Lurkers are the silent majority; Creators, loud minority; and curators (or amplifiers) somewhere in the middle. Everyone with a role to play.
Cliques. Diehards. Fandoms. These people comment, who tweet and RT, who blog and reblog – the few that want to be heard. They produce videos for YouTube, presentations on SlideShare. They Stumble (Upon), the Flip (Board), they do more than consume content; they create it – often outside the ‘message control’ of the brand.
That ‘frenzy’ of fans pouring on the hype or screaming with hate, they’re the smaller number. See sports, politics, LiveJournal blogs, TripAdvisor. And because they’re the most vocal – even in the minority – they’re potentially the most dangerous.
According to McDonald’s, only a small percentage of tweets of their short-lived hashtag campaign were negative. Even so, pundits have been calling the brandjacking a major fail. Things went out of their control as McDonald’s got more than they tweeted for, but FWIW I’m not sure how this will hurt sales at the drive-thru.
Then there’s the sweet spot you want – vocal brand advocates that are the core of your business. You need to know your business’ Venn Diagrams for core customers and social sharers. More importantly is knowing where the two overlap, to determine what’s best for your brand and why in order to engage effectively. Otherwise, you wake a sleeping, noisy giant that doesn’t like you very much. If you can’t identify your audience, you also run the risk of only listening to that loud minority, missing out on so much more or optimizing would-be customers out of the middle.
Luring out the lurkers
As marketers, as communicators that’s a top goal: conversion. Turning a lurker into a commenter; getting a follower or fan to reply, share, comment and do more than just ‘like’ us; getting someone to sign up, register and ultimately, to buy.
We do that not just by broadcasting content, but by creating something that they want, by sharing it with them in ways that makes them invest and commit to it, want to share it.
Major minor audience.
There is something here, I just cannot decide what exactly. Is this a call to create? Sure. Certainly a reminder to think about which audience you target, where ‘influence’ really lives; I’m as easily swayed by a well-written Yelp or TA review than I am mainstream media or bloggers.
Mostly this is a cautionary tale not to get blinded by the numbers, good or bad. And to remember than for every fan or hater, there’s probably 10 times as many lurkers out there. Waiting to become your biggest nightmare or greatest fan.
How do you lure out the lurkers, get them more involved?