Is The Craft Of Copywriting Irrelevant To Social Media Marketing?

Oreo’s Facebook page is insanely popular. According to Ad Age, one of the reasons for the Kraft brand’s success on Facebook has to do with the conversational nature of the Wall posts.

As it turns out, many people in social networks don’t want to talk about your product, they just want to talk. There’s increasing evidence that the most-effective kinds of marketing communications on these websites are simple, random, even banal statements or questions driven by the calendar or the whim of a writer that may not have anything to do with the brand in question.

I’ve been writing copy for a long time, but thankfully “simple, random and banal” has yet to find its way into the brief. Be that as it may, maybe I can learn something from studying how Oreo rolls on FB.
“Who’s the biggest Oreo cookie fan you know?” That’s not copy, nor is it creative. It’s just a question from the brand. Nothing more. What Oreo proves is that there’s a place for such things.

“When you have ad agencies or copywriters writing your Facebook copy, it ends up being promotional in nature and if you’re not inspiring feedback no one’s going to care,” said Sarah Hofstetter, senior VP-emerging media and brand strategy at 360i (the agency that manages Oreo’s Facebook presence).

As far as I know 360i is an agency with writers on staff, but I’ll let that go. For me, the above argument gets stuck in the feedback cul-de-sac. Customer feedback in social channels is clearly desired and important, but does it build the brand and boost sales? That’s the measure of success for all marketing communications. In Oreo’s case, I think it does because thousands of people are considering what Oreo means to them.
Where this leaves writers of ads, I don’t know. Writing ads I guess, although I do think old copy dogs can learn new tricks.



About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.