Dos and Don’ts on Blog Commenting for Entrepreneurs

Remember the days when giving feedback to an author on the internet meant hunting up his or her email address and hoping the author reads your note and posts it? Nowadays blog commenting has revolutionized how we participate in the online conversation, and indeed, how we interact to market ourselves.

Commenting on business and industry news blogs is a great way to be in touch with the trends and discussions in your market. It opens up networks with other entrepreneurs, helps you build relationships with the other readers, and as a bonus, provides exposure for your business – if you know how to pull it off.

So how do you pull it off? Here are a few dos and don’ts to keep in mind when you comment on blogs:

  • Don’t spam. Avoid posting just to leave a link back to your blog or pepper the comment thread with keywords.
  • Do read and reflect on the article. One of the best compliments you can give a blog author is post insightful and well-thought out feedback. If you use keywords or leave a link back, do make sure they’re relevant in some degree to the article posted.
  • Don’t be a know-it-all. If you disagree with the author, say so politely, and explain why.
  • Do take time, if you post advice, to ask a couple of intelligent questions as well.
  • Don’t be vague with your criticism or praise. Blog authors would rather you pick out one point from the piece and share your thoughts on them than leave a “Great! I love it!”
  • Do provide context for your comment as much as possible.
  • Don’t hog the feedback. You’re not the only reader of the blog, so keep it short and let others have their say. If you feel like you haven’t expressed yourself enough, do write a reaction piece or a spin-off article on your own blog and acknowledge the original post for inspiration.
  • Don’t snub fellow readers. Comment threads are as much for interaction and relationship-building as it is for feedback. If people reply to your comment, do make the effort to strike up a meaningful conversation.

The golden rule applies to blog commenting: comment on others’ blogs as you will have others comment on your blog. What kind of feedback do you leave on other people’s blogs?

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7 Useful Facebook Tips for Entrepreneurs

A lot of entrepreneurs sign up for Facebook – maybe even put up a page for their business – upload a profile picture, post a few status updates, a link or two, and that’s it. But Facebook’s got a lot more to offer. Here are a few very useful tips about Facebook, as well as websites and applications related to Facebook that the average person might not know:

  • Facebook Search. Like Google, Facebook has a list of “cheats” in searching if you really want to find something on Facebook. Here are a few to type into your Facebook search bar:
    • “user: <person’s name>” will search for users with that name. For example, “user: 25thcrowd” will list all users named “25thcrowd”.
    • “group: <group name>” will list all groups of that name.
    • “page: <page name>” will dig up all pages with the name you specified.
    • “event: <event name>” will find all events with that name.
  • Status search. Yes, that’s right. You thought only Twitter had it? OpenBook was created by web developers Will Moffat, Peter Burns and James Home, to aggregate status updates of Facebook users whose privacy options are set to “everyone”. It’s a very insightful window into what people are saying about your business.
  • Follow Facebook friends’ Twitter accounts. Facebook released an app early this year that allows you to see your Facebook friends’ Twitter profiles and follow them. For obvious privacy issues, Facebook discontinued this. However, if you log into Facebook with your Yahoo account, you can still get around this:
    1. First export your friends’ email addresses via address.yahoo.com into an Excel file.
    2. Copy the email address column and paste into a new Excel file. Save it as a CSV (not XLS!)
    3. Login to your Twitter account and go to twitter.com/invitations/invite_by_email
    4. Open your CSV file sing Notepad, copy and paste it on the page, and you’re done!
  • Update Twitter from your Facebook page. We’re not big fans of automation, but if you’ve got a lot of updates to manage, a little help won’t hurt. Simply go to the Facebook to Twitter page, and authorize your Facebook account to access Twitter. Facebook will even post a link to the original update (or photo) if you exceed the 140-character Twitter limit. You can even post from two Facebook pages.
  • Post a status from Firefox. A neat little add-on called FireStatus can let you update your status right from your Firefox browser without having to go to Facebook. Just install it and you won’t need to go to Facebook.com to update your status.
  • Schedule status updates. Tools like Sendible, Hootsuite, and LaterBro lets you login with Facebook Connect, set your time zone and voila! You can post updates whenever, from wherever.
  • Upload multimedia updates from your mobile. If you’ve got a Blackberry or an iPhone, this ought to be a cinch. But if all you’ve got is good old SMS and MMS, and Facebook doesn’t support your mobile service provider, you can use Ping.fm’s mobile email feature. Ping.fm allows you to post text updates, photos and links. It even shortens links for you – a good thing if you’re updating Twitter from Facebook.

Whew! We’re sure there are plenty of other tricks out there, so feel free to post them in the comments below.

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