By Justin Wise


“Measure what is measurable, and make measurable what is not so.” – Galileo Galilei galileo-150x150

Galileo was a smart dude. Aside from the pesky “recanting on the heliocentric solar system” fiasco, he knew his stuff.

Social media activities have been notoriously difficult to measure. But, in the spirit of Galileo, I’m standing on the shoulders of giants to “make measurable what is not so.”

If you’re active on social, establishing your purpose and measuring performance should be your top goal. I’ve been working to establish some baseline metrics and measurements for social media. They all center around this spectrum:

Social Media Engagement Cycle

Brand New. Focus on activities that bring people in the door and get them familiar with your organization or business. Ideas include:

  • Visit your website (optimizing it for new visitors is a plus)
  • Read a review of your business or organization on Yelp! or Google Places
  • Watch a video featuring your organization (viral videos fit nicely here)
  • Play an interactive game built or sponsored by your brand
  • Read a guest post you’ve written on another site

Bought-In. People like what they see as a Brand New. They’re convinced and what to take the next step. Here are some activities to keep the momentum going:

  • Take an online survey offered by your organization
  • Leave a review on Amazon, iTunes, GoodReads, etc.
  • Follow, friend, circle, etc. on one or more social networks
  • Joins email list through incentive offering

Believer. If the first two steps mirrored the dating process, this stop signifies getting engaged. People have seen what they like and they’re on-board. Here’s what Believers do:

  • Consistently retweets or favorites Twitter content
  • Consistently likes or comments on Facebook, Instagram content
  • Responds to questions asked through social networks
  • Opens emails sent by the brand/organization

Builder. The most valuable person on the spectrum is the Builder. This is an individual who actively advocates for your brand or organization online. Here’s what Builders do:

  • Creates brand-centric content to share with their online community
  • Writes blog posts referencing the brand or organization
  • Tags the brand or organization in a Facebook post
  • Posts a video online about the brand or organization

An example of this spectrum in action might look like this:

  1. Brand New: Click a link from Twitter and downloads your free ebook.
  2. Bought In: Clicks the “Tweet This Book!” link in the ebook and shares it with their community.
  3. Believer: Follows you on Twitter.
  4. Builder: @-mentions you to their community with praise for the ebook.

This is super scaled down to easily show progress. I want you to see how movement happens through your online community.

It’s important to note this process is already happening organically. But the more you can intentionally craft this process, the better your results. The key is to be aware and plan the spectrum out with the intended results at the end.

I wouldn’t get too concerned about digging down into the granular metrics. Focus on broad strokes to start with. The most important part is architecting the process you want your community to follow.


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Justin Wise

Author: Justin Wise

I’m a social media strategist based in Des Moines, Iowa. I teach brands, organizations, and individuals how to build their online community and influence them to take action. I founded Think Digital, a social media training and coaching company. I started a podcast called #ThinkDigital. It’s a fun way to talk about new media and play lots of 90s rap. My first book is called The Social Church ( In 2012, I became an adjunct professor at Drake University, teaching public relations. I graduated in 2010 from Bethel Seminary with a Master of Divinity, emphasis in Critical Thinking.