How to Encourage Lurkers to Interact with Your Online Community

How to Encourage Lurkers to Interact with Your Online Community

Have you ever noticed that the same people always seem to be commenting or posting on a particular blog site or forum? This isn’t that unusual.

Certain people, whether they are naturally outgoing, simply like to express their opinion, or always feel the need to get in the last word, tend to post more than others.

The reverse of this is also true. Certain people, often referred to as lurkers, tend to post very rarely, even though they may actually read every blog post or forum post.

The shame about this is that those lurkers are actually rather devoted members of the community, but due to shyness, uncertainty, or possibly a dislike for other posters, they simply aren’t interacting with the community in a very meaningful way.

No matter what your brand is, if you can manage to get these lurkers to start interacting with your community, it is a huge win for your brand.

Understanding the Lurker

Every lurker is different, which means there is no magic bullet for getting every lurker to start posting. But the following are a few reasons that many lurkers choose not to post:

  • Posting requires logging in and log in procedures are cumbersome
  • Posting requires creating an account and account creation procedures are cumbersome
  • Security procedures on your website are weak and poster is concerned about stolen information
  • Anonymity is not protected by your site
  • Posts aren’t monitored on your site, which is creating a toxic environment
  • A few active posters are dominating the conversations
  • New opinions or new members are belittled by some posters
  • Brand representatives seem robotic or dry
  • There are no or few meaningful benefits to posting
  • Potential poster is shy or insecure

Each reason requires different solutions, ranging from game-like incentives to using the right language to dealing with a toxic comment section. The best solutions are simple and cover multiple of the reasons above.

Solution: Change Your Tone

Maintaining a consistent tone is important for brand recognition, but you are beyond the recognition point when you are trying to get lurkers to post. This means you can change your tone with little consequence.

how to turn readers into commenters

Study the tone of your customers, especially those that post infrequently. If you can match that tone with your comments, you make the environment friendlier for those rare posters.

Solution: Adjust Log In / Posting Procedures

A user friendly comment section / forum allows users to log in automatically and post semi-anonymously. Additionally, because anonymity comes with toxicity problems, your comment sections also need to be moderated or include simple, effective reporting mechanisms that are actually well enforced.

Solution: Reward Regular Posting

Depending on your brand, rewards could range from discounts on products to a lottery for a free service to a ceremonial title on your forums.

Whatever the reward you devise, creating a system where customers are rewarded for posting regularly, but not for volume posting, is the ideal way to get lurkers to post without increasing the posts of already high volume posters.


Article by

Mickey has degrees in linguistics and logic from a top 25 university. He has been writing online for the approximately five years, specializing in gaming, hobbies, and media. He has never missed a deadline. Quality and speed are equally important to Mickey and he'll never sacrifice one for the other.

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