“If you can't explain it to a six year old, you don't understand it yourself.”
― Albert Einstein
Far too often these days I see folks with social media in their title or job description use the complexity of the social web to confuse both clients and colleagues.
They do this by pointing out all the moving parts and seemingly random updates on various platforms from Facebook to Linkedin and everything in between. This is done without explaining what these changes actually mean or what actions should be taken as a result. They use fuzzy metrics such as number of likes and followers without a clear explanation about what it all means at the end of the day. Not only does this behavior give our discipline a bad name it's also irresponsible.
I believe as digital strategists our job isn't to confuse our clients with buzzwords.
Our job as I see it is to make sense of the complexity. We should be clearly aligning our recommended strategies with our client's business goals, shepherding deliverables internally through the agency and guiding our clients through the process.
We should not be hiding behind obsolete industry best practices or suggesting one size fits all approaches to anything we do. Instead we should be focusing on what's right for each individual client.
Our job is to make sense of the complex .
This means we are responsible for the following things:
We should take responsibility for identifying the most efficient strategies for collecting and structuring actionable data.
We should take responsibility for analyzing the data we collect making recommendations based on the available resources and stated business objectives.
We should take responsibility for staying on top to the societal trends and technologies that will shape our strategies in the future.
We are responsible for answering the Whys and the Hows: Our competitors have a twitter strategy, why don't we? Why don't we have more fans on Facebook? How do we gain more followers on our company's Linkedin page? The data shows Pinterest is the fastest growing social network, why don't we add it to our client's strategy. This list goes on.
Most importantly we are responsible for articulating the fact that the data we collect is and always will be a digital representation of human behavior and intent.
The only way I see this happening well is through human centered design and true collaboration, not just lip service. We need to co-create with our clients and colleagues. This means inviting them into the ideation process.
Design thinking provides a great framework for doing so.
Related Hashtag: #designthinking