Facebook Engagement: Death Of The Comment

Recent changes to Facebook including but not limited to timeline, promoting posts, and sudden email change has drastically changed the way consumers are interacting with brands yet again.  This is nothing new in the social media brand world, as companies are constantly having to restructure their strategies to gain what they like to call brand ambassadors.  To make things even more difficult, the advice that is circulating around the internet is mainly for big name brands with thousands of followers.  “Create great content, respond to comments” etc etc etc.  It’s tiresome, time-intense, and becoming outdated.  Here’s why…

Everyone who has or runs a community or business Facebook page can now see the reach and % of followers you are reaching per post on the main page. This has major implications for businesses who turned a blind eye.  Here’s the general reactions that have come from this upgrade:

  • Why am i only reaching 10% of my followers with this post?
  • How do I reach more?
  • Why would I pay $15 per post to reach my entire audience?
  • I already knew these numbers and check my reach daily/weekly.

So why is this bad?  Countless amounts of small businesses have taken to Facebook and Twitter as their only means of an online presence.  You’d be surprised how many have completely ignored a company website because they have “2000 followers”.  Obviously, it’s logistically impossible to have your followers see every post as they login at different times of the day.  The problem is, logic isn’t always a strong point when it comes to new technology, business owners, and social media.

This leads us into the important question that was asked previously…How do I reach more?  Everyone will tell you, post comments, videos, ask questions, etc.  Sure, this definitely helps, but what sort of engagement is most satisfying and more importantly best for your brand.  First off, here’s some ideas that are commonly used for Facebook engagement:

  • Ask a question
  • Post a photo/video
  • Fill in the blank sentences IE: “If there was one Oreo in the World I would pay ____ for it”
  • Contests, sending in photos/videos/comments/likes (Please make sure to check the rules on this as a business, I still see business doing the “Like this post for a chance to win tickets” which is currently illegal under the user policies on Facebook)
  • Create a photo caption

Next, what sort of engagement is appropriate for your business?  Are you a local business with 2000 followers or are you a large corporate brand with 900,000?  These are all things that should be taken into account to gauge your effectiveness in the social media world.  Here’s what you should aim for….SHARES.  Here’s what is overrated….COMMENTS.

The list of importance is Shares>Likes>Comments.  Disagree with me all you want, as a consumer I rarely find myself commenting on any brand name’s Facebook post.  As a business owner I find myself not worrying about comments either.  I am strictly worried about using my social media platforms to spread the brand name and create buyer awareness.  Not only that, just ask Oreo how the comments section for their LBGT Oreo cookie went.  Here’s a picture of the 2nd time they posted this picture.  The first one went viral (Good for them) but showed the true ignorance of humanity.

Notice the sheer amount of likes and shares.  I wish I could see the analytics on total reach from this single photo.  And Oreo gets it, they post photos daily and create different images with their Oreos pertaining to certain days.  In this case, shares/likes were much more effective.  The comment section was a giant flame war of politics, gender, sex, hatred, and everything you could possibly imagine.

This is an extreme case of comments not being effective towards your brand but you get where I’m going with it.  I’m not saying comments shouldn’t exist at all and comments can definitely help a business out.  For instance, a restaurant asks their followers “What new burger combination would you like to see next week” may give some insight to products wanted and needed by the community.  But then again we reach the difference of small vs. big brands.

Here’s how I see it.  Comments help small businesses more by giving them a voice to answer what could or should be done better.  Likes and shares spread their visibility and reach which is much more important.  Big businesses get lost in the conversation with comments because there are WAY too many.  As a consumer when I see “400 comments” I don’t and will not ever read through those.  This leads to anxiety regarding what if I post something already said, what if I’m not relevant to the conversation, why would my opinion matter?  If it’s interesting or funny I’ll share it because that’s simple, it may gain comments/likes/shares from my friends, and I stay out of the brand’s conversation and turn it into mine.

The community of Facebook is making major changes.  Timeline has mixed up business pages making them more confusing and down right ugly in my thought.  Shares are becoming more frequent as businesses try to go viral instead of paying per post.  Comments, while useful in some aspects, are just no where near as important as some may think.  In time, we will see what Facebook changes and see how that affects using it as a business and believe me, it will change.  For now….Comments are dead to me.

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