It’s hard to pick a better Joker from the Batman movies. The original Jack Nicholson version was dark and funny and had the psychopathic flare that only Jack can bring to the table. Heath Ledger’s Joker brought critical acclaim and an Oscar win because of the raw grittiness in the way he threw himself into the role.
We shouldn’t choose. We shouldn’t have to. Both performances can thrive on their own merits and be watched for generations to come.
The same sort of toss-up applies to Facebook and Twitter posting, particularly when it comes to advertising for business. Everyone knows about the public posting component. These are the posts that appear on the Facebook pages or Twitter profiles of the business and fill the news feeds and timelines of the business’ followers. The unpublished side, known to some as “dark posts”, are usually not known by the business community and often ignored by marketing companies.
If a social media company isn’t taking advantage of both of them, you should run away and pretend like they don’t exist. Both are extremely important to the success of a business’ social media presence. If anything, the dark posts are even more important than the public posts. Let’s define them, then go into why they’re both so important.
Not much to say here since you all already know what they are. If you post to your “wall” on Facebook or to your Twitter profile, you’re posting publicly. These posts appear whenever anyone visits your page or profile. They also appear on the Facebook news feeds and Twitter timelines of those who are following you (though your actual reach with advertising on either platform is normally pretty abysmal, even embarrassing).
These are the unpublished posts on Facebook and Twitter. They’re the ads that don’t appear on your page or profile, but fill the news feeds and timelines of the audiences you select. They aren’t bound by time – they run until you replace them or tell them to stop.
Dark posts are avoided by many companies for three reasons:
- They aren’t automated. You can’t schedule them with Buffer or Hootsuite, for example, and an API feed doesn’t work. This makes them non-scalable, which means that only nimble companies like the automotive social media folks, our friends at Dealer Authority, have the ability to manage them for their clients.
- They aren’t popular. For whatever reason, both Facebook and Twitter have done terrible jobs at letting businesses know the power of dark posts. This is good for those who are taking advantage of them because the competition in most industries is minimal. Of course, that also means social media companies can get away with not selling them because few businesses are asking about them.
- They aren’t profitable… for the social media company. Unlike Google PPC where even small businesses can have monthly budgets in the thousands or tens of thousands of dollars, social media dark post advertising is usually in the hundreds or thousands per month. Those charging a percentage can’t make much money and those charging a flat often have to overcharge to make them worthwhile.
The thing is that these types of posts have the strongest ROI, higher than with public posts. For this reason, social media companies must offer them if their goal is to truly help their clients.
Why You Need Both
By themselves, neither is exceptionally effective. Sure, you can get incredible branding and exposure through a public posting strategy with a small advertising budget and you can get great traffic to your website through a dark posting campaign with a slightly higher budget, but it’s in the combination of both types of posting that a proper strategy can be delivered.
Get the buzz with public posts. Get the traffic with dark posts. It’s not a hard concept to understand, but it’s strangely a hard service (for some) to deliver.