Successful advertising has always resulted from the smart combination of several ingredients.
a. A strategy-driven big idea
b. Turning the idea into an artfully designed, photographed or recorded product
c. Placing the commercial, ad, brochure, poster, etc. in the exact right media outlet to reach the desired target audience.
A and B traditionally originated from the creative department, ie: copywriters, designers, art directors. The media planners were responsible for C, although personally I think it takes a mix of analytical and creative thinking to make a great media plan. That's a subject for another blog post.
In social media, the emphasis is more focused on the message than on the visuals. The major social media outlets like Facebook and Twitter don't allow much freedom for great design and highly-polished production values. While there are many professionally produced videos on YouTube, the overwhelming volume of shaky, amateur vids have certainly lowered the bar for what is acceptable. With B and C out of the equation, brands wishing to successfully connect with consumers on social media had better pay close attention to the ideas they are communicating.
I have a theory that marketing on social media platforms is going through a phase similar to the do-it-yourself desktop publishing phase of a decade ago. Anyone with a computer could call themselves a freelance designer regardless of their experience or talent. Some advertising and marketing materials grew very bland. They lacked good writing, design, typography and photography. After all, they were developed by amateurs. Consumers started to overlook the crappy marketing materials and the pendulum began to swing back as clients realized the need to captured the public's attention with creativity and quality. Today, marketers are just putting out any old drivel on social media just because it's easy and cheap. I, for one, am becoming desensitized to boring posts and tweets. It's why I believe that substance is becoming more important to successful social media marketing. Not every social media post or YouTube video needs to be amazingly witty, but they should be thoughtful and consistent with the overall brand strategy. It's true that social media communications tend to be more conversational that advertising, but even in conversation it’s possible to say too much and say it inarticulately.
While the tone and tactics may be different between traditional advertising and social media marketing, there is still one important common denominator: strategy-driven ideas.