Anonymous Social Networks – Social marketing’s emerging opportunity

Social marketing has gathered steam in recent years and positively impacts other marketing channels when properly aligned. The latest to the social sharing party are anonymous applications Secret and Whisper, which enable users to anonymously share thoughts to a public network. Other users can interact with these posts much like they do on other social networks by commenting, sharing, or liking. The primary difference between these networks: Whisper lets users post short, anonymous, messages for anyone else using the service while Secret lets users post messages viewable to anyone on their contact list.

Marketers who routinely look for emerging opportunities have already taken notice, as several brands jumped on board to run beta campaigns. GAP became the first major brand to dip their toes in the water, debuting to a mixed reaction, and setting the stage for others looking to incorporate these tactics. As marketers seek to uncover unique strategies for these new anonymous networks, they can rely on a few key strategies used in other social marketing campaigns:

  • Interact, don’t promote: In-your-face marketing tactics on social networks annoys users; imagine how they’ll feel when a network promoting secrecy and personal space gets invaded by brands using those same tactics. Rather than promoting products and services, marketers need to create and join conversations relevant to their brand to engage users on a personal level to build trust. Only then can marketers do some brand focused boosting. Remember, the user anonymity means brutal honesty- which can go viral in a hurry.  
  • Listen socially: Brand marketers should monitor their mentions closely and react appropriately when the opportunity presents itself. The upside for marketers? Anonymity offers raw, unfiltered insight into how people really feel about a brand that may not be available with other social channels. Listen closely to what users say and use that feedback wisely.
  • Start slow: Anonymous networks present a new opportunity, but that doesn’t mean brands need to jump immediately into the deep end. Marketers should ease their way into the space by developing a strategy, monitoring reactions to other brands’ tactics, and determine where and how to be effective. Only then can they make educated decisions and prioritize emerging networks into the overall marketing plan.

For now, unquantifiable metrics make anonymous social networks a mystery when it comes to critical KPIs, but brands that succeed in adding these networks to their marketing repertoire may have a leg up on the competition. No one knows for sure yet the staying power of these social secrecy networks, but with brands looking to capitalize, those who apply marketing lessons learned in other social endeavors will likely surpass those that don’t.


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