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Organisation-led engagement with consumers in hidden social spaces

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Technological advances, the internet and social media provide consumers with instant means of communication where participants engage in the exchange of information about innumerable topics. Although most of these communications occur in the public domain within online groups and communities, some forms of communication are private and obscured from public view. Academics and practitioners refer to this supply of hidden social sharing and conversations that are invisible to most analytics programs as ‘dark social’. This conceptual paper explores these communications, with respect to instant messaging, and considers how organisations can lead conversations to engage consumers in hidden social spaces. This is particularly apt when hidden social conversations concern brands, products and services as the subject of the communication. When appropriate to engage with consumers in hidden social, organisations must be clear on their role in the process and approach their hidden social connections with mindfulness and consistency.
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Keywords: customer engagement; dark social; hidden social; instant messaging; social media

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: June 1, 2019

More about this publication?
  • Journal of Digital & Social Media Marketing is the essential peer-reviewed, professional journal for all those involved in the marketing of products or services using digital channels. Its overriding goal is to provide an authoritative, practitioner-focused forum to support the professional development of all those working in, or entering, the field. As such, the Journal's content is both of direct relevance to the practice of digital marketing and intellectually rigorous.

    Topics range from measuring and improving digital media effectiveness and ROI to search engine optimisation, from social media marketing to partner marketing, from mobile marketing to email marketing, website design, display advertising, pay per click and detailed marketing analytics. In short the Journal focuses on any of the established and emerging digital media, tools and practices requiring new approaches to marketing, branding and understanding customer behavior and attitudes.

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