3 Reasons Why Nobody Comments on Your Content

Social Media EngagementThe key to building a community centered around your business and values is creating content including Tweets, blog posts, imagery and videos that evoke discussion. One of the main characteristics of a community is communication, so to build a long-term social strategy you need to create discussion.

Obviously not all content is created with the goal of generating discussion, as it is also important for SEO and for increasing reach. This article doesn’t go into detail about SEO or increasing reach through viral marketing (for the latter, you should read Jonah Berger’s ‘Contagious’.) Content that is created in order to generate discussion should create discussion. Seems simple, but many businesses make the same mistakes so here I will show you the three most common reasons why your conversational content is failing.

These reasons are each explained and highlighted, along with the reasons why some pieces of content do generate discussion in my new book Conversation is King. It is important to remember that even if you avoid all of these mistakes, there are many other reasons why people comment. These three reasons are simply the most common mistakes made by marketers.

1. Placing Content in an Unsafe Environment
This is probably the most common reason why people don’t comment on content. Marketers will create great and interesting content, but they will use channels that are unsafe. By unsafe I don’t mean that businesses are posting blogs on telegraph poles in warzones or putting them on illegal websites. I mean the environment in which the reader sees the content is an environment in which they don’t feel safe in commenting.

I’ll explain it with an example. If you are creating content that can be seen as controversial, and evokes comments that may also be controversial you may find that posting your articles on Facebook will get far fewer comments than posting the article to Twitter, Tumblr or any other more anonymous network, even if the size of your audience on each of those networks is the same.

When we sign up to Facebook we not only use our real names, we also include personal information, photos of ourselves, location, interests, family details and more. If we made controversial comments on there, it may be possible for someone to find out who we are. However, when using Tumblr or Twitter, we are able to create usernames to hide behind. This increases our safety. So if your content doesn’t feel 100% safe to comment on in Facebook, maybe save it just for Twitter.

2. Your Audience Doesn’t Get Anything Out of Commenting
Without going into the psychological and sociological reasons (you can read my book for that!), we need to feel that there is a reason for us to comment. You can entice people to comment with physical reward (prizes etc.) but if you want ongoing discussion that really means something you need to make sure your audience gains a certain amount of social value by commenting.

Social value can be anything from appearing to be funny or looking intelligent. To offer real social value you need to know your audience. You need to know what makes them feel important and offer them an opportunity to do this. If you are running a group that focuses on gaming, then inviting your audience to show their knowledge about games is more socially valuable than inviting them to share their knowledge on American Presidents.

3. They Don’t Feel Welcome
When I began working in social media marketing, one of the trends was to simply ask questions on Facebook. “What is your favourite food?” “What music do you like to listen to?” etc. This generated a lot of discussion, but it quickly began to feel repetitive and boring.

Questions, however do change the focus over from talking about yourself to inviting for the audience’s input. The key takeaway from this is that you really do need to focus on them. Rather than making it just about yourself, create content that focuses on your community members, their needs, their problems, their solutions and their ideas.

The commonly stated fact in content marketing is that your customers care about themselves, not you. There are exceptions to the rule, but generally make it about the things that matter to them. Even if you ask a question at the end, a blog post about how you’re moving to a new office from the old one ten minutes away isn’t likely to generate discussion.

Environment and Content
You really need to think about both the place and the content when planning your social strategy. Great conversation-evoking content can fall flat on its face if shared in the wrong place. All of the elements of conversation-generation are explained in Conversation is King and if you would like to download a free sample chapter please enter your details below.

About the Author

Patrick is a digital marketing consultant with around 10 years' experience, covering SEO, PPC, social media, email and user experience.

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