Social Media Examiner: Do reader comments add value?

by Urs E. Gattiker on 2013/10/27 · 18 comments 46,057 views

in c corporate blogging,c CyTRAP BlogRank

3 questions about the Social Media Examiner

CLICK on IMAGE - a corporate blog is more than a tool to create marketing buzz; it fosters engagement by sharing content your target audience values - the Social Media Examiner shows HOW IT IS DONE.

  • Do blog comments add value?
  • Are buzz-type comments good enough?
  • How helpful is the Social Media Examiner’s content really?

Keywords: Social Media Examiner, cost, marketing mix, ROI, return on investment, strategy

Please answer my questions at the end – I need your feedback to decide.

2013-11-03 Update: If you read German – here are some examples of GREAT corporate blogs in Austria, Germany and Switzerland.

The first entry in this series of blog posts about corporate blog strategy can be found here:

Daimler blog: Reader comments ROI, anyone?

By the way, do what 5,000 other subscribers have done – sign up for our FREE blog newsletter!

1. Corporate blog comments – do they add value?

In our previous blog post, I pointed out:

Unless we want to just broadcast our news, disabling comments is not an option in today’s Web 2.0 world. The challenge is to manage possible comment and trackback spam. Moreover, you must decide how long you will allow comments on your corporate blog.

But before we can hope for comments we need to address the following questions regarding how much interest our content will inspire among our primary target audience, namely:

  1. Why should they care? ===> about the content, silly!
  2. Will they be inspired to share? ===> your content with their friends.
  3. Will they be motivated to engage? ===> to write useful comments about your content…
  4. Will this result in sales? ===> or at least build more trust in, and recognition of your brand.

As the example below shows, the Social Examiner is very successful in getting its users inspired to share their content (sometimes from guest bloggers) on various Social Network Systems (SNS). The shares on Twitter and LinkedIn for the post below are impressive and show that their readers must love this content. Why else would they share, right?

CLICK IMAGE - Social Media Examiner - Do such replies by authors add beef to the discussion?


2. Corporate blog comments – is buzz good enough?

As the above shows, readers of the content posted by The Social Media Examiner love to share it. Most blog entries on the Social Examiner get a lot of buzz, and many readers comment about the content. But how well does this type of engagement compare to other social media blogs?

As the table below suggests, the Social Media Examiner scores 88 points out of a possible 100 in its category of social media blogs (WOW – hats off). Compared to all US blogs – this includes NFL and NHL blogs – it scores 68 points, well above the average score of 50 points.

CLICK on IMAGE - Social Media Examiner - How well does it compare against other blogs? Pretty good and IT COULD RANK HIGHER. How you ask? HERE IS HOW...

As the graphic below shows, however, the ranking the Social Media Examiner blog achieved improved markedly during September 2013 and then fell continuously again from the middle of September until late October 2013 (when we released this blog post – for the latest graphic – just click the image below).

CLICK on IMAGE - Social Media Examiner - How well does it compare against the rest of the competition? VERY WELL, thanks, but this graphic shows a drop - why?

Check out the Social Media Examiner’s statistics, VERY impressive.

One reason for this drop is that comments have recently become shorter. Also interesting is that authors’ replies to readers’ comments have become somewhat less in-depth than previously (see above). Who knows why…

Checking the statistics about commenting also shows authors have been less forthcoming with responses compared to early September.

Recommended: CyTRAP BlogRank – Check quality of engagement on The Social Media Examiner

3. How helpful is the content on the Social Media Examiner?

As the graphic below suggests, to get readers interested means offering practical content on the blog. This helps your audience solve a problem or use your information to improve their golf score, for instance.

CLICK ON GRAPHIC - DrKPI - CyTRAP - Target AUDIENCE: 1. Why should they care? 2. Will they be inspired to share? - content that helps readers solve problems is perceived as useful.

The above image shows that the Social Media Examiner produces and offers its readers both valuable and useful content, passing any test of this kind with flying colors.

Can you top them? Well maybe not, but you can improve by tracking your corporate blog’s reader comments for comparison. This is a tall order, of course, but the quality and quantity of your blog’s reader engagement will nevertheless improve – guaranteed!

Recommended: Urs E. Gattiker: Social media ROI: 3 things we usually do wrong (in German), 3 golden rules for social media marketing

Source: Social Media Examiner: Do reader comments add value?

What is your opinion about The Social Media Examiner?
Did I forget something important that you like about that blog?
What strategy have you been using to increase social sharing of your blog’s content?
How do you make sure that you get reader comments – maybe not in the numbers the Social Media Examiner does, but still… what tips could you share?

Thanks again for sharing your thoughts and insight – I appreciate it, as always.

Find more on Google – corporate blog, KPI, ROI, metrics, conversation, engagement

Urs E. Gattiker, Ph.D. - CyTRAP Labs - ComMetrics.

The author: This post was written by social media marketing and strategy expert Urs E. Gattiker, who also writes about issues that connect social media with compliance, and thrives on the challenge of measuring how it all affects your bottom line.

His latest book, Social Media Audit: Measure for Impact, appeared in November 2012 (Springer Science Publishers), and he is currently hard at work on the next one.

Connect with ComMetrics on Google+ or the author using: Email | Twitter | | Xing

  • Sharon Bowles

    It’s interesting to me that Social Examiner’s blog experienced a decline in October. Maybe it’s because thousands of their followers were “attending” their Social Media Success Summit 2013″. There were 18 webinars throughout the month of October. Possibly all the people who normally read their blog were all attending the Summit! It was a great summit, with a wealth of information for beginners to advanced. The speakers were formidable. I found I was able to put some of their suggestions into practice immediately. I still have a lot to go over from my 50 pages of notes! It really is no wonder that they are so successful. I highly recommend their resources and will definitely attend their 2014 Summit.

    •*/*/*/CEO/top100 Urs E. Gattiker

      Dear Sharon Bowles

      Thanks so much for your comment here. 18 webinars throughout October, plenty to keep people away from visiting the website?

      Great to hear that attending their summit 2013 was so beneficial to you and you were able to put some of their recommendations into practice right away.

      My question Can you share some of these suggestions here? What you implemented right away when getting home?

      You write:
      “It’s interesting to me that Social Examiner’s blog experienced a decline in October. Maybe it’s because thousands of their followers were “attending” their Social Media Success Summit 2013″.”

      That could be but how does that explain the trend over the months that reader comments got shorter. I don’t know but maybe you do.

      @LRARtravel:twitter what you think?

      Thanks for sharing.

  • Sharon Bowles

    One other thing I meant to share about the Social Media Success Summit. All attendees can access every webinar and transcript of the webinar for an entire year. I believe it will take me that long to incorporate all that is relevant to my business.

    •*/*/*/CEO/top100 Urs E. Gattiker

      Sharon Bowles

      Thanks again for this, yes getting access to material online is useful in two ways:

      1 – for the authors/presenters so their stuff is being used
      2 – the organizer being able to give paying attendees a goodie :-)
      3 – for attendees, finding all the materials in an easy place

      All you know have to do know is to make sure that you have the time and persistence to implement all these great things you learned. Not an easy thing to do, since one can be so much bugged down with other things at work, that such stuff sometimes gets shafted.

      Thanks @lrartravel:twitter for sharing your insights.
      Urs @ComMetrics:twitter

      PS: I entered your @BLGlawyers:twitter blog into the CyTRAP Blog Rank – Beacon Legal Group rankings (click to get data)

  • Sharon Bowles

    I must correct myself. There were 33 webinars, not 18 at the Social Media Success Seminar. Sorry for the misinformation.

    The Summit touched on every social media platform known to man or woman — from Facebook, Twitter and the like — to going Mobile and blog marketing.

    One of the first things I did that they suggested, was to include specific keywords in my profiles and other descriptive areas on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn. This is important because people are looking for something specific and keyword placement becomes very important so that they can find you instead of someone else.

    Another suggestion was to use a great cover photo (I haven’t had time to implement this one yet, but will soon) on your social media platforms. It creates a visual interest that is important.

    Also important is to always respond to anyone who becomes a new “friend” or follower. This is not only polite, but the first way to engage with a potential new customer or client.

    I must say that the $300 plus that the summit cost to sit in front of my computer without any travel expenses and learn volumes, was well worth it.

    •*/*/*/CEO/top100 Urs E. Gattiker


      Thanks for the above tipps from the Social Media Examiner workshop that you are passing on to our readers, neat stuff.

      1 – use the right kewords — yes I had to improve that one because for two reasons

      a- I was using different sets of keywords for Facebook and Twitter, for instance, and

      b- I needed to re-assess the keywords I used for my blogs (e.g., – in German, and in English). Of course, this means again going over to Facebook and Twitter to do the changes :-) So much work.

      2. Yes the picture….. what they say, a picture can say more than a thousand words….

      3. “… to always respond to anyone who becomes a new “friend” or follower.”

      That is a difficult one, sometimes I am not sure why people follow and other times their Tweet stream is just uninteresting. Actually, this is the beauty of Twitter “I do not need to follow back.”

      Unless I discriminate I get inundated with noise….

      So with that suggestion I am not certain. Same if a lawyer follows me from Toronto, should I follow back just to be polite? I hope she followed because I tweet interesting stuff or post good material on Google+. But does she do the same for me?

      Am I wrong…. should I be less cautious?

      4. My point: Whenever somebody writes a comment on one of our blog posts, we should take the time and answer. People want to be heard and it is the polite thing to do.

      I even go to the effort and write them a personal note because data show that people are more likely to comment again sometime in the future.

      • Sharon Bowles

        I agree that replying to everyone would take all day. I reply easily on Facebook. In order to contain Google+, I have joined relevant “groups”. Whenever they post something I think is really good, I will Google+ it and re-post for them. This is more in the line of professional courtesy as well.

        •*/*/*/CEO/top100 Urs E. Gattiker

          Dear Sharon blglawyers:twitter

          Thanks for replying again to me on this subject.
          I agree, Facebook is okay for me but Google+ is really interesting – as far as relevant groups are concerned (e.g., corporate bloggers, data nerds, etc.).
          Yes giving it a plus 1 or reposting things is also a nice way to engage with content and part of professional courtesy.
          I also try to comment on those things that I find interesting.
          Thanks again so much for sharing.

  • Sharon Bowles

    Thanks for checking my blog ranking. The blog site is relatively new, so I’m not too surprise and I know there is always room for improvement. I really appreciate the info.

    •*/*/*/CEO/top100 Urs E. Gattiker

      Hi Sharon Bowles

      Merci for the feedback. Maybe you should register yourself (let me know when you have) and then I show you how to track things?

      It is easy to improve performance once one knows what to look out for and how one measures up. The results, thanks to the Internet and Google are usually fast.

      Sharon (at @blglawyers:twitter ), have a great day.
      Urs @CyTRAP:twitter

  • Michael A. Stelzner

    Thanks Urs for your analysis on our blog. I appreciate your feedback and comments.

    •*/*/*/CEO/top100 Urs E. Gattiker

      Dear @mikestelzner:disqus
      Thanks for stopping by and commenting. What I would love to hear though is an answer to these two questions :-)

      1 – How would you explain that comments have dropped (length per comment and number of comments per blog post) at the Socialmedia Examiner over the last six to 12 months?
      PS. Still plenty and same trend on Tech Crunch as well as Mashable.

      2 – What you think we need to do to get more comments …. where could we do better?

      I look forward to reading your reply.

      • Michael A. Stelzner

        Thanks Urs for your reply (and email). I sent this off to our editorial director for her thoughts. It is a wonderful question that I don’t have the answer to. Just keep in mind that comments alone are not a metric of success in our eyes. Often only only a tiny fragment of our audience (or any audience for that matter) comments. Soften a strong call to action OR some missing piece that folks want to know more about will solicit more comments.

        •*/*/*/CEO/top100 Urs E. Gattiker

          Dear @Mike_Stelzner:twitter

          Thanks for replying so fast. I look forward to your editorial director’s thoughts on this issue …. Hope she or he leaves a comment soon here.

          Yes, soften a call for action or leaving something left open is a sure way to get more comments.
          It probably also matters what audience you have, such as:
          – culture (US vs. Europe),
          – social media expert vs. accountants and CEOs,
          – self-employed people (in social biz) vs. corporate folks
          Some just comment less than others.

          You write: “Just keep in mind that comments alone are not a metric of success in our eyes.”

          I agree, nothing alone is a success measure. Nevertheless, I hope you can agree with me that comments and social shares are two indicators of a whole set. If engagement is not important, why are we then active in social media?

          Do you agree? Other thoughts?

        • Monika Birkner

          I love that: “comments and social shares are two indicators of a whole self”. For me it means that they are partly interchangeable. So a decrease in comments does not necessarily mean less engagement. The engagement may just find new forms of expression.

        •*/*/*/CEO/top100 Urs E. Gattiker

          Dear Monika
          Super comment especially:
          “So a decrease in comments does not necessarily mean less engagement. The engagement may just find new forms of expression.”

          But I am not sure if they are interchangeable. For instance, there is a substantial group of social bees that tweet things or post on Facebook by using an automatic service. The latter collects the RSS feed and then automatically shares a tweet or FAcebook post at pre-scheduled times.

          All this happens without you having to do anything.

          This is not engagement for me as much as it is if you write a comment as you did here. The comment takes far more effort and without having read the blog post it probably is impossible to write a thoughtful and insightful comment.

          Would you not agree @MonikaBircher:twitter
          Urs E. Gattiker

          PS. and your blog does great as far as engagement – thoughtful comments is concerned – Chapeau! (click to get data)

        • Monika Birkner

          I have just stumbled across some results of a survey on blog credibility. According to this survey, the number of comments is not very relevant for the credibilty of a blog (just 2 %). Most important are

          high quality of content: 30 %

          good design: 17 %

          regular publications: 15 %

          good social media presence: 13 % (e.g. number of shares, number of followers)

          several authors: 12 %.

          The author does not give much information about the survey participants. Nevertheless I find the results quite interesting. This is the link:

        •*/*/*/CEO/top100 Urs E. Gattiker

          Dear Monika Birkner

          Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting here.

          This is an interesting survey indeed. Although neither myself in the blog post norMichael A. Stelzner never talked about trust or credibility. My focus in regard to the SocialMedia Examiner was on reader engagement which it has plenty of, thank you very much (I am a bit jealous, you can tell, can’t you.)!

          What I feel about this issue is that it depends a bit on things such as:

          1 – what is your target audience – hands-on bloggers, thus they are more inclined to write comment (see Social Media Examiner blog) than if it were a blog discussing banking (UBS blog).

          2. – people love hands-on stuff (how to use Skype, how to weak your WordPress Thesis Theme, etc.)

          Monika @MonikaBirkner:twitter Do you agree with this or am I wrong? thanks in advance
          Urs @ComMetrics:twitter

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