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Do you subscribe to Netflix, Hulu Plus, Amazon Prime, or some other service that allows you to stream movies and television shows to your TV, computer or tablet? Maybe you don’t want to pay for satellite or cable so you use them to watch your favorite programs. These services provide the added benefits of watching what you want, when you want – and all without commercials.

Think about how they get you hooked. Let’s say you discovered a new show, but you were late to the game and started halfway into the season. How do you see the episodes you missed? Before you know it, you’ve chosen the provider you think will give you the best choices, signed up, and exchanged your credit card information for the privilege of watching your favorite shows and movies. The fee seems minimal when you consider cable charges, movie tickets or multiple Redbox rentals. You justify the expense and join the club. You are no longer a lurker – you’re a member!

It’s the same thing on business and brand social media pages. There are those who are members of the “club” and those who lurk in the shadows, not yet ready to make a decision to join. It’s up to you to get the lurker to step into the sunlight and engage as a member on your social media sites. So how do you accomplish that?

Here are four tips that will help you draw out the lurkers on your social media pages and encourage them to become a part of your communities:

1. Be real and relatable

Your potential customers are not statistics – they’re human. Your business needs to have that human element as part of its identity. If you don’t, you won’t come across as real or relatable to someone who is lurking. You want them to identify with you. This will lead to trust and a willingness to interact with you and your followers, and will make it easier for them to join your online community. Let them see who you are, what you stand for, and what’s important to you. Along with that, they need to see that you value your followers and customers. Lurkers will be looking for that before they deem it safe to step out of the shadows.

2. Provide value

Does your business provide content that people want? Posting content that’s valuable will provide education, information, answers to questions and concerns, meet needs and even entertain. Value is important, but without variety in what you post, combined with consistent and timely posting, you will drive away, rather than draw in lurkers. Lure your lurkers out of those shadows with content that speaks to them and draws them in.

3. Invite participation

People want to belong – whether that’s with family, peers or part of an organization. To be a part of something involves contributing and sharing. You provide that by encouraging people to contribute with comments, participate in surveys or contests, and inviting them to share on your sites. They will feel they are valuable to your company and to your online community. Invite lurkers to step in out of the dark, and make them feel welcome in your community.

4. Be present on your sites

If you want people to trust you and be contributing members on your social media pages, then you have to be present. Make sure your business is not a lurker on it’s own sites! Show up often with status updates and new content. And more importantly, interact with your followers. Cheer them on, encourage them, answer their concerns and comment when they share. Your participation will encourage lurkers to come to your site to participate as well.

Take steps now to invite, encourage and convince lurkers that it’s worth their time and effort to step out of the shadows and into the daylight of your social media pages.

Please share in the comments any other suggestions you have for convincing hesitant people to join a business’s online community. We’d love to hear your thoughts! 


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