Sway and Energems Win PR News’ Digital PR Award for Best Social Networking Campaign

We’re ecstatic to share that last Friday, Sway Group and client Energems Chocolate EnergyTM received the PR News’ Digital PR Award for best Social Networking campaign.

Energems, an alternative to traditional energy drinks and shots, recognized that the industry primarily targeted young males in their marketing efforts and saw an opportunity to reach out to women (e.g., busy moms getting little sleep) looking for a low-calorie, great tasting energy boost.

Working with our extended network of Massive Sway bloggers, Sway Group recruited 80 unique content publishers across the country to build brand awareness and generate positive buzz for Energems. The response was, appropriately, massive. As a direct result of the Sway Group bloggers’ efforts, Energems received more than 100,000 free sample sign-ups, more than 7.3 million impressions with 2.3 million people reached, and an increase of 44,210 Facebook fans at the completion of the first phase. The messages of convenience, great taste, low-calorie and energy boosting properties were conveyed in all sponsored content.

It was a great honor to be recognized for our hard work with an amazing and forward-thinking client, among so many notable nominees. Truly, we consider all of our campaigns winners and strive for award-worthy results with each execution.

A full recap of the luncheon and award winners can be found here.

Online Native Ads Are Held To Higher Standards Than Those On TV

Sway CEO Danielle Wiley has long discussed the disclosure requirements of online native advertising in comparison to television mandates and her recent OpEd on the topic can be found on TechCrunch.

She states,

“As the owner of an influencer management agency, I see how hard our team works with our bloggers to ensure that each online post is FTC-compliant. Our Community team educates influencers on current requirements and then our Quality Assurance team reviews all sponsored content to guarantee FTC online guidelines are met (and only releases payment to influencers once that is confirmed.)

This level of transparency is important to us as an industry. The reality is that quality content publishers have nothing to hide. The influencers we work with aren’t interested in generating a sponsored post about a brand they don’t already like and support, and they work hard to create content that is readable and entertaining, whether that content is sponsored or not.

The FTC guidelines for online content were created for the “reasonable consumer,” defined as someone who may not read an entire piece or scroll to the end of an online article. This begs the question; are the more relaxed guidelines for television disclosure also created for that reasonable consumer? I’d give that an emphatic, ‘No.’”

For the entire column, you can visit TechCrunch here.

Sway Group Named to San Francisco Business Times’ List of 100 Top Women Owned Companies in the Bay Area

On Friday afternoon, Sway Group was honored to receive recognition among women-owned businesses in the San Francisco Bay Area by the San Francisco Business Times. We made the list at #83, among an inspiring group of female-companies.

Sway Group’s influencer network began with mom blogger relationships three years ago, but has rapidly expanded to include additional verticals, including millennial, food, fashion and male influencers, across multiple social media platforms, including customized content, video, media campaigns, and dynamic events.

Upon reflection of the last three years, CEO Danielle Wiley commented, “Sway Group launched as a scrappy start-up and while maintaining our nimble mindset, we’re growing every day in anticipation of future content publishing needs. With the largest influencer network in the world, Sway Group is well-positioned to work with brands interested in adding content marketing to their strategic portfolio.”

You can view the full list in the San Francisco Business Times here and our recent coverage in the Mill Valley Patch here.

How to Make Sure Your Company is Noticed by the Right People

In advance of Danielle Wiley’s talk at the Digital Marketing Strategies Summit this October, she was interviewed on the topic of how to target your audience. A few highlights from her interview are featured below.

  • “Engage the target customer when developing your message strategy: It seems obvious, but Wiley says firms often build brand strategies without engaging the customers they hope will use the brand. When developing a digital campaign for a product targeting teen girls, she makes sure to test the message and social channel strategy with her own teen daughter.”
  • “Know each social media channel as well as its top users do: When you go into social media digital marketing, know how that channel resonates with the customers you want to reach. Wiley uses Vine as an example. One Vine user, Nash Grier, hasn’t even been heard of by most adults. But with 9.4 million mostly teen followers, he is the popular user of the 6-second video sharing service and knows exactly how to use the service, Wiley says. He’s likely to deliver a better result for a brand targeting teens on Vine than far more well-known spokespeople might, Wiley believes.”

The full article can be read here. Danielle’s upcoming presentation is titled Digital Marketing to Moms vs. Digital Marketing to Women: Do Brands Need Disparate Strategies? Check back at the end of October for excerpts following the conference.

The Complete Guide to Brand Etiquette at Blogger Conferences

The 75,000 strong network of bloggers that comprise Massive Sway works with brands on campaigns of all shapes and sizes. We recently polled our community to gain insights on the brand-blogger relationship, specifically during conferences, in order to learn best practices for optimizing results.

Takeaway #1: Forget the Expo hall! Bloggers much prefer a more intimate one-on-one with a brand representative.

  • “I prefer one-on-one. I had a one-on-one conversation with a brand rep at a conference last year and I was able to gather some useful information without feeling rushed. I actually worked with them not too long after our meeting. One-on-one just seems more of an ‘appropriate’ way to start a possible professional relationship.” http://whitneynicjames.com
  • “I think the more time that you can spend in any kind of informal setting can only be beneficial. It gives both parties a chance to figure out the best way they can work together using strengths from each side.” http://easybeingmom.com

Takeaway #2: When giving out branded swag, make sure it is of use to the recipient and not just promotional content. Our community admitted that while it’s a nice gesture to receive freebies, most paper they receive ends up in the trash. Consider putting your budget for promotional items towards one more expensive door prize.

  • The Bad: Paper brochures, pens, stress balls, letter openers
  • The Good: Local snacks and wine to enjoy during conference, tote bags to carry items home, double USB car chargers or portable phone chargers, product samples or coupons, beauty items (3 oz. or less for those traveling), certificates for web services, gift cards
  • The Best: Shipping swag home for attendees so they don’t have to travel with it, personalized jewelry, custom experience (e.g., photo with celebrity)

Takeaway #3: If given the opportunity, our community reported that they would like to ask the brand for more information on their product/service, key points of differentiation, vision for company, campaign metrics for success, target audience and how bloggers will be incorporated into their future marketing plans. Many bloggers want to work with brands long-term, if the fit is right.

  • “I would want to ask what their research shows their customers’ future needs to be, and how they are going to meet them.” http://abcsandgardenpeas.com
  • “A heart to heart with the Brand? Absolutely. It gets everyone on the same page along with setting out expectations. A win for everyone involved.” ‪http://mngirlinla.com

Takeaway #4: Each and every blog is unique. Smaller blogs can provide a wealth of influence, especially when combined with social media amplification on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, etc. Be open to discussing other ways of working, outside of free product and reviews, to create a personalized plan.