dark social silouhette of man on phone in dark room
Social Media Marketing

Dark Social: Lights Out Marketing

Let’s talk dark social.

Cue the scary music? Hardly! Thinking edgy and cool? Maybe.

Dark social is actually just another social media strategy. Coined by a senior editor at The Atlantic, the term refers to “’the social sharing of content that occurs outside what can be measured by Web analytics programs.’”

In a nutshell, that means people are connecting with each other on private messaging channels such as WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger, groups on Facebook and LinkedIn, even email.

Moving the Conversation

As for traditional conversations on social media? They are down, down, DOWN. Why? According to some social media marketing experts,companies and brands started using social channels as a way to broadcast their messages too much (such as blog posts and offers of free information), rather than as a way to actually “be social,” (as in having conversations with their followers).

Instead, Messenger and other chatting tools allow connections to have, as the link above puts it, “authentic communication” with each other.

So, what are your connections/followers doing with your social sharing broadcasting? They are seeing it/reading it – consuming it – without commentary.

This is a big reason why you’re seeing social engagement dropping. Big time.

Social Media Engagement Sent Spiraling

It does make sense: a conversation on Messenger/WhatsApp, etc. is much more private. Consumers feel more comfortable sharing their real feelings and opinions there rather than in the comments, where everyone can see – and judge.

You may still be getting a (relatively) good return on your content consumption, likes, followers, too often mean little to nothing:it’s all vanity metrics.

What this Means for Social Media Marketing Efforts

It’s time to embrace dark social:

  • Take advantage of Facebook Groups. While not true dark social, starting a private, must-ask-for-permission-to-join group allows you to oversee conversations about your brand with your connections/followers.
  • Consider building your own Messenger app, grow your Messenger contacts and start sharing/delivering your content via Messenger.
  • Start a LinkedIn Group focused on answering the questions and concerns of prospects.

The idea is to build an intimate relationship with your connections, one in which all of you build trust. That’s what social media marketing should be. Now, it can be with the help of new tools that build true community.

Let Ingenex Digital Marketing help shed some light on dark social.Reach out to Jeff Hays, our director of client services, to schedule a one-on-one chat regarding social media market and word-of-mouth content consumption. As always, you also may contact us the old-fashioned way: via email and phone.

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