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Social Media – Where Content Dies And Craft Endures

By: Tom

As Chicago’s Craft agency, we’ve proved that there’s no one way to think about Craft. From strategy to production to creative, the concept of Craft means a number of things that all culminate into why we come in to work every day. But let’s say, for purposes of this post, that we define Craft as the artistry and attention to detail for typography, graphic design, copywriting and other creative points. That definition of Craft seems to be at odds with what is now expected of creative work on social media.

“Make it look grainy.”

“It’s ten seconds. Can we cut it down to six? How about three?”

“Add more hashtags.”

“It looks too…perfect.”

“Don’t add any hashtags, we don’t want to look desperate.”

“Don’t forget the subtitles.”

And so on.

Expectations of non-intrusive social marketing are causing brands to struggle with the blurred lines of Craft and authenticity.

“There’s less need for some of the key Craft characteristics we’ve come to value (high-quality film, retouched art, etc.). The social media landscape is much more about the idea and its virality, not about how beautiful it looks or sounds,” explains TDH Account Director, Mike Finke.

He’s right.

Social media, by nature, is so tied to timeliness that brands often allow Craft to slide down the list of notable considerations. For most, it is more important for content on social media to activate a nerve ending or tap into something that’s top of mind for a crowd of people than it is to be beautifully created. 

These beliefs, forgive us, are wrong.

The rules have changed, yes. Users want fast, authentic, native content that can provide some form of instant gratification or use. And it’s the best challenge brands and advertisers could have asked for. It tests our mettle as Craftspeople to design and write for a space that requires a different kind of eye-catching element than what we’re used to. The best part is that these same platforms that seem to be giving us “less” to work with are actually providing more opportunities for inventive forms of Craft. How can a brand not get excited about the opportunity to work with 360-immersive experiences online or the ability to tell a story via a carousel ad?

For those of you who have nurtured the belief that social media is now probably one of the best channels in which to execute Craft—high five! You were right all along. For those who are wondering why efforts should be expended on well-crafted content in a space where content almost seems to expire, the answer is tied back to Craft. There will always be a war against longevity of advertising. Commercials could get muted or skipped over. Direct mail pieces could go directly in the trash. Radio stations could get switched over. But when the content is Crafted brilliantly, the work will endure in any space. Even social media. 

02.20.17   The Biz

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