Last Friday brought another interesting hour of #Cmtychat, created by Bryan Person and Sonny Gill. We had a robust discussion about community management, growing communities, the 90-9-1 Principle and the importance, or lack thereof, of community lurkers.

I stressed the importance of providing content that makes it easy for lurkers to participate: A quick poll, or blog post with a fun question that most people would find irresistible and want to chime in.

While lurkers may not seem important, they are. I can’t tell you how many new members have told me that they’d been lurking for anywhere from 4-8 months before finally deciding to join the community.

One community manager on the chat mentioned that her community had so many new people joining that they don’t really focus on lurkers. I can understand that philosophy but that has not been my experience. I am always trying to impress non-members with our content to encourage them to take the leap from lurker to participant, and then from participant to active participant.
In my opinion, it’s a member drive that never ends.

After all, if you don’t encourage lurkers, how can you grow?

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