Savvy Speaks: Handling Business Blog Comments: Spam, Trolls, and Crickets

Savvy Speaks: Handling Business Blog Comments: Spam, Trolls, and Crickets
Savvy Sisters - Wed Mar 21, 2012 @ 08:15AM
Comments: 74

Blog comments ... 

Most business bloggers would simply like more of them, but be careful what you wish for. From spam to trolls to inappropriate backlinks, sometimes blog comments aren't everything they're cracked up to be. Today, the Savvy Sisters talk about the challenges of the less desireable types of comments as well as how to encourage comments if you aren't getting as many as you'd like. 


Model the behavior you want to see!

One of my first pieces of advice to all new bloggers is "Get a Blogger Outreach program". I have spoken at conferences and written posts about this!  If you want thoughtful, quality comments on your blog posts, start by leaving them on the posts of others.  Start a weekly feature like we do here at Savvy with our Friday Wrap Up where we highlight other great blog posts we have read that week.

Criticism will happen.  In fact is should happen.  If we can't have a respectful discourse among professionals there is no way to shape and foster new innovative ideas. Criticism in the form of blog comments should be constructive.  

I was raised in the midwest by my grandma who is a true Southern Belle. I never heard her say a truly unkind word about anyone but she did always get her point across in a very positive way. While she thought she was training me for society but it sure has come in handy in business also!


Thick skin. 


People will say what they want and cowards tend to be very brave when hiding behind the mask of anonymity. Mean comments? Life is just too short to engage anyone in that. Go away. I am liberal with the delete button in those cases. 


A healthy disagreement however? Have at it. A little bit of discussion is always good for the soul (and for your blog.) 


And the best way to get more comments? Let people know that you hear them, try to respond to as many comments as possible telling people you appreciate their points of view and their willingness to share. Also make it a point to answer as many questions as are asked of you. If you help others, often they will be more than willing to help you out in return. 



Take a Deep Breath

It's human nature to take a negative comment personally. Before you respond to "constructive criticism" with a knee-jerk reaction, take a deep breath and give yourself time to digest the comment. Sometimes there's a grain of truth, even when a comment comes across as vicious or out of line. Address the essence of the comment and not the tone. That said, if the comment is just plain ol' nasty and unhelpful, either ignore it or delete it at will. You might find that others step in and respond to those displaying ill manners, so leaving a blistering comment to stand can be a great way to rally the community.


Kill 'Em with Kindness ... Most of the Time ...

Trolls. Any blogger who attains even a modest amount of success will eventually encounter these uncouth creatures. A "troll" is the equivalent of a heckler at a live stage show. He (or she) is the guy who stands in the back (trolls are often anonymous), shouting obscenities or telling the performer how lame she is. On a blog, trolls leave unecessarily contrarian and/or aggresive comments, sometimes even resorting to name calling and other juvenile tactics.

Someone who simply disagrees with you is not a troll. Someone who leaves a comment with a well put and polite dissenting view is actually a valuable member of your community. Listen and learn. Engage and expand the conversation.

A troll, on the other hand, isn't trying to add perspective or value. A troll is simply out to pick a fight, demean you, or make a scene. My first line of defense is tolerance and good manners. Unless the troll has crossed my personal line of decorum (yours may be different - we all have different tipping points), I will thank him (or her) for sharing her thoughts. Keep it short and sweet and move on.

If, however, the troll persists, I move on first to ignoring the inappropriate comments and then looking into blocking the individual.

I do not recommend engaging a troll in debate. Trolls don't debate. They are not that intelligent. Mostly, they just want to throw the digital equivalent of rotten tomatoes at you. Don't take the bait. Often, you'll find that other commenters will do that for you. I've seen "self-policing" behavior do a great job at shutting trolls down.

Above all, don't let them get  under your skin. Consider them a badge of honor. They mean you've "made it," to  a certain degree.  



Ignore, delete, repeat

Ignore: Nazi grammarians, contrarians and other nit-pickers, they make themselves look silly on their own.

Delete: Spam, blatantly self-promotional or abusive comments, I don't have to give them a forum, it's MY blog after all.

Repeat: Often! Unfortunately, keeping the conversation open means letting a few spammers and haters through the cracks. A little weekly maintenance is a small price to pay for an open and lively discussion.


What are your biggest blog comment fears? How do you handle the tricky stuff?


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