What is dark social sharing, and is it affecting your marketing campaigns?

Dark social sharing is when consumers share messages that are untraceable by traditional means for establishing marketing success metrics. This trend has been increasing in popularity as people share links and content with their friends via text message, email or private messages, rather than retweets and shares on Facebook. More companies are recognizing that their content might be achieving a far greater reach than they are able to measure, but are unsure of what to do about it.

However, this trend may not be as negative as some believe, and there are strategies that can be used to leverage it effectively.

According to Tnooz, the problem with dark social sharing comes when companies aren't able to track clickbacks and how many consumers actually view a message. With mobile text marketing this is further complicated by the ability to share messages directly with contacts. However, by utilizing three basic tactics, firms can more effectively avoid these problems and leverage dark social sharing to their advantage:

Use branded URLs – The main trick to leveraging dark social is to use a branded URL shortener that reports clicks back to you. This eliminates customers from sharing an untrackable URL and provides you with analyzable data regardless of how the link is shared.

Be consistent – Consistency across channels with a branded URL will help optimize reach and ensure that you are gathering as much data as possible to boost the efficiency of the marketing campaign.

Encourage the trend – Simply by acknowledging dark social sharing, you can combat it's negative effects. If consumers know you support them sharing links, your branded URLs will be more effective overall.

Of course, first you need to build a successful SMS marketing strategy to get an audience for your campaign.