meat" in the comments than in the post. If you don't read them, you are missing out. A lot of stuff gets left on the cutting room floor. They pop back up in the comments.
Often, they spawn new posts.
How to respond
Even a "Thanks for taking the time to comment," is a good start. Sometimes that's all that's needed. Often, the comment requires a clarification or a deeper dive into a point.
Sometimes the response generates a whole new post, either for you or for the commenter. YAY!
Have fun with it. This isn’t the time to get overly formal.
Just think "discussion" and you'll do fine.
Respond even to those who disagree
Disagreement is normal. If everyone agreed all the time, what would be the point of communicating? Heck, what would be the point of thinking at all?
Responding to trolls, hijackers, and other A-holes
This one is an open question. My view is to respond politely and firmly. Others say to ignore them. Either route is acceptable. Just don't engage in mud-slinging.
You can't throw shit without getting your hands dirty. (tweet)
Can you link to your posts in comments on someone else’s post?
This one is tricky. It depends on the person posting. Personally, I don't mind if someone posts a link to an article that is on the same subject. If the other post relates to and can further the discussion, I'm more than OK with it.
It doesn't matter if it supports my view or contradicts it.
I don't like it when someone spouts crap like, "Great post. I accept all connection requests! <profile link>"
Some authors hate links.
You have to know the person. Maybe you can mention the title of the post. Mention why you think it adds value to the discussion too. That might pass. It might not.
When in doubt, err on the side of caution. Don't do it.
Let's do an impromptu poll
Authors, I invite you to share your opinions on this question. We can use Twitter as our medium. Nobody wants to intentionally offend anyone.
- I do not mind post links on my posts (tweet to vote)
- I prefer people just mention their post title (tweet to vote)
- I prefer neither option. Discuss the post at hand only. (tweet to vote)
There is no correct answer. I think it's a matter of personal preference.
How to comment: The wrong way
I thought this was a problem limited to younger members. Many of my LinkedIn connections are friends of my kids. My C-suite connections intimidate them. I have since learned that it applies to a larger group.
They first read the comments to see if there is anything Earth shattering they can add. There seldom is. Then they hit "Like" and go away.
Here's a Scoop: The freaking post isn’t Earth shattering.
Why do you think your comment has to be?Me
How to comment: The right way
Comment before you read the other comments. Who cares if your viewpoint matches someone else's?
You have an opinion. You have a voice.
Believe me, at the very least, the author will appreciate it.
Even if you repeat the viewpoint someone else already posted, who cares? They certainly won't mind your agreement.
No matter your opinion, someone else will agree. Someone else will disagree.
That's called "Life."
Paul's Post Scoring Thoughts
The lowest form of engagement is the View
These are the people who saw your post but were not engaged enough to do anything more. They may not even have read the whole thing.
I think of views as future connections for future engagement. Connections drive engagement, not views. But views drive connections.
Next up is the Like/Relevant
Liking a post (a.k.a. Finding it Relevant) means there is some engagement, but not enough to warrant the effort of commenting.
Commenting is a deeper form of engagement
It involves more effort. A Like should always go with a Comment. To specify, Like the post before you Comment on it.
If someone Likes your comment and replies. It's only fair that you Like their response. Unless of course, you don't.
Either way, reply if you want to.
Sharing means full agreement or full disagreement
Sharing is the highest form of engagement. A Like and a Comment should go with every Share. Comment, even if the comment is just to say you are Sharing.
Always acknowledge a Share
This is not always possible given the LinkedIn algorithm. You may not even see the Share. So let's just say that you should acknowledge a share whenever you see one.
The reader has just paid you the highest possible compliment. A "Thank you" is definitely in order.
This is a little difficult to do regularly on beBee. Sometimes it’s hard to know who shared what and when.
Federico tells me they’re working on it.
This point transcends LinkedIn and beBee.
Acknowledge comments, mentions, and shares in every platform where you notice them.
It is impossible to thank someone too much. I don't think it's excessive to bring a Share to Twitter, or a Retweet back to LinkedIn for a "Thank you".
While we’re on the subject, it isn’t too much to thank a Retweet.
We don't ignore people speaking to us in a live setting.
We shouldn't ignore them online.
Let's keep the "Social" in "Social Media."
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