Within the creative industry, there is inherent tension about whether or not social medial should only be used as a media distribution platform. At Cannes, it comes to the fore due to how much wealth social media organizations have been able to amass. This is obvious when you see how much is spent on the beachfront.

However what roles does media provide, if any, to the creative industry? Is it seen by brands as simply a distribution tool for creative endeavours, or is it more significant than this? Should social strategy be introduced to the creative process from the very beginning?

The overwhelming consensus, after talking to some publishers, agencies, and VIP brands, was that the most effective was social media when it gets introduced into the campaign strategy at the very beginning. Top-quality creative bolsters it instead of it just being used as a distribution and media platform. EY social medial leader Jamil Zakaria effectively summed it up: It should definitely be inherent in all aspects of the creative process. There is a dual purpose to social media of delivery and creativity also. Social media is a destination for content generation that should be discovered and to consume content, to inform distribution as well as formats and creativity, and also discover, network, and connect ideas and stories. To get some additional knowledge on social media, you probably want to get in contact with a social media marketing agency like Air Social.

Over time, newer agencies and what is referred to as ‘Social Creatives’ have emerged and been able to conquer using a social-first mentality resulting in winning numerous awards, including multiple VICE Media/VIRTUE, LADbible, and Grand Prix awards. This year’s most awarded brand is Burger King, which really nails social media in all ways with its humorous one-liners and huge activations over multiple platforms.

Here is what publishers, agencies, and brands said ‘Don’t only do social, Be social’.

There are two key reasons why there isn’t any point to social media only being used as a distribution tool.

Compared to mass media advertising, social advertising is more expensive. We talked to Esther Oostrom, the head of AEGON’s content and communications reiterated it: Social media’s downside is that it still has a fairly small reach. It is very expensive to reach more than a million people. When it comes to reaching, mass media is very effective, but measuring your campaigns is much more difficult. On social, you can significantly lower your cost-per-click with great creatives. However, if you like most you have average creatives, then you will have very high CPC. Your cost-per-acquisition will be higher also. Mass media is able to generate a lot more eyeballs for your ads, so there is a much higher chance of sales compared to social advertising.

If you do not use it correctly, don’t even use it. When social media is used properly, it is the most effective way of spending a paid media budget. However, only when you combine it with engaging and resonating epic creatives. Tim Lindsay, the CEO of D&AD agrees with that. D&AD is an awards body that recognizes creativity, instead of the ability of a performance marketer to press a boost button. With anything that is media-led, such as using social media influencers, with perfect strategy and amazing creatives, then the campaign’s performance and organic reach will produce incredible results every time. However, when social media is only used by brands as a distribution technique and continue to press the ‘boost now’ button repeatedly to obtain additional reach and does not use the platform’s features in an innovative way, then the right results will not be achieved, and we won’t award it very often.

By lalae