This guest post was written by Neil Matthews of WPDude.
Have you noticed a decrease in the number of blog comments you get and an increase in Facebook likes and Twitter tweets about your posts?
Are you worried that you are loosing social proof about the validity of your posts to the social media conversation, rather than as direct comment on your site?
There is a way to get the best of both worlds and aggregate comments and social media responses on your site.
People are building social media presences, and part of that is sharing great blog content and their opinions on those posts. It’s more public and gives better results to share on Twitter or Facebook than it is leave a comment.
Curating is the new black at the moment. Adding links to your own social media conversation adds great value to your followers, while leaving a comment on a blog where no-one but the avid readers will see it does not add any value to your social media stream.
Fewer comments seems provide less social proof that people like your content, but this is not necessarily true. People stil love your stuff, it’s just that they’re expressing their emotions in different places.
What’s the solution?
Th solution is to bring the comments made on social media into your comment stream so you can maintain all of that social proof in one place.
There are a number of plugins that will aggregate social media and traditional blog comments into one stream on your site. This post will focus on these plugins—specifically I will be focusing on WordPress plugins (sorry Joomla, Drupal and Tumblr people! Some of these pugins will work with your platform but I’m focusing on WordPress today).
This is a cloud-hosted comment system, wich means that your comments are hosted on the Disqus platform, and by adding a plugin to WordPress you can show those comments alongside your posts.
Disqus is a complete commenting system that offers a number of social media functions including authentication using your Facebook and Twitter accounts, and the ability for people to add a comment to your post and their social media profile of choice. But more importantly it has a Reactions feature, which will search for and aggregate into your comment stream off-site comments from social media conversations about your post.
Intensedebate is another hosted comment platform brought to you by the people behind WordPress Automattic.
Intensedebate has something it calls Social Commenting features. Using these, users can log in with their Twitter or Facebook IDs, and post comments that are synced to their social media profiles.
LiveFyre is another fully featured and hosted commenting system. Please note that this is a premium solution with a free option for less than 20,000 page impressions per month.
This plugin has the ability to post the comment onto your site and the social media platform of your site user’s choice. It also has a neat function that lets them tag their social media friends in your comments.
Check out the social media options for more information.
A note on hosted comment systems
When you host your comments on a third-party site, you’ll need to export your comments into that service’s car. If you breach the service’s terms and conditions, there’s a chance you could be kicked off the platform and loose your comments.
I’ve not heard of this happening but it is a possibility, so think long and hard before you chose to have someone host part of your site. I wrote about the same concept in my last post here at Problogger when I talked about loosing your email addresses in Are You Protecting Your Blog’s Most Valuable Asset?.
If you want a solution that replaces your traditional blog commenting system with Facebook-only comments, then this plugin is for you.
It is a self-hosted solution that replaces traditional blog comments with something akin to a Facebook wall. People log in to Facebook, leave their comments on Facebook, and they’re replicated back on your site.
This final plugin is again a self-hosted extension of WordPress. What is does is scan Twitter for any mentions of your posts, and pulls those tweets into your existing comment stream as if they were additional comments on your posts.
These are just some of the options available to you—there are many others. Check out the plugins under the Social Media tag on the WordPress plugin repository to see how vast your options are.
Make your comments social
Don’t worry that you’re losing blog comments to social media. Using these handy plugins, you can bring the conversation back from the social platforms, and retain social proof on your blog.
How is your blog faring with comments and social media? Could these plugins be helpful to you?