In the creative industry, there is some tension about if social media should be the only media distribution platform at Cannes. This is due to the great wealth that social media companies have which is clearly apparent by the amount of money that they spend.

Now, with that said, is there a particular role of social media in the creative industry? Do the majority of brands simply see social media as a tool for the distribution of their products or is it more than just that. The question remains if social media strategy should be done at the start of creative processes, at the end or somewhere else.

The answer to this question was gained after talking to many VIP brands as well as top publishers and agencies. Basically, they see social media as being the most effective when it is used from the very beginning of the campaign where the best creatives are used. Social media is a lot more than simply a distribution platform as agencies like air social have said. The social media leader at EY, Jamil Zakaria, indicated that social media should be a part of every aspect of the creative process. Of course, social media is great at delivery of messages, however, it is also very creative. It is a great destination for content creation where you can not only consume content but also discover great content. This medium is not just meant for the distribution of our own content but to showcase creativity as well as network and connect with others as well as discover new thoughts, ideas and stories.

Social creatives along with other newer agencies have used the last few years to use social media to win many Grand Prix, Vice Media or Virtue, LADbible awards etc. The multiple wins in each year are a clear indication that this strategy works. For this year, Burger King is the brand that got the most awards. They have managed to achieve tons of activations on lots of different platforms and funny one-liners.

Other publishers, brands and agencies have a lot to say.

Basically, they advise to not do social media but become social.

Basically, social media should not be used as simply a distribution tool and we will now look at the two main reasons for this.

When it comes to mass media advertising vs social advertising, social advertising is more costly. Esther Oostrom who is the head of content and communications at AEGON indicated that the reach of social media is small and in order to reach about a million people, it is quite expensive to do so. On the other hand, mass media is better for reaching more people, however, you would find it quite difficult to properly measure your ad campaign. On social media, if you have great creatives, you can significantly lower your CPC or cost per click. However, if your creativity isn’t so great or just average, then you’ll experience a higher CPC. Keep in mind that your CPA or cost per acquisition would also be a bit higher. The great thing about mass media advertising is that you’d be able to get more people to see your ad. This would mean that you’d have a much better chance of getting sales as opposed to social advertising.

So, if you’re unable to properly utilize it, then you shouldn’t use it. However, if you are able to properly use social media, then this is certainly the best way to spend your media budget. It would need to be used in combination with excellent quality creatives that truly resonate with your audience. Tim Lindsay who is the CEO of D&AD, he agrees with this approach. D&AD is an awarding body and they are able to see true creativity and not just simple boosting. When it comes to social media, you need to know how to use high-quality creativity along with influencers etc in order to optimize your campaign to create the best results. However, if companies simply only think of social media as a method of distribution and they repeatedly use the “boost now” button to achieve greater reach, then this is not a good or proper use of social media platforms. These types of actions won’t deliver the results you’re looking for and this means that it won’t be awarded.