Brand trust and the use of personal data is a hot topic, and while this may often relate to how marketers are using data in social media, not many are thinking about how they use ‘dark social’ in their campaigns.

Writing for WARC, Stefano Maggi, Co-founder & CEO, We Are Social Italy and Spain, observes that any brand marketing plan written during the past 10 years will include a strategy for, at the very least, how to incorporate social media – and some will even make it a central pillar of activity.

“Far fewer marketers, however, are talking about developing strategies to incorporate ‘dark social’ into campaigns,” he notes, even though research shows almost two thirds of adult internet users in the US and UK share content via private messaging apps.

Why? It allows them to share with individuals or small groups that they trust. It can also provide a safe environment for people to express themselves without fear of criticism or being misunderstood; and interactions on dark social tend to be contained, rather than spilling over into other interactions.

The design of platforms affects the way they are used – and our behaviour on them reflects real-world situations, Maggi explains.

“The fact that dark social groups are smaller than public platforms, and that very often people in these groups know each other to varying degrees, makes them more relevant for a certain type of interaction.”

Brands have to understand the “dark social” dynamics of groups they want to connect with, before actually taking part in the conversation, he stresses. (for more details, read the full article: How brands can use dark social in their marketing campaigns.)

Alternatively, brands can build their own communities and content from scratch, he adds, citing #adidasrunners as an example.

Or, dark social can be incorporated in a new and creative manner into a campaign, as IKEA did when it offered a Facebook Messenger support service for the partners of fashion addicts who have to share their storage space.

“If done properly, it’s a really respectful way for brands to reach people,” Maggi argues, “far more so than spraying messages out on all types of media, and in a way that engages better than a lot of direct marketing does.”

Sourced from WARC