New initiative for engaging "lurkers"


(Suzi Nelson) #1

Well technically it was “Love Our Lurkers Week”. Our Facebook group is mostly lurkers… people who never like or comment or post or anything. So each day last week I made a post directed to them and either gave them community resources or gave them a reason to participate. Our active members got really involved and everyone seemed to have a good time.

Before Lurker’s Week, our lurker breakdown was 85% non-publishers, 74% non-commenters, and 70% nonreactors.

After Lurkers Week, the breakdown is 75% non publishers, 58% non-commenters, and 54% non-reacters.

I’m pretty happy with it, and I can’t wait to adjust strategy and try it again :smiley:


[18 July] What are you working on this week?
[5 December] What are you working on this week?
Do you have an 'introduce yourself' topic?
(Sarah Hawk) #2

I’ve split this out into a topic of its own because I think it’s a fantastic idea and I’d love to hear more.

I’m really interested in the details of this. What kinds of posts and did you tag people directly? What kinds of reasons to participate did you find were the most effective?

Note: the quotes around the word lurkers in the title of this post are my own, because I know some people don’t feel comfortable with the term.


(Suzi Nelson) #3

First, I build up buzz in the group the week before. I let them know what was happening and kind of what the plan was. Funny you should mention the aversion to “lurkers,” that was one of the topics we discussed in the group as way to get people involved and excited about the upcoming week…

…they actually generally hated the term, but there’s a wikipedia page on lurking for goodness sake and its fairly common internet lingo, so I just went with my gut on that one and everything turned out just fine :smiley:

Here’s the breakdown of the posts I made:

Day 1: Posting Tips & Tricks.
Broke down the kinds of posts our community loves to comment on and how to get the most responses to questions. Let lurkers know that they don’t have to be an expert to contribute and everyone is there to see them succeed.

Day 2: List of Legendary Posts
Another way I created buzz the week before was ask our members to contribute past posts they considered “legendary” to our community. It was fun to put together, and we all got to relive the magic. Plus, it gave our lurkers a cool way to connect with our community history.

Day 3: Meet Our Influential Members
Created a list of our top 10 members as a way to introduce them to our lurkers. Influencers were flattered, and lurkers got to know key people and learn what it takes to make the list.

Day 4: Why Contribute to DM Engage?
This one I just left completely open ended and let our active members list ways the community has helped them and give advice to anyone who was hesitant to participate.

Day 5: How Your Community Manager Can Help You
Outlined all the ways I can help lurkers and newbies contribute and the best ways to get in contact.

Throughout the week I also had a sweepstakes where any lurkers who made a post asking a question and used the #lurkersweek hashtag would be entered to win some swag.

I’m still working on gathering the actual numbers for each post, but I’d say Day 2 & 3 were the most successful. Next time I run this theme week, I’m going to focus more on social fear - the feedback I got throughout the week is that members are nervous to ask questions because they are afraid they will sound uneducated or dumb.


(nlouwrens) #4

Thanks for sharing this @Suzi_Nelson. You’ve got me thinking about whether I can do something similar in our community.

One alternative I’ve heard for “lurker” is the term “listener”. This came from research around how students interact in online learning situations (I can probably find the article if you’re interested). I guess you could liken it to someone sitting in on a face-to-face conversation, but not saying anything. They’re listening to it. They’re engaged in it. They’re just not contributing to it. I guess we wouldn’t say they were lurking.


(Suzi Nelson) #5

My community threw out a ton of suggestions out there, so when I made the first post, I included all of them: lurker, observer, listener, reader… tried to wrap it up all nicely in a pretty little bow. By the end of the week, everyone was self-identifying as lurkers so I didnt feel like there was any harm done in using the word. But YES, I love articles :slight_smile: Send it my way!


(nlouwrens) #6

The PDF of the article is:

Broadening the Notion of Participation in Online Discussions: Examining Patterns in Learners’ Online Listening Behaviors - Wise, Speer, Marbouti, Hsiao, 2012


(Suzi Nelson) #7

Hey all, in case you were interested in more details, I wrote up a case study on our “lurkers week” for my company’s blog. You can find it here:


(Alessio Fattorini) #8

That’s very, very interesting! I was excited about your experience but reading your post has convinced me to give it a try. Can I steal and elaborate the idea? Any copyright? :slight_smile:


(Sarah Hawk) #9

Hey @Suzi_Nelson – great work.

Do you have visibility over what % of the lurkers that engaged that week have remained engaged?


(Suzi Nelson) #10

That’s a great question and not really :frowning: Not directly, at least. It’s all anecdotal at this point, because Grytics is pretty limited outside of measureing general percentages of inactivty/activity. But I am in that group ALL THE TIME, and I’ve noticed that many of our lapsed lurkers are weekly (sometimes daily) contributors now. No solid data to back that up other than what my eyeballs have seen.


(Suzi Nelson) #11

You ABSOLUTELY can use this idea. You just have to include “copyright Suzi Nelson 2016” after every post.

Just kidding.

You have full permission to steal (and please, improve upon) this idea.


(Sarah Hawk) #12

Now that we’re a month on, I’m interested to hear whether you think this is having a flow on effect @Suzi_Nelson. I know you probably only have anecdotal evidence given that you have limited stats, but what are your feelings? Have some of the lurkers remained active?


(Suzi Nelson) #13

Absolutely!

One of our lurkers week winners is now one of our most active members in the group. She gets shout-outs from other members regularly for her participation, and is starting to become one of the commmunity leaders. That alone is enough to make me one happy CM :smiley:


(Suzi Nelson) #14

I’m interested to hear if anyone has tried something similar to Lurkers Week in their communities and how it went!


(Diana Tower) #15

Ok truth bomb alert.

I am holding myself back from fan-girling you @Suzi_Nelson.

Seriously. After one of our students sent me your article and suggested I host a love our lurkers week I’ve been ODing on your articles and you offer so much value and insights. It’s a community managers dream.

Then I stumble on you here…and see this thread, where you drop more actionable advice and breakdowns like its hot!

Thank you SO much. :slight_smile:


(Sarah Hawk) #16

All the cool people hang out here. :wink:

(And good on you @Suzi_Nelson – recognition where it’s deserved.)


(Suzi Nelson) #17

whoa, thats awesome to hear. thank you so much - that means a ton. i’ve taken way more from this community here than I can ever give back, but I’m so happy that you’ve found some stuff helpful!


(Brien Hall) #18

thanks so much for sharing @Suzi_Nelson! Definitely going to dig into this lurkers week concept and see how I can apply to my communities.


(Sarah Hawk) #19

I think it’s pretty important to remember that Suzi’s community is quite different from many in its nature – partly because it’s on Facebook and partly because it is a private community for paid customers, so they are more highly invested.

I think (although I have no data to back this up) that the behaviour and motivations of lurkers on FB is probably quite different to that of people on native platforms, so what worked for Suzi may not directly translate into other environments.


(Joel Zaslofsky) #20

How did our first @Suzi_Nelson inspired LOL Week go? (Which we agreed as a community stood for Love Our Lurkers and Laugh Out Loud week, since we did both). Totally worth it!

After reading this forum thread and reading Suzi’s Lurkers Week case study, I was excited enough to assign the plans for our own Puttytribe LOL Week to Jo, our Engagement and Events Coordinator. It didn’t take her long to come up with a plan, especially thanks to Suzi’s recap post, and coordinate the tasks with our team.

Here’s Jo’s LOL Week task list and coordination Google Docs spreadsheet if you want to modify it for your own LOL Week.

Since I’m not the blog post writing type, I’ll just fill you in on how we believe our LOL Week went. Keep in mind that we are a paid community, currently using Ning, don’t have access to analytics because of Ning, and had 400 members at the time we ran our first LOL Week.

My favorite part was a lurker turned hyper-engaged member who got into the spirit by starting to post daily about her stream of consciousness as a Puttytribe lurker. It was random, hilarious, and got so many people commenting in her thread (including some lurkers).

I wish I could have you all read it because the thread and the comments gets you deep into the mindset of a lurker … and what it took to get one to complete revise her behavior.

We had 4-5 lurkers start regular activity like using our private chat, attending online events, or posting/commenting in the forums during and after LOL Week. That’s only 1% of our paying members and doesn’t look that impressive in a silo.

Yet we had many other members tell us how much they enjoyed lurking during LOL Week and how accepted (and appreciated) they felt as lurkers as a result. A few members even went so far as to say they couldn’t wait for what our next daily post was going to be during LOL Week.

We also saw at least a 100% increase in “Likes” on posts during and after LOL Week. I think it was our lurkers way of saying, “Hey – we see you and appreciate what you’re doing here.”

I plan to turn LOL Week into an annual event for the Puttytribe and recommend it to any non-customer support type communities. It was easy, fun, and got us some results we were looking for.

Thanks for the spark, Suzi!