Dark posting – it might sound sinister, but actually it’s not as scary as the name suggests.
In fact, it’s a social advertising format with several advantages, which we will run through in this post, but what’s particularly exciting is its potential when combined with influencer marketing.
Many brands, even those that have fully incorporated influencer marketing into their marketing mix, miss out on this opportunity to further maximize their return on investment and make the most of the influencer content they have already commissioned and paid for.
Here’s how to use dark posting as a powerful solution to boost your influencer marketing results.
What is dark posting?
At its core, dark posts are simply targeted ads that don’t appear on your timeline, or in the feeds of your followers (like boosted or organic posts), rather, they show up as sponsored content in the feeds of users you’re specifically targeting.
On Facebook dark posts are called just that (Facebook invented the format), on Twitter they’re promoted-only tweets, while on Instagram all advertising is in fact by default dark posting as none of the ads feature on brand’s feed.
The appeal of dark posting is that you can advertise as much as you want without making your brand social media pages look spammy to your followers.
With the highly specific targeting, you can design ads that will resonate for a portion of your target customers, show only that target group the ad, and not risk alienating your other followers who the ad would not resonate with and who might unfollow your brand pages should they repeatedly see irrelevant posts in your feed or timeline.
How can it boost your influencer marketing?
When it comes to influencer marketing, dark posting content from an influencer collaboration offers an easy solution to retarget their audience.
By selecting the target group of your dark post to match the audience of your influencer you can seamlessly show them again your influencer content, reminding them of your brand in the context of content they already enjoyed seeing, thus making it likely that instead of being annoyed by your ad they will have a positive reaction to it, possibly even revisiting the content again.
For example, if you selected your influencer because their audience comprised of mums in their 30s living in New York, you can set the same demographics, interests and location as the target group for your dark post and catch the same people your influencer is resonating with.
This would be the audience of the influencer and also people who may not have come across your influencer yet but who would still find the content relevant and enjoyable/helpful.
If you plan within your campaign to dark post your influencer’s content, it is necessary to agree this with the influencer beforehand as it is usually the case that the influencer retains the usage rights of their content.
During the negotiation phase of your discussions with your influencer, agree with them that you can reuse the content for ads. The influencer may ask for an additional fee for this, but normally small and certainly much less than the time and money you will put into creating a unique ad.
Because your dark post will in fact promote the influencer as well as your brand, and as stated before could grow the influencer’s audience by showing their content to relevant demographics for their channel/feed, you can negotiate them down to a minimal price for reusing their content by explaining the win-win solution for both sides.
Why retarget your influencer’s audience?
One of the great misconceptions about influencer marketing is that you can only tap into an influencer’s audience as a one-off, the key assumption being that if the audience sees the content and does not convert then they will never convert.
This is a false assumption that is costing brands a huge proportion of the customers they could have gained from their influencer marketing efforts.
In the same way as with television advertising, or indeed any advertising, many target customers need more than one touch point with your brand before they convert.
This makes retargeting highly valuable and essential for driving the return on investment that makes influencer marketing appealing in the first place.
By dark posting your influencer content back to their audience you are fulfilling several more touch points that will bring in more product/brand awareness and downloads of your game.
It is also more cost-effective. Your influencer content is content you have already paid for, it makes no sense not to reuse it and get the most for your money. Similarly, if you had a long term collaboration with an influencer, the costs of reusing their content for ads could be even less.
Why use dark posting specifically to reuse your influencer content?
Dark posting in collaboration with an influencer offers another avenue of creativity with your advertising.
One method is to repost the same content your influencer already prepared and published about your product or brand, another approach is to work with the influencer to create unique content for the dark post ad.
This can be related to their original content in some way, but will be seen by their audience, the same as the group you have targeted with your dark post, as extra to what they already encountered. As such the dark post can actually add more value for your target customers, something that makes them feel more positively about your collaboration and about the campaign in general.
Further, publishing fresh content, something you could agree as a package deal with the influencer, builds the feeling of authenticity regarding the influencer working with your brand – the influencer must really like and endorse your product if they are putting out all this content about it.
Also, the ad itself is more intriguing for your target customers as they view your brand as a way of getting more content from an influencer they are interested in.
Analyzing the metrics from your dark post can further give you more of an insight into the return on investment of your influencer collaboration and help you plan further influencer marketing, for instance whether you should work again with an influencer, or what type of content elicits the best response from your target customers.
Thus, by dark posting the influencer content, you have in effect more data and feedback on the influencer themselves as well as your partnership with them.
Lastly because of the specific nature of dark posting, and the fact you are able to pin-point precisely the target group you want to see your ad, the format lends itself very well to A/B testing.
With the same content from the influencer you can repackage it for the ad in different ways – new text, different calls to action, etc., to optimize not only your dark post ads but also to understand the kind of titles, thumbnails, content topics that resonate best with your target customer to optimize future influencer collaborations.
Dark posting ads that reuse or enhance your influencer content are a powerful solution to retargeting your influencer’s audience and will help you maximize the return on investment of your influencer marketing.