You read an awesome blog post, and you’re so impressed with it that you continue reading the comment section. You see some insightful comments that add new perspective to the issue of that post, you see some hate you don’t pay attention to, and then you see the most annoying comments of all times: those that are after quick fame with instructions like 1/1 immediately, like for like, or follow for follow.
These people live in illusion. They think that if they post a comment on someone else’s blog, they immediately deserve something in return. Well, things don’t work like that in real life.
Why the Follow for Follow Tactic Doesn’t Work
The follow for follow tactic was made popular by instagrammers. When someone creates a new profile, they start following random people, with the hope they will return the favor. This strategy may work in social media. Why? – Because it’s not that aggressive when everyone else is doing it.
You follow people, and you expect them to follow you back, but you don’t beg them to do so. If you write a comment under their post “hey, I just followed you, can you follow me back?” it will probably backfire on you.
That’s exactly what such blog comments will do – cause a counter effect.
Here are few reasons why the follow for follow tactic doesn’t work in blog comments:
- They are misleading
When people start reading this comment, they think you have something to say. Then, they see your request for follows and they understand your motif. Rest assured they won’t be happy with the conclusion that you only commented on the post to get some visits and follows on your own blog.
- There’s one word for these comments: spam
Even when you add an actual comment before the follow for follow request, it will still look like spam. Think about it: when you’re constantly bombarding other blogs with the “follow me” message, you look like someone who has no idea about proper marketing. Instead of building long-lasting organic relationships, you’re wasting your time on writing useless comments.
- These comments send the wrong message
When you write a comment on someone’s blog post, you should do it only if it awakened your genuine interest. Sometimes you’ll agree with the blogger and you’ll show your approval of their opinions. In other cases, you’ll have strong arguments against that blogger’s statements. Whatever the situation is, your comment shows you invested some effort to read that post and you have something to say about it. If you go for the like for like, share for share, follow for follow method, you’re not showing you enjoyed reading the post. People who read your comment will think you didn’t even bother understanding what the author tried to say. Your only motif was to comment and get something in return.
- Even if you get some followers, you won’t get engagement with this method
Let’s say some bloggers or social media users are thankful for your comment and they will follow you back. You can rest assured that’s all they will do. You can’t expect them to check out your posts and start commenting and sharing, can you? In reality, this plan won’t result in long-term engagement.
What’s the point of getting a huge number of followers if you don’t get any engagement from them?
Your main goal should be attracting real readers, and there are way better ways to do that.
Comment Strategy that Works
So we got that out of the way: the follow for follow method is annoying and it does not work. Does that mean you should stop commenting with the purpose of promoting your blog or social media page? Absolutely not. You should definitely have a commenting strategy, but there is a right way to do that
1. First and foremost, create follow-worthy pages
Before you start posting comments all over the web, you have to create an awesome blog or social media page. If someone decides to click on your link, they should immediately see content that’s worthy of a follow.
Here are some common characteristics of follow-worthy blogs:
- They have a specific theme and they always stick to their niche.
- These bloggers have a unique, recognizable, and authoritative voice.
- The blog’s design is awesome.
- There is a consistent posting schedule.
- If you follow that blog, you know you’ll always find new content to explore.
2. Comment on posts relevant to your niche
It’s important to choose the right publications to comment on. If, for example, you maintain a blog that discusses different types of flowers and ways of growing them, you can’t promote it by posting comments on technology blogs. Of course you can follow any kind of blog and comment on the posts if you’re interested in the topics, but don’t try to promote your own blog if it doesn’t belong to their niches.
Here is how you can find blogs that can become part of your commenting strategy:
- Use the right keywords to search Google. You’ll easily locate the influencers in your area of interest. They have plenty of followers, so you can start posting insightful comments on their blogs and social media pages.
- Don’t limit yourself to the influencers, though. Dig a bit deeper and find prospective blogs that are still not insanely popular. Those bloggers will be more willing to visit your blog and return the favor even if you don’t include a follow for follow message.
3. Post valuable comments
Your comments should never indicate that you’re posting them with the sole purpose to promote your own blog, product, or service. Make sure to read the posts before commenting on them. Find one particularly interesting point the author mentioned, and use it to form your comment.
You should sound like someone who understands the message of the post and knows what they are talking about. Try to put the issues in a new perspective and add value in the comment section. That’s the only way to raise the interest of other bloggers and their audiences, and attract them to visit your own blog.
4. Include a signature
Needless to say, you should always include a signature in the comments you post. Otherwise, people won’t know you have a blog and they won’t know where they can follow you. Of course you won’t post as an anonymous user!
A signature under your comment can seem like an aggressive campaign for getting visits and follows. It may be distracting if you post useless comments. However, if you’re a regular reader and commenter and you always stay on topic with the discussion, the bloggers will want to encourage you, so they will naturally follow you back.
Effective Self-Promotion Is Always Subtle
When you precisely ask people to do something, you may entice them to do the exact opposite thing. If, for example, you ‘instruct’ bloggers or social media users to follow you just because you did the same thing, they won’t take your recommendation seriously.
If, on the other hand, you post a valuable comment that supports the discussion in the comment section and you present a subtle link, they will be thankful for your participation and they might return the favor.
In conclusion, you should always post high-quality comments that are on topic. You don’t have to show them love; you may also give constructive criticism as long as your comments are worthy of reading. If you present yourself as someone with great understanding of the topic, people will visit your blog. If the site attracts them with quality, design, uniqueness, and posting consistency, they will follow you. It’s that simple!
[Main Image: iStockphoto]