Social networking is an online conversation. Leaving comments on other people’s blogs, articles and stories is an important way to have that conversation on the Internet, and to promote your business. It helps the writer and it helps the commenter.
Good manners and privacy are two things we small town folks value. So here are some commenting tips that teach good online manners and privacy skills.
1. That are helpful to the reader and to the original writer.
Anything else is spam and poor manners.
2. Because you’re curious about the original writer and would like to start a conversation.
3. Because you want to learn as well as teach something new.
Comments often generate more comments and discussion. Check back to the site to follow the discussion.
4. To build your own authority.
Yes this is fine as long as you’re polite. Sign your name so that it begins to show up in searches along with your area of expertise. There is lots of discussion online about the etiquette of adding your URL to your signature. My rule of thumb is to make my comment informative and useful enough that the original writer welcomes the link.
5. Because it’s fun.
The new Internet is all about conversation. If all you’re doing is reading other people’s stuff, you might as well be reading a magazine and saving on your DSL bill.
6. That are as interesting and informative as the original article to encourage readers to make the trip on the cyber highway to your own site, to learn more about you.
7. That are complimentary.
But tell the writer WHAT you liked and WHY, not just a generic, “nice comment”. See #10 below.
8. To set people straight.
If you totally disagree with a post, and it would benefit the readers to have a differing point of view, go for it. Controversy attracts attention! Be ready to support your ideas when the original writer responds.
Be polite. Remember that the writer has the ultimate ability to hit the “unapprove” button and send you idea into cyberspace
Don’t leave comments that are…
9. Totally self-serving.
Nobody likes a bragger, whether it’s at a party or in an Internet comment. Be informative and interesting, but humble.
10. Off topic.
Don’t you hate the person who takes one word in a group conversation and uses it to take the discussion in a whole different direction? Don’t do that on the Internet either! Stay on the topic of the original article.
11. Only for the purpose of leaving a link to your site.
People hate those “Nice post” comments followed by a link to another site.
12. Using some obscure username with the idea that you’re maintaining your “privacy”.
If you’re on the Internet, you’ve gone public, so treat everything you say as if you were shouting from a mountaintop, and only go to sites you could tell your mother about!
So, leave comments! Share! Self promote, politely! Have fun communicating online!