The Deep Creep: spooky secret or brand booster?

Brand booster

Everybody snoops on social – here’s why brands should do it too…

Around this time of year, in true seasonal fashion, the ghoulish cousins of the internet come alive. The streets are awash with spooky ghost servers, swashbuckling pirate bays, and creepy web-crawlers.

So, it’s a more appropriate time than ever to discuss one of the internet’s ghostlier practices: the ‘deep creep’.

What is a ‘deep creep’?

It’s defined in Urban Dictionary as ‘an intensive, rigorous investigation or creeping of a particular person or thing (especially via social media).’

But deep creeping is becoming more normal – in fact, 90% of consumers admit to deep creeping at some point in their lives.

Isn’t this a bad thing?

There have always been negative connotations, but we are beginning to see past them. Brands are now discovering ways to utilize the deep creep on social media in a way that benefits both them and the consumer.

So what if practicing the art of the deep creep actually helped us form better relationships with our audiences on social media?

The fact is, social media users want to engage, and this will only become truer with time. Sprout Social says 49% of millennials follow brands on social, compared to 25% of baby boomers, and 30% of millennials already engage with a brand on social at least once a month.

So effective use of the deep creep can reap rewards for brands.

Why it works

A deeper analysis of a person’s online posts and activity can help us to figure out who they are and how we could engage with them in the most valuable way.

Our agency network friends over at FleishmanHillard (FH) took Iconoculture’s 145 human values and sorted them into 8 categories:

  • knowledge
  • people
  • experiences
  • things
  • status
  • connection
  • individuality
  • creativity

Your content will likely put you (at least loosely) into one of these categories.

If someone is mostly interested in things, they could be engaged with by showing them cool new products. If they’re more interested in experiences, they could be engaged with by encouraging them to try something new or exciting.

It opens up endless possibilities for brands who are willing to devote some time to deep creeping.

Case study: Nike

Nike are experts in cutting-edge sportswear and social media creepery.

Their community mangers spend 8 minutes deep creeping on any person they engage with on social. They study bios, photos and captions, learning what sports their follower is into, their goals, and their life priorities.

This propels Nike beyond the point of surface-level interaction with their followers.

In one example, when a follower had just started running again after a long break from the sport, Nike engaged with them and they had a meaningful conversation. A few days later, the same community manager followed back up to see how the rest of their week went.

Nike have shown us that in very little time, we can understand a lot about our followers and offer them something really valuable just by quickly analysing their social profiles.

Three manageable steps

It would be impossible to do such extensive analysis with everybody, so FH recommend condensing it into three steps:

  • Do the quick and easy interaction – liking content.
  • Do the more difficult interaction – by deep creeping.
  • Cut out all surface level, middle-of-the-road interaction.

Sure, some might say it’s a bit weird. But as Nike would say, just do it.