It used to be that bloggers could get away with broadcasting a one-way monologue to anyone on the internet willing to listen, but not anymore.
You might be leery of allowing readers to submit comments about content or opinions you’ve posted on your corporate blog, but the rise of social media is making that position an increasingly tough one to support. Facebook, in particular, has trained people to expect a dialogue: “Comment” and “Share” options are available on virtually every update that a company or individual makes.
Here are two big reasons you should consider supporting comments:
- If you don’t allow it, potential (or actual) customers might come away with the sense that your business is unwilling to consider feedback — especially if one of your competitors handles the process differently.
- Alternatively, you could miss out on genuinely valuable feedback about the idea you’re exploring in your blog post. Social media has made people much more willing to offer a point of view, positive or negative.
That’s not to say that accepting, managing, or moderating comments is easy, especially for a blog that is shaped by a corporate point of view. You need to tread a fine line between allowing legitimate criticism and censoring feedback that someone within your organization doesn’t like all that much.
These days, comment boxes are also a prime target for spam and for a certain breed of curmudgeon that seems to revel in making bloggers look bad. Your team may need to assign moderators to review and to approve comments before they are made public, which is one way of ensuring that your company always has a pulse about what is being said. Or, at the very least, someone should be assigned to scan the comments regularly to ensure you know what is being said.
Before that, though, your company will need to establish a policy that outlines a comment moderation policy.
Here are three things to keep in mind for that policy:
- Your response should be rapid – Don’t let a negative opinion fester or ignore the goodwill that could be generated by positive ones.
- Don’t engage commenters that have an “agenda” that is off point. Chances are, your loyal readers will jump to your defense. That will have the effect of looking better (above the fray, so to speak) than a direct response from you.
- Set out an escalation strategy for public responses that require particular finesse and (if necessary) for resolving serious concerns in a private forum.
Speaking of which, your organization should also publish a public policy for what will be accepted and what won’t. And then, simply abide by that policy.