A Social Media Primer for Traditional Creatives

by Kat French |

It’s a scary world out there for any traditional advertising creatives who are still waiting for this whole “internet” craze to just go away. If you have been waiting for this whole “social media bubble” you keep hearing about to pop, and the world to return to the days when people left content creation and design to the professionals, you may have to consider the possibility that it’s gonna be a loooonnng wait.

Marketing and advertising budget dollars are continuing to move from print and other traditional media to online. And the social web is becoming the mainstream web. If you’re a traditional agency creative, it may be a brave new world, but it’s also an increasingly scary one, as large agencies are already downsizing.

A lot of smart traditionally-trained copywriters, art directors and designers have already become conversant in the terminology and culture of social media. If you haven’t, the best way to get started is to start listening to the voices of the innovators who are driving your creative discipline on the social web.

Hie thyself unto the mystical land of Feedly, create an account, and start plugging your head into the following blogs:

For Copywriters:

For Art Directors/Graphic Designers:

Okay, folks. That’s a nice starting place–I’m not looking to overwhelm anybody. I’m sure there are several Must-Reads out there that I missed; I’m counting on people to drop links to them in the comments.

Listening and connecting to other creative folks on on blogs and in social media is a great starting place. Don’t stop there. Marketing and advertising on the social web is a whole different animal than the traditional model, and it requires different strategies, tactics, and pretty much a whole different mindset. If I had to sum it up in one sentence, though, another good starting place would be:

The social media audience doesn’t want to be to impressed by how cool/smart/awesome your work is. They want to be impressed by how cool/smart/awesome your work makes them when they pass it on. 

Copywriters: does your agency have a blog? If not, why not pitch starting one for agency promotion? If it does, are you contributing to it? Can you write with Search Engine Optimization in mind if you need to?

Designers: can you translate your print design skills to interactive design? Have you mastered responsive design? Are you familiar with HTML and CSS for front-end design, or are you reliant on someone else to convert your PSD files to HTML?

Again, I’m looking for more goodness in the comments–we’ve got a really smart readership here. If we were to write a new 101 for agency creatives to navigate the brave new world of marketing in the social web, what are the chapter titles? If you’re writing fortune cookie messages to the copywriters and art directors of tomorrow, what’s on them?

We’re all ears.

About the Author

Kat French

Kat French is the Client Services and Content Manager at SME Digital. An exceptional writer, Kat combines creativity with an agile, get-it-done attitude across a broad range of experience in content strategy, copywriting, community management and social media marketing. She has worked with national brands like Maker's Mark, Daytona Beach Tourism, CafePress and more.