Social media is all the craze these days. From Facebook to Twitter and everything in between it seems as if there's a new, hot form of social media literally popping up everyday (see also Pinterest , Google + , and Tumblr ). While it might seem like a new fad, in its own way, social media has been around for thousands of years. Philosophers taught in the streets in ancient Greece, Jesus, Muhammad, and other religious figures traveled spreading their word, and who doesn't think Paul Revere wouldn't have loved to have had a Twitter account that night of his historic midnight ride  to alert his allies of impending British attacks - it would have made things a lot easier for him I'm sure. Social media has merely gotten a facelift in this day and age of electronics, and more and more companies have found value in using it to connect with their customers and vice versa. This is where personable, outgoing, and media savvy entrepreneurs like Shane Shaps and her company, 520 East Brands , have come into the picture.
I sat down with Shane yesterday at her "office" in the Vint  Coffee off of Brownsboro Road to find out more about how this locally born, social media dynamo got her start. After graduating from St. Francis High School in Downtown Louisville, and then the University of Florida, Shane got her professional start doing meeting planning and organization for trade shows & conventions which required her to be very detail and leadership oriented. After spending several years in both Chicago and New York, and getting married to a native of New Jersey, the opportunity for her and her husband to move to Louisville arose, and in 2002 they made the move to our fair city.
After moving back and deciding that they were ready to try and start a family, Shane decided that she wanted to explore starting her own business that she could run from home. From delivering home made gift baskets, to her and a friend starting their own "deal of the day" website, to becoming a sales rep for one of the products they offered deals on through that site (she was recruited because of her excellent knack for touting the product through her online verbiage) Shane kept running into little speed bumps that just made it hard to find one that seemed to stick. She began her early foray into social media when she was asked by a business acquaintance to help grow his businesses Facebook following, and then as Shane described it, she had a fateful introductory meeting in 2010. She was set up by a mutual friend to have coffee with another local business owner who was starting a company....Rooibee  Red Tea ; after the meeting they wanted Shane to handle their social media presence and the rest sort of became history.
I could tell from speaking with her that Shane prides herself in being family oriented, and I was impressed with her ability to juggle her family priorities with business, but that was the exact reason she wanted to own her own business. She wanted to have the flexibility to do things with her children and still have a professional career, and working in social media is allowing her to do just that. Currently with around nine clients, including Rooibee Red Tea , Mint Julep Tours , and Popcosmo.com  (profiled here  a few weeks ago), she expressed that her desire is to only grow to around 12-15 clients total. She said that she feels to be effective in what she does well, which is really knowing the brands, what their wants and needs are, and giving each careful attention, that she doesn't want to become a huge business.
I very much enjoyed meeting Shane and took away the feeling that she is a very genuine person who truly cares about her clients and their businesses. She has gotten the majority of her clients through referrals and word of mouth, and I think that is a testament to the type of person she is and how she represents her clients socially. She won't take on a client if she doesn't feel that she can fully understand, and convey the message, of their particular business or industry, and has even referred business to others in the social media management world if she feels they would better benefit a particular company. This is a quality I feel is rare in today's economic environment where I think a good majority of companies will say or do just about anything they can to attain and retain business.
Social media has been around forever and its not going away anytime soon, if anything its getting more prevalent. Shane handles the important social presence of her clients either because they don't have the time to focus on it, don't want to be bothered with it, or don't even know where to begin, but know how important it is. Companies that don't invest time and effort in their social media are destined to get passed up by competitors who do. Shane is constantly learning and staying ahead of the trends in social media so that her clients will be best served by her efforts, and after talking with her at length about social media I could see how sharp and savvy she is about it. I can honestly say that, after meeting with her, if I owned my own business, 520 East Brands  would have earned my social media account. Shane is knowledgeable and friendly, outgoing and talkative, and most important....not arrogant. She knows what she does well, what she doesn't, and earns her business because she's not afraid to admit to either. Thanks for coming back to Louisville Shane, we are lucky to have you.
Connect with 520 East Brands via:
Website: http://520eastbrands.com 
Facebook: http://facebook.com/520eastbrands 
Twitter: @520eastbrands 
Linked In: http://www.linkedin.com