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11 Ways To Get Lurkers To Participate

Richard Millington
Richard Millington

Founder of FeverBee

Many communities would be 100% more successful if they could convert 1% of their lurkers to become creators.

Typically, Lurkers read but don’t participate. Lurkers are likely to reply to direct personal message, but not mass messages. They’re unlikely to get involved in the major events and debates of your community.

With this in mind, here’s 11 ideas to get lurkers to participate.

  1. Skilled Projects. Many lurkers don’t feel they have much to add. Create a project that needs certain skill sets. Then ask members with those skills to get involved.
  2. Create A Lurker List. Create a list of lurkers. Nothing more, nothing less. Each week add a few more names of lurkers to the list. If they participate, remove their names.
  3. Talk About Lurkers. Start discussions about lurkers. Lurkers have the expertise to participate in this debate. Ask people that typically lurk for their opinions. Make sure their voices are heard.
  4. Lurker Competition. Anyone with 5 posts or less can participate.
  5. Recognise Great Contributions From Non-Regulars. Personally, or publicly, tell someone who isn’t a regular how great their contribution was. Make it non-regulars feel comfortable with getting involved.
  6. Provoke A Strong Emotion. Do or say something so great (or terrible) that lurkers have to get involved.
  7. Celebrate ‘First Posts’. People celebrate a player’s ‘first-hit’ in baseball. You can celebrate a member’s first post. Make it a tradition when you see a comment by a 1-post member to give a quick welcome and congratulations on their first post.
  8. Ask Lurkers What Would Make Them Become Creators. Time intensive, but worthwhile. Ask one lurker per day what would make them become creators. If your community has 36,500 members or less, you’ve just doubled your content in a single year.
  9. Lurker Day (or theme). Have a day or weekly theme tailored just for lurkers. Have introduction posts, stupid-questions threads and “Everything you wanted to know about ____ but were afraid to ask” content. Create downloadable primers on how lurkers can become super-members of your community.
  10. Lurker Representatives. Recruit people to represent your lurkers. When giving feedback, this representative messages as many lurkers as they can and forms their opinion. Bi-annual elections of course.
  11. Kick Out Some Lurkers. Declare that people that read and don’t participate are leeches and kick a few lurkers out. The rest might participate more.

Once you attract the attention of a lurker, point out the next steps they can take and develop a natural arch for them to become creators.

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