I was approached by a company called BulkComments which offer outsourcing social media and commenting online. They wanted to know if I would be willing to collaborate with them.
BulkComments offers commenting to people who are too busy to do it themselves. They want to capitalise upon the large amount of businesses and individuals who just don't have the time to socially interact online. And I suspect there are plenty of candidates who would be interested in their services.
Plenty of people know they need to do some sort of social engagement to help promote their blogs, websites, businesses or whatever. But they either don't know what to do, are confused by the amount of social platforms available, are afraid of making a fool of themselves or are so time-poor nothing ever gets done.
However, I hesitated. This sounded like a good idea, but was it really? The lure of someone else doing all the hard work by outsourcing social media for you may be tempting, but how much control do you have over the results? Would you be happy with the outcome? What would you expect to gain from somebody else commenting for you?
This infographic gives you an idea of what I mean:
And here's some code you could paste into your own posts (via the text mode) if you want to share this Infographic with your readers.
Is outsourcing social media a bed of roses?
As you can see from the infographic, I really didn't find many positive things about using a company like BulkComments. However, their website is packed full of good reasons why businesses should be commenting and socially engaging online. Many of which are commendable and would be tempting to a busy business.
They point out that consistent commenting (depending upon how much you pay for) does increase the social buzz of a blog. It can also enhance a site's popularity, and draw people to it who may not notice it before.
Comments lower the bounce rates of posts, analytics show longer visiting times which are attractive to search engines, and the added value within this user generated content gives the search engines something worthy to index.
But I really don't have enough time!
I hear your cry! This is such a problem with busy entrepreneurs trying to earn a crust, usually doing everything themselves. There's never enough hours in the day. And even if you have staff, you need to train them into how you think and focus on your campaign's objectives. It's never ending.
If you think all that is necessary is to have regular comments coming in, it doesn't matter who from or from where, then by all means outsource your social engagement. Having someone else do this for you is another item ticked off your endless to-do list.
After all, all these successful business types must be outsourcing social media interaction left, right and centre. They have much bigger fish to fry, like earning money. I bet they don't sit at their computers agonising what to say on Twitter or any other social platform.
I want to say what I want in my comments
How important is to you what you say in your comments online? How do you want to be perceived within social media? Are you trying to raise awareness of your cause or even about what you do? Who is the best person to do this?
Being social is a personal thing. It's all about communicating with your followers, warming them towards you, showing your human side and focusing on the things they want to talk about. Sometimes these conversations need to forget mentioning you or your business, as this shows you are interested in others and you care about them.
But if you can't be bothered with this sort of social chat, and it's more important to get lots of comments on your blog, automate your posts onto Twitter and pummel your brand on Facebook, then outsourcing social media is the right answer for you.
Commenting standards are important to me
I am very particular about how I write my comments. I focus on using good English, correct spelling and grammar, suitable sentence syntax and a proper meaning within my message. What I try to avoid is just offering noise for the sake of it.
So many comments delivered now are sloppy, inarticulate and disjointed. Nobody cares whether what they write is readable, makes sense or is even relevant! There is no format or construction, like an obvious beginning, middle and end, to get their point across and make the comment easier to understand.
BulkComments have an army of commenters ready to serve you. However they say some have English as an additional language. This means what they produce may be full of "imperfections", which makes them "more real and authentic". If you don't care about quality and what kind of comments you receive, go ahead and outsource your online engagement.
I'd like to comment for SEO benefits
For some people commenting is more than sharing your opinion, voicing your point of view or doing something more than just a 'like'. They see this as enhancing the original post, offering or adding value and extending the quality of content, especially if pertinent keywords are used.
If you comment for search engine optimisation reasons, you'll know the importance of relevance, attracting attention through excellent contributions, and the power of link building through cultivating relationships with other blog authors and their readers.
However, many businesses think the answer is to cram comments with links back to their websites, just like spammers. Now I'm not suggesting this is what all outsourced commenting businesses will do, but I'm sure if you paid them enough they could accommodate you...
It's good to comment on different platforms
Commenting is not only incoming (into your blog), it is also outgoing (on social media and other blogs). This includes engaging on places which you may not consider relevant to your business. This is in fact what being 'social' means. You could select various groups and forums which contain your target readers, or interact freely with whoever responds to you, regardless of who they are.
If you are in charge of outgoing commenting, you have the freedom to go wherever you want. Forming relationships with people is about communication. You never know who they are connected to, especially if they share your content to their audience.
Whereas transferring your social interaction to another party means they haven't the incentive or inspiration to socialise on your behalf. It's much easier to bring comments onto a recently written post to boost its popularity, but almost impossible to extend your reach further afield onto other blogs and social platforms.
I want the freedom to write as much as is needed
If you don't understand your client, and most outsourced organisations tend not to, then how can you know what to write about? You've been told to comment on their blog, but you aren't an expert in their field, so what should you say?
Which is probably why BulkComments make it easy for their people by limiting their comments to 1-2 sentences. Whereas a good comment should comprise of a minimum of 3 sentences, with a greeting, introduction and summary along with the main point or subject.
If you are in charge of commenting on relevant blogs (which you only know they are), you will know exactly how much and what to say. This includes how to create a good impression, get noticed for the right reasons, spread the correct message and encourage other readers to reply to start a conversation.
It's best to engage when most people are around
We all know there are peaks of interaction on social media when most people are active. This varies according to the platform, audience in question, subjects mentioned and style of engagement.
There are various apps and websites which can tell you the best time to comment or socialise online. Buffer and Tweriod are two which immediately come to mind. This allows you to focus your messages and timings to share your tweets, memes, videos or shared blog posts at the best possible moment to get more responses.
The trouble with outsourcing social media is that you probably have no control when your comments are produced. Or where from, such as multiple IP addresses from different countries. Let alone saturating social media at the most appropriate time to get the most out of your interactive endeavours.
I want to submit relevant links back to my blog
If you're going to be canny about doing this back linking lark the most effective way without pissing people off, you need to understand the best techniques. This doesn't mean littering your comment with links like a spammer. Nor does it mean only using your blog's homepage as the given URL when you submit your comment.
Every comment you write should be applicable to the original post, as well as pertinent to your own objectives. You need to combine it with sharing your expertise and being entertaining with opinions or stories other people can relate to. And using the most relevant post within your blog for the submission URL for extra SEO reach and compatibility.
Whereas this won't be possible if somebody else comments on your behalf. They won't have your knowledge, your anecdotes or your experience. They also don't know your blog inside-out to recommend a suitable post as an ideal submission link which would boost the interest from the search engines and increase your Domain Authority.
Would I really benefit from outsourcing social media?
Time is always the biggest hurdle for socially engaging online. But there's no need to do it constantly 24/7. You can have amazing results if you choose to engage when the best people are online, and you know exactly what to say which interests others, they find valuable or can identify with. And you do this consistently, even if it's only 5 tweets a day!
Commenting is something that could be scheduled in your diary, like updating your accounts. Writing something fantastic and relevant once a day on the right blog is much better than 20 below-par contributions coming into yours. Focusing on replying and engaging produces content which is just as valuable as writing a new blog post, but takes a fraction of the time and is to a different audience.
There is this myth people have to be constantly interacting to gain traction. Whereas if it was done strategically, focusing on the right places, people, times and messages, the results would be more meaningful and your audience would be more relevant and useful.
Are you going to get help, or do it yourself?
Companies like BulkComments offer a service to businesses whose focus is to get more comments on their blog. They may know very little about how commenting, engagement or interaction works. They think social media is where you go to just make as much noise as possible about your business in the vain attempt to attract more customers.
If this is you or your business, go ahead and hire them. Their link is in the first paragraph. You will benefit more from outsourcing social media interaction online.
Well done if you have read this post all the way through to here. If what I have said has made a difference to way you are thinking about commenting, you could either read the rest of my posts in this blog, or ask me a question in the comments below. We look forward to hearing from you.