What Is a Comment?

Comments are messages posted by users in reaction to social media or blog posts. They can take the shape of feedback, questions, praise, or even disagreements, but one thing is for certain: no matter what form they might take, comments are first and foremost a form of engagement, and thus, bring valuable information for a brand.

From a content point of view, comments generally include text, @mentions, hashtags, emojis, gifs, or even photos.

Types of social media comments

According to content marketing influencer and business blogger Jeff Bullas, there are five critical types of social media comments. These are:

1. Positive comments – Eg. ‘The running shoes I just bought are awesome’. Positive feedback is always valuable, more so when it emerges as an opportunity. Engaging with the user who posted in order to strengthen their relationship with your brand is considered to be the best practice in this situation.

2. Neutral comments – Eg. ‘Does anyone know a nice place to go for a run?’ These types of replies are neither positive nor negative. However, it’s best to engage with these users as well and maybe start a conversation that is more relevant to your area of interest.

3. Negative comments that require a response – Eg. ‘The running shoes I bought broke as soon as I put them on’. These are comments that offer concerning feedback related to your brand and products, so it’s very important to treat the utmost care.

If a customer has had a bad experience, make sure to immediately react and act upon it. Negative comments can be ignored – Eg. ‘Running shoes are just a waste of money’. Social media is full of attention cravers, so these types of comments are more or less a given at some point.

Ignoring them is the best approach. This is because replying or deleting the post will only fuel their attention-seeking drive.

4. Negative comments that must be removed – Eg. ‘The store manager was a %$#$#$#’. This category includes offensive, malicious, or even spam replies. Once you notice such a comment, take a screenshot of the issue, delete the comment, then warn or even block the user if you deem it necessary.

5. Comments that set off a crisis – Eg. ‘One day I’m going to set your store on fire’.

Best practices for managing comments

Although rare, crisis comments usually encompass threats of violence, breaches of confidence, or defamation. The general recommendation is to screenshot the comment, then escalate it to the police, management, or legal departments.

As you can see, comments come in many shapes and sizes. Having a set of ‘house rules’ is highly beneficial when running a page, website, or online community. Online commenting policies and guidelines help by setting the right expectations regarding the propriety of comments.

Although tricky at times, engaging with followers through comments is an essential part of a brand’s growth plan, so don’t forget to:

  • Answer in the right tone of voice. This will ensure brand consistency.
  • Show empathy. Acknowledging people’s feelings shows customers that they are valued.
  • Make it personal. Use @mentions, hashtags, gifs, or emojis.
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