But what exactly is it?
Before I explain dark social, let's recap how normal social works: most social networks give consumers the ability to mention and interact with brands. This is great, as brands can check in on these mentions for insights, issues, feedback, and praise. It’s great for customer service, marketing, and even the product team. Yet when it comes to all mentions of your brand on social, this is like viewing the actual conversation through a pinhole.
Customers must go out of their way to mention brands, using hashtags and @ symbols, and unless they’re feeling inspired and go through extra effort, you can’t see or track it. Hence the term “dark social.”
And dark social accounts for as much as 84% of all brand mentions, according to RadiumOne.
Why might customers prefer to go dark? There are a variety of reasons:
- It’s the default. Objects at rest remain at rest, and many customers simply don’t think to mention brands.
- Customers have candid conversations. The conversations on social mirror those in real life and just as you don’t think to text Coca Cola every time you buy a soda, customers don’t tag their casual peer-to-peer thoughts.
- To avoid conflict. Sometimes customers would rather complain about a poor experience than take the effort to raise their hand. This is immensely valuable feedback for all teams, and yet it often goes unnoticed.
- They’re unaware of the benefits. Many consumers are still unaware that #SocialFirst brands are listening and able help on social.
If consumers are commenting on your Facebook or Instagram ads (and they often do), you can’t hear it.
Basically, any time consumers message their friends, post without mentions, or comment on the Facebook or Instagram ads that your marketing team has paid so much to run, you can’t hear it. And, ironically, it’s precisely these conversations that are the most interesting for your business to hear! With them, you can:
- Surface customer service issues and resolve them to build loyalty
- Reveal candid reactions to marketing campaigns
- Provide invaluable product feedback
And what brand couldn’t use more of that? Dark social an invaluable axis around which customer service, marketing, and the product team can align…if only you could access it, right?
Yet you can, and you can do it with the social customer care tool that you already have, provided that it can scan dark social (like Conversocial). Do this, and you’ll supercharge your marketing and support teams in the following ways.
The advantages of a platform that monitors dark social:
Improve the speed and quality of your support
Social customer care is proven to be cheaper, faster, and leads to more long-term customer loyalty. And by monitoring unnoticed mentions, you support team can invite customers into direct message conversations for quick and effective resolution.
Increase the ROI of your marketing campaigns
Brands who collect direct and immediate feedback on marketing or advertising campaigns have more ammunition with which to test, optimize, and improve future ones. And only candid dark social mentions will go beyond the data to provide actual ideas and voice-of-customer terminology for what consumers would have liked to have seen.
Empower product marketing with feedback
By monitoring the good, the bad, and the ugly of what customers are actually saying, product marketers and development teams can take real-time feedback into account mid-sprint, and surface great leads for customer interviews.
Dark social is a vast, untapped sea of opportunity for customer service teams and marketers and just as with social customer care in general, customers are driving the conversation: Whether you engage with it or not, they certainly plan to.
Will you be there to join in? Set up a call now to learn more about how you can shed light on the insights your brand is getting on Dark Social.
"Customers must go out of their way to mention brands, using hashtags and @ symbols, and unless they’re feeling inspired and go through extra effort, you can’t see or track it. Hence the term “dark social.”"