Plug Into Comments and Amplify Your Reach

Social media is about engagement, interaction and community building. Yet, when Words On Brand recently performed a competitor analysis of over 30 higher education institutions, we found only two of them regularly respond to comments.

As social media algorithms continue to favor authentic interactions, commenting is still an underutilized tool in brand communications.

In fact, a recent poll by Words On Brand found 67% of respondents would rather give a reaction (like, celebrate, angry, funny etc,) than respond with a comment.

Answering and engaging with comments offers us a chance to show institutional values and a willingness to engage students with their concerns and interests. 

Here’s how you can harness the power of the comment and amplify your reach for free.

Respond to comments and boost organic engagement

As far as gaining more reach on social media is concerned, the choice has become a simple one: You can either pay to play or make friends with the comment.

Despite popular opinion, the social media algorithms are not there to strangle your content reach or force you to pay for ads. When understood correctly they act as a guide for us to create better content for driving authentic engagement.

Here's a classic social media mix for higher education and what each algorithm is looking for in 2023:


  • Comments
  • Comment Replies
  • Reactions
  • Shares


  • User relationship
  • User’s past behaviour 
  • How recent the post is


  • Engagement
  • User’s past behaviour
  • How recent the post is
  • Content


  • People you know
  • How relevant the content is to your interests

Why is responding to social media comments so important?

Here are our four quick reasons:

Respond to positive and negative comments: Engaging with all comments demonstrates your university's commitment to excellent customer service and shows you value your audience’s opinions.

Build brand and create community: Details make the whole. Responding to comments fosters community and provides ample opportunity to engage future ambassadors, increase brand awareness and build loyalty.

Show tone of voice: Comment responses are your time to shine and to showcase your university's unique personality; differentiate from competitors and align with your brand values.

Perform social listening: Monitoring social media comments gives valuable insights on your audience's thoughts, preferences, and pain points. This informs improvements to programs, services, and content.

There are two ways to comment. You should be doing both.

Proactive Commenting

This means going out there and searching for content you can comment on thoughtfully and constructively. Increase your visibility by leveraging the audiences of others. Comment on relevant popular accounts, trending topics and new research.

How do proactive comments contribute to lead generation?

Of course proactive commenting is only effective through consistent and conscious effort. Be prepared to comment proactively for 3 to 6 months before seeing an uptick in profile views.

How to do Proactive Commenting

Step 1 - Find relevant accounts in your niche or target audience

Step 2 - Find the best performing posts

Step 3 - Make sure you read the posts and comments in detail

Step 4 - Leave a comment that builds on the existing conversation

Step 5 - Tag other relevant users for more reach

Reactive Commenting

This means reacting to all constructive comments on your own content in a considered and professional manner. Generate better engagement and reach by encouraging conversations around your content topics.

Reactive commenting also shows prospective students you are a responsive and helpful institution. It’s also a great opportunity to show off your unique tone of voice and brand personality.

Community is built in small interactions such as responding to comments. Don’t miss this opportunity to differentiate.

How do proactive comments contribute to lead generation?

There are many ways you can encourage more people to comment on your content. Here are just a few tips that work for us and our clients.

Tip 1: Create Polls

Tip 2: Broadcast Live Videos

Tip 3: Run an ‘Ask Me Anything’

Tip 4: Find an angle which sparks constructive debate

Tip 5: Ask for your audience’s opinion

How else can you optimize for comments?

Identify the best time to post

It is always worth digging into your platform data and finding when your audience is actually online. There’s no point talking to an empty room.

Be aware that social media platforms are unlikely to give an exact time for optimal posting, but you will be able to experiment and see what works within a window of a few hours.

If you’re targeting international audiences, watch out for time zones. Make use of a social media scheduler if you’re planning on reaching audiences on different continents.

Don’t go for easy wins

It may be tempting to pander to popular trends or create click bait style posts for short term engagement. Remember, this will only produce vanity metrics with no statistical or long-term worth.

Stick to your principals, stay authentic and speak to your audience on an eye-to-eye level. Not only does this increase trust and the quality of engagement, but also increases the chances of content being shown to a wider audience.

People are looking for genuine interactions with human-centric institutions, and so are the social media algorithms.

Know your audience

Ultimately, you need to feed your audience with content they can relate to or at the very least have an opinion about.

In order to do this effectively you need to know your current and target audiences, as well as their likes and dislikes. There are a few effective ways you can do this.

Perform an Audience Analysis to find out who your audience is, their current opinion of your institution, the desired action or experience you would like them to perform or have, and any barriers that may exist which hinder them. 

Create Buyer Personas to build a better understanding of what makes your audience tick. Buyer personas are fictional profiles of the archetypal target audience member. Be specific and don’t be afraid to make multiple buyer personas for each target audience segment. The more you can get down about specific personas, the better you can plan and deliver relevant content.

Perform a Competitive Analysis to see which pieces of content drive the most comments for other institutions. Remember, prospective students won’t just be following your accounts. You need to know how you shape up against the competition and if there are any opportunities to set your university apart.

After performing many competitor analyses in the higher education sector, Words On Brand can say with some confidence that by responding to comments you will already be ahead of the majority. 

Comments are one of the most powerful yet underutilized tools social media managers could ask for. Prospects are ready and willing to have meaningful interactions with potential universities. Are you ready to speak to them?

If you would like more information and assistance amplifying your reach through comments, Words On Brand are here to help.

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