Good Content is Still King

As we look ahead to 2015, marketing trends will continue to evolve. We’ll see more real time marketing, raw footage and digital integration, combined with a focus on native advertising and new influencers. Yet as much as things change, one thing will remain the same. Good content will always be good content that people want to read. Below are Sway Group CEO Danielle Wiley’s five tips to generating compelling sponsored content.

1. Find the right influencers for your brand
Your brand ambassador is out there; you just need to find her. Do your research to understand an influencer’s past posts before reaching out to engage. A vegan food blogger won’t be interested in a new fast food chicken wrap but a food blogger who has written about quick and easy family meals may be a fit.

2. Let the influencer guide the story
Giving the influencer creative freedom to write about the brand will generate a genuine post, in their voice, with their perspective. The content becomes more than a PSA and builds credibility to further engagement.

3. Let the influencer guide the engagement
Speaking of engagement, allowing your influencers to interact with their followers in their own way is what makes the relationship powerful. An influencer has built up a trust with their community. Trust in that relationship.

4. Build a deep and lasting relationship with the influencers you work with
Making an impact with an influencer can evolve into ongoing communication. By working with an influencer long-term and on a consistent basis, you can create a deeper connection that will work harder and come in handy in times of crisis (such as a product recall, etc.).

5. Develop different programs for different KPIs and then measure against each of them
Impressions, sales, engagement and social media “likes” are a few examples of metrics to track. Be sure to set these forth PRIOR to the start of a campaign.

If you follow the above, it will be reflected in the quality of content developed. Sponsored does not have to be a dirty word, and if done well, won’t hurt your SEO or brand image.

Eight Instagram Tips for Insta-Success

Instagram is an undeniable marketing channel if you’re looking to target Gen X and Millennials, as two-thirds of the platform’s users are between the ages of 18 and 44, and most are women (Source: eMarketer). Millennials spend more than 5 hours a day on social media viewing User Generated Content (UGC) – which is 20% more influential when it comes to purchasing and 35% more memorable than other forms of media, according to a study by Ipsos.

Social media measurement start-up Simply Measured’s analysis of brand research shows 86% of top brands incorporated Instagram into their marketing strategies during third quarter of 2014, representing a 15% year-over-year increase. Cool fact: Forrester Research, Inc. reports ‪Instagram receives almost 60 times more engagement than Facebook and many brands are shifting their social media strategy to keep up.

Sway Group CEO, Danielle Wiley, recently spoke at the SMX Social Media Marketing Summit to share Instagram tips and best practices for brands to succeed in Instagram’s visually oriented social network. Below are her eight tips with examples of brands getting it right. View her full presentation here for more insight and illustration of the examples mentioned below.

Eight Instagram Tips for Insta-Success:

  1. Encourage participation from your community
    • @food52 does a nice job of this by encouraging fans to share their own photos with a tag for a chance at a regram on the popular site.
  1. Engage influencers to post on your behalf. The trust and engagement that they have with THEIR audience will almost always trump that of a brand.
    • @ShopYourWay is an innovative shopping community built around an individual’s social network. By tapping in to teen influencer, Ricky Dillon’s social network, Shop Your Way created organic reach and buzz among a new target, driving traffic to their website.
  1. Focus on post tagging and caption content.
    • Especially now that you can edit your captions, take advantage of your keywords by adding hashtags. @wholefoodsmarket uses multiple hashtags, including location and popular products to attract new followers.
    • Viewers will also tag one of their followers in the comments as a form of forwarding an FYI. Consider posts that your followers will be inspired to tag others.
  1. Speaking of hashtags, consider using meme tags or tags that are trending to capture more eyeballs, as appropriate.
    • @NBC recently utilized #WCW (Woman Crush Wednesday) to promote the female stars of its Wednesday night line up. Note: The hashtag must make sense for your brand. Don’t jump on the bandwagon as a purely promotional tactic.
  1. Balance fun with business.
    • @anthropologie knows their viewer well and posts cute puppies peppered in with pictures of the new denim collection to bring personality to their feed.
  1. Posts that include another user handle in the caption receive 56% higher engagement.
    • @designaddictmom’s photo of her child’s room skyrocketed in views when she shared with @ikeausa and they reposted.
  1. Reward followers with Instagram-only promotions.
    • The #ExperienceMichelin campaign is a recent example of contest based only on a photo submission to the platform.
  1. Never forget that Instagram is a visual Enhance your photos with photo-editing apps to make your photos work as hard as they can.
    • A few examples to try include, PicPlayPost, Instasize, Afterlight, PicsArt, LineCamera and Moldiv.

Sway Group Expands Content Marketing Foundation By Joining OneSpot Content Partner Network

Today, we’re proud to expand our content marketing foundation through a partnership with OneSpot as a pioneering member of the OneSpot Content Partner Network comprised of leading content marketing platforms, publishers and agencies. By identifying a need for increased digital marketing offerings, Sway Group can now strengthen and simplify content marketing for our clients on a larger scale.

“As a full service content marketing agency, our background in brand strategy allows us to find the perfect influencers for our clients and work closely with them to generate content exceeding each client’s KPIs,” said Sway Group President, Business Development, Allison Talamantez. “With more clients seeking integrated digital campaigns, a partnership with OneSpot enables us to further augment this stellar content.”

“The best brands in the world are working to break through the silos that separate content strategy, creation and distribution,” said Steve Sachs, chief executive officer of OneSpot. “By bringing these capabilities closer together, we and our new slate of world class content partners are making the entire content marketing value chain simpler and more effective for top global brands,” he added.

You can read the full OneSpot Content Partner Network announcement here.

Introducing The Marketplace, a New Kind of Blogger Resource

The mission of our Massive Sway network, powered by The SITS Girls, has always been to create a space where bloggers can find their tribe and grow their audience. As our community grew, we added an educational portal with information on technical skills, a discussion forum and a networking platform connecting bloggers to sponsored opportunities. Throughout our evolution, we have worked to help elevate the quality of our bloggers’ sites and capabilities to enhance the value of content created for our clients.

We are excited to launch the newest addition to our offerings, The Marketplace, a helpful appendix to our Massive Sway site with ready-made design resources for those new to blogging and advice for veterans looking for a refined aesthetic. The Marketplace offers WordPress themes, seasonal printables, hosting options and logos for sale, in addition to resources for online classes and our favorite editing applications.

This new resource takes our mission to the next level, furthering our commitment to providing support to our now 80,000 community members through design offerings, in turn growing their site quality and viewership numbers. It is our goal to work as a team with our influencers and clients to develop the best content and reach the target audience. We continue to learn and grow and look forward to sharing ongoing updates on how we will further enhance the content our influencers develop.

Santa isn’t the only gift-giver this holiday season: The marketing joy of holiday gift guides

In our time-starved world, with the holidays fast approaching, shoppers have begun to silently stress the upcoming gift-giving season. It’s no wonder that many turn to influencer gift guides for trusted suggestions on the perfect present for Aunt Sue, the dog walker, new boyfriend, children’s piano teacher or even themselves.

Many of our influencers develop holiday gift guides each year providing readers with tested gift ideas and marketers with an effective solution for end-of-year, must-spend, marketing dollars, as well as guaranteed impressions. Holiday gift guides act as an opportune platform to showcase your products, brands and services at a time when consumers are actively engaged in a holiday shopping mindset.

Bloomberg Businessweek recently advised, “Remember that at holiday time, lots of people who wouldn’t ordinarily be your customers are looking for gift ideas—and they may splurge.” It’s important to look beyond your target consumer. Getting in front of the person buying for your target consumer may significantly boost sales at this crucial time of year.

Placements can include stand alone, dedicated advertorials, contesting, ad space, and more. We customize these offerings to meet your specific holiday KPIs and work with you from the beginning to brainstorm your unique campaign. While it may seem too early for holiday decorations, it’s the perfect time to plan your holiday marketing campaign. Contact us today to learn more.