By Julie Andrews
Engagement is the name of the game for Facebook page administrators, and comments are among the easiest ways to stimulate back-and-forth with users on the social network.
Here are five ways for Facebook pages to generate more comments:
- Be opinionated: Nothing riles people more than pure unabated opinion. It’s this or it’s that, but let it be something. Do you really want to ring in the comments and get a lively stream of tit-for-tat going? Think fodder — back every point you mention in your Facebook post with solid facts and arguments (which could each be cheered for or argued against in the comments section, you see?). Then, rather than just being perceived as a steam-blowing simpleton, you’ll show the investigation and research that went into the post and better be able to strike a heated debate.
- Create compelling, clever content: Put thought into the organization of what you’re posting on Facebook when writing content, especially content that you would like to see draw serious mobs of comments. Keep the structure, format, and wording simple and clear — the ticket is creative and engaging ideas. Fresh ideas are what will get your readers thinking, and it’s those tangled thoughts that can be considered and analyzed, agreed or disagreed with — all in the bubbling-over comments section. Think ideas, ideas, ideas.
- Pinpoint friends keen on the topic who can start the scream, er, stream: If you’re posting on Facebook about a hot-button topic that you know a friend or relative has particularly strong viewpoints on, go ahead and send him or her the post with an invitation to be the first person to leave a comment. Having a person who is connected to the subject matter kick off the comments is beneficial. It will encourage those who want to but might otherwise not comment to join in the conversation, because he or she doesn’t have to be the one to start the conversation. Passionate kick-starters can always only be a good thing.
- Pose a compelling question: Just like a good editor picks out the most grabby points of a piece and pulls them to the top of an article to reel readers in early, so should a person starting a comments stream leave a phrase touching on the most biting issues or points mentioned in the Facebook post to request feedback from readers on. Avoid the no-brain, could-be-lopped-onto-any-post, generic, “Readers, what do you think?” That is way too cut-and-paste for today’s Facebook users. Do the work to pull out the controversial, spicy points and bring them to the surface. When done correctly, the comment waters will begin to boil.
- Moderate: If the first comment that appears on a Facebook post is an ad selling stylish but completely unrelated-to-the-topic shoes at rock-bottom prices, or selling anything else for that matter, get in there and delete it. The biggest detractor for a commenter who wants to be taken seriously, has something to say, and wants to be heard, is a fake, advertisement-like comment. It takes away the whole lure of wanting to comment. It signals that there is no real conversation, that this article is over, that you can log off now because there is no real comments section in which to participate. That is not want you want. If you want more comments, control the flow of comments. Ask yourself, based on the comments that appear each time you take a peek at the stream, would I be eager to post here now?