In social media marketing, engagement is key -- but engagement isn't an easy thing to grow. You can't force it. Taking a one-size-fits-all approach by trying to reply to every comment you receive, or start a conversation with every person on your page may come across as disingenuous or even pushy. So how do you know when to engage and when to leave it alone?
Oftentimes business social posts will start a number of conversations in the comments -- in fact, this is what you're aiming for. You might even find people tagging friends in the comments and starting their own conversations. Often businesses feel the need to jump into these conversations, especially when it has the potential to push a sale or reinforce your brand, but these intrusions can often feel like the online equivalent of an annoyingly pushy salesperson in a store.
While it might be tempting to push your message to people who are already engaging and showing interest in your brand, being too pushy can drive them away instead. Letting people have their own conversations about your content is just as important -- you don't have to be involved in all of them. Instead, like or react to their comments to show in a small way that their input is valued.
So when should you reply to comments from your fans or comments? The most obvious time is when they ask you a question directly. It's also acceptable to jump in when people post a general conversation-starter, but don't stress yourself trying to figure out a response if you don't have anything to say. Replies should always add to a conversation, rather than bog down the comment section with unnecessary messages.