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The Hidden Benefit of Commenting on Strangers' Posts

This article originally appeared on Advisor Perspectives on August 9, 2021, and can be found here

If you’ve never commented on a stranger’s post, then it’s time to start!

Many users are on social media to share their own content. That’s okay, but it won’t get them the results they want.

To see success on social media you need to be social.

Interact with other users daily. Comment on posts. Share your opinions. Social media algorithms prioritize this sort of engagement. Users know this. A comment on a stranger's post will improve the stranger’s social media performance and increases the chances they return the favor.

But the benefits of commenting go beyond the algorithm. Comments give you the chance to tap into one of the best ways to grow on social media – showcasing what makes you and your firm unique.

There are many ways to do this. I’m covering the five benefits of commenting on a stranger’s post, with examples to show you just how you can do this yourself.

Let’s jump in.

1. Build Reciprocity

As mentioned above, most users know that engagement is a key factor in their social media performance. Comments, likes and reshares are all common forms of engagement, but comments come with the extra benefit of sharing your voice.

By commenting on a stranger’s post, you’re providing them with a boost to their performance. Just make sure your comment is thought-provoking –don’t comment just for the sake of it.

As a great example, here’s an exchange between Michael Kitces and Alan Hensley, CFP® where Hensley responds with a well-thought-out answer to Kitces’ question:

Reciprocity example from Twitter

A thought-provoking response like this engages the purpose of the post. Doing so shows genuine interest, further increasing the chances the poster will return the favor by engaging your content later.

2. Share Your Expertise

You want your comments to be thought-provoking. One of the best ways to do this is to add to a conversation by sharing your insights.

Not only does this provide the benefits of engagement, but it also showcases your expertise.

Share your expertise social media example

Jackie’s comment gives readers additional information without asking for anything in return. By demonstrating expertise this way, Jackie adds to the conversation and uplifts the entire post.

3. Invite Others to the Conversation

If commenting on a post draws attention and increases engagement, then inviting others only multiplies the effect.

There are a few ways you can do this with your own posts. But for other posts it’s best to tag other users, alerting them to content that you think they might find interesting.

For example, Brendan Frazier tagged me and a few other users in a recent comment on LinkedIn:

Invite others to a conversation social media example

The result? Extra engagement to the poster and helpful information to the tagged readers. And just like the above two examples, providing helpful information, even if you aren’t the source, is likely to result in a positive kickback!

4. Showcase Your Personality

Like your social media posting schedule, not every comment needs to focus on services or professional information. Comments can also be used to showcase something fun or personal.

Some users may feel more vulnerable doing this, depending on the platform. So do what makes you comfortable. The idea though is to share something about yourself, and in many cases, something that others can relate to.

For example, I’m sure many of us can relate to Penny Phillips comment to Daniel Crosby’s post:

Showcase your personality social media example

These posts give a glimpse into your personality, which is one of the biggest reasons users enjoy following other users, not brands.

5. Share Your Opinions

This sort of comment is similar to showing your expertise. Both demonstrate your knowledge of a subject. However, there are a few caveats to this.

A comment expressing an opinion is often on a debated topic. By sharing your opinion, though, you demonstrate expertise while also attracting those that agree or would like more information.

Check out this comment from Sid Misra, CFP® as an example:

Share your opinions social media example

The key here is to be open to other opinions, as Sid is in his comment. Be clear and focus on what you have to say, then provide support for it.

Getting the Most Out of Social Media

Understanding the algorithms of social media is important. But we can’t lose focus on what makes social media successful in the first place; it’s a chance to socialize and start a conversation with people from across the world.

Comments are the best way to do this, it gets you right into the conversation, is fantastic for engagement and builds reciprocity to improve your own social media.

The next time you’re looking at your social media calendar, set some time aside (at least 80% of it!) to interact with your community and connections. In turn, your own content could receive greater attention and improve your overall social media performance.