Four steps to build a Dark Social strategy

Dark SocialIs this social media’s opportunity to move beyond the social networks? Image: Shutterstock.

From responsive social marketing to viral videos, Dark Social is one of the developments to occur in social marketing that I have been most optimistic about in recent years. I’m optimistic about Dark Social because it could expand social-led thinking from beyond the social networks into the sphere of Customer Experience.  By doing so, social media marketing can have a greater (measured) impact on the path to conversion.  In particular, the consideration phase.

What is Dark Social?

Dark Social is the “social sharing of content that occurs outside what can be measured by Web analytics programs. This mostly occurs when a link is sent via online chat or email, rather than shared over a social media platform, from which referrals can be measured.”

Dark Social first appeared in The AtlanticAlexis Madrigal from The Atlantic defined the term in his article.  Pulling together examples from The New York Times, BuzzFeed, and Facebook, this post highlights four steps agencies and client-side social media teams can follow to build a Dark Social strategy.

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Crafting an Organic-Paid Social Media Marketing Strategy

Recently I was asked to speak before a very engaged audience at the Sydney Online Marketing group. The presentation was titled ‘The Transition from Organic to Paid Social Media Marketing’. I’ve embedded the presentation at the bottom of this post. Proceeds from the evening went to, to support earthquake relief efforts in Nepal.


My three key messages were:

  1. The social networks unrelenting drive to generate ad revenue is redefining the Social Media marketing landscape.
  2. Marketers need to understand and embrace the opportunities provided by Organic and Paid Social.
  3. Media attribution can reveal the hidden value (and ROI) generated by paid Social Media.

Here’s a brief overview of the thinking behind the presentation:


Marketers need to clearly understand the distinct objectives that Organic and Paid can achieve. That requires understanding the elements that define Organic and Paid as distinct forms of Social marketing. [Read more…]

If Doctors were Social Media Strategists

I was asked to speak before a class of University of Sydney medical students about building an online presence. It was an intriguing offer as I usually speak before marketers and other social media strategists.

Only to be used when helping people make an informed decision.

Only to be used when helping people make an informed decision.

In preparing for the presentation, I spent a lot of time reviewing the Australian Health Practitioner Regulatory Agency (AHPRA) advertising guidelines.  AHPRA’s advertising guidelines are built to support the principles of the profession such as provide care for people.  An example, is how the guidelines champion the benefits of advertising.  The guidelines state “advertising can be a useful way to communicate the services health practitioners offer to the public so that consumers can make informed choices”.

Social Media can be an effective channel to support consumers along their path to making a purchase decision.   But what if businesses adopted medical inspired guidelines to form Social Media marketing strategies?  Here’s some ideas what it could look like if Doctors were Social Media Strategists. [Read more…]

My three takeouts from ClickZ Live Toronto 2014

Any opportunity to lift your head out of the daily grind and access new perspectives is always a welcomed opportunity.
Looking up at the CN Tower on a misty and rainy night.

Toronto is plugged in.

I had that opportunity when I attended the ClickZ Live Toronto 2014 conference. ClickZ Live is the evolution of the SES (Search Engine Strategies) conference and positions itself as an opportunity to ‘engage customers and increase ROI by distributing your online marketing efforts across paid, owned and earned media’.  Here’s a quick overview of the three concepts that resonated with me.

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Should nearby corporations shared #BarangarooFire images on social?

Twitter has a quadrant chart that profiles content as Planned / Unplanned and Always-on / Tentpoles.  The Oreo cookie Super Bowl blackout tweet was a great example of content that sits in the Unplanned / Tentpole quadrant.

social media

View from the 28th floor of the Westpac Building – Kent Street, Sydney.

In the Sydney CBD, fire broke out in the basement of the Barangaroo building site. Barangaroo is positioned as ‘a vision that embodies all of Sydney’s unique harbour city character – the perfect place to work hard, do business or simply relax and enjoy the view.

Right beside the building site is KPMG and Westpac Bank.  I work at Westpac on the 28th floor with a clear view of the Barangaroo building site.



Therefore I found the following tweet from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s Managing Director Mark Scott particularly interesting.

I think Mr Scott’s assertion was that brands participating in social media should have a process in place to create, produce and publish content that fits in the Twitter ‘Unplanned & Tentpole’ quadrant. [Read more…]

Five signs a brand is serious about content marketing

The challenge of focusing on both quality and quantity isn't restricted to content marketing.

The challenge of focusing on both quality and quantity isn’t restricted to content marketing. (Image source: Shutterstock).

One of the biggest challenges a brand has participating in social media is maintaining an engaging and relevant presence.

It’s reasonable for a large brand to publish 3000 times a year across many social platforms (scroll down to the end of the post to see my assumptions).  Achieving both quality and quantity is a massive challenge.

For brands trying to improve quality levels it needs to effectively track the performance of its published social content.  That means analysing post types, content themes, audience engagement and the direct / indirect impact on corporate priorities (ex: brand awareness, product consideration, customer service etc).

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Three reasons why you need to integrate search and social marketing

While SEO and Social Marketing are very different, they need to be the best of friends.

While SEO and Social Marketing are very different, they need to be the best of friends.

Search and social marketing need to become more interdependent as digital marketing matures.

As Chair of ADMA’s (Australian Data Marketing Association) Search and Social Expert Group, I posted ideas  on ADMA’s blog highlighting the importance of aligning an organisation’s social and search activities.

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Why Australian social media marketing must change – Part 2

PSY, sequel

The follow-up is always the toughest.

Social media marketers find themselves in a precarious position.

As highlighted in Why Australian Social Media Marketing Must Change – Part 1, social marketers are under great pressure to justify their share of the digital marketing budget and to earn the attention of their target audience.

So what’s next for Australian social media marketers?

What’s the follow-up to a network centric social media marketing strategy? [Read more…]

Why Australian social media marketing must change – Part 1

Grizzly bear anticipates salmon

Social media marketers need to anticipate what’s next to be successful.

Relying heavily on RSS feeds to effectively do my job, the closure of Google Reader was bad news for me personally.  Although, it was good news for

Feedly is was a competitor to Google Reader and quickly became the preferred choice of Google Reader users seeking a new RSS service. Feedly announced it attracted 3 million users in the two weeks post Google’s announced closure. [Read more…]

7P’s of social media management revised

I had the good fortune to present at ADMA Forum 2012 on the topic of ‘social media management’.  I’ve embedded the SlideShare hosted presentation below (sorry – the limits  of my technical expertise have been reached!).

My presentation strategy was to provide a ‘management’ structure applicable to a broad number of organisations while offering brand relevant examples.  So I decided to create the next iteration of my 7P model.

The 7P model is a simple way to structure a corporate social media program.  It’s based on my four plus years of social media experience at Telstra.

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