I would imagine fortune tellers see an increase in business at the end of each year. It tends to be when most of us stop and wonder about what the future – the next year and beyond – really holds. Fortune tellers oblige our curiosity and look into a crystal ball to predict what tomorrow will bring. That isn’t that far from what strategists in any industry do, is it?
An argument can be made that strategists base their decisions on known facts, historical data, and statistical likelihoods while a fortune teller’s information is typically delivered in a more magical fashion. And while most of us would visit a fortune teller for entertainment, there’s no joking around when it comes to creating a strategic plan on social media.
Predicting with Accuracy
Our SMS community was given the task this month of sharing their professional goals and making predictions about social media in 2018. For each contributor, describing their own goals was easy – most had already been thinking about them. Some had already completed their 2018 business plan. Predictions were a bit more challenging and I suspect there are two main reasons why.
First, as a professional, making predictions carries an inherent risk. It’s much easier to stay quiet or even claim after-the-fact that you knew something was going to happen (a personal pet peeve of mine). What if you’re wrong? What if an unknown element emerges and throws off the entire landscape of social media? Don’t people who make predictions risk looking foolish?
When strategists make predictions, they do so to the best of their ability with the information they have available. They can clearly articulate their thinking. They leave coworkers and clients educated about the future. Because of that approach, if their prediction is incorrect or simply needs an adjustment, they can return to their initial recommendation and make changes.
The second reason strategists may hesitate to make predictions is because there are so many unknowns. We are successful because we are agile and not committed to one future. We sit poised and ready for anything. When someone asks us what’s going to happen in the future, it gives us pause. A better question for a social media strategist is, “How can I best prepare for the future?”
I don’t know about you, but I’d rather have an expert tell me how to best prepare for what comes next!
A special thank you!
If you haven’t read them yet, please check out this month’s posts. Thank you to our community members who contributed!
Author: Amy Jauman
Dr. Amy Jauman, SMS, is the Chief Learning Officer at the National Institute for Social Media and author of the Comprehensive Field Guide for Social Media Strategists. Amy is also one of 58 members representing 12 countries in the inaugural class of the Prezi Educator Society. Previously she was the Social Media Director for Women Entrepreneurs of Minnesota (WeMN) and she currently serves as the marketing director for the Minnesota Chapter of the National Speakers Association. She is also an adjunct professor in the St. Catherine University Business Department and the St. Mary’s University of Minnesota MBA program.