Social media marketing agency Ignite Social Media has launched a new content marketing subsidiary, Carusele, which it has been quietly nurturing over the past year.
Carusele boasts that it already has generated more than $1 million in revenue.
“We’re off to a good start,” said Jim Tobin, president of both Ignite and Carusele. Carusele has nine full-time employees and is based at Ignite’s headquarters in Cary.
The new venture creates and distributes “branded social content” that is akin to product placements in a TV show but geared to the world of social media, said Jim Tobin, president of both Ignite and Carusele.
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That’s accomplished, Tobin said, first by commissioning content from “bloggers, YouTubers, Instagramers” and the like.
For example, food bloggers hired by Carusele created recipes containing Reddi-Wip whipped cream. Tobin noted that the resulting content is “disclosed as paid under FTC guidelines.”
After the content is created, “then we syndicate it,” Tobin said. That includes sharing it with others as well as paying for it to appear “across the social Web.”
Tobin said the decision to form a standalone subsidiary with its own brand was driven by the fact that it operates under a different business model.
“It’s a very different product,” he said. “It’s sold like a media buy. You buy a guaranteed number of impressions....We’re not asking people to hire us as their ongoing agency, as we are with Ignite.”
Tobin said that Carusele was in stealth mode during the past year because “we were creating something new. There’s not anything quite like this. So we were learning each time we did a program.”
Last year Ignite laid off 50-plus workers — nearly half its staff — after losing its largest client, giant automaker Chrysler Group.
But since then, Tobin said, the agency has hired back nine workers after winning additional work from clients such as Staples, ConAgra Foods and World Kitchen, the maker of Pyrex and CorningWare.
Today Ignite and Carusele combined have about 60 employees.