Social Sway Marketing

Social Sway Marketing
(n.) marketing to people who influence others for you

Your story is being told daily; it happens whether you know it or not. Kate is the one telling everyone in her “circle” about you. She tells her friends at lunch, her colleagues at work, and her family at home. How did she arrive at the story and what is she telling everyone?Kate was influenced by you through your metro advertisements, your website, your promotional items, and your brand equity. She was telling her circle about a good experience, but not a great one.

So, let’s back up. What motivated Kate to tell her circle about how good you really are? After all, she could have told them about her day, her last meal, or her plans. It was your marketing strategy and distinctive campaign that caught her eye. She kept saying how she liked the environmental aspect, health conscious focus, urbane and hip feel, and the novelty of it all. Kate was influenced, but influence isn’t enough to change behavior. It builds awareness, it gets word of mouth going, but it’s not enough. Your goal is to change behavior permanently, so influence isn’t a strong enough medication for the driving obsessed like Kate.

Imagine a different story. Now, Kate shares her story about her positive metro experience due to the Skeptics campaign, the unique transit trivia game played for a free shirt, and the countless Facebook interactions revolving around your brand. The difference between the two stories is sway, a much more intense form of influence. Imagine if you could sway 200 hundred car obsessed drivers to become bike, walk, bus, or Metrorail obsessed. Influence has an effect on a decision, but sway has an effect on a lifestyle or series of decisions. You will hear a story of customers creating facebook groups to market a blog, simply for a chance to win an iPod Nano. You will hear why companies should tell you the negatives of their product, because that could boost sales more than stating the positives alone.

The following report was developed to provide tools for you to go beyond influence and to enable people who can sway others for you. It’s Social Sway Marketing. Social psychology, social media, and social influence all make up the social aspect. Sway refers to the ability to change behavior from one side to the other, and keep it there permanently. And marketing is, of course, about satisfying needs and wants of customers. Kate is one of many in your target audience. She is listening, but not interacting. Tomorrow, Kate will be telling a new story about you and social sway marketing is the reason why.

Shane McCarty is a student at Virginia Tech studying marketing and psychology. His research and experience with traditional, social, and guerilla marketing has all led to the coining of a new phrase: Social Sway Marketing. His most notable use of social media occurred in the Twitter Beta Travel Experiment for those attending the 2009 Presidential Inauguration.

This was the cover page to by 17 page marketing analysis for Arlington County Commuter Services.

Web 2.0 is the second-generation of the internet. Web 1.0 involved static information, while Web 2.0 is completely dynamic. Marketing in this new era requires the embracing of social networks (e.g. facebook, twitter, delicious, and youtube) to spread your message with social media.

Facebook is a social network that helps you connect and share with the people in your life. With over 350 million user profiles, facebook’s targeted advertising is a marketer’s dream.

Twitter is a social network revolved around the question “what are you doing?” As I worked as a consultant for Arlington County Commuter Services, myself and others used Twitter to provide real time traffic updates to Presidential Inauguration travelers in 2009. View my co-authored rough draft of a whitepaper on the “Twitter Travel Beta Experiment” and how we used social media in an unprecedented way with transportation.

Delicious is a social bookmarking site that allows you to share your favorite websites by means of ‘tagging.’ Check out

Shane’s Marketing Background:

If you want to learn more about social sway marketing or think we could help your business, please visit us at


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