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6 Reasons to Cultivate Your Comments Sections

In a time when news outlets are doing away with comments sections due to user infighting and spam, one might understand why a company would choose to omit the familiar comments sections from their articles, product pages, and blog posts. To keep them civil, on-track, and appropriate for general consumption, comments require smart moderation that goes beyond bots. It takes a seasoned moderator who knows and understands that particular community to not just flag and remove unwanted comments, but to interact with an interested audience and promote a lively yet safe conversation. There’s a bit of work to be done in taking on these unique digital hazards, but it also comes with a unique set of rewards.

Here are six reasons for your company to create a welcoming and protected comments section, one that should attract your customers’ and fans’ attention and bring a new level of interactivity to your website or social media.

Fostering regular commenters. We all know those people who love to interject their opinions into any discussion. Those folks can be the bread and butter of your comments section. Their online handles may become almost as familiar to your readers as the names in your bylines, if you’re posting articles. Regular commenters create a sense of familiarity and community right there in your comments section. Frequent posters likely feel a sense of ownership, since they’ve invested time in your digital community. Keeping the comments section safe and welcome for these interested parties is a way to boost their loyalty.

The potential for good, worthwhile content. A carefully cultivated comments section can prove quite inviting to those interested in your product or service. Whether it’s an article or a product page, people with a strong opinion or interest in the subject or offering may share their knowledge in their comments. This can often be a win for you and for your customers. Having additional material and insights available makes for a better reader experience. If your commenters post information that was otherwise unavailable, they’re helping build upon the original content and giving readers an opportunity to learn more about your material.

Show your willingness to interact with customers. By responding to posts in your comments section, you’re not only interacting with your audience, but showing interest in their thoughts and opinions. Creating a two-way conversation brings you that much closer to the readers. A conversation is far more effective in sustaining audience interest and customer loyalty than the bullhorn approach.

Creating social proof. When your posts are enlivened by regular commenters and supported by back-and-forth conversation among fans and between your company and its customers, you create a lively, fertile ground for interactive conversations. This will likely see a boost in the number of comments you receive, which will then lead to even more comments. Just as a busy storefront will attract more attention than a shop with tumbleweeds blowing past, a lively discussion is more apt to draw in readers who are willing to become part of the conversation. According to the theory of social proof, the more people perceive a specific behavior, the more likely they are to imitate it.

Get free customer insights and feedback. If your customers have taken the time to comment, they’re demonstrating a vested interest in your product or service. They may have a compliment or a complaint, but either way, they’re providing valuable feedback to you. Perhaps they’re comparing you to a competitor. That’s a great way to learn how your differences are perceived by your audience, and what aspects of your business truly resonate with them. Other comments may offer helpful suggestions, from a product idea to an improvement on something already available. Like doing market research, you’re collating insights from an enthusiastic customer base that can help inform your company’s decisions.

Earn links back to your pages. Your more dedicated commenters may post to a level where they’re a part of genuine conversations on your site or social pages. Clearly they have a lot to say, and they want people to know it. So don’t be surprised if they wind up linking back to your pages in their own blogs or social posts. They’re not posting to talk to a void; they want eyeballs on their words, and many active commenters will take that extra step to bring views to your content.

With a bit of proper moderation and some TLC, your efforts can boost the level of conversation taking place on your site or social networks. You’ll be reinforcing positive interactions with your customers and demonstrating a willingness to listen, discuss, and be involved. And that’s something that’s worth talking about.

One last thing — what do you think of comments sections? Do you post in them or read them? We’d love to hear, so as always, leave a comment below.

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Talk Back

Posted on May 29, 2020

I have participated in a variety of online community forums for almost 20 years. I feel that comments sections on all websites are very valuable and that any companies who have eliminated their comments sections are not understanding how important a feature it is. Comments sections empower readers and customers to share their thoughts and ideas. Companies who make the extra effort to engage with their readers and customers on a personal level are more likely to be perceived as genuinely caring about their readers and customers. All companies should make it essential that they always hire content moderators to lead online comments discussions. Online comments sections should not be considered dispensable.

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