Getting to grips with dark social to help build your brand

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Teens are the biggest drivers of online ‘dark social’ traffic, which often blurs the line between private and public social media activity. You’re probably using it without even realising! 

If you’re looking to get your creative business or artwork seen by more people, dark social could help to promote organic online growth and bring in new fans or customers. 

You don’t always need to pay big money for advertisers these days – sometimes it can all happen independently. 


Understanding dark social as a marketing tactic 

But what exactly is dark social? It’s a common word used to describe any online interaction or click that can’t be traced by third party marketers. 

It usually applies to WhatsApp or Facebook messages, which are encrypted, and can also apply to Snapchat or private emails. Advertisers can’t see who you’re sending this type of content to, which makes it ‘dark’.

It’s increasingly being used by big companies like Adidas, PlayStation, and Starbucks, but it can also be a useful tool for anyone with a brand or project they want to get off the ground. To be clear, we’re not talking about the dark web here, which is an entirely different kettle of fish that allows you to surf the web completely undetected.



How can I use it?

All this might just sound like fancy jargon if you’re not totally savvy with all things tech, and that’s fair enough. All you really need to know is that dark socials are usually short-form, shareable bits of content that are designed to be sent across messenger services and between friends.

Consider designing GIFS that use artwork and include specific company or social media names. If you’re an illustrator or designer, it may be worth creating original animations and reactionary content that can be easily shared. Simple GIF creation tools are easy to find online if you’re unsure of how to make them – we’ve used ones like EZGIF before that do the trick nicely.



Another nifty dark social tip is to get friends and professional connections to share work. Word of mouth goes a long way, especially as far as dark social content is concerned, and the more organic clicks or views a business garners, the better the algorithms will reward you.

It may sound a little dystopian, but jumping through the hoops of our tech overloads is the name of the game these days. See which of your friends are willing to post work on Instagram, Snapchat, and Facebook. It’s a great way to advertise without spending a ton of cash.

If you do have a little money to spend, reaching out to small influencer pages or YouTubers as sponsors can help hugely. These types of advertisements do very well with younger viewers and are far more effective than running bog-standard ads as part of paid packages.

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