What are Community Lurkers, and Why Do They Lurk?
Community lurkers are individuals who observe and read the content of online communities but do not actively participate in discussions or contribute their own content. They are often referred to as "lurkers" because they remain hidden and do not engage with other members of the community.
Studies indicate that a vast majority of community members, approximately 90%, are lurkers who prefer to read or observe community content rather than actively contribute to it. This means that only about 10% of your total community following is regularly engaged with your content, which can be disheartening to acknowledge as a benchmark.
There are a few reasons why people may choose to lurk in online communities:
- Shyness or introversion: Some people may feel uncomfortable or intimidated by the prospect of engaging with others in a public forum. Lurking allows them to observe and learn without feeling pressured to participate.
- Lack of time: Many people have busy schedules and may not have the time to actively participate in online communities. Lurking allows them to stay informed and up-to-date on relevant topics without committing to regular participation.
- Fear of judgment: Some people may worry that their contributions will be criticized or judged negatively by other members of the community. Lurking allows them to avoid this potential risk and still benefit from the community's content.
- Information gathering: Lurkers may be interested in gathering information about a specific topic or community without revealing their own identity or intentions.
Despite the fact that lurkers do not actively participate in discussions, they still play an important role in online communities. They consume content and contribute to the overall readership and traffic of the community. Additionally, they may eventually become active participants after gaining confidence or feeling more comfortable with the community. Therefore, it is important for community managers to recognize and appreciate the presence of lurkers in their community.
How Lurkers can be valuable to the community?
As a community manager, it's important to understand the value that lurkers can bring to your community. While lurkers may not actively participate in discussions or contribute content, they can still provide value in a number of ways.
- Market research: Lurkers can provide valuable insights into the needs and preferences of your target audience. By monitoring lurker behavior, you can learn about their interests and pain points, which can inform your community strategy and content.
- Brand ambassadors: Lurkers who consistently engage with your community's content, even if it's just through passive consumption, can still become brand ambassadors. They may share content with their own networks or recommend your community to others, helping to expand your reach and attract new members.
- Social proof: Having a large number of lurkers in your community can serve as social proof that your community is a valuable resource. This can encourage other potential members to join and participate, as they see that others find value in the community.
- Validation: Lurkers can help validate the relevance and importance of your community's content. If they consistently consume content and monitor discussions, it can be a sign that your community is providing valuable information and insights.
- Future contributors: While lurkers may not contribute content now, they may be inspired to do so in the future. By providing value through your community's content and discussions, lurkers may become more comfortable participating and contributing their own insights and experiences.
Overall, while it's important to encourage participation and engagement from all members of your community, it's also important to recognize the value that lurkers can bring. By monitoring lurker behavior and understanding their role in your community, you can better tailor your community strategy to meet the needs and preferences of all members.
Lurkers, it's time to come out of the shadows and join the conversation! Your voice matters, and NbliK wants to hear from you. Engage with NbliK community and become an active member today.