‘Dark Social’ is the Only Social

This video got me thinking.

Every company I’ve started, website I’ve built, book I’ve published, or project I’ve launched began without any measurement or attribution or automated funnel or sophisticated lead capture.

They began with me talking, writing, podcasting, learning out loud, creating a digital body of work, community, and vision around a certain set of ideas, products, or services.

None of that stuff can really be measured. It’s “influence” or “brand”, which sounds fluffy and silly. But it has been everything in these endeavors.

The more sophisticated stuff is great. Once you have some traction, slapping some science on the reach and customer journey helps improve conversions at the margin. But the bulk of the work isn’t at the margin, it’s at the foundation.

The unmeasurable stuff is the dynamite that blows the rockface to bits. The automated, attributable stuff is the cleanup crew combing through the rubble and sorting the results into appropriate buckets for processing.

You don’t make a bang or create a category with finely tuned marketing stacks.

You do it by building reputation and trust in a relevant ecosystem through content, social capital, and value creation.

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