You have no idea who you’re talking to. When you blog, tweet, post, share, chat, huddle, etc., you may think you are talking to your friends that interact with you. The reality is nearly 70% of the people that participate in social media are lurkers. Forrester has a nicer name for these folks; in Groundswell, they call them “Spectators,” but personally I think “lurkers” is apropos.
(See the Social Technographics Ladder below.)
Lurkers out themselves. On a regular basis, I will be telling a story to someone and they will interject, “yeah, I saw you post about that on _______.” To which I typically query, “well, why didn’t you respond?” Truth is there’s not much to talk about when someone tells the world that they have just eaten “the best ribs in the south,” but the point remains that you don’t always know exactly who is reading your content.
The value of a lurker is that they may not contribute online, but they frequently talk in the real world. I commonly get telephone calls from people that say, “I’m not really even sure who referred me to you, but I was talking to someone the other day and they said that you could probably help me out.” Boom! That’s the gold: when a lurker becomes a word of mouth referral.
On this blog for example, I regularly get nearly 100 visits when I post a new blog post, but I may get a maximum 10-12% of the traffic to leave a comment, “like” it, or share it in some fashion. The 70% that are still reading are still a viable part of the audience, so I have to resist my temptation to curtail the content only to the commenters.
So, Lurkers: Come out, come out, where ever you are! Let me know that you are there. Drop a comment, say hi, or just tell me that I get on your nerves.