Welcome back to TakeFive with TweetReach, our ongoing interview series with influential members of the Twitter measurement universe. This week, we’re excited to speak with Danielle Wiley of Sway. Danielle’s extensive experience working with national brands- and with creating her own blog- led her to realize the need for someone to fill the space between online publishers and brands. Thus, Sway was born. She sat down to talk with us about social media strategy, the rewards, and the surprising experiences along the way.
TweetReach: We’ve got one question we like to start everyone off with, to see all the different pathways people take into social media: How you got started with social media as a whole. Can you describe your first “ah-ha” moment?
Danielle Wiley: I had been involved with interactive media since the start of my career (copywriting for websites, information architecture, etc.). In 2005, my husband convinced me to start my own blog (foodmomiac - now very sadly neglected). Creating that space and seeing the potential made me quickly realize that there was a ton of potential for my clients at work. I began educating them on “Web 2.0″ and soon transitioned almost completely from web development to social media.
TweetReach: You’re active in an industry that didn’t even exist until the last decade: connecting brands with influential bloggers. How have you seen that develop alongside social media? How do they feed into each other?
Danielle: Well– in reality it is all social media. The reason that bloggers are compelling to brands is bloggers are storytellers. That is what makes their content resonate with users. It’s only natural that this would be appealing to brands. What makes our publishers powerful is their ability to weave a brand’s story organically into their own.
TweetReach: What role does measurement play when looking at the success of your efforts? Can you give us some examples?
Danielle: Oh gosh, it’s everything. We provide reports for all of our clients, though the KPIs for each one can vary dramatically. Our PR agency clients are highly focused on message and impressions, while our eCommerce brand clients want to see a direct translation from campaign to purchase.
TweetReach: You work with a lot of influential bloggers– do you see that influence carrying over to social, or do they have to earn it again in that sphere? Have you had a case of someone less popular as a blogger who became popular in the social realm and was able to bring the success back to their blog to invigorate it?
Danielle: We see blogging as just one element of social media, not something separate. We definitely look at the full social media footprint of all of our publishers; a blog is just one piece of what each of our publishers has to offer, which is why we have moved away from calling them bloggers, quite honestly. Some of our publishers are very active on YouTube while others have a significant presence on Pinterest or on Instagram. We have even seen that these social networks have taken the place of the comments section. One of our publishers finds that folks read her blog and then pop over to Twitter to comment, as it provides a more social interaction/dialogue.
TweetReach: What’s your favorite or standout story with a client and social, either having a campaign completely surprise you, win over someone who was skeptical, or something else entirely?
Danielle: We are surprised almost every day! I think one of our best days was back in October. We were hosting influencer parties at 50 different BabiesRUs stores on behalf of our client Graco. The chatter from those parties combined with the chatter of their readership online resulted in us trending in the top five in the U.S. on Twitter for almost the entire day (and this was on a day with a lot of college football games!). We’ve since trended on Twitter multiple times, but that was our first, and will always be a great memory!
TweetReach: Thanks, Danielle!
Danielle Wiley has been successfully driving brands forward since 1995. Her intimate knowledge of social media strategy, trend watching, and influencer outreach stems from years of working with some of the nation’s top corporations and brands. Her recognition of the need for a middleman to broker the connection of brands and online publishers led to the founding of Sway Group in 2011.
Prior to forming Sway, Danielle was SVP, Director of Strategy at Edelman Digital in Chicago. There she worked on the campaigns and day-to-day social strategy of a variety of large brands. Danielle is a graduate of Vassar College and currently lives in Chicago with her husband and two children.