Interview with Deirdre Tshien – Discussing User Acquisition and Influencer Marketing – Episode #65

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    • “When you are a business owner—you’re a digital marketer. That’s the bottom-line.”

      Deirdre is the creator of The Viralocity Formula, author of The Traffic Formula and founder of Growth Boss, a leading mentorship and Virtual CMO program for e-commerce business owners wanting to scale to multiple- 6 and 7 figures using the power of tribe-building, virality and human connection.

      Questions I asked her included:

      • What is a virtual CMO? What do they do?
      • Why shouldn’t you discount Instagram as an acquisition channel in 2022?
      • What is your definition of a tribe? Why are Facebook Groups still the best option for building a tribe?
      • How should marketers go about lowering Cost of Acquisition? What tips can you provide?
      • What are some proxy metrics that can help improve CAC over time? (She discusses reach/impressions as the key to measuring creative assets and CTR for measuring copy👀)
      • When is it the right time to tap into influencer marketing? When is a business ready for this?
      • How can a business evaluate influencers?

 

Full Episode Transcript:

 

Kenny Soto 0:07  

Hello, everyone, and welcome to the people of digital marketing. If you couldn’t believe it, it is now episode 65 of I sure know Today’s guest is Deirdre Shin IDG. How are you?

 

Deirdre Tshien 0:28  

Hi, I’m sorry. Well, thanks for having me. Congratulations, Kenny. 65 episodes? That’s huge. 

 

Kenny Soto 0:33  

Yeah, it’s insane. I think I’m on like, one year and seven months of the podcast now, which is also crazy to say out loud. So it’s really exciting. So

 

Deirdre Tshien 0:44  

I find you having fun.

 

Kenny Soto 0:46  

Yeah, as long as I’m having fun. That’s all that matters. And we were talking prior to recording about basically why I created the podcast and who are the listeners, and it’s always great to start these episodes off with getting more context about you as a professional in your overall career. So I wanted to know, first things first, how did you get into digital marketing? And also, why did you get into digital marketing?

 

Deirdre Tshien 1:13  

Oh, good question. All right. So this is not at all where I thought I would end up first of all, but really, it came about if I was going to, you know, cut the story really, is because I’m an entrepreneur, I have businesses and in short, you need to know how to digitally market like, that’s, you know when you are a business owner, you are a marketer. 

 

That’s the bottom line. So in a sense, that’s kind of how I fell into it, you know, I, but once I, I’m just a massive nerd. So once I kind of started getting more and more into it, I just couldn’t help but really want to immerse myself fully into it. So that’s kind of you know, how I came to be here right now. Now, in terms of my background, I started in a corporation. 

 

So I actually live in New York right now. But I come from Sydney, I grew up in Sydney in Australia, you might be able to tell from my accent. And I was in a corporate job, I was working for the biggest investment bank, actually in Australia called Macquarie Bank. And around the same time, I was still working full time. 

 

But around nine years ago, my husband, my husband, and I started our first business, and it was actually a brick-and-mortar store. So it wasn’t actually online. And it wasn’t, because there wasn’t hospitality, we opened a dessert bar called the jackpot. 

 

And we did not know what we were doing at all. You know, at the time, we were young, we were naive. And we thought that I’m sure you have a lot of entrepreneur entrepreneurs that you speak to that this happens where you build it, you think that yeah, I’m gonna build it because this is going to be the bee’s knees, everyone’s gonna love this, my daughter is going to be, you know, pounded down by all these people running to get what it is that we want. 

 

And that’s what we thought were like, yeah, we’ll build it and they will come. And that does not work at all, it has never worked for any other entrepreneur, to be honest, that I’ve spoken to, unless they have done the groundwork before, and the groundwork comes down to digital marketing, it comes down to all the things that you know, your listeners, I sure know and do. 

 

And that I’ve heard, I had to learn how to what to know and do, and even though we had a brick and mortar store like it wasn’t online, it was online, because we had to leverage all of the same strategies and tactics, and you know, all the things that to actually get people to even find out about us to then come in. 

 

And then since then, you know, I’ve started a range of other businesses, one of which fell into agency work fell into being becoming a virtual CMO. And now, we’re actually just launched this really awesome software called Capture, which turns our story, so helps entrepreneurs turn their stories into a bank of captions and emails, again, because we’ve been part of the digital marketing world, and we can see what entrepreneurs are trying to do what they struggle with. 

 

And we knew that we had to, we had to create something to help them. So that’s, yeah, that’s a little bit of my background.

 

Kenny Soto 4:26  

Now, when it comes specifically to the first business, you started with your husband and that brick-and-mortar store, can you recall one of those quote-unquote, aha moments where you were experimenting with several acquisition channels and out of nowhere, you started to see a, I guess, like a kind of clue or inclination that maybe this channel is actually the one we need to go deeper in?

 

Deirdre Tshien 4:50  

Yes, yes. Okay. So that’s a great question. So, at the time that we started, that was around about the time that Instagram was really starting to take off now when we had, you know, we were, we were desperate, right? So we were talking to everyone that we knew who had that either had their own business or they were coaching or whatever. 

 

And we like what can we do? We just don’t know what to do. We’ve never ourselves, we don’t even come from a hospitality background, like we did not even, you know, even in college, or high school, whatever, we weren’t waitresses, we weren’t like, we literally had no inkling about what to expect in hospitality. 

 

But so we were like, we have to just leverage off people who hopefully do No, we got some really great advice at the time to be like, You should really start reaching out to bloggers because there were a lot of food bloggers at the time. So we’re like, okay, cool. Let’s, let’s do that. So, you know, I’d spend, you know, my afternoon just emailing, finding, and emailing all of these food bloggers, and they were super lovely. 

 

They would, they would come in, we had, you know, a handful come in each week. And then we noticed that they were signed to say, oh, and we’re also on this platform called Instagram. So we’ll share, we’ll show you on there as well. And I was like, Cool. I don’t know what Instagram was. And so and then we had a, and a team member of ours. 

 

She was like, Yeah, are you guys on Instagram? And we’re like, no, she’s like, and she was in high school. Like, senior high school at the time. So she was like, Okay, you guys have to get on Instagram. It’s like this hot new thing. And, gosh, I can tell you it was a struggle to understand like the hot new thing. 

 

It’s kind of like, if you probably if this new platform, you know, when Snapchat came out and Tik Tok and it’s, it’s hot it this is like massive learning curve, to actually even just understand that. It’s a thing, and then to understand how to use it. 

 

And so that was kind of asked me Instagram at the time, we were like, like, what do we do on this? You know, we knew Facebook, that was about the extent of it. And even then it was starting to, for us, the novelty was dying down. Because it was like, oh, yeah, we can just post a status update. I don’t know how I’m feeling today. And we just, you know, after a while, just stop doing that. So we just didn’t really know what to do. 

 

And she was like, Look, just just take photos, and then just post them like, and so even at the time, we didn’t really even say anything that remarkable with our posts, we will just post these photos these really like, how do I say not great photos? Without really anything? So we so yeah, so these bloggers would be coming to us and say, Yeah, we’re gonna post you on the single Instagram like, okay, cool. 

 

And then we had more and more people coming in and saying, Oh, we found you on Instagram. Because I’d be like, Oh, how did you find us? And they came, they traveled from like, the other side of the city from the other side of Sydney to come and try us out. And they’re like, oh, yeah, no, we saw this really cool, great photo of your stuff. And we thought we’d come to check your house like, Oh, wow. Okay, so this Instagram thing is, you know, actually a thing. 

 

And then we started to start to actually use that as our main channel of finding influencers. So at the time, I mean, it was great, because it was still quite a newish platform. And, well, I wouldn’t say it’s new, it was new, but you know, it was kind of growing. And so a lot of the influences that we were able to get in touch with. 

Now, they have like, 1,000,002 million followers at the time, obviously, it wasn’t at that size. And so it was really actually quite a lot simpler at that time to invite them in, get them excited about what we do, and even have them as ambassadors. 

 

So that was kind of like there was this moment. And I remember, we would not be at all, you know, while we were trying to grow our business, we would have Friday night, it was the first night in a long, long, long time, actually, since we first opened that my husband and I were able to take the night off together. 

 

And so we went out to dinner, and we had two people working in the truck part. It was a Friday night for people because we’re just not busy. And then we get a call from one of them. And he was like, Oh, guys, you have to come in. I can’t explain right now. But if you have to come in and I’ll say what is going on. 

 

Do we like something blowing up like what? What is happening? And so we hop in the car, and we’re like, you know, try not to run any red lights or anything. And I pull up to the front to drop ash off so I could go find parking. 

 

And I still remember the site that was in front of me. We had this pretty small store and we had a line where we had people waiting to get tables. Our school staff members were like, literally running they were running, trying to serve the people trying to get you to know, get tables together. It was insane. 

 

And that was the moment you know when you were like oh yeah, is there a moment it’s like yeah, probably enough. There was this moment where it literally felt like overnight, we had become this success. 

 

And now there is no such thing as an overnight success. I think we all know this, but it was the work and the effort that put in to essentially find channels that we could where we could find people to tap into where we could leverage an audience that was bigger than ours. 

 

That was fundamentally what we had done, right? And that’s why influencer marketing is such a big thing now because it’s all about how you leverage other people’s audiences that they’ve built, and they’ve nurtured in a real and authentic way in whatever channel that they’re on. So we started with bloggers because that was the big thing. 

 

But then that transformed, and that morphed into a channel like Instagram. And so I think, you know, that was really key for us. And now it’s like continuing on that trend. Where are your influences? And how can you leverage them in a really great and effective way?

 

Kenny Soto 10:57  

Now, I don’t want to assume because I do think the answer might be tick-tocked. But with your current businesses that you’re managing and promoting right now, are there any acquisition channels that are outperforming the others?

 

Deirdre Tshien 11:17  

Yeah, you’re right, tick tock is the big channel to be on. So we are definitely getting more and more of our clients and even ourselves onto tick tock. 

 

But I would still definitely not discount Instagram, I still really I perform, I’m gonna say I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with Instagram, I think, you know, was that it’s, it’s always gonna be such a great platform that blends, you know, the best of like, of copy and being able to get your message to people who are more, who like to read with, you know, the visuals with short-form videos, and things like that. 

 

So I really, really still am a big believer in Instagram, but tick tock is, you know, more and more, and it’s fun as well, is more and more where audiences are transitioned to where there are influencers that, you know, in the same way, that I was kind of, like, we were fortunate at the time to tap into these, you know, micro influences, you know, on Instagram that was just building their following that exact same that Tik Tok is going through right now. 

 

So, you know, so you’d be able to get you to find really, really awesome partners to work with on Instagram, leverage their audience, pretty cost-effectively. And the great thing is that when you can actually build that type of content like you can use that on Instagram as you can promote it, you can use like Facebook ads, all of that using this content, this great short-form content that’s been created on tick tock. So I do I am excited about TikTok for sure. 

 

And but ultimately, what you know, I would encourage everyone to be thinking about for their clients is like, how can you essentially, us tap into these acquisition channels? But that’s what they are, right, that acquisition channel. So how is it that you can get them converting and as a converting in sort of inverted commas? Because I know that we want sales, obviously, that would be the best type of conversion.

 

But at the very least, how do we get them converted into our email list? Because if nothing else, that’s really all that’s the honest one of the main forms of conversion that I focus on, is how do we just build this asset, which is our email list? So that’s kind of what I say definitely. TikTok, as an acquisition channel is awesome. 

 

I would still use Instagram. Obviously, from if you know, there are paid ads, then I do think that Facebook is tough, it’s tough for people who probably don’t really know what’s going on with on the ad side, but like, you know, definitely leveraging Google is becoming more and more of a thing for us, given you know, what, like, what’s happening with Facebook? So and but then really, all of those are sort of really, really top-of-funnel strategies is like, our main aim is how do we get them at the very least on our email list? That’s what we’re thinking through.

 

Kenny Soto 14:19  

And you mentioned earlier that one of the businesses that you’re focusing on is a virtual CMO program. Can you describe in more detail, what exactly you do with that program? And what does a virtual CMO do?

 

Deirdre Tshien 14:37  

Yes, so sorry, I think your audio is cutting off a little bit. But my gist of it was, what do we do? What is a virtual CMO and what do we do? Yeah, so yeah, so essentially, a virtual CMO is kind of like having one because a lot of growing businesses don’t need and they don’t have necessarily the funds to afford a full-time CMO. It just doesn’t make sense to them. 

 

And so what a virtual CMR. Or another way you can think of it as a fractional CMO. What they do is, is kind of take that role, but it’s just not a full-time business. So it actually works out really great because, you know, it’s cost-effective. And it’s also time effective. 

 

And service demo is really about strategy because it’s much more cost-effective and cheaper due to higher doors, doors in your business, to start to build a team of people who might be able to maybe create some content here, maybe you might be able to write an email there, you know, do some of the things because, as you know, less experienced people as they’re kind of coming up the ranks. 

 

That’s where they start, right? And that’s where the experience is. But sometimes you need someone who can oversee that. And who can basically bring the strategy and not a strategy across platforms, kind of what I was talking about, about how do you not just focus on just one acquisition channel, but potentially focus on war, but how does that all hang together? So it’s seamless so that people aren’t confused about, well, why you’re doing this here, but you’re doing or saying that there. 

 

So that’s kind of what what you know, we do as a virtual CMO, which is we bring the strategy, we bring the insights, we bring the guidance for that, you know, the more that the team who is trying to build experience to get up to that point, which means that you kind of gets someone with a lot of experience under their belt. But for you know, the cost of you because you are paying hundreds of 1000s of dollars for that if you were to hire someone full time. And the cost of it is like a fraction of of of that. So yeah, it works out well for everyone.

 

Kenny Soto 16:48  

Now, taking a quick shift into some of the things that I saw in your post on LinkedIn when I was doing research about you, you are very prolific, prolific on the platform, and provide a lot of great advice. So I’m going to go through a list of questions that I have based on those posts that I’ve seen. So my first one is what is your definition of a tribe?

 

Deirdre Tshien 17:10  

Oh, my definition of a tribe is essentially a community of people who are, like, following you as their leader. And I don’t mean follow in like a subservient way. But you know, they see the value that you add, they see how much of a thought leader you are. And they’re like, yeah, if I’m going to learn from someone, or if I’m going to, you know, follow someone’s advice, then it’s going to be you. 

 

And from that you actually create raving fans, you create people who like it was really funny because I actually transitioned from I have a Facebook group that I’m actually just transitioned out of. And I’ve opened a new one. And I did live in my old Facebook group. And I was like, this is what’s happening. 

 

This is why, and this is where I’m going to be building a new community. And I had a bunch of people following me over there. Now that’s what I would call that they’re my tribe, right? They’re the people who would say, regardless of where you go, or what you do, I am going to come with you. I believe in you so much that I’m yeah, I’m gonna come with you. So that’s how I found a tribe.

 

Kenny Soto 18:21  

And specifically with LinkedIn, do you find that your tribe is also there? And if so, how are you engaging with them?

 

Deirdre Tshien 18:32  

Um, I wouldn’t say LinkedIn is a great platform to build a cry. Building a tribe, I think about what platform and specifically where to build my tribe, I think about what platforms are effective at conversations, not just like between, in, you know, me and you, for example, but conversations that you can also have with other people in the community, other people in the tribe and sort of start to really create a bit of a groundswell around conversations around topics around things that you’re doing, where you’re not just the person who’s creating all of that, right. 

 

So. So LinkedIn is great because you know, it’s there for credibility or authority, visibility, all of those things. But really, if you think about where you want to build your tribe, you want to be thinking about, yeah, what are those platforms? So for me right now, I still believe in regardless of, you know, Facebook’s or Facebook’s issues, Facebook group, as a really, really great place to build a tribe. 

 

And I also think, you know, a very, very close second is going to be Instagram, because, you know, comments are visible, and you know, they can apply to each other. Now, it’s not as effective because people themselves can’t do a post. You know, to start a conversation and like in a Facebook group, but you know, if nothing else, then that’s a really great place to start to build that tribe.

 

Kenny Soto 20:00  

Before answering my next question, excuse me, for anyone who’s listening right now and is interested in other alternatives besides Facebook groups and Instagram, I’ve actually been doing research on Discord. Discord used to be a, I guess, private server chat room forum app, where people who were in video games or in the crypto space would congregate and talk with one another. 

 

But now there are businesses such as loop insurance, where that have started to move their community over to discord. And they’re a great case study in using that. Also, another alternative is creating a community via slack, which I’ve seen very successfully used in the b2b space. 

 

So for any listeners who are thinking about alternatives to Facebook groups, I would recommend discord and slack as other alternatives to leverage. Now, another question I have is about the cost of acquisition. How should marketers, in general, think about the cost of acquisition and lowering the cost of acquisition also, is lowering the cost of acquisition always the goal to keep in mind?

 

Deirdre Tshien 21:12  

I don’t know if I would say it’s always but it’s definitely a goal that I would is always top of my mind. Because, you know, one of my mentors, and I’m sure that a lot of your listeners would know him as Russell Brunson talks about this all the time. 

 

But you know, he quotes his own mentors around like about the fact that the business with the most money wins, right? And the reason why they win is that they have more money to acquire people. That’s why so many new, especially software companies get going to get funding because they need that money, they need that runway to go and acquire new customers. 

 

So the cost of acquisition, the acquisition is a big part of that formula. If you cannot keep that down. And when I say keep that down, there are a couple of ways that we can do that. So we can look at it very, very linearly in terms of like, I just need to keep this absolute number as low as possible. 

 

Now, the reason why I really like what Russell Brunson talks about Funnels is that there is actually another way that if you can look to liquidate that cost of acquisition upfront, then it almost doesn’t matter how much you spend on it, you’re always gonna be making it back. 

 

So that’s really the way that I like to think about the cost of acquisition, which is that yes, it is important, and it’s going to continue to be a really important metric because we will need leads, we will need customers, we will need clients that will have to come from somewhere, and they’re all going to cost something that they’re going to cost your time or they’re going to cost your money. 

 

And if a lot of us, if don’t have the time, we need to spend the money. But also, we all have limited resources in that in that area. Right? We don’t have unless you have a client who just has an unlimited amount of money, and are happy to spend it on acquiring customers, then we all need to be smart with what we do with our money with that money. 

 

So that’s why it is always going to be Yeah, a really, really important metric for you to be keeping an eye on. So yeah, so I would say it is really still quite an important number.

 

Kenny Soto 23:21  

Now, I’ve been obsessed recently with the idea of proxy metrics, where if you are focusing on the cost of acquisition or CAC, as your main metric to focus on, but you for some reason cannot figure out why it’s not changing. 

 

There may be proxy metrics that you can leverage to change your strategy. And if those start to improve, then you can see a relation or correlation to your CAC, either decreasing substantially or decreasing over time. So what are some proxy metrics you look at aside from CAC to measure success in terms of acquisition?

 

Deirdre Tshien 24:03  

Yeah, and what are we talking about? Like, specifically for an ad, right? Yeah. Yeah. Okay. So yeah, so everything that you know, we do, always, they’re always drivers to it, right? And that’s exactly the same with CAC. 

 

And I think this is what you’re getting to, which is what are the drivers of that. And when you’re running an ad, you know, it’s, it’s, there are so many drivers that go into that, right everything from the audience that you’re targeting, to the creative that you’re putting out to the copy that you’re writing, to then actually your landing page. 

 

Those are essentially all steps in all drivers in the process for you to actually acquire a customer. So those I would say are probably the most important metrics that you’ll be looking at all these proxy metrics, I guess, as you call it, to looking at so for me, I would definitely look at reach or impressions because that’s going to tell you is your creative for example, being effective If, at stopping the scroll, I will look at click-throughs. 

 

Because that is going to tell you is if your copy is effective at actually enticing people to want to click through and learn more, and then I would definitely look at then, you know, depending on what your page is doing, like whether it’s a lead magnet, and it’s, you know, like a sign-up, or whether you’re actually selling something, what is actually the conversion of that, because that’s going to tell you that the page, whether the page is doing its job or not, I know that, you know, when I work with clients, and I speak to other people, and they’re like, this agency, the service or agencies and working, because I’m not getting the sales, for example, and this happens a lot in E-commerce, then I’ll be like, Okay, well, let’s step back through that funnel and see where it’s breaking down. 

 

Now, if the agency is able to get to do their job and get traffic to the website, you know, get people actually doing all the things. So they’re stopping the reading, they’re clicking through, they’re getting on the website, but they’re just not converting there, then you know, that actual client, it’s actually not that agency’s fault, like they’re doing, you know, they’re doing the right things they’re getting you the traffic is just your website is not converting, it’s not doing its job, it’s not playing its own weight. 

 

And so it’s I know that it’s really, it’s easy, in a way for clients to kind of blame these things on agencies. And I hope that you know, your listeners, you know, maybe they feel this pain or and hopefully, they learned something from this about how to maybe position that conversation. But if you don’t have control over the sales page, ultimately, then yeah, this kind of conversion is not necessarily your fault. 

 

Now, if you can influence that and recommend changes or even do the changes, then awesome, then you can actually start to show true value around while the client just wants to sell, they just want an outcome, you can now actually help them get them and not just drive traffic. 

 

Because CAC is only really valuable when you can put it in perspective with the actual revenue cap on its own doesn’t really mean anything, it needs to be in context with, you know, what, like, what is the dollar amount that’s actually getting spent? And therefore, is it higher or lower than your CAC? So yeah, so that was a long way of saying, like, answering a question, but it is a full picture, I think then just CAC in isolation.

 

Kenny Soto 27:28  

Yeah. And that’s definitely something that I’m going to make as a clip. Because that’s, that’s a great piece of advice. Now, earlier, you talked about influencers. And I personally am in the stage of marketing, my startup where I’m starting to research content creators and influencers to propose using them as part of our acquisition strategy. 

 

So my question isn’t necessarily, should a business use influencers? Because I do believe whether it’s b2b or b2c, there is a way to use them, you just need to be creative. But more so when is the right time? When is a business ready to use influencers?

 

Deirdre Tshien 28:09  

I guess it really depends on you know when you say influences what you mean because there is and the strategy because influences as a group are, you know, we would know they’re people with large followings that have influence over their audience. 

 

But there are so many strategies that you can tap into, around how you can leverage, you know, leverage this group. So, in terms of is, is it ever too early, I would say not depending on the strategy that you’re looking to use. So for us, for example, when we’re working with pre-launch, when either we’re in pre-launch, or we have clients in pre-launch, then we love to leverage influencers to help us grow their audiences. 

 

So you know, whether that’s like, like I mentioned, campaigns, contests, things like that when we have a product, so when we’re and even if, even if we’re in pre-launch, and let’s say we it’s a physical product that we can start to send out, it’s a great way to even start to nurture them, because what I don’t and I’ve worked with, you know, a whole history influences for a long time. 

 

And time and time again, what I find is that they aren’t just people as well, right? They are people who have opinions and who value who’d love the fact that those opinions are valued and heard. 

 

So what we do as well as we actually engage them pre launch and we’re like, hey, we actually need testers, beta testers, for this thing that we’re developing. Would you like to be part of that and you actually take them on the journey, you get them excited about the thing, you send them out, you know, whether it’s a trial, a test, sample of whatever it is, with the full story of like, Hey, we’re just testing like, you know, we’re not we haven’t launched yet, but we’re just testing there. So we’d love your feedback. 

 

We’d love to know what you think. Now, yeah, you’re not going to necessarily get a purse or anything out of that. But what you’re doing is you’re putting the work in now. So that you can actually effectively leverage them when you’re ready to. And so we do a lot of that we actually do a lot of nurturing, you know, pre-launch. 

 

And then when we launch, when we do launch, it’s like, Hey, you have this base that You’ve nurtured, that you can now tap into to be like, Would you like to be part of our launch? And that, so that’s why I say it’s actually never too early because there’s always something that you can pre-frame them with, you know, you can actually get them excited about and the more that they are on that journey with you, the more put in there going to be to actually want to share about you. 

 

So yeah, so I so to answer your question, I don’t think that there is actually, you know, too early, unless it’s like, literally, you just have a kernel of an idea. And you want to be a little bit more progressive than that. You want to have a bit of an idea about what you’re going to actually be promoting and what you know, what you would actually want them to give you feedback on if that’s the path you’re going to be taking.

 

Kenny Soto 31:03  

And Deirdre what would you say is the best process for evaluating an influencer because an influencer could have a large and engaged audience? But I’m assuming there, there may be instances where they’re still not a right fit for your brand. So what do you personally do to evaluate an influencer?

 

Deirdre Tshien 31:26  

Yeah, so I mean, again, depends on what type of brand new art we talk about, say e-commerce, so product-based businesses, I always look at a few things, a couple of things.

 

One is, are they used to promote or selling something, because you want to be working with predominantly influencers, because if you want that kind of ultimate conversion, you want them to, you’re working with people who are used to selling in a way, selling authentically, of course, in their own way, but still selling something. 

 

So I’ll always look at that. And I’ll also look at, you know, the number one thing isn’t even followers, it’s always going to be engagement. We’ve worked with, you know, micro-influencers with less than 5000 followers, for example, that have done really, really well for us. And that’s because they have just such an engaged audience. 

 

So we do have thresholds around you know, what kind of engagement rates you’re looking for, depending on where they like how many followers they do have, obviously, the more followers that they have, and this is just going to be blanket, you know, across what any account, they’re always going to have less engagement. 

 

So the tears do listen, in terms of engagement as followers increase. So those are kind of the two things that you want to be looking out for. Now, if you don’t have a product necessarily to sell. So you’re not looking for an influencer to sell for you, then you’re really looking at whether there’s a values alignment, and obviously, whether they have and this goes so to the product as well, whether they have your target customer in their audience. 

 

Now a quick way to see that is going to their follower’s list, and just on a quick scan, you can start to see whether the people who are following those accounts, you would think are your target audience, like they’re the people that you would love to be to be buying from you as well. 

 

So, we will always look at that. And yeah, and whether what they talk about and how they talk about it is aligned to our brands because ultimately, they are essentially a brand ambassador for you. Right? If you’re going to entrust them with selling and talking about your thing, you want it to be as much as possible in alignment with how you would talk about not to say that you’re giving them a script or anything but you know what I mean because your target audience the way that they’re going to resonate with you on your you know, with your content, you want them to be similarly resonating with and influences content. So that’s how I think about it

 

Kenny Soto 33:57  

Without mentioning any specific names. Do you have any horror stories when it comes to partnering with an influencer? 

 

Deirdre Tshien 34:06  

Oh, I don’t know ever have had any horror stories. I mean, I have like I’ve worked with influencers where they haven’t, I guess, you know, fulfilled on the promise of the agreement. But to be honest, because I put a lot of time and effort into nurturing these relationships because they are just, you know, another person. We actually don’t really have many horror stories like many things I’ve gone so wrong that they couldn’t be fixed. 

 

So that’s the thing like in the same way that I think you would want to be treating your customers you know, people who are actually giving you money. That’s kind of how you want to be treating influences as well because in a sense they are helping you in other ways to get money. So yeah, we haven’t we don’t really have any big horror stories.

 

Kenny Soto 34:53  

When it comes to your skills as a marketer, what are some hard and or soft skills that you have leveraged throughout your entire career?

 

Deirdre Tshien 35:05  

Um, I guess, hard skills are really around relationship building. Now, this is a hard one for me, because I am quite an introvert. At my core, I’ve had to work through that. But, you know, I am generally not super comfortable around people. I don’t love if I’m going to be honest, building new relationships. 

 

So that’s a skill, that’s been a hard skill that I’ve, I’ve had to develop and learn. You know, obviously, it’s really easy to say, oh, yeah, I had to learn how to run ads, I had to learn how to do this and that and, like, yeah, those are important. But ultimately, if you can build great relationships, you can actually leverage a lot of other smarter, better, more experienced people around you, to help you with those things. 

 

So, you know, building relationships, I think, for me, has been the best hard skill that I’ve developed in terms of the soft skill for me, and I actually just have recently learned this as well, we have to not I use it because I’m an introvert, I’m a very private person, I actually, literally just, I’m just turning my own personal Instagram account into a more of a business lead one. 

 

Because I’ve always been, no, no, I don’t want to be, you know, the, necessarily that the face or necessarily the person who likes promoting myself now. So soft skill is, I had to get over myself, I had to get over myself, because if I wanted to make an impact on others, then I had to, I had to not get in my own way. 

 

And, uh, you know, a big realization for me very recently, actually, is that even though I’m an introvert, I used to always use it as an excuse. And I probably still do, to be honest. But it’s those things that we think hold us back, that is actually a strength of ours, it’s actually a superpower. 

 

It’s actually the thing that makes us remarkable because we have been able to, as long as we know it, and we acknowledge it, and yet we battle through it to get whatever successes that is, whether that’s climbing the corporate ladder, or whether that’s building a business, you still been able to even with these things that you think hold you back, you’ve still been able to do these great things. 

 

For me, I always lean on introversion, because it seems to, in my mind, anyway, have always plagued me throughout my high school, college career, entrepreneurship, career, all of that. But when I look at it now, I’m like, wow, this is actually something that I have. This is a strength that I have. 

 

Because, yeah, I always use it as an excuse. And I’m going to be completely open about that. But it’s also a superpower that I can start to share with other people with other media on introverted entrepreneurs who, themselves similarly are leaning on this as an excuse, but it’s like, actually, I will still be able to have a really successful corporate career. 

 

Even with this, I have still been able to grow multiple, six and seven-figure businesses even with this, I’ve been able to graduate college with honors, even with this. So even though you think that there are these things that hold you back, they’re actually the things that make you strong, they’re the things that make you hot. 

 

And so a soft skill is like, what can you acknowledge about yourself? That you’re currently using as an excuse? And how can you instead use that as a strength and stop leaning on it as an excuse? So that’s something that I’ve had to work through myself recently.

 

Kenny Soto 38:48  

Now, my last question is hypothetical, because time machines don’t exist. But if they did, and you can go back 10 years into the past, knowing everything you know, right now, how would you accelerate the speed of your career?

 

Deirdre Tshien 39:02  

Oh, wow, um, this is a hard one for me, because I actually think that we all go on are we all we are all on this path. We all have our own journeys for a reason. If I had probably known some things 10 years ago, maybe like how hard it is to grow, to build, and grow a business. I don’t know if I would have done it. 

 

And so I do fundamentally believe that you know, everything that has happened and that I’ve done is for a reason. And that right now I’m exactly where I need to be because of everything that I’ve had to do, and everything I’ve had to learn and everything I’ve had to teach myself so yeah, I don’t I just I don’t know if I would actually tell myself anything. 

 

Just maybe just to enjoy more of the moments because sometimes when you know it is really, really hard. It’s really difficult. But I think You know, for people who operate based on faith rather than fear, then you know that there’s always going to be a way out of anything difficult and you know that there are any better things to come. So, yeah, I don’t I don’t know whether I would have told myself anything different.

 

Kenny Soto 40:16  

I can attest to that as well, where usually failure only comes because you’re one step away from success and you’ve most likely given up and mainly if you just hold on to hope, and believe in yourself and know that even if you’re not equipped with all the skills that you may need to succeed at the moment, you can learn those skills, you can evolve and you can get better over time. 

 

And maybe you might not succeed in the right timeline that you’ve set for yourself, but you will succeed nonetheless.

 

Deirdre Tshien  40:49  

100%.

 

Kenny Soto 40:51  

Now, Deirdre, with that being said, if anyone wanted to find you online and say hello, where can they go?

 

Deirdre Tshien 40:58  

Yeah, so definitely come in now that I’ve converted my personal profile on Instagram to my Republic one come say hi to me there so Deirdre Shen. I’m very active on Instagram. Otherwise, come in, and please join my Facebook group. It’s called the remarkable entrepreneur. I’d love to have you as part of the community.

 

Kenny Soto 41:17  

Thank you so much for your time today and for being on the podcast and thank you to you the listener for listening to another episode of the people with digital marketing with your host Kenny Soto. And as always, I hope you have a great week. 

 

Bye.

 

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