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The Power of ‘Dark’ Social Platforms

July 17, 2021
Author: Jasmine Waters

We’ve probably all wanted to wipe out social media accounts clean at some point or another. Historically, when brands have made this move, it’s got people talking. Leaving their followers in the dark (literally) is a high risk move, but many brands are now finding it comes with a high reward. What does ‘going dark’ entail, and how can it work in a brand’s favour?

What is ‘going dark’?

Although celebrities have been doing this for a while, the first notable brand to ‘go dark’ was Bottega Veneta. Leaving the press and consumers to speculate on the possible reasons why, the strategy worked to draw fresh attention to the brand’s next move. The key to its success was the promise of an exciting rebrand. Many brands have gone onto replicate this effect, attracting industry attention while increasing website traffic and making sure to retrieve valuable customer data. However, the strategy does come with potential risks. In the short-term, brands may find that their immediate sales dip, while those that don’t have as strong of a digital presence may find it’s not a strategy that can see them through. Without an existing outer network, a temporary social media blackout may not be the answer.

Why should brands consider it?

Although it’s cool to break the marketing rulebook, there needs to be clear communication on why a brand decides to ‘go dark’ in the first place. When deciding to take a temporary break, there still needs to be a clear tone of voice and ethos. Looking at things like long-term goals and what new consumers could possibly get out of a complete brand refresh can help decide if this is the right move. Will it alienate existing an existing customer base? Successfully answering these questions also means brands are more likely to avoid stunt PR. If seen as a cheap gimmick, a social media break may have the opposite impact on sales and engagement.

Even so, not every brand refresh needs to be marked with a clean slate – it’s all about choosing the right timing. If it’s the right fit for a brand, the reasons why a social media hiatus is taking place needs to be communicated clearly, in-keeping with a brand’s existing personality. Every action needs intention, so all platforms remain consistent and unified, even if they’re not active. Keeping one eye on any potential issues while a brand is gone is also an essential tactic. Finally, consumers need time to adjust, get acquainted with a brand’s new direction. With all these ingredients, a powerful comeback will be worth its weight in long-term gains.

Image source: https://www.evokeengage.com/blog/why-now-is-not-the-time-to-go-dark-on-social-media


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