How – and Why – to Create and Use Facebook Dark Posts

How to do a dark post on facebook

This may seem like one of those enigmatic Zen Koan riddles, but I promise you it’s not: When can an unpublished Facebook post be more powerful than a published Facebook post?

First, let me strip away one of the layers of mystery: By “unpublished” I mean not published to your Facebook timeline. As you know, the items small businesses publish on their timelines seem to be getting into the newsfeeds of fewer and fewer followers. This, of course, is part of Facebook’s campaign to increase ad revenue. And to be fair to Facebook, their management wants to keep the typical user’s news feed sharply focused on the posts that will interest each user.

This has given rise to an ad that is going by the unfortunately sinister label of a Facebook dark post. Your next questions may be “What is a Facebook dark post?” and “How do I create a dark post on Facebook?” – so let’s go there.

Facebook dark posts

Dark posts on Facebook are simply posts that are not distributed organically; you pay for them to be distributed to a specific group of people or a broadly defined demographic you specifically want to see a certain post of yours. If you have a decent sized fan base on Facebook, or a good email list, those people can be your targeted audience when you create a Facebook dark post.

However, navigating through some of the steps is a little confusing, so let me share a handful screen shots and instructions that should help get you started. The first step is to create your post in a Word document, or have any other materials (a photo for example) you want to share via this “dark” post ready.

The next thing you’ll do from your Facebook homepage is select “Create Ad.” Follow that with “Boost Post” when you’re asked what the objective of your campaign is. At that point you can select a post you have already published, or create a new post. (This is the option I was preparing you for above when I suggested you have your post materials ready).

first two steps in creating a facebook dark post

Your Facebook dark post audience

After you create your post you’ll be asked to set your audience for your ad. This is where you can target the exact fans, followers or customers that you want. You can identify them by Facebook id, email addresses, phone numbers or mobile advertiser IDs.

create custom facebook dark post audience

create custom audience

After this point you’ll be asked to set your budget and then you’re ready to rumble. But before we leave the topic, let’s quickly look at why you might want to use a dark page post on Facebook.

First, as I said above, there’s a good chance that many of your organic posts aren’t reaching as many Facebook users as you would like. And among the people they are reaching, some of your posts may not be of much interest. In other words, if people are beginning to see your posts as spam, it’s better that they don’t see them at all!

The key to success with any list – whether it be a snail mail list, email list or list of Facebook followers – is segmentation. Once you know how to create a dark post on Facebook, you can use this tool to match posts to the right segments of your lists. A well composed and targeted post to a handful of people is far more valuable than a random shotgun blast to whoever Facebook decides to show your post.

Further, you can use these Facebook dark posts to do some A/B testing. Be sure to include some kind of call to action in your post so you can measure results. In this way, a Facebook dark post can be an inexpensive and rapid “test lab” for your social media marketing efforts.

Finally, you have absolute control over who sees your marketing materials as well as how much you’re willing to spend for these posts. There will never be any surprises to your bank account!