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If you have a social media presence, you'll regularly receive comments on your online posts.

Deciding how often to respond to these comments can be challenging if you don't develop best practices early. If you set guidelines, however, you'll be able to better manage your time, as well as both positive and negative situations.

Read: Create a social media marketing plan

Is it always worth commenting?

Some professionals acknowledge every remark made by their followers, but this isn't necessary.

Instead, focus most on question-based comments. When responding to these types of remarks, do so publicly whether your answers are simple or complex.

It's crucial to do so since many of your followers will often have the same questions. As such, your public responses will help more than one person and highlight your expertise.

By leaving questions unanswered, it will seem like you're not interested in actively communicating with your audience. You should provide effective solutions regularly since you'll then be top-of-mind when prospects decide they want financial help.

Positive comments

When replying to positive posts, keep it simple. A "thank you" will often do the job.

However, it's up to you to decide whether you want to address compliments individually. I like to at least acknowledge each comment by "liking" them (possible on both Facebook and LinkedIn).

When you get positive comments, do this:

Don't do this:

It's crucial to avoid being overly promotional when responding to positive posts. Social media platforms are designed for soft sells, and followers will always need to be familiar with your services and background before they'll consider working with you.

Read: Find and meet online prospects

Negative comments

When dealing with negative posts, address the issues brought up promptly and directly.

If you don't handle criticism well, you could lose followers and garner bad reviews. What's more, you need to show all followers you're willing to help resolve their problems.

When you get negative comments, do this:

Don't do this:

TIP: If you don't respond to negative comments, people may assume you've ignored them. So, though it's acceptable to privately respond to disgruntled followers, address their main issues publicly. Then move to private messaging.

In rare cases, you may come across those who only wish to criticize you (these people are known as Internet trolls). Block them and remove their comments if possible.

Ignoring comments

You can ignore comments that don't:

  • reflect on specific posts;
  • add to ongoing discussions;
  • or bring up questions that let you show your expertise.

The same goes for follow-up posts to your replies. Once you have acknowledged a comment, it's acceptable to end any ensuing dialogue if the follower has no further questions.

TIP: Before dealing with comments on social platforms, consider how you might respond to the same questions or remarks in person. Make sure you're always helpful and personable.

Melonie Dodaro is the founder of Top Dog Social Media. She helps business owners, sales teams and professionals to use social media marketing to boost their visibility, attract new customers and increase their revenue. Dubbed by the media as Canada’s #1 LinkedIn expert and social media strategist, she’s also a highly sought after social media speaker and trainer.
Originally published on Advisor.ca

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