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Dark Post and Organic Posts Explained: What Works Best

Brian Peters

Aug 17, 2020

You’ve heard of organic posts and boosted posts, but have you heard of a “dark post” on social media? 

Dark posts are unique, targeted ads. The only difference is that compared to boosted posts and organic posts, dark posts don’t appear on a user’s timeline organically. They only show up as sponsored content in the feeds of the users you are targeting directly.

Dark posts can be an effective way to test specific messages and calls-to-action with audience segments or different social platforms. Boosted posts, on the other hand, allow you to extend the reach of a post you’ve already published to your various social media accounts. Finally, your best organic posts can later be used as boosted posts to increase engagement.

So what’s the best social media strategy? We’re breaking down each major social media network and what type of content works best.

Table of Contents

Facebook: Dark Posts + Boosted Posts

Did you know that 76% of American consumers purchased a product after seeing a brand’s social post? Or that 69% of all adults in the US are using Facebook? 

Facebook is the perfect platform to perfect your paid social media strategy using boosted posts and dark posts. The reason being is that only a small percentage of your organic posts will actually be seen by your followers in the feed.

Boosted posts and dark posts on Facebook are the best option to get your content in front of more people.

Example of Facebook Boosted Post

When it comes to boosted posts on Facebook, the best strategy is to boost your top-performing organic content. Let your audience decide what they like best. Hair Works strategically boosts top content as a way to keep their Facebooks ads fresh:

Example of a Facebook Boosted Post

Example of a Dark Post

One important reason that brands utilize dark posts is to complete A/B split testing and refine and optimize ads, testing different elements and audiences.

Users don’t need to be following your account to see your content. For example, I don’t follow Squarespace, but I was targeted with a well-placed dark post on Facebook: 

With dark posts, you have more control over what your audience sees, and an easy way to experiment with expanding your audience to new segments, and see how they react.

Example of a Facebook Dark Post

Instagram: Organic Posts + Boosted Posts + Dark Posts

Instagram is one of the largest and fastest-growing platforms on the planet. Users of all kinds flood the platform every day to follow their favorite brands, celebrities, influencers, friends, and family. 

That is why we recommend using all types of content on Instagram. 

No matter what type of content you are creating for Instagram, it should all work together to tell one cohesive story. Your organic content should fit the narrative of your boosted content, which should also reinforce your advertising (dark posts) content.

Athletic Brewing, for example, takes advantage of dynamic content and ads across the Instagram feed and Instagram Stories. This allows them to meet and engage with their audience (and potential customers) on various surfaces:

Instagram Feed

Instagram Organic Post

Instagram Stories: 

The best part about Instagram advertising is that brands have the option to post photo ads, video ads, carousel ads, or Stories ads. These different types of interactive content can help increase engagement and conversion. 

Fact: 130 million Instagram users tap on shopping posts every month.

Instagram Stories Post

Twitter: Organic Posts

Today, more content is produced on Twitter and other social media platforms than ever before in history. It's content overload and many social media users are feeling it.

But with content overload comes an increasing demand for high-quality content on Twitter. That is your brand's opportunity to stand out in the feed using only organic content.

There are a few key strategies for ensuring that your organic content performs well on Twitter. Those include:

  • Establishing your brand voice. Your brand voice should be natural, engaging, and written as if it were a real human talking
  • Actively engaging with your community. Twitter is not only a great place to post original content, but it’s also a platform to connect with audience members. Use comments, direct messages, and Retweets to create a thriving community.
  • Experiment with rich media content. Your Twitter content should include a variety of media types such as videos, photos, GIFs, memes, text-only, links, and more. Use an array of content at your disposal to switch it up and keep things fresh.

CROSSNET creates on-brand video content to help showcase their product on Twitter, drive traffic to their website, and increases purchases:

Twitter organic post from CROSSNET

Notice how natural the language in the Tweet sounds, and they threw in an emoji for a little extra personality.

YouTube: Organic Posts

YouTube is the second-largest search engine globally, right behind Google. That’s not bad for a social media platform. Billions of hours of video are watched on YouTube every month by audiences around the world.

One of the great things about YouTube is that it’s the perfect platform for both educational and entertaining content. Meaning, that if your brand is much more functional (educational) than it is glamorous (entertaining), there are sure to be people on YouTube that want to learn from you.

REI, for example, recently created an entire YouTube series call “How-to from Home”, which features everyday people sharing some at-home tips and tricks for outdoor lovers and adventurers alike: 

YouTube organic post from REI

Remember, YouTube is more than just a social media platform, it’s a search engine. The same SEO rules that you would apply to your website are relevant to YouTube. A consumer and audience intelligence platform can come in handy to research how certain keywords and trends are evolving and even help you zero in on ideas for your next video. Also, check out our YouTube SEO guide!

Key Takeaways

Each major social media platform is like its own secret society. There are unspoken nuances, rules of engagement, trends, influencers, and types of content that work best. The insights from this article are just a start to what’s possible with organic posts, boosted posts, and dark posts. 

When building a social media strategy, it’s important for your brand to experiment early and often with different types of content. What works on Facebook won’t hold true for YouTube, and vice-versa.  

Social media needs its next great brand. So get started with your Meltwater social media management suite