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BLOGThe Seven Steps of Digital Engagement

by Randall CraigFiled in: Blog, Make It Happen Tipsheet, Social Media, Trust

Social Media is all around us: from blogs to Twitter, from discussion forums to TikTok to Facebook. Yet how do we decide how much time and energy to spend on each of these?

Consider the following Seven Steps to Digital Engagement – each person moves up the hierarchy, step-by-step. Of course, marketers and digital experts try hard to avoid Deserters, and incentivize people to move up the ladder as quickly as possible.

  • Deserter:  Looks once then leaves.
  • Lurker:  Reads but doesn’t write.
  • Responder:  Adds comments, rates others’ comments.
  • Subscriber:  Commits to the community; a “follower”.
  • Broadcaster:  Tells friends.
  • Proponent:  Continues discussion on 3rd party sites, as well as their own.
  • Advocate:  Asks contacts to tell their contacts.

For each social media site where you’re registered, where are you on the scale – and are you going up, or going down? Interestingly, while the main scale is engagement, underlying it all is trust. The higher the trust, the more you will move towards advocacy. The lower the trust, the faster you’ll move towards desertion. Interestingly, more engagement drives higher trust, and more trust drives higher engagement.

The scale also works with value: the more value you get from the experience, the more you will become an Advocate, and vice-versa.


We often spend too much time on Social Media activities that haven’t earned our trust, and not enough time on those give us a lot of value. For each of the sites that “engage” you, decide if it’s time to move one step up, or one step down, the engagement hierarchy.

Bonus insight: The Seven Steps of Digital Engagement don’t just apply online: they apply wherever there is a relationship. You can always improve real-life engagement by working on trust and value.

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