One of the worst things a reporter wants to hear from someone they’re trying to interview is, “No comment.” Not only does it shut the interview down right away, but it abruptly stops the flow of any information that could validate or defuse a rumor. Reporters place great value in generating comments as should marketers.
It takes but a second to leave a like on a site or platform. It’s kind of like a nod of the head, but when consumers leave comments, it’s a clear signal that they care enough to take the time to share their thoughts or feelings. Not all comments are laudatory but regardless of the tone, they’re all valuable and a good source of leads and even ideas.
Compare this to going out to dine. The order arrives but is overcooked or tasteless. In communicating this to the server, he/she apologizes but is not empowered to do anything to ameliorate the situation.
Although the problem occurred in the kitchen, many diners punish the server by leaving a smaller tip. It’s disappointing and can lead to not returning to that diner. The same can be said of consumer reactions to brands that are unresponsive.
When people comment, they want to be heard.
They expect or hope that their comments will make a difference. Unfortunately, many brands don’t take the next step and respond.
Brands that dismiss the comments are missing these invitations to engage with consumers. Except for particularly sensitive comments, brands responding to these also have the opportunity to publicly display their empathy and understanding to others who visit the site and read those same comments.
What This Means for B2B
For B2B brands, LinkedIn champions comments. Its algorithm wants to keep members engaged and is particularly valuable in identifying 2nd and 3rd degree connections. This increases the possibility of opening new doors and establishing new connections. Build that audience by starting with 1st degree connections. Identify those who may be good prospects. Re-engage with them and begin commenting on any relevant posts they publish.
Similarly, with those 2nd and 3rd degree connections that were identified, begin connecting with them. Since they already commented on a post, use that as a starter and a way to introduce the brand. The other way would be to see if they have common connections. If one is a loyal customer, he/she might also be willing to open that door.
How B2C Can Benefit
On B2C sites and platforms, marketers should have a content strategy that includes responding to comments. Being viewed as being consistently responsive establishes the brand as an expert. It also furthers trust and credibility.
There’s also another way to leverage comments to gather prospects besides responding to comments on the brand’s site or social platform. By searching for keywords and hashtags for posts relevant to the brand, marketers can insert their expertise while piquing interest at the same time. Doing this on a regular basis can deliver some surprising results.
What’s important in doing this is to regularly monitor any feedback or reactions from these unsolicited comments. Checking things like “Who’s Viewed Your Profile,” notifications, etc. will help track reactions. Just be sure that comments are positive or educational.
Applying these tips will help position the brand as an authority of the topic areas it comments or responds to. Think of engaging customers as a form of intimacy. By demonstrating a human side and persona, consumers will see the brand as people with hearts, rather than another piece of advertising.