Albert Einstein is quoted as saying, “If you can’t explain it simply, you do not understand it well enough.”

I think he’s right.

Think about it: have you ever been in a social setting where a person throws out big words, concepts, or ideas to sound intelligent? When you press him on a certain topic, or ask for clarification, his response is to usually up the jargon and rhetoric.

His goal in this situation is to increase complexity to confuse you. The complexity is nothing more than a defense mechanism. He wants you to believe he deeply understands what he’s talking about, but in actuality, he does not.

If he understood what he was talking about, truly, he would be able to explain it to a fifth-grader.

The more complex-sounding his language, the less those around him understand, the smarter he looks. The goal for this person is not to explain and educate, but to complicate and obfuscate the truth.

This happens all the time.

Take social media metrics for example. The more we work with clients, the more I gravitate to this topic.

Many agencies and firms want their clients to believe there is a complex algorithm for determining the effectiveness of social media content. They want their clients to believe words like “engagement,” “reach,” and “amplification” matter. (They don’t.)

These agencies and firms complicate their language to confuse their clients. Virtually every service-based industry fights this temptation, but I feel it acutely since we serve our clients with content.

When we manage digital content for clients (web, email, and social), we have a very simple process to show the value of what we’re doing.

Think Digital Circle

We make it easy for clients to see how they are progressing:

  1. KNOW. How are we raising awareness for the business, brand, or belief?
  2. LIKE. How are we increasing loyalty to the brand or organization?
  3. TRUST. How are we influencing conversion opportunities?
  4. BUILD. How are we building advocates for the brand?

Social media metrics must draw lines between digital content and organizational objectives. It’s that simple. When a social media agency tells their clients it’s about something other than organizational results, they don’t understand social well enough. They cannot explain it simply.

Interested in working with Think Digital?
Let us create your content for you.


Even though social media has come a long way from being “just for teenagers,” there are still companies that feel they don’t have time for it. But how can you not make time for building relationships with your customers?

No, but seriously, how?

I get it. Social media isn’t the easiest thing to analyze. There’s no concrete way to say X number of followers on Twitter = Y number of dollaz. So yeah, it might seem like a waste of energy. Until you think about what social media really is:

Social media is Word of Mouth on steroids.

Word of mouth used to be a slow, but effective, way for businesses to gain customers. Now, it’s super effective and crazy fast, thanks to social media. I mean, come on, who doesn’t have time to connect with existing and potential customers all around the world at lightning speed?

Take, for example, this week’s guest, Erik Qualman. Back in 2009, he created a video about the importance of social media. He launched it quietly on YouTube to see how it would do. After two days, he had thousands of views. Today, his videos have gotten over 10 million views!

That’s right, we’re back this week (after a few weeks out with bronchitis) interviewing Erik Qualman. He’s been called the Digital Dale Carnegie, he holds a Guinness World Record for longest continuous podcast, and, oh yeah, he’s also the second most likable author in the world (next to J.K. Rowling). He’s a smart cat, an all-around good dude, and a social media superhero. So if he says “the return on investment of social media is that your business will still exist in five years,” I’m inclined to believe him, and you should too.

Erik has his personal phone number on his business’s website. Why? Because he practices what he preaches: social media is all about relationships. It’s all about making it as easy as possible for customers (and potential customers) to connect with you. So he’s making it as easy as possible for people to connect with him in whatever way suits them best.

Sigh. If only everyone kept their customers in mind the way Erik does. Get into Erik’s head in this podcast. You need to dig it.

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When I want to step up my social media game, I don’t read a blog post. I read a business book.

There’s no shortage of great blogs out there to choose from. In fact, one might say there’s TOO MUCH amazing content to consume…

TOO MANY “how-to” posts…

TOO MANY “scientific guides” to read…

TOO MANY “perfect timing” round-ups to follow…

All of the “how-to” stuff is good, but there’s a step BEFORE the tactics that’s critical to your success (and it AIN’T finding the “perfect” time to tweet).

Here’s why I start with business before creating one single pixel of social media content.

1. Social media and business are interwoven.

Your social media content will never be as effective as it could be unless you are clear on what you want to accomplish. “Creating good content” is not a goal. “Creating good content to drive traffic to landing page which drives sales and increases revenue” is a goal.

2. Business books provide the “WHY-TO” before the “HOW-TO”.

if there’s one gripe I have with social media blogs, white papers, and ebooks, it’s this: they launch into the tactics without explaining the strategy. I call strategy “above-the-neck” thinking. I call tactics “below-the-neck” action. You need a brain to inform the movements of your body. Good business books always start with the “WHY” before moving to the “HOW.”

3. Business leaders are not confused on ROI.

From a measurement perspective, social media is just like any other communication channel in your organization. Effective business leaders are not confused about effectiveness. If the resources they invest in certain initiatives don’t measure up, they ditch them and try something new. Digital marketing can and should be held to the same standard as any other department in your organization.

4. It’s all about money.

Listen. I’m a pie-in-the-sky optimist if there ever was one. But the reality of life is this: money talks. Business leaders (and their books) get this. It’s not dirty or shameful to talk about money. Another truth: in 99% of cases, a majority of your social media should actively contribute to revenue generation.

5. Good business books teach me how to connect with people.

At its core, social media is an avenue to connect with people. Good business, at its core, is finding meaningful ways to connect with people. They’re the same thing. When I communicate more clearly in business, I win. When I communicate more clearly through digital content…same thing—I win. In the end, it’s all about people.

If you’re looking for a good place to start, here’s a list of books I HIGHLY recommend you consume with intensity IMMEDIATELY:

Start with Why by Simon Sinek

Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki

Zero to One by Peter Thiel

Secrets of the Millionaire Mind by T. Harv Eker

Choose Yourself! by James Altucher

80/20 Sales and Marketing by Perry Marshall

Challenge: Tweet at me and tell me ONE point you either agreed or disagreed with!