As much as you want to spark comments (on social media or on your site), you also want to be responsive. Getting readers to post or comment and then not responding to them is worse than not posting at all, because it sets up unmet expectations on the readers' side. Here are some ways to keep the conversation going:

  • Check for comments regularly. Facebook threads are easy to follow, as are Twitter mentions, and you can also look for comments and retweets in Hootsuite and TweetDeck.
  • When you see a comment, post quickly. Ideally, you will respond to comments and related posts within three hours.
  • Be generous in commenting. Thank readers for commenting AND respond to what they say.
  • Keep it short and sweet. Remember that the Web isn't a long-form medium, and your comments — and responses — should be informative but brief.
  • Ask more questions. As in real life, conversations have additional prompts — if you have more you’d like to ask, fire away.

Taken from Social Media: Strategies and Tools for News, a self-directed course by Susan Mernit at Poynter NewsU.

Take the full course