Danny Tirmizi is the founder and C.E.O of We Sway, an app that promises to make it easy for businesses to acquire customers by leveraging the power of influencers. The concept of an influencer is fairly new in the market and so many entrepreneurs, founders, and business owners are still getting acquainted with it. However, it is very simple; someone who has a large following in a particular segment and is able to affect how their fan base relates to things, products, people, etc. By typing a few words and posting on their various platforms, they can influence how people receive your product or perceive your brand. They can also influence whether people buy or not. This is the new age of marketing, and We Sway wants to help small businesses leverage to grow.
We caught up with Danny and had a discussion about We Sway and the age of social media influencers. How it will impact the market, and why his company intends to be at the center of that revolution.
We Sway Inception
“For as long as I can remember I have been passionate about innovation. I’m a freelance photographer with no formal training and I learned most of my craft through books and tutorials. This is why I wanted to create a free app for all DIY enthusiasts. The app was called Icarus,” Danny says of one of his first ideas.
To build an app, proper marketing has to be considered. Considerable growth hacking efforts have to be realized to accelerate the downloads and spread the message.
“Back in January 2017, I had no idea on how to market it as this was my first app, and like many, I went to social media to promote it. I decided to hire an influencer with a massive audience and paid them $200 for 2 hours of posting my app promo and download link.”
On a tight budget, it is difficult to trust a new marketing concept you have never tried before. Danny had to let go of the skepticism – a problem that many entrepreneurs face but fail to fight back hard enough. To his surprise, within those two hours after the post went live, 30k views and hundreds of downloads had happened. That was the eureka moment that led him to think of founding We Sway.
Despite the fact that his first app failed due to poor pre-launch marketing, lessons were taken from the experience, and most importantly a new idea was looming.
“As a small business owner, I understood the hardships we go through to get customers on a day-to-day basis. Traditional advertising methods are becoming obsolete, everything is online and having a strong online presence is very important for a business. After all, we live in a world of Google, Yelp, and smartphones.”
Why are We Sway such a big deal?
It is definite that as entrepreneurs, we think of our applications and ideas as the best in the market. The argument doesn’t stand unless you can show proof for it. However, for startups and young companies, it is a share of both – messaging and proof.
“The best way to describe We Sway is it’s an all in one marketing tool created for small businesses. There are a dozen influencer marketing apps on the market with cookie-cutter designs or the same concept as each other whether it’s product reviews or simply finding influencers for Instagram to promote a brand. We decided to go in a different direction. Our focus is to localize influencer marketing.”
As much as your app or startup might be onto national international levels. It must be relatable and beneficial to people in various towns, cities, and markets. As Danny notes, “We offer a simple way to search listings of local influencers or bloggers by city. This makes it easier for businesses to connect with their local customers as hiring a macro-influencer who lives in another city will only get them more page likes.”
“What really sets us apart is the fact that we offer local services for business marketing. Businesses will now be able to find and connect with local professionals and freelancers such as bloggers, photographers, graphic designers, filmmakers, event planners, musicians, and even public relations experts. This can help storefronts increase foot traffic and overall sales within their cities on many levels.”
To improve the credibility of the influencers to the business owners, the app has enabled the introductory video feature which ensures that an influencer records a video introducing themselves for 60 seconds. This allows for hiring with confidence that you’re talking to a real person with matched goals or content marketing strategies.
How We Sway is disrupting influencer marketing
Influencer marketing has for a long time been a business to influencer affair beginning from the meeting point to the campaigns. We Sway is disrupting that business model because it is unsustainable in the long run for businesses and influencers alike. If a business is looking for an influencer, searching through a list of influencers one by one is a task. For influencers, getting the platform to prove themselves is a big problem. We Sway intends to enhance the relations and business despite putting a subtle shift in the business model.
“We are a two-way communication platform. When businesses post a request for a particular service, the influencers, bloggers, or freelancers that are interested and match their criteria can contact them as well. However, we limit the number of people that are able to connect with the business in order to avoid spam and create a first-come basis.”
Several small businesses can hardly afford a marketing budget. While providing a platform that enables increased revenues is very essential, the founders have to find price points that are affordable to the businesses.
“We truly are the most affordable platform out there. We don’t have a minimum for services as we understand that everyone, especially small businesses has a limited budget. Businesses can get affordable shoutouts on social media or set up a campaign if their budget allows.”
Choosing the right influencer
One of the most prevalent issues with influencer marketing is that if the business fails to choose the right influencers, it will incur lots of losses. Wasted time in tracking the effect of the campaign, as well as wasted finances are the culmination of bad decisions. The onus is on the business owner to choose the right influencer, as Danny suggests, “As the saying goes, “You get what you pay for. ” The same is true with influencer marketing. Marketing, in general, is not a guaranteed solution for growing sales. You really have to research who you are hiring to see if they represent your values as a brand.”
Owing to the development costs, our interviewer admits that it will take more than what they have already put in to bring to life the analytics features. In the meantime, companies will use social media networks to keep track of the campaigns, follow post engagement, and traction. However, with the launch of their Kickstarter campaign, and as they seek more investment funds the analytics features will become part of the app in the future.
Getting your target influencer
Influencers get tons of proposals on a day-to-day basis. They are never short of offers to publicize or market something. Therefore, it takes a bit of work to get the right influencers interested in your campaign.
“When searching for the right influencers you should keep in mind that successful influencers are flooded with offers and products for the trade of their services. With that in mind, you should be patient and always follow up by email. This shows that you are a serious client. After all, crafting an email takes more effort than DM’ing them on Instagram,” he continues. “As for pricing, that really depends on the level of influencer your business needs. Micro-influencers are great for local businesses and also seem to be more receptive to clients’ needs. Macro influencers are expensive but very effective for brands that depend on online sales. We Sway offers in-app chats with various influencers currently. It’s an easy way to get their brand the right audience.”
The future of We Sway
“We are always looking for ways to improve our app. Nevertheless, there is a BIG update in the future for businesses, influencers, bloggers, and more. Besides our Android version in the works, we are currently working on our web-based platform. It will be a game-changer and possibly revolutionize how people will find influencers or even freelancers such as social media managers. Our team is really excited about it and working extra hard to make this a reality! As a startup, it’s been a tough journey as we are not funded yet. Every dollar invested has come out from our own pockets.”
“We live in New York, one of the most expensive cities in the world. These operational and developmental costs add up quickly! So we decided to do a Kickstarter Campaign to raise some initial funds to make this project into reality. Our goal is to create something simple yet meaningful that can truly help small businesses and upcoming influencers, bloggers, and freelancers. So we would love the support.”
“In return for their Kickstarter contributions, we are offering social media shoutouts. For NYC residents we are offering professional lifestyle photoshoots and even high-end short commercial video promos! So help us make this vision a reality and come support us as we’re doing this for everyone.”
Support the We Sway Kickstarter Campaign.
Featured image (Danny Tirmizi, Founder and CEO – left, Jeremy Siracusa, Co-founder – Right)