Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Interactions in Social Media: Why are your “Comments” so important?

Long before Facebook announced its new statistics, which are now mostly oriented to measuring interaction with posted content (among other things, of course), there were some industry trends indicating a slight shift in the social media business towards this element: interaction.

It’s now circling around conversation, leaving slightly on the side the myth of large fan numbers, to focus more on the two-ways interactivity, that meaning, the audience’s commitment or engagement.

What am I talking about? For sure you’ve had the opportunity to see it often enough: very interesting articles which are read by thousands of people, retwitted by hundreds, with many “Likes” on Facebook, and as many "+1" in Google.

From any point of view, a successfully post by its content but, however, when you scroll down to the comments area, the reality you see is completely different: very few comments, and even in some cases, without a single comment at all.

Why are your comments so important? As I always do, I'll explain myself with an example:

In this picture I share with you an email Manolo is sending to his friend Francisco (fictitious names and accounts to avoid the "spammers" we are all familiar with) where he’s sharing a link to an article and just says "You might be interested" in the "Title". There’s nothing more.

But the phrase “You might be interested” can be interpreted from many different points of view. Francisco might be interested because it’s so bad an article as to be taken as an example of what not to do, or he might be interested because it’s quite relevant to something in particular. In either case, Manolo isn’t telling Francisco what he thinks about the content but he simply shared it because he thought it might be of interest to Francisco. That’s it.

In this new picture, you can completely and clearly see how important a "Comment" is. In this case, Manolo won’t simply re-send the link to Francisco, but he’s adding:

  • "You must take a look. I found it truly interesting" in the subject line. Right from that point on, Francisco knows what Manolo thinks about the article, since he’s saying he considered it "excellent", not good, not regular, but excellent.
  • "It would be extremely interesting for the project you're working on now" in the content, so that Francisco knows reading the article will be important to him, it’s going to be useful for something he’s working on now, inviting him to take immediate action at that moment, not leaving it for a later time.
  • "Use it on my project too." Wow, if it’s so good that Manolo is using it for his very own project, it definitely has to be good.

And finally, he says, "Let me know what you think," inviting Francisco to continue the interaction and get back to Manolo with his comments. Having said this, Francisco knows Manolo will be looking forward to receiving his feedback, and the conversation get’s fueled up automatically.

Did you see the difference? Did you see how the "Comment", as simple as it might be, is the element that actually generates the interaction, the understanding between the two actors?  

In the first example, the shared post can be read or not, but the person who sends it, isn’t bringing anything to the table, but just acting as a relay antenna. You could assume the post is interesting but nothing more. In the second example, the "Comment" is the one that actually generates the interaction, nurturing the relationship, and adding a powerful value to the sharing act.

When you include your comments in any material you re-send or share, or even in an article you read on any website, you’re leaving your piece of history, you’re helping build up a stronger social Web, you’re contributing to the Collective Intelligence, and help other people to draw on your experience and knowledge.

The comments, interaction, the two-ways communication are really the golden key on social networks and the new way of doing business and building relationships in our times. And it should be the goal of your digital marketing strategy too.

So what do you think?, Do you share with me your opinion?

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