Find Your Content Creation Flow State with Derren Ohanian

Written by Laura Roeder

On August 20, 2020

Welcome to Social Post a podcast brought to you by MeetEdgar each week we bring you a guest to inspire your creativity, breathe new life into your marketing strategy and get you motivated to take action in your business. This week, we spoke to Derren Ohanian of Social Sensei about how to grow your Instagram business account with influencer marketing, finding your content creation flow and creating work-life balance as an entrepreneur.


Derren Ohanian is the CEO and co-founder of Social Sensei. Social Sensei is an Instagram growth agency that helps small businesses and mid-market businesses grow their Instagram business accounts or get ad placement with influencers in their target market

ME: Let’s dive into celebrities and micro-influencers. Can you share why influencer marketing is an effective route to grow your Instagram business account?

DH: So about a year ago everyone was all about Instagram automation. That was like the greatest thing in the world and it was awesome for small businesses too because it was cheap, it was affordable, and you got followers from your target audience

In August 2019, Instagram changed their API completely blocked off all access to any type of automation and engagement, and the ability to gain followers just completely fall off of the cliff.

We had to scramble to figure out what’s the next greatest thing that’s going to really breakthrough and what we found is influencer marketing is the answer in 2020.

What that looks like is twofold and primarily based on your budget so first is working with celebrities. There are pros and cons to that. The con is they’re extremely expensive. The barrier to entry to working with a celebrity is much higher but also you’re getting the star power and you’re getting the brand associated with that celebrity. You’re reaching the target audience that they’ve built over years and years to amass. That’s ready to purchase so that’s really great for anyone that has a product or service that wants to reach mainstream America.

Now micro-influencers are a bit different. This really opens up the door for everyone to play in that same space and it’s really cool too because there’s a twofold approach.

One is called the promotional giveaway or the loop giveaway and what we do here is we’ll pair you up with an influencer and on that influencers page they’re gonna run a contest a giveaway So, for example, we’ll put up an iPhone as prize and then the influencer is going to incentivize their followers to follow your account in order to enter the giveaway. Of course, they want to win the contest but also they’re going to check out your page and they’re going to follow you. So if you have relevant content that provides value and isn’t just trying to spam them then you’re going to be able to convert these followers into loyal fans and then of course convert those into leads or sales.

The other form of micro-influencer marketing is something that is kind of a new term, called creator marketing. Creator marketing is one step further it’s a little bit more interesting. You work with us you let us know what your budget is and you let us know the target audience that you want to target.

For example, let’s say you sell dog treats and you have a budget of $3,000 and you want to target people who have dogs or love dogs. This is where creator marketing gets extremely granular. On your behalf, we’ll go ahead and do some research. We’ll find influencers that match your budget, we’ll get complete breakdowns of their followers and then we’ll get an understanding of the costs. This saves you from having to weed out the real influencers versus the fake ones or having to handle contracts or any details like that.

You could just use one influencer or you have the option of creating a campaign of 10 posts at $300 apiece across three different influencers to see which influencer actually generates the most revenue for you. You can track all the ROI through the call to actions that you set up with the influencers driving them back to your website or email signups or sales – whatever you want to track – and now you’ve developed a relationship.

That’s the difference between traditional social ad and creator marketing. With creator marketing, you’re actually building relationships with these people. They can get to know your brand and can find different and unique ideas to talk about your product or service.

The difference between the promotional giveaways or loop giveaways is the focus is gaining followers and brand exposure. Obviously, this has its pros, for example getting that 10,000 followers to get you the swipe up feature on your stories (which is very beneficial for anyone selling a product or service).

You also boost your credibility of having more followers and partnering with bigger influencers and celebrities. It shows that social proof on your Instagram business account.

With creator marketing, the pro is that you’re getting a super targeted follower who is already interested in your message and product or service. So you have a higher chance of converting that follower into a customer with the creator marketing campaigns.

While there’s no guarantee, the general rule is that you’ll see a higher conversion rate with the creator marketing versus the loop giveaway.

ME: One of the fantastic things about your company, Social Sensei, is that you put relationships at the forefront. Building those relationships on social media is so important, especially if you’re working with an influencer because you really want them to believe in your business when they promote it. Of course, like anything, laying all that foundational work of building relationships and engaging can be time-consuming. Can you share how you balance work and life obligations while managing social media accounts?

DH: Let’s start with what you said about being social on social media. This will actually help that work-life balance. Because so many people get stuck on the idea that they are just trying to gain followers. But followers is just a number.

Remember behind every single follower number is a person. Treat that person as if you were at a party with them. We have to remember to take our humanity from our day-to-day lives and put that into authentically relating to our communities and connections. It’s important to take the time to really look at their posts and say something meaningful to them or send them a direct message if it really calls to you.

Remember, the six degrees of separation. You have no idea who knows someone who knows somebody who needs your service. Word of mouth will always be the most powerful marketing tool. If you treat people like humans on social media and you show you actually care, you are going reap rewards that can’t be tracked on Google analytics from that.

Now, for finding that balance of work and life. As so many of us know being an entrepreneur is hard! There are only so many hours in the day and the to-do list keeps getting longer and now we’re adding social media to our plate, which is practically a full-time job.

It can be easy to get trapped in the idea that we have to be the ones to do it all and believe that we’re the only ones who can do it right.

But we all have to trust that other people can step up and take things off our plate and trust that they can step up into their own zone of genius.

This is really important because I’ve been there, working 12-15 hours a day, completely burnt out. The key to success is mastering the art of delegation. You have to master the chessboard and be able to see your chessboard and where your business needs to go. You need to have the vision of where you want to go and then move the chess pieces in a way to get you where you need to go.

So if I’m a solopreneur, the first thing I’m going to do is figure out all the stuff I don’t like doing. Write down that list, whatever that might be. Then look at where you can find someone to fill in those gaps. Try UpWork or or asking in Facebook groups for VAs who can take on the tasks that you don’t want to handle. Then you can focus on the things you love and stay in your zone of genius while helping someone else work in their zone of genius and support themselves.

Also, look for anything repeatable that has steps and processes that can be documented so anyone can follow those steps. Create processes and lay them out for your VAs. Then slowly hand off these tasks with confidence that they’re going to follow those steps.

You might have to check in a few times in the first week or month but soon your trust will grow and you’ll see that you actually have time on your hands to hang out with your family or actually relax, whatever puts your nervous system in a calm and relaxed state.

This is important because if your brain is just so fried from trying to keep up, you won’t be able to actually sell to anyone or win many people over because your vibe and energy will be so off.

I’ve found that the less I work, the more efficient I become. I could work a 12-16 hour day. Or I could focus on taking care of my mental and physical health and sleep, workout, meditate and find some type of balance and I can work four hours and get just as much done as I did the day before.

When we get into a state of focused flow, we get so much more done and we get it done better than we could have if we were burnt out. I recommend reading the book Flow State to learn more. It’s all about how we can all reach peak optimal performance and what the top-performing execs do to stay that productive.

If you only do one thing for work-life balance, I recommend starting a 10-minute meditation practice. Just try it for 10 minutes a day every morning to see what happens.

ME: I love that! It reminds me of a quote I heard, that if you don’t rise to the level of your goals, you fall to the level of your systems. And just like you were saying, your systems have to include things like repeatable possess you can delegate because no one can read your mind. And you know, it’s in the rest times where our subconscious mind is able to solve those problems. So look for ways you can create those systems, like batching your workflow or automating your social media posting so you can find areas in your day for free time. Now, to wrap up, I would love for you to leave us with your favorite marketing tips whether they’re for Instagram or anything else that our community can take action on.

DH: I think one of the most important things any solopreneur or small business owner can do is is understand how to position yourself. You have 1-3 seconds to grab someone’s attention, whether it’s on your Instagram business account or your website.

You have to be able to transmit your message quickly and efficiently. So many people put up information that isn’t relevant or they’ll put too much information out there. You have to set up your landing page and your Instagram profile so it’s presentable, concise, and summarizes who you are and what you do.

For example, on my website, Social Sensei, our one line is “We guarantee thousands of real followers to your Instagram account every month.” I have 3 seconds to get your attention and that line that encapsulates everything that I do and hopefully, it’ll catch your attention, or at least, you’ll remember it. Ask yourself how you can get one line that captures your message and then use that line in all of your marketing, branding, social media, etc.

Another thing to remember is when you’re posting content, it has to be two things. The first is it has to be visually compelling, especially on Instagram. Ask yourself “Would this image make me stop scrolling on Instagram and look? Would I stop and look at my own photo?” That’s the level you need to aim for. And it’s ok if you don’t have professional photography or aren’t an expert designer, you can get creative in other ways with your content. Have fun with it!

Finally provide value. Lots of people want to make it in their businesses but it’s not just about shoving your product in someone’s face. You need to figure out how you can provide value to your followers, enrich their lives, and give them information that’s going to make them better people.

Remember you’re not just selling the product or service. You’re selling the dream of what that product or service brings your audience.

Pair the dream that your product or service helps people achieve with value.

Always ask yourself “Is this enriching my own life when I’m putting this out there?” That’s a good check to ask.  Do you even like your own content or would you comment on it?  Because if you’re not going to do it yourself then what makes you think anyone else is going to?

ME: What a jam-packed episode! Thank you, Derren for sharing all your wisdom. If you want to learn more about Derren or Social Sensei, visit his website here.

And if you want to improve your own Instagram strategy, download our free Instagram story templates!

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