SASHA HORNE Influencer Spotlight
Sasha Horne is an LA-based journalist, tech blogger, YouTube host and former TV news reporter. She was also a season one cast member of Whodunnit? the ABC show which developed a cult following in 2013.
A year later, Sasha launched the popular blog Sasha Talks Tech which is best described as an online hub for inspiring startup stories and tech talk for emerging brands and entrepreneurs. Readers will find it to be a resource for go-to gadgets, apps and the digital lifestyle hacks needed to jump-start businesses and streamline daily life as aspiring entrepreneurs.
Sasha enjoys reviewing digital lifestyle products for women, gadgets, beauty, and travel for the Digital Nomad or Startup CEO on the go. Along with Facebook and Twitter and all of the rest, you can catch Sasha on her YouTube channel called Sasha Reports.
Can you tell us a little bit about your background as a TV News Host, star on cult classic ABC show Whodunnit? As well as how you got your start as an Influencer?
Yes well it was in my opinion it happened completely or unexpectedly. I spent my career working as a journalist for the past ten years. I started out in radio then I went on to be a TV news reporter and I was working at where I thought at the time as my dream job, in Washington DC as a news reporter for international media outlet. When one day I was on my lunch break I was just on Craig’s list looking at gigs. Those type of things outside of a writing gig or something. But it said they were casting for a show where they wanted you to use your professional skills as a journalist to try and solve fictitious crimes. And so I’ve always been into mysteries like the babysitter’s club mystery books back in the day and like R L Stine and now as an adult Steven King so I thought why not let me just try this out.
So I submitted a tape and out of several hundred thousand contestants I was one of the lucky or unlucky thirteen depending on how you want to see it. The concept of the show, spoiler alert I didn’t win the two hundred fifty thousand dollars but I did have an amazing time and I’m still friends with most of the cast. But after doing that show it was one of those decisions. I either had to continue working or quit my job and do the show cause I had to fly out to LA to tape and so I decided to go for it and living in LA I started my blog Sasha Talks Tech as a place for my audience to stay with me because I was now freelance. I didn’t have a news outlet to be associated with so I wanted a place they could always find me. Once I started the blog at first it was a cool way to see new tech and get into some really awesome events and share it with my audience and then people just started contacting me. They were like “hey we really value your opinion. We really love what you built and we’d like to send you this product. Feel free to give your honest opinion” and that’s how my influencer career started.
Have you interacted with any brand on Intellifluence yet?
Yes, I have. One of the most interesting brands that I connected with is NewAir. They make a lot of different products for the house and with my being bi coastal, living in Washington D.C and out in LA I have the opportunity to test the different gadgets out at parties. For instance I had this Ice marker, It was a portable ice marker that you can just plus in and take around with you and it makes fifty pounds of ice. It was really cool. Everyone was gathering around “like that’s really cool I’ve never seen anything like that” and I’ve always been that type of person like I’ll be the first one to tell somebody “oh you should check out this app” or “ohyou need to use this” and so now I’m able to do that in the influencer space thanks to you guys.
On your page you had multiple brands listed for ones you work with so what has been your favorite brand partnership to date?
Oh wow that’s a really tough question. My favorite brand partnership to date I- that’s a tough one let me think for a second. I’ve done some really cool stuff with Best Buy, which I thought was really awesome because I was able to do a television segment. So basically it was a holiday gift guide television segment and I took it on the road. I went to a station in west palm beach, to station out in California, and Best Buy partnered with me and allowed me to borrow the product to demo on television.
So that was really cool because it allowed me to open up Sasha Talks Tech to a whole new space and that partnership with them, it obviously helps them to have somebody as their ambassador on air sharing their products that are cool for the holidays or back to school.
What are some of your strategies for growing (and/or optimizing) community engagement in terms of your audience?
I think consistency and authenticity are the biggest factors. I say consistency and I don’t mean that to say that you need to have your phone on you at all times. There are definitely weekends that I delete all social media and I just focus on family or whatever I have going on. And just let your audience know “hey guys I’m taking a quick little visual detox. I’ll be back and see you later” and I say that because if you don’t I found that they check in like “is everything okay, we haven’t heard from you in awhile”. And authenticity, just being yourself .
That’s the thing I really love about Sasha Talks Tech. I had no idea that there are people like me out there., you know, me and my friends are little nerdy and so it’s really allowed me to meet all of these people from all over the world, literally all over the world who share the same interests. A lot of times I’ll get messages saying like “hey I want to do something similar, how do I get started” or “I want to learn to do what you do” and I’ve actually been able to mentor people I met through social media and it’s just been a really incredible experience.
So I’m a fan on Mario Lopez and I noticed on your site you spoke at City Summit 2018 along with a list of other notable speakers that was hosted by Mario. Can you tell us a little bit about City Summit 2018?
Yeah so one of my really good friends, Jennifer, actually put that event together. As part of her- she started her own PR company which I think is super amazing. and she is always really good about letting me know what types of events and things are going on. And so I really like what they are doing, what the organization is doing and I grew up watching Mario Lopez on Saved by the Bell so for me it was like fan girly moment.
With new technology hitting the market constantly, for example the Iphone X. How do you determine which products to review and which ones to skip?
Well for me the first thing is do I think it’s cool. Next I try to skew in the in the direction of indie products. Products that were maybe Kickstarter funded or a mom and pop prior to them maybe getting the big funding. And I do that because, you know, that’s kind of like my story. I just started out in this all independently, I didn’t have like a, you know, big financial backer and I just want to pay it forward. I want to help those who don’t – maybe they don’t have the tech savvy skills when it digital marketing or connecting or getting even media to write about their launch and so I tend to lend my services however I can/. Actually recently launched my collective, it’s called Perks of Ambition and it’s really just like this- kind of like a club but also like an incubator. We’re helping each other grow and take each others projects and products to the next level. So that’s like my passion in this arena.
A lot of Influencers we’ve interviewed predict video to continue to grow the quickest in the next five years. How did you become so comfortable in front of the camera and what advice would you give aspiring Influencers as it pertains to video?
Well I guess I had a little bit of advantage because I did work in TV news. Although I still to this day remember my very first time going live in a six o’clock session in eastern North Carolina and the butterflies in my stomach and I just have to say it, practice makes perfect. And there’s so many new apps and mediums popping up but just find one that works for you. You know if you’re not great live then don’t go live. You don’t have to do that just because everyone else is doing that.
I like to do Instagram because I like the short video snippets and I find I have a more robust and engage following on Instagram compared to Snapchat. I also – I started YouTubing I guess it’s like five years ago now, and my YouTube game has kind of fallen off as my Instagram game has increased. So now the strategy is okay I have to create these different types of content. I might shoot the same story or the same interview but I’ll customize it so what you’re getting on YouTube is not exactly the same as what you’re getting on my IG. Because not all of your follower, your network they’re not always going to be on every platform and you don’t have to either.
That’s the thing I like to encourage people find something that works for you and practice makes perfect. I mean it takes me time even now to do a take. Sometimes I have to do like five takes and I’ve been doing this for almost ten years. So don’t beat yourself up and just put yourself in a schedule. I’m going to do one video a week.
Note: Influencer Spotlight interviews are edited for time and clarity.
Andrew is the Head of Client Services for Intellifluence and has a background in communications. He is committed to helping brands get the most out of their campaigns and is the voice behind many of the Intellifluence tutorial videos (for better or worse).