Navigating Social Media Advertising: It’s Not All Black and White

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Social media concept. hands texting and checking notifications on phones and apps; crowded in a circle of phones and outstretched armsChanges to social media marketing, advertising and influencer partnerships constantly require brands to shift how they connect with their audiences. And, this social marketing mix is only expanding. Brands must put more emphasis on their social media strategies to better engage consumers in this pay-to-play world. A recent report from eMarketer found that U.S. social media ad spending is expected to increase 21.3% to $49 billion in 2021.

This consistent rise in social media advertising spending compels platforms to offer new avenues for brands to expand their reach to a broader audience. Dark posting and whitelisting are strategic ways to generate better social return on investment for your brand.

What is dark posting?

A dark post is a paid social ad that appears in the newsfeeds of a specified target audience but does not appear on the timeline of a brand’s owned and operated pages. This way, dark posts allow you to reach people who do not follow your page with unique, relevant content. Essentially, this type of post goes out to a specified, targeted audience that would otherwise not see your content. Dark posts are popularly used on Facebook and Instagram but can also be used on other platforms like LinkedIn and Twitter.

Dark posting can be a valuable option for your brand as it provides a range of more precise possibilities in social advertising. For example, if your brand is promoting a specific product or time-sensitive local event that may not apply to all of the brand’s followers, you can use a dark post to target a specific region or demographic so the content is only seen by those it applies to. The dark post does not live on your page for all to see. Utilizing dark posts as part of your social advertising strategy expands your reach and presence to select individuals tailored for your message.

What is whitelisting?

More notably, dark posting has introduced new ways for influencers and brands to partner in the form of a whitelisting campaign.

Whitelisting is a type of dark posting that is used in influencer partnerships. To execute a whitelisting campaign with an influencer, the influencer first needs to give your brand permission to access their social advertising account. From there, your brand can put paid support behind an existing sponsored post on their feed, or create a dark post from the influencer’s page.

That’s the big difference: whitelisting appears as a paid ad from the influencer’s page, not from your brand. However, you can also repurpose the influencer’s content on your own page for targeted social ads.

Whitelisting is an effective technique because it allows influencer-created content to reach audiences outside of the limits of just the influencer’s followers, to include your brand’s followers and targeted non-followers.

Why are these strategies important for my brand?

A major benefit of dark posting and/or whitelisting is the variety of new advertising options they offer your brand. Because they can align to precise objectives, they can earn more ROI for your efforts. Brands can reach new audiences without bombarding existing followers with irrelevant content.

Additionally, whitelisting allows brands to repurpose influencer content and get more value out of those partnerships.

To get the most out of your brand’s social advertising strategy, it’s best to understand all options available to you in this ever-shifting social world. Have questions? Talk to our experts about your social marketing strategy.

This publication contains general information only and Sikich is not, by means of this publication, rendering accounting, business, financial, investment, legal, tax, or any other professional advice or services. This publication is not a substitute for such professional advice or services, nor should you use it as a basis for any decision, action or omission that may affect you or your business. Before making any decision, taking any action or omitting an action that may affect you or your business, you should consult a qualified professional advisor. You acknowledge that Sikich shall not be responsible for any loss sustained by you or any person who relies on this publication.

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