[CASE STUDY] How DigitalMarketer Activated 44% of Previously Silent Community Members in 5 Days

( Editor’s Note: This case study was done by our beloved onetime Community Manager, Suzi Nelson, back in 2016. But we thought it was too good to keep hidden in the profundities of the blog, so we’ve brought it back to share with you again. Enjoy !)

I ran into this headfirst with blind hope…

I didn’t know if my venture would work…

But as DigitalMarketer’s community manager, I know this company is always willing to do whatever is necessary to connect with our community.

That’s what I’m sharing with you guys today: the results and strategy of my most recent experiment to activate non-participants within our highly-active, private community, DigitalMarketer Engage.


We increased…

Active members from 6,893 to 10, 803( an increase of 56.72% ). Reacters from 5,669 to 8,854( an increased number of 56.18% ). Commenters from 4,888 to 8,136( an increase of 66.45% ). Engaged member states of 6,892 to 10, 801( an increased number of 56.72% ). Publishers from 2,790 to 4,845( an increased number of 73.66% ).

Here are what our member stats was like before the experiment( we stop all local communities metrics moved in Grytics–an analytic and management tool for Facebook radicals ):


And here’s what those same stats was like 5 days later 😛 TAGEND


As you can see, my attempts were successful in over 44% activating of previously silent community members–all in really five days.

That means of those members who previously never contributed to local communities 😛 TAGEND

11% spawned their first post1 7% acquired their first comment1 6% established a reaction( “liked” a affix)

And a lot of berth like this 😛 TAGEND




Before we break down the strategy, a speedy sidebar 😛 TAGEND

I’ve written about community management on the DigitalMarketer blog a bit now. I may be starting to sound like a separation record, but for those of you really becoming familiar with community management, let’s pin down what it rightfully is 😛 TAGEND

Community Management( noun)

Activities centered around creating a healthful home for community members to connect with each other and facilitate, strengthen, and urge those relationships.

All on the same page now? Great! Let’s get into the experiment…

What is a Lurker?

The purpose of this experiment( competently entitled “Love Our Lurkers Week”) was NOT to increase engagement, but to activate useds that weren’t collecting the full benefits of our previously highly-active community, Digital Marketer Engage.

Like any group, gathering, or community, we have our own carnival share of lurkers.

According to Webster’s, a “lurker” is defined as someone who speaks words written by other parties in an online radical, without writing any sends themselves. It’s common Internet lingo for a member of a group, chat, gathering, or other online community who does not contribute–neither posting nor commenting.

That’s not so be mentioned that lurkers don’t get a tremendous ability of value out of being members of a community. They can read along and still get a sense of satisfaction from being a part of the group.

…So why even reach out to people who don’t contribute if everyone is happy where they are at?

To answer this question, it’s important to understand that there are several reasons why lurkers … well, lurk–and what motivators they need to see to get them contributing.

1. They Don’t Have a Practical Need

Some lurkers don’t have a practical need to contribute to a community. They can get all the answers they need precisely by shop. This group is more interested in information than interaction, and is generally reading with a specific goal in mind.

What’s interesting to note is that harmonizing some studies, this subset of lurkers can actually feel a strong sense of parish, even if they are don’t actively participate with other members.

That’s somewhat significant–just because a representative doesn’t participate doesn’t mean they don’t feel like they are member of a community. If you run your own community, don’t prepare the mistake of trying to get everyone to post. This group of lurkers is joyful right where they are. Let them be!

Target audience for Love Our Lurkers Week? Nope!

2. They’re Getting to Know Your Community

There’s another subset of lurkers who are still learning the ropes and getting to know how things work.

Will my contribution interrupt any rules? What kind of language is appropriate? What are other members like? What wander of topics are discussed? What kind of questions are appropriate to ask? Is there anyone in this group that I can relate to? How do I get additional help if I need it?

All of these questions have to do with community culture. Members in a community want to feel like they fit in, and want to incorporate themselves as seamlessly as possible into the culture.

Target audience for Love Our Lurkers Week? Absolutely! I knew I could utter posts that instructed this subset about our community to ease the transition from spectator to contributor.

3. Social Fear

This is a big one.

Participating in a community can be intimidating, specially if it’s a “Community of Practice, ” like DM Engage. A Community of Practice signifies the members share a craft or profession…in this case, that’s digital marketing.

It’s true–we do have a lot of really smart purveyors in our community who are very generous with their go and expertise.

Lurking members might assume that everyone else in the group is more knowledgeable than they are, so they hesitate to contribute out of fear of 😛 TAGEND

Asking a question the community will think is dumb.Giving advice that the community will perceive as dumb.

There are many involvements a community manager can represent when it comes to addressing social fear–easing the minds of this subset of lurkers was one of the main goals of Love Our Lurkers Week.

The Strategy

1. Built Buzz

I didn’t want our theme week to come as a surprise to our active members.

I knew that I would be required their buy-in and, most importantly, their help with engaging our lovely lurkers. After all, how lame would it be if I were the only one elicited that un-engaged members were abruptly participating? No, we needed to make this exciting for everyone!

I spawned the first “buzz-building” post about a month before the scheduled Lurkers Week–well, it was part buzz and portion get our community members emotionally involved from the beginning.

It’s simple: I asked if “lurker” was a bad word.


Now, because I had been reading several clauses about lurkers over the past few weeks, I had a pretty good idea of what would happen with this post: there would be many spokespeople who did not like the expression. It’s a hot-button topic in countless parish administrator curves as chairmen try to come up with the most politically correct, least-offensive term for non-participants.

And if you ask a group of 10,000 parties what they prefer to be called, you’re going to get a TON of different answers.

Even though I speak every single comment and discussed the different terms at length with my unit, the REAL reason why I announced it was to do our members thinking and speaking about lurkers.

What was surprising was that a lot of self-described lurkers sounded in on the conversation. That was unexpected, but draws sense–we’re talking about them!




In the end, I croaked with my gut and the “Love Our Lurkers” title remain. The good bulletin is that no one got unnerved, and “were having” members referring to themselves as lurkers before the week was up. No big deal, but the changeover on the upright was priceless in getting representatives primed for what was to come.

I made another crowdsourcing post a week before the happen, requesting our active members to contribute past uprights for our “Legendary Post” list that would go up during Love Our Lurker’s Week.

This was another fun way to get our community hyped up and involved in the whole process.


2. Pinned A Post

A Pinned Post is a post that a group admin can “pin” to the top of the group page and it abides at the top until it is removed or replaced by a new berth. The theory here is that more parties “il be seeing” whatever is it I need to them see.


This post summarized what the week was all about, and I updated it daily to include direct links to the daily Love Our Lurkers Week poles. I wanted to be sure that…

New representatives knew what was going on.Active members got a reminder to look out for brand-new participants.Lurkers knew a little of what to expect.

3. Offered A Sweepstakes

At the last minute, I decided that our lurkers might cherish the added incitement of a cool loot, so I included a hashtag tournament: any non-participates who has participated with the hashtag # lurkersweek were eligible to acquire some DM swag.

4. Made A Post A Day

Given some of the reasons that community members do not participate–namely social fright and remaining in a state of observation-I craved my daily affix to address these issues instantly … and the response was great!

Let’s take a look at the posts and break it all down.

Love Our Lurker’s Week

Day 1: Community Source


Knowing that there are a subset of lurkers who are looking to get to know the community culture better and address the social nervousnes of clanging foolish, my first upright was all about reaching representatives feel pleasant contributing.

The post included connected to our Community Guidelines and a glossary of common expressions found inside the group so non-participants could get to know how the community operates and learn the insiders-only lingo that will plug them right into the “it” crowd of the community.


I also included common types of questions that our community members love to answer, and equipped tips-off for going fast responses to questions representatives ask in the group.

At the end, I invited our active members to post their own tips-off for announcing. Remember, the goal of parish handling is to foster those member-to-member relationships–so a lurker decipher spur from another member is practice more powerful than any berth I can make as community manager!



Day 2: List of Legendary Berth


Being able to understand and connect with a community’s past is important for any community member to feel a strong feelings connection to whatever group they are in.

Knowing this, I genuinely wanted to make a list of affixes that are referenced often by the community or started a big stir when they were posted.


Not only does this familiarize silent readers about how local communities manipulates, it also trains these members on the kinds of berths that tend to get the most conversation and engagement.

Day 3: Introduced Group Influencers


This post was all about feeing our non-active members to some stellar members of our community who go above and beyond in helping out other members. I scheduled what the fuck is did, how long they’ve been a member of DigitalMarketer Lab, and their area of expertise.

Not only did this post shape our influencers feel very valued( numerous boasted on their public Facebook profile that they attained the roll, which was awesome ), but it innovated our community’s social hierarchy.


This is dipping a toe into social psychology, so hang with me for a moment.

Social hierarchy is a natural developed as any community–online or offline. People tend to sort themselves into a predictable social organization, typically targeting more experienced representatives among the priorities of the hypothetical ladder.

Encouraging this hierarchy in an online community is a very good thing. If the hierarchy is clearly defined, it reaches new members( or lurkers) feel like they are working toward a objective and their participation in the community can move them up the social ladder.

Day 4: Social Proof


As I referred to above , nothing is more powerful than hearing from active members themselves on why participating in the community is so valuable.

Getting to know other members is great at combating social suspicion and motivating any lurkers stuck in that “observation rut”.

Here’s a look at a few of the 30 parish tributes that our members posted 😛 TAGEND






Powerful, motivating stuff!

Day 5: How The Community Manager Can Help


This post was all about how and why any DM Engage member can reach out to me so that they all get the best experience possible in the community.

As this berth didn’t do much to directly address parish culture OR social panic, it’s easy to see why this berth got the least amount of engagement!


Congratulated Participants


This is a small, but important tactic.

If you want someone to do something a second time, a sure-fire way is to provide a little positive reinforcement. If a representative can affiliate an war with a pleasant emotional response, risks is good that they will do that same thing again in the future.

The Results

We watched many of our lurkers take diversified reactions.

11% acquired their first post.




We pictured people self-identify as a lurker, and share what’s been on their imagination, what they’re working on, and what retained them from affixing in the group for as long as they did.

17% moved their first comment.




These were people that commented on someone else’s thread–whether it be my lurkers week thread or a berth from another Engage member. They started sharing their knowledge and skills, its own experience, and weighing in wherever they are unable to( this included newbies to the group and newbies to the market ).

We had batch of people start participating and explain that they hadn’t been weighing in on the conversation because they didn’t think they knew enough to weigh in intelligently.

There were also people who knew A Fortune, but were just self-doubting and premising someone else had a better rebut. Isn’t everyone afraid of being wrong at some object?

16% initiated a reaction.




This may not seem like a lot, but we’re talking about 16% of ten, 000 people that had never so much as liked a upright before.

Every potential active customer in your community needs to make their first step somewhere.

It can all start with a Like.

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