As I make my way through the courses for the Social Media Cert. program here at Algonquin, one thing I recognize more and more is the emphasis placed on comments. Or, rather, comments as part of a social media strategy. I’m not saying comments are the most important aspect of a social media strategy, but engagement is, and one of the easiest ways a brand (person, company, etc). can engage their followers is through comments. If you forgot how important comments were in the grand scheme of your strategy, there’s a company making sure you know their place and what can be done through comments. From here on out, I’ll use the word “brand” when referring to someone or something that has a social media strategy.
There’s a company called Disqus that is helping brands utilize the power of comments in their social media strategy, and you’ve probably already heard of it but never realized what it actually is. In my case, I use my Disqus account when commenting on blogs whose platforms allow the service, but I didn’t actually understand what Disqus was until their ad floated through my Facebook newsfeed the other day. I saw it, recognized the logo and thought, “Wait a minute, I use Disqus to comment on blogs and websites. What the heck is it?”
In a nutshell: Disqus is a blog comment hosting service for web sites and online communities that uses a networked platform. For anyone who didn’t quite get that, Disqus is a commenting service that helps generate discussions. But in actuality, the service goes far beyond that.
The service has two unique offerings: Engage and Reveal.
Engage is likely the service you’ve used if you’ve ever used Disqus to comment on a blog, a website or something similar. Basically, it’s a commenting platform that can be added to any site or blog, but it comes with some additions that are super useful if you’re looking to measure & monitor your social media. Features like measuring engagement, monitoring your results, attracting readers, and more. The best part: it’s free. You can use Engage easily & freely.
Then there’s Reveal. This platform is geared towards sites, blogs, or published content looking for monetization. With Reveal, the company claims that you get “Robust reporting, analytics and quality controls for premium ads on an easy-to-test platform.” Essentially, it’s ads included on your site that you can profit from. As a publisher of content, you choose ads which you think work best for your site, and earn profit when readers/viewers of your site engage or interact with those ads. It helps you earn money for doing really nothing at all. The only hitch is that your site has to average 25,000 weekly page views. So for smaller sites, blogs, etc. this may not be an option right now.
Okay, so we know what the services from Disqus are. They seem pretty great and free, bonus! But why would we use these types of commenting services?
Here’s a few reasons:
Comments are crucial in your social media strategy. I don’t just mean for the parts of your strategy where you plan on actually interacting with your audience, though that is a very important aspect.
Comments can help with the SEO of your website, blog or digital platform by improving your ranking and searchability on major search engines, like Google.
Comments also help promote your content, which is beneficial if you’re looking to earn money from viewership or just get your stuff out there. Buzzfeed, for example, allows Facebook comments on all of their articles. You can tag friends, choose whether your comment shows up on your own Facebook and share the articles at the same time. In allowing this, Buzzfeed ensures that their content is talked about but also interacted with, shared and exposed.
Commenting on other sites or blogs can create backlinks to your platforms. People looking to increase viewership would benefit from backlinking and the subsequent exposure. For instance, when I comment on a blog, I leave what I call a “mark,” whereby my comment has created a backlink to me and my content.
Comments get people talking about your content. If someone is able to comment and add their POV to your content, not only does this generate discussion — the purpose of services like Disqus — but it also gets people looking at your content. This is like silent engagement, in which people comment their opinions or thoughts and even if you don’t personally reply, chances are other commenters will.
Comments = social media listening. Yeah, you can’t really know what people think of your site or content if you don’t let them speak, right? Comments are one of the best tools you can use to guage how your audience a) reacts to your content b) interacts with your content c) how they feel about your content. It’s also helpful that comments can be indicative of why you may or may not experience traffic to your platform.
Comments are calls to action, which means someone has actually taken the time to read your content and cares enough to respond to it. If someone is willing to take the time to do those two things, it can result in further viewer and readership. That person can end up adding your blog to their RSS Feed, recommending your blog, sharing your content, promoting it on their own platform…the list goes on.
So why use services like Disqus? Well, it seems to make it pretty easy to engage with your audience. The services give you tools to measure & monitor that engagement, views, comments, interactions and more. It’s like if Google Analytics was a commenting or blogging service. The Reveal service from Disqus is handy for people with enough viewership that they can profit from. But Engage is likely to be the most useful for anyone simply looking to better incorporate comments into their social media strategy and monitor the success. What would happen if you added Disqus to your blog or site?