Nurture and grow your audience to boost user interaction with your content.
Building a participatory audience is an incredibly worthwhile investment that takes tools, time and consistent dedication. Here are a few tips for how you can increase the commenting activity around your content.
Best Practices to Increase Comment Count
Elevate Your Community
It sounds simple, but if you want to foster community on your website, make sure it’s abundantly clear that there is community on your site. Show evidence of your community on the homepage and throughout the site by displaying trending articles, redisplaying featured comments, and showing the comment count on articles.
Make it Easy to Register
The first step when writing a comment is signing up. If the sign-up process is difficult or has too many steps the potential commenter may lose steam before even writing a comment. How many clicks does it take on your website before a new commenter is ready to go? If it’s more than a couple you may want to rethink your sign-up process. It’s important to balance your desire to gather information with a reader’s patience. Read Simplify User Login for more information.
Ask a Question
Instead of the uninspiring prompt “Leave a Comment”, ask your community a direct question related to the article to spark conversation – “What do you think, did Facebook go to far?” or “What’s your summer cooking tip?”. An editor could write the question at the bottom of the article or alternatively, a moderator can pose the question in the comments. Make sure to feature the question so your community is sure to see it!
Seed the Conversation
No one likes to talk into an empty room, so seed the conversation by turning on SocialSync. This feature pulls in content related to your article from Twitter and your Facebook Page and displays it in the comments. This is the most effective way to capture the full conversation around your content from across the social web.
Allow Photos in the Comments
In some cases it may be advantageous to allow your readers to upload photos to their comment by enabling the Allow Photo Uploads setting. Photos can be uploaded easily from a mobile photo library, computer hard drive, or social network account, and can be a valuable contribution to a conversation. This feature is best utilized on an article that has a clear CTA – “Share your favorite vacation photo” or “Have you been to this restaurant? Post pictures of your meal.” You can enable the Allow Photo Uploads setting at the Network, Site or Collection level.
Join the Conversation
Editorial and moderator engagement demonstrates to your community that their comments are valued and that you are interested in a two-way conversation. This can encourage your readers to jump into the conversation and return to the site to keep up with the latest posts. Take the time to respond to your community members’ thoughtful posts and make sure to answer any questions posed in the comments.
Like and Feature Comments
Recognize quality comments by liking or featuring the exemplary comments. This encourages users to continue writing high quality comments and sets an example for the rest of your community. Comments that are featured or have a high number of likes tend to gain more responses from the community, furthering conversation around the highest quality comments. Also, other members of the community may be motivated to participate further in hopes of achieving acknowledgement as well. Enable Top Comments to give users quick access to the most liked content.
User Groups are also a great way to draw attention to comments written by noteworthy users. Whether it’s industry luminaries, paid subscribers, top commenters, or groups that organically emerge within your community, badging these users’ comments sends a message that this is a community conversation and your team takes comments seriously. Read our guide on Creating User Groups for more ideas.
Nominate Community Ambassadors
Your existing community members are already incredible champions for your content and your brand. Even if you only have a few active participants, consider building a relationship with them and soliciting their help in growing your community. You can even give them moderation privileges as you build rapport. By thanking them for their contributions and giving them some skin in the game, these community ambassadors can help share your content and grow community on your site.