They say comments sections are where the real research happens.
For most creators, the comments section can be the most rewarding—and the most stressful—part of being a creator.
Community management is also quite time consuming and requires regular diligence considering that comments can happen on any post, at any time…not just your latest one.
But keeping your comments section healthy and well maintained is vital to creator success.
Here are some strategies to lighten up your load.
1. Engage With the Highest Value Comments
Most creators will keep their responses in the comments section short, responding with things like thank yous, emojis, and maybe a couple of words for the lucky fans.
These shortcuts in responding are more than sufficient in many cases. The key is that you’re acknowledging your audience’s support.
They are especially useful when managing a high volume of content. However, one of their drawbacks is that they don’t often generate much more engagement thereafter. More often than not, acknowledgement responses sort of end the conversation.
High-engagement posts can boost your positioning within most social platform’s algorithms. For that reason, creators and community managers may want to encourage more conversations as opposed to simply acknowledging them and moving on.
When it comes to more in-depth responses, the key is to find strategically high-value comments that will have your community not only interacting with you, but also with each other.
To do so, find the comments that your community is interacting with the most. Chime into the conversation, debate, and banter.
Pro tip: Research shows that 80% of the brain’s processing power is devoted to visual stimuli. Utilize visual media formats such as GIFs in your responses to enrich your communication. GIFs are a fun way to engage with your audience and showcase your brand voice.
2. Product Lists
Whether you’re a fashion creator doing clothing hauls, food creator showing recipes, makeup creator sharing makeup reviews, DIY’er crafting projects, or some other type of materials-oriented creator, product lists are your best friend.
For these types of videos, it’s fairly common to see the same questions being asked repeatedly in the comments: What did you use to get this? Could I get the recipe? Where can I buy that dress? What brand is that?
Solution: Include a product list to answer these questions in one fell swoop.
Be sure to include the brand and a link to where viewers can buy the product. If you’re feeling ambitious, include the timestamp from within the video to denote when you integrated that particular product in your content. If you’re a food creator, don’t forget those measurements!
There is a caveat and maintenance element to including product lists: They should be up to date. Make sure that all unavailable products and links are removed to avoid disappointing your community. If you’re doing affiliate content, you have double the reason to make sure all your links work.
Including a list of products or ingredients showcased in your video within the comments section saves you a ton of time and is a meaningful way to engage with your audience. Adding it as an additional comment can be a strategic way to avoid repetitive questions, both in the comments section and in your DMs.
Luckily, product list replies are generally transferable between platforms for creators who have audiences on more than one.
3. Let Your Community Manage the Comments Section
For the most successful creators, sometimes members of their own community (fans that have followed a creator for a long time) will step in and do community management for them.
Allowing loyal followers and supporters to answer questions and respond to other comments increases engagement and conversations within the comments section in a low-bandwidth way. It helps cut down the time spent responding to recurring questions. It also allows you to carry out first-hand observations and analyses of your superfans.
If you see someone in your community stepping into this role, keep a close eye on them. Do a little background vetting on their profile to get a sense of who they are, as these fans can be extremely valuable to you.
If you determine their responses to other viewer’s questions to be high quality and accurate, consider rewarding or incentivizing them to keep it up: Like their thoughtful replies, give them a public facing thank you or compliment, send them some merch, or maybe even give them a shout out in your video. If they have their own content, watch a few of their videos and drop a line in their comments section. They’re helping you in a big way—be sure to show them some appreciation.
4. De-escalating Trolls, Spam, and Keyboard Warriors
Dealing with backlash and continuous spamming is one side of the comments section that every community manager and creator dreads. Still, managing these comments is crucial. They can easily spiral into a black hole of trolling that can spread onto other posts like wildfire. How you respond can impact how the community views you or your client, so be methodical and level headed about how you handle it, as hard as it can be in the moment.
Hiding, deleting, and reporting are three crucial tools in your box to keep these negativity spreaders at bay.
Hiding is a good option for someone who is commenting often with less-than-interesting inputs or perhaps being critical or negative, but not abrasive or offensive enough to warrant further action. For most platforms, the hiding feature keeps the comment visible to other viewers, but removes them from your own feed. Out of sight, out of mind.
Reserve hiding for comments that fall under the spam category. Spam comments can be a nuisance, but all in all, aren’t harmful. Their only crime is taking up unnecessary comment space.
Deleting a comment is exactly what it sounds like and should be used when warranted. Unfortunately, a lot of people take their negativity out on the internet. A lot of it is unproductive and sometimes downright hostile. Nearly every creator has deleted comments at some point.
While this is a matter of individual preference, consider that sometimes, critical comments can bolster engagement. Having some tolerance for variety in thought, particularly when criticism is presented in a respectful manner, could be valuable for the creator to keep public.
Firstly, it invites more discussion around the topic and demonstrates to audiences that the creator is open to feedback. If there is a lot of input from your community reflecting a certain criticism, it might be valuable feedback that could make you a better creator in the future.
But if the commenter isn’t offering a productive point of view and is abrasive, offensive, or keen on hurting you or other members of your audience, the delete button is more than appropriate.
Comments that fall under harassment or are racist, threatening, or derogatory should be reported immediately. The users leaving them should be blocked.
Pro tip: As a creator, outsourcing community management to a third party is highly strategic in curtailing creator burnout. Ask your community manager for a general summary of the feedback, including critical feedback, that spares you from undue and irrelevant negativity which can adversely impact your motivation and productivity.
5. Community Management Platform Tools
At Jellysmack, the dream team partnership between community managers and the various social platforms themselves has helped automate some aspects of community management.
Within many social platform’s systems, it is possible to establish filters that scan comment sections for spam, pre-defined offensive language, and categorize engagement into low and high-risk violations. There’s also the option of having comments go into a moderation pool to be approved before going public. Utilizing these tools helps content creators and community managers protect their clients from toxic content. Even better, these tools can intercept this type of content before it goes public in real time.
Community Management Takeaways
By implementing these community management strategies and tools, you can not only host a channel with a productive comments section, but save precious time and connect with your audience.
Comments sections can quickly descend into chaos if not properly managed. However, your audience’s input can also offer valuable insights that can help you grow as a creator. Where yours will fall is a function of how well you use the tools available to you to harbor a positive and productive environment for both you and your audience.