Danielle Wiley on Influencer Marketing

Episode 8 November 22, 2019 00:17:09
Danielle Wiley on Influencer Marketing
Social PR Secrets: public relations podcast for entrepreneurs by Lisa Buyer
Danielle Wiley on Influencer Marketing
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Show Notes

How much do you understand about influencer marketing? 

Influencer marketing is all the rave in 2020, even though this interview is a blast from the past, it is still, if not more relevant today. Danielle Wiley is the founder and CEO of Sway Group and has nearly 25 years of industry experience. Danielle shares all of her valuable knowledge of successful and effective influencer marketing. 

In this episode, hear about how influencer marketing benefits a brand and how to make it effective. How much trust goes into an influencer and company relationship? What does it mean to become an influencer? Lisa and Danielle dive deep into what influencer marketing meant in 2015, with information that is still applicable today. 

“Be true to your niche and explore it as much as you can” - Danielle Wiley

Some topics discussed in this episode include:

Contact Danielle Wiley:

More from Danielle:

References and links mentioned:

Subscribe to & Review Social PR Secrets Podcast

Thanks for tuning into this week’s episode of the Social PR Secrets podcast by Lisa Buyer.  If the information in this show’s interview inspired you in your business or life journey, feel free to head over to iTunes, subscribe to the show, and leave us an honest review. Your feedback helps us continue to not only deliver actionable, relevant, helpful content, it will also help us reach even more amazing entrepreneurs, disruptors, and rockstars just like you!

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Episode Transcript

Speaker 0 00:08 Okay. Okay. Speaker 2 00:16 Hi, it's Lisa Byer and welcome to another episode of social PR secrets. Today my guest is Danielle Wiley. She is the CEO and founder of an agency called the sway group specializing in influencer marketing and influencer public relations. I love this interview because it really shows how raw and real social media is and how it's evolving in real time. Danielle shares about how they reached out to her teenage daughter to help get some insights on the ins and outs of Snapchat, learn everything that Danielle has to share about influencer marketing and the power behind it. Enjoy the show. Speaker 3 00:55 Hi everybody. So welcome. I'm introducing a new topic this week. We're going to be talking about influencer marketing and last year I was at SMX social where I met Daniel Wiley and she's joining us today. Hi Daniel. Hi there. So Danielle is the CEO of sway group and she started sway group a few years ago. I'll let her give you a little bit more background, but what I thought was super interesting as she was working for Edelman and identify this opportunity where she saw a need to connect bloggers with content, um, and brands. So Daniel, tell us a little bit how that, how you, that was inspiring to you and how you got to where you are today, which is very successful. Yeah, sure. So, um, I was running digital strategy and the Chicago office of Adelman and we were increasingly using influencers at that time. Speaker 3 01:43 It was just bloggers for client programs. Um, and at first when we started doing these back in the early two thousands, it was, it was super easy. We would just send out some product and information and the bloggers would, would write about it and we'd get earned media. And it was like the, I mean we felt like we had stumbled into this amazing, easy PR tactic. Um, but then I think kind of within the blogosphere itself and also within the PR agencies, we realized that bloggers weren't really earned media and that they fit more in a spokesperson type of role. And, and really needed to be paid to get the results that we wanted and, and for them to kind of have their relationship with the brands that they felt comfortable with. And so we started paying bloggers to do work for us. And, um, I really quickly saw that there were problems on both sides of that equation. Speaker 3 02:33 So from the agency side, we were using ups so much, um, fee and hours trying to figure out the right people to work with and doing all that research. And then from the blogger side, I have had a lot of friends on that side of the relationship as well. And because they knew I worked at a PR firm, they would come to me with their questions and I was consistently hearing that they were feeling overwhelmed, didn't understand the PR terminology, didn't know how to charge. Um, and, and probably 95% of them didn't want to be handling the business side of things. They wanted to focus on their content. They wanted to focus on building their community. They didn't want to be sending invoices, negotiating rates. It just wasn't their passion. Um, so it, it became obvious that there was need for a need for some kind of middle man or middle woman. Speaker 3 03:22 Um, and so we launched, so he grew up in 2011 with a roster of 25, really high pro pro high profile bloggers. Um, and then quickly realized that that wasn't enough and that there were, there were, um, programs that we were getting calls to fulfill that needed more than just a small subset of influencers that needed regional specificity. So 50 bloggers who live in Miami who, um, shop at Publix or we needed, um, we once got our requests for 50 bloggers who shop at Kroger and have kids between the ages of eight and 13 who wet the bed. Um, so you can't do that with 25, with a group of 25. And, um, so we eventually connected with a network called the six girls. Um, we ended up acquiring them last year and formed massive sway, which is now 90,000 influencers strong. And of course we do a lot more than blogs now with Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat, whatever social network is there, we can work with them. Speaker 4 04:27 That's awesome. So, so I just read about influencer marketing, this influencer marketing that. So what is the big deal with influencer marketing? Obviously it has become a bigger deal over the past two or three years and you saw that early on. So what is the big deal to a brand? And if you're handling social media, what's the big deal? W what does that mean to a brand and what does that mean to a blogger today? Speaker 3 04:49 Um, I mean, I think it's twofold. So from one perspective, it gives brands reach within their target demographics. So these are, these influencers already have an audience that fit a certain profile and if that's the profile of the demographic that a brand is trying to reach, it's a really easy way to get in front folks. Um, and then I think secondarily and probably even more important is, is that trust that's there. So, um, an influencer endorsing a brand, endorsing a service just holds a lot more weight for a consumer than a brand saying, Hey, try me, I'm great. Um, if, if there's an influencer who someone trusts, let's say it's a beauty Instagrammer who, um, endorses a lipstick, certainly she's getting paid, but, um, certainly within our group, the expectation is that they're not going to take on paid work unless they actually do endorse that brand. Um, it's just that much more powerful coming from someone who's kind of already embedded within that demographic versus just some guy in a suit who works in an office trying to sell that brand. Speaker 4 05:53 Sure, sure. So it's interesting because I come from a traditional PR background and I've transitioned over the years digital into, you know, bringing in SEO and social media into the fold of the strategy obviously. And the influencer marketing definitely makes sense. But what's interesting is that it's really doesn't fall under the umbrella of organic or earned. Um, and you know, back in the day paid, you know, was kind of caribou when it came to public relations. Nobody wanted to pay for something, but really the influencer marketing is coming out as being the more authentic, um, route to go. Right? Speaker 3 06:26 I think so. Yeah. And, and honestly, I think other traditional media does it all the time too. They're just not watched as carefully by the FTC from a disclosure perspective. So I think it's not as obvious. And a lot of times, this is one of my pet peeves. I feel that online influencers get the short end of the stick and sometimes seem like they're selling out. But in actuality what they're doing is they're actually disclosing and really in any media, there are people being paid to endorse and to talk about, to talk about brands. But I'm sorry, I forgot what your original question. Speaker 4 07:01 No, just right. It's okay. No, it just, the lines are becoming a little bit more blurred, blurred when it comes to paid versus earned. Um, because because of the influencer marketing and flux and it, it, it, it does come across and it is, uh, it's, it's authentic and it's natural. Even though there is a paid component because the bloggers are obviously passionate about what they're representing. Speaker 3 07:23 Yeah. And you know what, when it's done well, there's still the opportunity for earn to come out of it. So for so many of our programs now, and we watch this for the reports that we give back to our clients, but very often we get earned coverage out of the paid coverage that we secured for our clients. So, um, we get recipes picked up by buzz feed by Huffington post, by pioneer woman who's now considered traditional media. Um, we, you know, so we, we pay bloggers to create recipes or write con, uh, content of some other kind share travel tips, whatever it might be. And because they're doing such a good job, it's getting picked up anyway by earned media. So, you know, the client is able to control that messaging and then still get all the benefits of earned media at the end of the day. Speaker 4 08:07 Yeah. And actually in one of your presentations that I'm going to share with the class you have at the end, um, kind of a cool graph that shows the connection between, uh, where you start with, where you start with it from the brand to the blogger, and then where that earned media actually comes into play and connects the brand with the earned media. So I'll share that with the class as well. Speaker 3 08:26 Great. Yeah, yeah, that's a good graphic. Speaker 4 08:28 And can you just share some of the examples of how you use Instagram and Snapchat as part of your influencer marketing? Um, strategies, because I know the class is definitely, those are not channels that they're active on. And how does that work when you use those channels? Speaker 3 08:43 Yeah, certainly. So, you know, Instagram, we use it twofold. So, um, most simply if we're doing a blog post program, we require that the bloggers, um, promote their posts through a post on Instagram, which is very easy for them to do. Um, and then we have Instagram specific programming, which I know you and I chatted about earlier. We got the idea for doing this for my 13 year old daughter who, um, is pretty big on Instagram and she came up with the, we do Twitter parties all the time and they're hugely successful for our clients. And we, um, got tasked by a client with, um, they came to us and wanted a Twitter party, but their target demographic was 18 to 24 year old women. And so we went back to them and said, you know, we're happy to do a Twitter party for you and you're going to get a ton of impressions, but maybe six of them will be your target demographic. Speaker 3 09:32 You need to be an Instagram. Um, this was pre Snapchat. And so, um, I, I, I still remember this, I walked into my daughter's room and I was like, Sue, if you were going to do an Instagram party, how would you make that work? And she and I just chatted for like 10 minutes and figured it out. Um, and it works great. We have it now as part of our sales toolkit, but we basically invite a bunch of Instagram heavy hitters. We give them a brand created image that they all post and share, inviting folks to join in. And then they send up some of their own images. I'll during a set period of time with a unique hashtag that they encourage their followers to use as well. So that we can track all the metrics for that. That's awesome. So will you tell the story of your daughter in her Instagram account? Speaker 3 10:16 Cause I love that story and yeah, she's 14 now, now that she's nearly 14. She's Instagram is so yesterday. Um, but she had started when she was younger than she was supposed to be on Instagram. She started a public Instagram account called nail nail art. Wow. Where she curated nail art images and, and built up a following of over 55,000. Um, and it just crazy. She learned so much about social media and we learned a lot watching her. Um, but now with Snapchat it's, it's super interesting. She is the one who taught me how to use it and we're, we're constantly brainstorming ways to use it for brands. Um, and we're starting to, um, sell in Snapchat stories as a part of a program. So if we're selling, talking to a client and they have an immersive experience, let's say I'm a theme park that they're trying to promote, we'll make sure that a few of the influencers we pull in are active on Snapchat and engage them to update to their Snapchat story throughout the day as part of the program. Um, but it, it's tricky because with Snapchat it's hard. There's not a lot of, um, tech space as, as you guys watching this will know. There's not a lot of, um, room to put in text. So it's very hard to do those FTC disclosures, which is always super important to us. Um, so we actually just figured out last week a way to, um, edit photos prior to pulling them into Snapchat, which is not super easy. Um, you have to use kind of outside applications. But my little 14 year old helper figured Speaker 4 11:54 doing all the research and development for you. That's great. That's great. Um, so what is, what's going to be, what do you see as trending and influencer marketing? I mean, obviously influencer marketing is trending itself, but what is, what's, what do you see coming up? What's bubbling up and what's kind of dying down? Speaker 3 12:11 Um, I mean there was a big story in the Atlantic last week about Heather Armstrong of deuce.com who's kind of not really updating her site anymore. And, and the lead on that story was that, um, you know, making money from mommy blogging is dead. It's just not possible anymore. Um, you know, I think what the actual hook, like the actual story there is, is not that it's dead cause we have plenty of folks making six figures and doing really well for themselves, but that, that personal storytelling type of blogging, that's where those folks were making a ton of money a few years ago. That's where it's now really, really hard to make money. And so what we're seeing in the influencer space, and certainly it's affecting the marketing of it as well, is that it, there's less personal stuff out there shared within these social profiles. And it's more about, um, just the vertical. So if it's a beauty blog or a beauty, Instagram is just just about that content. You don't see little glimpses of someone's life, which as, as someone who, you know, started blogging herself in 2005, that's kind of sad. Speaker 4 13:20 Yeah, that's very good to hear, Speaker 3 13:23 connect with people and that way. But it's, it's hard to make money. It's hard to make money in that way. And so we see that kind of dying. Um, and these less personal kind of more magazine type, um, profiles and, and sites and, um, just kind of elevating and making more money and expanding. Speaker 4 13:44 So that brings me to, um, just, you know, any advice you could give if somebody wanted to start a blog and like, they're, you know, want to, you know, they're very passionate about a subject, maybe it's fashion or beauty. Um, what advice would you give them in? And if they, if they wanted to aspire to be an influencer, Speaker 3 14:00 it's the same advice I was giving 10 years ago on the same topic is just to jump in and start doing it. To find people who are already doing something similar to what you like and follow them, ask questions, comment, get really engaged, and just become part of the community. And you know, as anyone who's studying marketing or PR will be able to really instantly kind of grasp what to do just from kind of embedding yourself in that community. And that's the very best way to get started, is to just kind of jump in and, and do it. Speaker 4 14:32 Definitely. Yeah. So, and it's interesting that you said that the, the personal side is kind of going away. So is there anything more you can add to that? What type of content would maybe resonate better than, or staying away from the personal stuff? Speaker 3 14:45 Yeah, I think seeing away from the personal stuff, I think just any, we're always looking for more, for more beauty, for more fashion. Just anyone who has like a unique perspective. So you're not necessarily, not necessarily sharing, you know, stories of your latest dating saga, but if you have a personal experience to share. So if you have curly hair like I do to have a curly hair blog where you're sharing tips but you're coming at it from a point of authenticity. Um, we're seeing that clients more and more getting very specific about who they want. So they want African American beauty bloggers or they want um, you know, 18 year old urban fashion bloggers or so, you know, just kind of be true to your niche and, and explore it as much as you can and it's okay to have a perspective and to let your personality out. But what we're seeing drop down is that, you know, here's what happened to me this morning. Speaker 4 15:43 Got it. Okay, great. Well Daniel, thank you so much for joining us and we're going to share some content from this way group you have great content on your blog and of course follow this way group at sway group and thank you so much and we'll be following you. Speaker 5 15:59 Okay, Speaker 3 16:00 great. Thank you for having me. Okay, thanks. Speaker 4 16:10 Thank you for listening to this episode of social PR secrets. If you like what you heard, check out the book on Amazon or follow our [email protected] this episode was sponsored by the buyer group, a social PR agency, striving to keep our balance in the digital world, practicing public relations, social media, and search marketing while occasionally drinking a glass of wine or two for the best creativity and results. Thank you all for tuning in. If you would like to get a free chapter of social PR secrets, go to social PR secrets.com/free.

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