Dark Socials: What Is It And Why You Should Care?

November 24, 2022

Written by Jhasmin Vidal

First, let’s talk about what Dark Social is and why YOU should care about it. Especially if you have B2B business model.

All of this started when the way people consume content changed, which changed what information your potential customers trust.

Google is once very important to marketers and businesses. They could trust what their tech stack vendors told them. Then, they’d use these trusted sources to help them decide what to buy.

Because the times are changing. People get most of their information from their peers and other people like them. They now learn about new and interesting things in different places.

Where do these B2B buyers find out what they need to know now?

Social Media – LinkedIn, TikTok, Twitter, YouTube Shorts and others)

Communities – Facebook Groups, Discord, Slack, etc.)

Events – Virtual Events, Meet-ups, Dinners, Conference, Mastermind Sessions, etc.)

Longer Form Content Platforms – Podcast, YouTube and Livestreams

Word of Mouth – 1:1 Meetings, Group Chats, Emails, etc.

Inside Their Company – Meetings, Slack, Email, etc.

^ This is what we call Dark Socials

Dark social is a simple term that marketers use to talk about web traffic that comes from popular modern channels of distribution when it’s hard to track it accurately. Some of those channels are what listed above. The term refers to “invisible” sharing that happens through channels like messengers, but also email and text messages.

If you go to The New York Times right now, pick any article, and send the URL to a friend through Facebook Messenger, you’ve shared it through dark social. For the NYT team, that share will show up as “direct,” even though you didn’t type the whole link into your browser.

They won’t know where you got the article, so dark social is a form of referral traffic that is given to the wrong channel. Traditional B2B attribution software gives credit to a channel as the source of the sale and as the source of MQLs or specific revenue. However, that doesn’t always show the WHOLE picture.

Many things happen in the DARK, including many steps that move your future customers closer to buying.

Why you should care about Dark Socials?

If you’ve been paying attention to where dark social happens, you may already know why it’s important for your brand.

In fact, 84% of what people share from publishers’ and marketers’ websites now happens through private, dark social channels like email, social networks, and instant messaging. Since that report came out, these channels have continued to grow and become more important than ever.

All of these are places where marketers and businesses need to be involved to reach their ideal customer profiles (ICPs) today, especially in B2B.

Why? Because that’s how people decide what to buy. It’s how you get people to want your products or services. It’s where buyers go to learn about and share information with others in their industry.

People trust people more than brands. People buy and use things based on what their friends tell them and how they influence them.

So, how should you work your way to Dark Socials? 

1. Focus on creating demand.

In this age of Dark Social, marketing teams should focus on CREATING DEMAND.

Instead of paying attention to:

🚩 Getting people’s email addresses
🚩 Taking care of leads
🚩 Putting up gated content

Focus on marketing tactics like:

✔ Making content that people actually want to read (and ungated)

✔  Building a community on social media (not by talking at people, but by talking with them)

✔  Testing the brand’s message and determining what COPY / TONE / MESSAGING to use so that it will resonate with buyers

✔  Working together with other marketing groups and communities

✔  Getting feedback from satisfied customers (UGC, Testimonials, etc.)

Basically, anything that makes people curious enough about you to type your company’s name into Google and find out what you do.

And they’ll eventually book a consultation or buy your product.

2. Meeting, pipeline, and Revenue > MQLs

Goals for marketing should be tied to a real number of sales. Not just MQLs. MQLs are merely a leading signal.

You can measure marketing goals based on:

✔ Qualified Meetings Held: Meetings that prospects have booked with sales (and actually showed up to)

✔ Qualified Pipeline: Leads that have already spoken to sales, and sales has determined is ready to have a serious buying conversation

✔ Closed Won: Because if marketing isn’t tied to actual revenue generated, you’re chasing the wrong number.

3. Understand that most of your potential customers are not ready to buy

What you need to understand is that most of your audience isn’t ready (YET). 

The goal of your marketing is to stay at the top, so that when your audience is ready to buy, they will think of your brand.

 How you can do this? Education and showing up where your audience hangs out.

This is where Dark Social comes in. Here is how you can do it:
 
✔ Create  great, educating content and distribute that content

✔ Encourage your employees to be your number 1 fan. Make some noise on social media about your brand as individuals.

✔ Host podcasts focused on your  audience or any other longform content.

✔ Release awesome newsletters relevant to your audience. Something that they can all relate to or be interested in.

✔ Write a killer blog.

✔ Host virtual events.

✔ Work with influential marketing, rev ops, and sales voices that amplify your message.

✔ Co-create content with like-minded companies.

Conclusion

How people buy things has changed. People talk to each other in places that traditional software can’t pick up, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen.

Consider the last time you bought something. Most likely, it wasn’t just a Google search or a Facebook ad. There were a lot of points of contact (and most of them came from the things we talked about above).

This strategy might not be the most flawless one, but it might be worth giving a shot. If you need any help implementing this, you can always contact us, and we’ll be more than happy to help you!

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