The humble Facebook Comment: a way to create relevancy?

facebook symbol

The humble Facebook Comment

Back in the day the humble Facebook Comment was the lowest of the low, always the ugly duckling to Cousin Backlink and Big Sister Share. Cousin Backlink was the debutant queen of the old county fair while Big Sister Share was the new belle of the ball. All the digital marketing boys wanted to dance with them. Poor old frumpy Facebook Comment never quite got a look in.
Comments always seemed like an afterthought. They were an annoying thing that had to be batted away with Akismet or moderated by some pour helpless soul. Content had power and depth with a word count to match. A share had direct reach and a sure fire way of getting a message under the noses of customers. Even a like added a number to something that people noticed. The humble Facebook Comment involved too much effort and all too quickly became just another previous.

What was the point? Why make the effort?

You have to understand what a social network craves

A concept that has already been explained in a previous post is that a social network and a search engine have a fundamental difference. The search engine starts with a keyword while the social network starts with what it knows about you.For that process to work correctly on the social network it has to know about you.

For that process to work correctly on the social network it has to know about you.

It must know the things you like, the interests you have, the people you know, the things they are into as well. It can get all that information from your behaviour. It learns, using machine learning and by following you around, who you are.

Instead of you having to give the social network a keyword to tell it what you want it can now show you what it thinks you want. Sometimes it seems to be better at that task than you are.

There is just one problem. It needs to know what stuff is. How can it work out whether you like a piece of content when it has no idea what that content is all about?

What it needs is relevancy. What it craves are keywords.

The importance of original content to a social network

A like is great. Everyone likes likes.

Just watching those numbers build up as friends jump on board is a fantastic experience. Eyes notice numbers and this is never a bad thing.

Simple shares have direct reach. It means content will be displayed somewhere else but it’s a not a guarantee of inclusion in a feed. The algorithm is always in play.

These direct shows of support add to the knowledge being gathered about the user that offered the support. The content of the post has relevancy from the keywords it contains and from the page it sits upon. The social network can infer that this user is interested in this type of subject matter by their interaction choices and the keywords inside that involved content.

Pushing a button also boosts the indicators on the post that it is of a quality nature. If more people interact with content then it must be better than content that is passed over. Everything on a social network is a judgement call. That judgement call happens on every interaction.

What a button push does not indicate is relevancy.

To get relevancy what the social network really wants are additional keywords and that means additional content. All social networks limit the length of a post and users themselves will naturally filter overly long content out. No-one wants the proverbial wall of text.

How does a marketer add original relevant content to a detailed enough post?

Leave a comment.

A photo of a woman using the facebook app.

Explaining the algorithm

What happens when users leave comments that contain relevant keywords?

Suddenly the social network has something to work with.

  • It has the post content and can now match the relevancy with a second independently gathered source
  • It has the content in the comment that the user has just left
  • It also has any other comments from other users that contain relevant words and it can match with those keywords as well
  • It has the background history of the users that are interacting with the content and knows their relevancy

All of this goes in a circle to build knowledge. That knowledge is then used by the social network to go and find other users like the ones who have already interacted. Those users are now very likely to see this content in their feed because they match on relevancy.

Imagine a full comment based conversation about a detailed subject matter on a Facebook Post. Each line contains a slightly different phrase or snippet that holds some kind of significance to the overall meaning of the post.

The social network now has a lot more content to work with. Each of those items came from a separate source, each with their own relevant history. The words themselves offer meaning.

The holy grail is for a group of connected Facebook users who have shared relevant history in a subject matter to leave a series of comments on a post containing relevant subject matter content. Each of those Facebook comments would contain some form of relevant words or phrase to the source content. This is relevancy nirvana.

The effect of this would be for Facebook to extend the content to swathes of relevant users.

They may not know the people involved but the overall community interest in this subject matter warrants this users attention. Facebook knows they like this stuff. Everyone else who is into this stuff seems to be talking about it on this post. It is going to show it to them.

woman typing facebook commentKeep the Facebook comments coming

Stimulating comments through interaction is a skill reserved for the master practitioners of social media marketing. It is the ability to keep a conversation going while also being able to steer it in the direction of meaning.

All too often the digital marketer will respond with a standard thanks response when there was an opportunity to keep the conversation going with a question. What they should have done was stimulate original relevant comments.

Like this:-

  1. The customer may have enquired about a particular brand that is on sale
  2. The smart digital professional replied to the enquiry while also mentioning some other brands that are available
  3. The customer enquired about another brand
  4. The digital marketer responds mentioning the other brand and also a special offer on a support product
  5. A third-party customer who noticed this activity now enquires about the brand of the special offer

Every mention of a brand is a keyword relevancy hit. Anyone typing any of the brand names into Facebook search will see this content. Anyone who is a friend of the participants who has previously expressed an interest in the brand or product sector will also see this content. Depending on the amount of comments this friend of friend extension may go multiple levels deep.

At all stages it is matching contact with relevancy. Relevant Facebook comment content, especially when done in multi user chains of comments, massively boosts relevancy. It’s the combination of relevancy and connection that creates reach.

Stimulate those comments. Some of it will be random but every meaningful Facebook comment that is left on a post creates relevancy. Facebook comments are not limited to Facebook itself and are present all over the internet. You can even have them on your website.

Users of Yatter can schedule Facebook comments on their partner’s posts, meaning that the conversation can be stimulated in advance.

Summary

Getting users to leave a Facebook comment is an important technique for boosting the relevancy of a post to the Facebook algorithm. By stimulating meaningful conversations about content the digital marketer can feed the algorithm with the relevancy it needs to do its job properly.
Getting a like or a share helps, especially if it contains content, but it is the chaining of keyword containing Facebook comments together that provides the clearest indication of relevancy. Having a whole load of people talking about something means that Facebook learns what that something is.

It can then show it to more people, knowing that those people are probably interested in that something.

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Richard Norman

Richard Norman

Richard is the Technical Lead and Co-Founder of Yatter. He is an experienced software architect and possesses a deep understanding of the underlying structure and design of a social network. Well we hope he does because he designed Yatter. His articles tend to have a technical slant and he also has a passion for long form content and SEO. Richard is also a qualified accountant.