5 ways to navigate even the darkest of dark social

The term dark social seems to be on every marketer’s lips these days. When reviewing content performance, there seems to be little light at the end of the tunnel in terms of tracking dark social. But, whether or not it can currently form part of your company’s data analytics, it is undoubtedly effective. At trnd, we define ‘dark social’ as conversations about a brand that are out of reach, whether this is a conversation at the dinner table or a whatsapp message between friends. Brands may not be able to control it but they can certainly access and benefit from the influence it wields. If your consumers are talking about your brand anyway then why not play a part in that? Encourage your consumers to discuss your brand with their peers in their most trusted environments. Here is how to get your brand a seat at your consumers’ dinner table:

How to get your brand a seat at the influencer's dinner table

1. Identify

We’re firm believers in the efficacy of peer-to-peer brand conversations. After all, dark social traffic is effectively online word-of-mouth between people who know each other well. For any brand attempting to access this communication method, strategically identifying the right consumers must be at its heart. Identify which consumers are already talking about your brand and ensure they have the right message to spread, this could be an effective way to navigate the 87% of online content shares that you’re currently unable to track.

2. Activate!

Brands are not in control of what their consumers are saying about them, control is and always has always been with the customers. The fact of the matter is, every day influencers are already interested in your product category and conversations are taking place whether you choose to listen or not. Considered experts in their particular field by their friends and networks, these passionate consumers can effectively push trusted recommendations about your brand and product at the right time and to the right person. Such conversations will create thousands of additional touchpoints along the customer's journey to purchase, enabling the brand to connect with users on a massive scale. Once you've connected and activated them, you can expect 1,000 consumers to drive 500,000 conversations about a brand.

3. Provide products

Getting your products into the hands of the right people at the right time can enable trial and drive household penetration but sampling campaigns are hugely costly with limited success. Why not promote your existing consumers to VIP status and allow them to share the product on your behalf? They know what to say, how to use and who in their social group could benefit. By providing your clients with samples and products to test out for themselves, you can effectively engineer organic conversations that will make a noticeable impact on penetration.

4. Create scenarios that allow your consumers to communicate

People like to talk. Encourage communication around your brand. This could be through a shrewd marketing campaign such as coke’s #shareacoke campaign or by promoting genuinely gratifying brand-centric social interactions. Inspire a select group of your most savvy consumers to engineer shared scenarios where your product takes centre stage (take a look at a recent project that Freixenet ICE ran with trnd). By sharing insider information and products to try for themselves, you provide the social currency that ensures people are eager to tell their friends.

5. Give your existing consumers VIP status

Treat your loyal customers like the stars that they are and give them the VIP treatment by inviting them to become brand insiders. This could be through allowing them to trial your product before it comes to market or simply through engaging, value-added communication. Let them know just why your brand aligns with their sensibilities and what you’re doing differently (this could be in terms of sustainability, traceability, diversity etc.). Consumers are never going to repeat your marketing slogan but give them something genuinely interesting (through specialist insider info) and not only will they feel more of a connection to your brand but also have a genuine desire to share your message.

Why work with trnd?

trnd inspire your market to do the marketing and activate everyday influencers to become the strongest marketing weapon you possess. We offer an alternative to traditional media, by facilitating a collaboration between brand and consumers as a strategic element in the existing marketing mix. We’re in a unique position to enable brands access to thousands of households in a plannable, measureable way.

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