We´ve written countless times about how adopting a hard-sell approach to content marketing is entirely the wrong way to go about it. Content marketing is, or should be, all about adding value to your customers´ online experience by offering up articles that are both unique and useful – ideally open to engagement and discussion, too.
The same notion of subtlety extends to social media marketing, with brands getting nowhere if they use the platform to simply shout “buy from us!” at its followers. It´s for that reason that brands with the highest number of followers often take a jokey, almost tongue-in-cheek tone for posts on social media.
However, endeavours in content and social media marketing are somewhat futile if the reader is not navigating towards your products, or services, from the messages and content you post. Also, what about when you have a product that only appeals to a certain type of person? Do all your other followers have to endure content which is irrelevant to them as you go about targeting this smaller section of your audience?
Facebook to the rescue
Luckily, Facebook has acknowledged the problem and come up with solution… “Dark posts” might sound a little malicious, but both you and your followers will be thankful that they exist – even if you or they weren´t aware that they do.
Dark posts, or unpublished Page posts as Facebook calls them, allow brands to create a post that will appear in News Feed but not on your Page.
If you´re struggling to get your head around the benefit of such a feature, think about a time when you viewed a company Page on Facebook, with the intent of hitting “Like”, only to find they simply post ad after ad – did you still click “Like”?
Keeping followers interested
Meanwhile, for those that already signed up to like your Page, they may well go back on their decision if you flood their timeline with stuff they don´t want to see. Dark posts also help you keep hard-earned followers on side, without having to be overly self-aware about the amount of content you´re putting out into the public domain.
Facebook´s Targeted Posts went some way to helping brands get their message to only the sub-section of their audience to which it applied, however posts sent via this method still live on the Page for all those within the target.
Tuning up messages
It is also limited in terms of how you tune your post, with marketers only able to target by: location, language, gender, age, relationship/education status and gender interested in. It´s all about targeting by keywords these days, isn´t it?
Dark posts give Page managers complete control over who sees what message. So, if you want to target only those with specific job titles, you can.
Another advantage of creating dark posts is the ability to test messages before you roll them out to all. If you´d wanted to test the waters prior to dark posts, you would have had little choice but to use a process of trial and error with your entire customer base – hardly “testing” then…
Also, it´s worth noting that a dark post doesn´t have to be a status update – currently Facebook supports photos, videos and offers, too.
So, what you waiting for? Give this hidden gem of a feature a go. For those that have already experimented, what success have you had with dark posts? Any tips for those looking to make the most of them?
April 29, 2015