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      The 90-9-1 Rule is Over. It’s Time for Higher Engagement!

      May 05, 2022

      3 minute read

      The 90-9-1 rule has been afloat the internet for a long time.

      Known as ‘The Rule of Participation Inequality’, it means that the participation of members in any online community goes like this:

      • 90% of members in an online community are lurkers
      • 9% of members in a community respond to the posted content
      • 1% of members in the community actually contribute to content creation

      If you’re somebody who’s still chartering the waters of online community management, this benchmark can prove to be pretty discouraging. You might think if the majority of your audience is just lurking and not participating, what’s the point of creating a community at all? Right?

      For some brands who are on their journey to grow their online community, but are witnessing lower engagement rates, this rule has certainly become the norm.

      But online communities have proven to be the holy grail for many organizations. These have enabled them to not only span into new markets and attract more customers but also bring ROI to the table.

      So, is the 90-9-1 rule applicable anymore? Let’s find out.

      Online Community Management: The 90-9-1 Is Out and Higher Engagement Is In

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      According to research conducted by Higher Logic, it is suggested that [i]90% of community members are not lurkers. And this rule has actually given more engagement as opposed to its preconceived notion.

      To understand this better, let’s classify the participants of an online community-

      The 90 9 1 Rule Is Over. 04 Scaled

      1. Content Creators: These are the members who create content within the community and post regularly. Content can be in the form of questions, answers, feedback, videos, blog posts, etc.

      2. Information Contributors: These are the members who reply to questions posted by fellow community members actively.

      3. Consumers: These members log into the community exclusively to view and consume the available content, without contributing.

      4. Inactive Members: These are the members who have not contributed, participated, or taken any action in the community in the past years.

      If we go by the norm, this is an expectation that most brands abide by. However, another research suggests that [ii]76% of members actively participate in an online community.

      With brands opting for influencer collaborations via online communities, virtual events, and much more, members’ participation in online communities has fairly improved. This has brought in higher levels of engagement. Brands are taking a step towards making their communities more vibrant and lively. They’re initiating this by adding gamification elements such as leaderboards, badges, avatars, and more. By following this strategy, they’ve been successful in converting community lurkers into active participants.

      The result? The 90-9-1 rule has become obsolete and has been replaced by higher levels of engagement.

      Does This Mean Better Sales and Marketing Alignment?

      As your online community scales and members’ participation increases, it is an opportunity for you to convert potential leads into customers and increase revenue. As a result, you will be able to market your products and services better by targeting more consumers.

      A wider audience base means more potential leads. And that’s where your sales team will benefit.

      With an online community that attracts continual engagement and participation from the members, your sales and marketing teams can work in perfect alignment. Ensure that you cross-collaborate with different teams throughout the organization so that they can identify opportunities and capitalize on them.

      Key Takeaway

      Organizations should divert their attention from creating management strategies to lead conversion and retention. Every community member, be it a sleeping member, has a role to play in your community’s engagement. You should design a plan of action that keeps the members interested and encourages your target audience to join your community.

      Want To Create a Stellar Community Experience for Your Users? Know More.

      Harness the power of online communities backed with robust strategies to create a stellar online presence with us. To know more about our CMaaS expertise, drop us a line at [email protected] and we’ll take it from there.



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