How To Get Lurkers To Stop Lurking

How To Get Lurkers To Stop Lurking

It's a common experience for me to hear, “I love your content on LinkedIn,” or “You're always popping up in my feed,” from people who, surprisingly, never engage with my posts. 

These individuals, known as lurkers, watch from the shadows, unseen and unheard! This phenomenon poses a unique challenge: if these admirers never engage, their presence remains a mystery.

This article aims to transform these silent observers into active participants. Why? Because every unnoticed like, comment, or share is a missed opportunity for connection and conversation. 

In this week’s Sell with Social, we’ll explore effective strategies to encourage lurkers to step out of the shadows and engage, turning silent appreciation into meaningful professional interactions on LinkedIn.

The Lurker Dilemma: Understanding the 1% Rule on LinkedIn

This phenomenon of lurkers is often encapsulated by the '1% rule' of internet culture, which suggests that in any online community, only 1% of users actively create content, another 9% engage with it (like commenting or sharing), and a whopping 90% just observe without any visible interaction.

The 1% rule shows that 90% of people are lurkers.

On LinkedIn, this rule translates to a significant number of professionals who browse content, read posts, and watch videos without leaving any digital footprint. They are present, they are consuming content, but they remain invisible to content creators. 

This pervasive lurking behavior presents a substantial challenge, especially for those looking to leverage LinkedIn for business and networking opportunities.

The primary issue here is visibility. Without engagement - likes, comments, or shares - it's nearly impossible to identify these silent viewers as potential leads, especially in a sales context. 

For businesses and professionals using LinkedIn as a lead generation tool, this means that a vast majority of their audience, and potential market, remains untapped and unidentified. These lurkers could be potential clients, partners, or influencers in your industry, but without their engagement, they are just names and profile pictures lost in the sea of digital anonymity.

This lack of interaction not only impacts the potential for direct sales leads but also affects the ability to understand your audience. Engagement metrics are crucial for tailoring content, refining strategies, and truly connecting with your audience's needs and interests. 

Without this interaction, the content creation process becomes a shot in the dark, hoping to hit the mark.

7 Ways to Get More Engagement on Your Content

So, how do you get people to engage?

While it’s impossible to change human behavior completely, you can start to move the needle. You can incrementally get more “90%” of people (lurkers) to show themselves through reactions, comments, and direct messages. 

Below are seven ways you can get more engagement on your content.

1. Include Media

The power of visual appeal cannot be overstated. By including relevant and captivating media in your posts – be it images, videos, or infographics – you can grab the attention of lurkers. LinkedIn says that business posts that include media get 2X the number of comments. High-quality media can convey your message more effectively and are often more shareable and engaging than text-only posts.

Our company page post with media and tags.

2. Tag People

When you tag relevant connections in your posts, it not only increases the visibility of your content but also encourages those tagged and their network to engage. Be strategic and thoughtful with your tags; ensure the individuals tagged are directly related to the content or would find value in it.

3. Use Polls

Polls are an excellent way to invite interaction with minimal effort from users. They allow lurkers to voice their opinions simply by selecting an option. Polls can be about industry trends, professional preferences, or general interest topics. The key is to make them relevant and interesting to your audience. As the creator of the poll, you’ll also be able to view who voted in it.

Example of results you see as a poll creator.

4. Leverage LinkedIn Live

LinkedIn Live presents an opportunity for real-time engagement. Hosting a live session can humanize your online presence and encourage lurkers to participate in the conversation as it unfolds. Use these sessions for Q&A, interviews, or sharing insights into your industry.

5. Encourage through Calls to Conversation

Instead of including a CTA, or call to action in your content, you can directly invite engagement by using “calls to conversation” in your posts. Phrases like “Like this if you agree” or “Comment if you've experienced this” can prompt lurkers to take a small but significant step in interacting with your content. This approach makes the action of engaging feel more natural and less intimidating.

6. Show Appreciation

If a lurker takes a step to like or comment on your post, seize the opportunity to build a connection. A simple thank you message can go a long way in converting a one-time interaction into a continuous engagement. Personalized responses or direct messages show that you value and notice their participation.

A great example of a DM showing appreciation for engagement.

7. Tracking Engagement through Your Website

If you have a personal or business website, consider adding lead tracking to your website. These tools allow you to potentially identify companies visiting your website by tacking their IP addresses and/or cookies in their browser. While this data isn’t perfect, it does help you identify when potential prospects are converting from your social content to your website. 

Harnessing Data and Analytics for Enhanced Engagement

As we wrap up our discussion on engaging LinkedIn lurkers, it's crucial to emphasize the power of data and analytics in refining your engagement strategies. Paying close attention to your post analytics on LinkedIn can offer invaluable insights into what resonates with your audience.

  • Analyzing Post Engagement: Regularly review the analytics of your LinkedIn posts to identify patterns. Look for trends in posts that garner the most likes, comments, and shares. Is it the content type, the topic, or the use of media that’s driving engagement? Understanding these aspects can guide you in creating more of what works and less of what doesn't.
  • Tracking Social Activity in Your CRM: If you're using a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system, integrate your LinkedIn activities with it. Track interactions such as comments, likes, shares, and the resulting website visits, inquiries, or leads. This integration provides a more comprehensive view of how your LinkedIn engagement translates into tangible business outcomes.

By leveraging data and analytics, you can transition from a hit-or-miss approach to a more strategic and informed method of engaging your LinkedIn audience. This data-driven strategy not only enhances your chances of converting lurkers into active participants but also ensures that your LinkedIn activities contribute positively to your professional goals.

For this week’s action items, I want you to find ways to awaken the lurkers in your audience. 

You’re not going to be able to get everyone to raise their hand and identify themselves when viewing your content. However, you can increase the rate of engagement with your audience and begin to benefit from additional insights.

Here are two actions you can take.

  1. Review Your Existing Content - Start by reviewing your existing content to see what has had the most engagement. Can you see trends in terms of style, channel, or type of content? 
  2. Implement Engagement Strategies - Then, experiment with ways to increase engagement with your new content. Use the ideas above as starting points as you find ways to encourage people to react, comment, or share your posts.

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