Tiny but mighty is how best to describe Shane Shaps. At only 4’9″ and a size 4 shoe, this little powerhouse is doing big things with social media and local businesses. If you are seeing an upsurge of a certain business on Facebook or Twitter lately, you can bet that Shane Shaps and her company 520 East Brands are behind it.
What do you do for a living?
I own 520 East Brands, which is a company focused on Social Media Engagement. In essence, we create a human voice for the brands we represent using social media channels including Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Google+ and LinkedIn. Sometimes we also use industry-specific channels such as Houzz.
When did you discover that you had a talent for this?
Probably in fourth grade when my report cards consistently began to say, “Shane does well in school, but she’d do better if she didn’t talk so much.” Being a big mouth has finally paid off. I tell people that I’m not techie, I’m social… and I just take that skill behind the keyboard and make clients appear to be people not just logos with a Twitter account.
Why do you think social media is so important?
It gives the opportunity for two-way communication. It allows customers and potential customers to get involved with a brand and to know the people behind it and their personalities. Print ads and TV ads have their place, but social adds another layer. It reminds buyers that the people running these companies are just like them. Social media also allows companies to listen to what’s being said about them. If customers are out there talking about a brand, whether positive or negative, this gives that brand real-time commentary so they can take action if necessary.
Personally, how has social media changed your life?
It started with Facebook when I first began reconnecting with friends I had lost touch with over the years. From childhood, to summer camp, to youth group, first jobs and the cities I’ve lived in, it was much more difficult to stay in touch via phone and snail mail. My first two weeks on Facebook allowed me to reconnect with hundreds of people from all parts of my past.
How do you balance your job and your personal life?
I’m a working mom. I don’t understand the question. Seriously, it’s all about time management. I know my strengths and weaknesses, and I knew when the company got too busy that I needed to bring in help either for the kids or for the job. I chose to bring in help for the job because I am a mom first. As long as I hold the relationship with each client, then it’s okay to delegate some of the behind-the-keyboard work. And the people on my team are top-notch. I could not do with this without them.
What is the biggest life lesson you have ever learned?
My father’s mantra in life is to always put one foot in front of the other and trudge on. This has always been the way I’ve lived my life. I make a decision and go with it. Sometimes I have to redirect when I make a mistake, but usually I trust my instincts and live with the consequences I encounter.
Who is your mentor?
Can I have more than one? There are four:
- My father who never earned a graduate degree but knows more about running a small business than anyone I’ve ever encountered, and who considers his attitude about it more important than anything you’d learn in a book.
- Heather Howell (CTeaO of Rooibee Red Tea) who really created a turning point in my business when she asked me to join her team.
- Phoebe Wood (Former CFO of Brown-Forman & Chair of the board of Rooibee Red Tea) who leaned in before it was cool, and raised two amazing kids in the meantime (and is an awesome cook).
- Mara Bernson White, a longtime friend, the closest thing I have to a sister, who has lived and breathed PR since we met in 6th grade and who gives great direction and advice.
What is best advice you have received in business?
Surround yourself with good advisers (see above).
If you were not in your current job, what would you secretly love to do?
Win the lottery, have a second home in Manhattan, go shopping and hang out with my husband. (Note to self: start buying lottery tickets.)
What is something people would be surprised to know about you?
I’m actually six-foot-four. <wink>
What is your favorite place to go eat?
It’s a tie:
Osteria del Teatro, South Beach
Mary’s Fish Camp, West Village
Where do you like to shop?
Where don’t I? Locally: Clodhoppers and Blink; Otherwise: Nordstrom (they carry size 4 shoes).
What is a treat or a luxury you do for yourself?
Express Glow Facial by Andrea at Joseph’s Salon & Spa once a month.
What is your weakness?
What is your favorite thing to do in Louisville?
Friday night dinners with the family at my parents’ house. If you’d had my mom’s cooking you’d agree.
Three things you cannot live without (besides God, family and friends):
Having a gym in the house, scrapbooks, sunblock.
What are you reading right now?
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn.
What are three of your “favorite” things right now (can be anything).
Creating ideabooks on Houzz, Tory Burch anything, Breakfast by Najla at the St. Matthew’s Farmer’s Market on Saturday mornings.
We loved talking shop with Shane and learned a thing or two for our own social media doings. Check out her website here 520eastbrands.com.
Adele’s fabulous new studio was put to good use with Shane’s shots; check out the beautiful light in the pictures. Shane simply glows! adeleredingphotography.com