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Posted on 04.03.2017

Dark Social 101

If you or your organization create content for social media and analyze your results, you’ve probably come across the term dark social. Though the term itself is slightly ambiguous, its definition is relatively simple: dark social is the practice of sharing content privately. Instead of sharing a link or article openly via social media, one copies and pastes links or content into private channels to send to others. Private channels can include instant messaging programs, texting or messaging apps and email. Ultimately, dark social describes any web traffic that’s not credited to a known source, such as a social network or a Google search.

So, what?

Dark social is significant because it contributes a large amount of web traffic. According to RadiumOne, dark social shares can make up anywhere between 69 to 84 percent of traffic globally. Additionally, it creates a dark spot for businesses and marketers trying to keep tabs on where their web traffic is coming from and which content is garnering engagement.

If you can’t track it, what can you do about it?

Here are some steps you can take to make your content more easily shareable and trackable, reducing the number of hidden, private shares through dark social.

Make sharing easier by:

  1. Shortening links – with a tool like Bitly - makes them more appealing to share (and track)
  2. Strategically placing share buttons so they appear in an obvious place for the reader to click
  3. Include a pre-written post when the reader clicks on the share button for quick and easy posting

Use dark social tools, such as:

  • Po.st – their Share Text and ShareURL features allow readers to copy and share specific text with their social networks
  • ShareThis – offers link shortening and social button capabilities
  • GetSocial.io – claims to help you follow 100 percent of your content’s shares

With these tips, you can better follow your content’s sharing journey and track where it’s going, who is sharing, and use that information to drive your marketing efforts.  

 

Bailey Wimmer is an Assistant Account Executive at Lovell. Connect with Bailey at: Bailey@lovell.com

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