Turning Lurkers Into Contributors - The 5Cs of Social Business Communities

Mike Fraietta

You may have heard about the 1% Rule of the Internet. Also known as the "90–9–1" rule, it states that 1% of people create content, 9% edit or modify that content, and 90% view the content without contributing. This rule is pretty spot-on throughout most of the Internet but using collaborative and social technologies, like Jive, gives us the opportunity to turn lurkers into contributors, creators, connectors and collaborators. On one community, we were able to raise the contribution rate from 12% to 22% in a three-month period.


After years of working on several social business communities across industries, I have found that there are five valuable options for users when they visit your community.


I call them the 5 C's: consume/contribute/create/connect/collaborate.

1. Consume - This is the easy one, the one that we nailed decades ago. You have important content that you want the user to digest and you know how to feature it. While this is equally important as the others, if someone only consumes on your community, they might as well get the information elsewhere. If this is the ONLY thing a user does they are a Lurker.


2. Contribute - A reply, edit, modification, or vote all have value in contributing to the sentiment towards an idea or product. It establishes the usefulness of a document, or even a whole new conversation. Pushing the needle on contribution should cascade and improve the rates for creation, connection and collaboration.


3. Create - Starting a discussion, blog post, poll...well, any piece of content. This is the toughest of all the C's as many users, particularly new ones, are nervous to take the plunge by creating something with their name attached. Keep in mind that non-digital native users usually have to walk before they run. Push contribution to make them comfortable with the idea of collaboration.


4. Connect - Follow, friend, join, and subscribe are a few ways to connect with like-minded users in order to expedite the collaboration process. When a user finds their comfort zone, they become more comfortable with creating since others in the group are genuinely interested in the users' expertise and opinion. Like contribution, increasing connection among users increases consumption, contribution, creation and collaboration.


5. Collaborate - All of the above can be classified as collaboration, but there are methods and best practices for making it easy for users to work effectively and efficiently on projects, campaigns and presentations.


Take a look at your community's or social group's landing page and of all the calls to action and opportunities they have. What percentage do you have of each of the 5 Cs? Which ”C” is your high real-estate areas? And what are you suggesting to your users to do?


This is Part One of a four-part series on creating more responsive social communities for your business.