Clients regularly come to us for advice on how to foster meaningful connections between their website users, their content, and their organization. They usually envision a commenting feature where users can interact with their content and their team can monitor customer feedback. It will be glorious!
We can certainly provide “liking” and “commenting” features on your own website, but it is a recommendation we are moving away from. The reality is, having these features available on your own website is not likely that engaging or interesting. Users are conditioned to share content on social networks such as Facebook or LinkedIn where they already have an account and a following. Creating a profile (as quick as that might be) to allow commenting on your site has low value.
Clients with an established and engaged audience have faced disappointment when their own commenting features are not well adopted by customers. Not to mention, commenting requires a moderation effort (to some degree) from your team.
Instead, we encourage that you focus on building social engagement on the platforms your customers are already using. You’ll find more success by simply adding a “share” feature to your content for several reasons:
What about gated (password protected) content? Allowing users to share your gated content is also an opportunity to grow your audience. Sharing password-protected content really means you’re sharing a link to that article and a short summary for the benefit of the users in an external social network. Anyone clicking that link will be presented with a call-to-action to log in or to quickly do a sign up. This approach helps you grow your audience of known visitors.
All of this being said, there are some circumstances where having your own social features are useful. For example, If your website is selling products it can be valuable to allow comments or ratings on product pages. Just be prepared to manage reviews and actively follow up on negative feedback. Ecommerce is just one example where your own commenting features are useful. We’re happy to discuss how appropriate these features are for you.