CREATE South 2012: Keynote – Heather Solos "Build & Protect Your Brand Online"

Oh no!  Heather’s computer died this week! 
Shatter the illusion: 1000 true fans.  Um, no.  She’s a blogger, published author, then working in an Irish pub to make ends meet, with WAY more followers than 1000 on any platform she’s on now.
She points out there’s this weird space where she’s Important.  Then she’s back at the bar, scrubbing vomit off a toilet or holed up in her office, trying to work when the kids want attention.
It feels like nothing is going on, but something does if you keep at it.
Social Media buzzword bingo….you hear words, but no one talks about what they are.  Personal brand development is TOTALLY different than a company.
What’s it mean to be transparent as a person?  Hey, no one wants to see the dirty laundry.
Authenticity?  Are you putting out who you really are?  She’s Catholic, and her priest reads her blog.  A PR guy wanted her to promote AIDS prevention during National Condom Week. She had to turn it down a) home ec does not equal health. and b) she’s publicly Catholic.  So you also have to turn down other silly things.  Mayo haters canNOT recommend a brand of mayo!
Method is a company she’s interested in following.  They started their idea in a apt with 5 guys living in it.  They want to offer the better product for their environment.
[I’m fading a bit, so the notes are a bit fuzzy here. Sorry! -A]
Method is living their brand.  Who are you?  Who do you present to the world?  Be consistent.  Know when to respond.  Haters gonna hate, after all.  It’s a waste of your time to worry about the haters.  Just walk away.  They are fueled by jealousy, so don’t worry about it.  You can filter hater sites out of your Google search you set up for yourself.  Don’t be scared of these people.
“What’s your product?”  You need to define what your product is.  Heather is selling adspace & entertaining adults.  Your platoform = your followers in the networks  you’re on.
Pinterest now is HUGE right now.
Tim Ferris’ 4-Hour Work Week?  That’s crap!  (applause)  Instead, figure out where you’re most effective & concentrate on that.
Heather’s never used a virtual assistant.  She gets 5 emails a day from virtual assistants wanting to do a blog post for their employer.  Stop this!  The Net is full of crap already.
Klout?  It matters to some people, but the true measure of your clout & influence isn’t as easily defined.  How well can you move people to do something?  THAT’s clout.
Day By Day webcomic.  Great web comic; but its author did a poster for a charity she’s works closely with that was too risque, didn’t fit their brand, and unfortunately looks too much like Heather.  She said, No.  We can’t go with this.
“You can’t expect someone to base their careers on your hobby.”  – Heather
Monitizing?  She’s still working on that.  Right now, AdSense is best for her.  The ad networks she’s tried were crap – demanded exclusivity for just a 30% cut.  Meh.  Other people do other things…selling ebooks, for example.
Write faster!  😉  Heather hasn’t earned out on her book.  [Ugh!  Go buy this book!  Cleaning tips for geeks!  How can this not do it for you? -A]
-How to balance the call to action with being a resource?
People on FB wants quick interaction.  She asks them “what’s for dinner”? on FB. That bumps up the interaction, which helps. EdgeSense [sp]
-Brand protection: risk.  When does Heather think the risk is worth the investment for her brand verses a more conservative approach?  She feels for herself that talking in her own voice is risk.  For a big company, social media is so far down the totem pole, it’s hard to even have the conversation.  You can step back & let your friends do the defending.  That’s probably safer.  You might just need to correct them, but have THAT convo privately.
-How do you let people help you?  The people you hire have their own worth & network that they’re bringing to you.  Step back & let them do their thing in their voice.  They don’t have the investment that you do in it…unless like Scott Sigler, you give them a piece of it.
How did this evolve for you?  Her phone used to ring a lot around 4:30: Iron Chef by phone.  She knew she had something here.  She had a decent education, but when she had a kid she was lost.  The Net offered preachy or saccahine.  She wanted something different.  She started a blog with another person, but because of her partner’s addiction to prescription drugs, the partnership ended.  (They’re friends & the partner is clean now, so it came out well in end.) She dug in & did the book, started with Cooking With the Troops and then her site took off more & more as time went on and the seeds sprouted.
Monitizing?  What has worked?  Sponsored posts…but not too many and be careful who you work with. 
“It’s not worth the money if you hate doing the work.  But sometimes you have to suck it up to fund the things that are fun.” – Heather
Dude!  Get your own webpage!  Replicate your website on FB.  And back your stuff up!
Spin Picks
With partner, Paul Reynolds
She had the idea for it before the API came out.  Her friend Paul said, yea, if there was an API, you can build this.  The HomeEc audience overlaps Pinterest a lot, so there was built in audience.  They went for a website first to fiddle with it easily.  Android first to have app to avoid the review process.  Week 3: 10,000 dls.  It started out on HomeEc’s server.  They’ve had to move off that rapidly whilst dealing with outages and problems with the API and how much traffic they were sending to Pinterest caused some issues they had to fix.  97% of their spins come from Android app.  10 minute engagement a day from like 2500ish users [I missed the number].  And they’ve got people begging for the iOS version.  [Ha!  Take that, Mac people! 😉  -love, android alsatia]  Spin Picks bring serendipity to pinterest.  They got a private API from Twit Pic to integrate that service to Spin Pics, so you can pin stuff and share it back out to your other networks.
[Huge laughs for the puns, especially spinterface] – the new version of the web interface. signup won’t send you here yet.
The mechanics of “spinning” can apply to all kinds of other things…news, all kinds of stuff!

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