What’s Happening With @Soulati?

Jon-Buscall.jpgHas anyone missed me? I know a few have and thanks for the well wishes. But, guess what? I’ve not been sick; thank my fortunate stars.

Where I have been is under a rock in the dark trying to muddle through an intense time at my blogging house and for my brand. It’s what every company must experience. You can call it transformation, and it’s a journey that takes awhile…a long while, with lots of introspection and grappling with the demons of the past that form you into today’s persona.
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As a result of this experience, my blog has been basically dark since prior to January. I can’t say I’ve missed worrying about what to write on a near-daily basis, but I’m feeling the absence of expressing myself and communing with you, too.

Today, I can honestly say, I see the light. It’s just around the bend, but
having brand new digs is making the light waves brighter.

I need to give my second child (to be born in my next life) to one astonishing businessman, friend, colleague, and partner by name of Dr. Jon Buscall of Jontus Media. Jon is the consummate digital marketer, a brutal editor, and a whiz at website design. His team, anchored by an adorable man named Juanjo, made my new website and me simply gorgeous.

Hire Jon Buscall of Jontus Media

Please hire Jon Buscall for ALL your digital marketing needs and to assess your future journey with digital. Better yet, hit this landing page and schedule a free Marketing Intensive with him!

Essentially, long story short, the lights are back on.

  • I have a new website — it’s all mobile, responsive and built for conversions.
  • I am doing digital marketing the right way because I hired Jon Buscall.
  • I have a project manager on my team who is also the consummate writer and knows my fears and challenges about failure in Jenn Whinnem. Tweet Jenn @TheJenn, but don’t hire her, she’s mine.
  • I give a mega shout out to Cathy Tetrick for spending a Saturday as my photographer.
  • I have a new auto-responder series I wrote all by myself, and you can sign up for it via my blog page right here in the sidebar. (That was an astonishing feat, mind you!)
  • I am building my email list because the experts said I have to; so, if you don’t mind, sign up and see how it’s done!

I’m so happy in my new house that just launched not even 24 hours ago!!

Find any kinks? Please do share. It’s always great to have fresh eyes on a labor of love. And speaking of love, I have missed you and love you to pieces.

In gratitude…

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A Domain Extension About Brand And People

.ME-screen-shot.jpgIf you have an opportunity to blog as long as I have, you also get a chance to be a brand ambassador.

What that means is you’ll see an occasional post here as promotion or sponsored invited by a company. This is that post, and yet what’s interesting about having to say that is this:

No one tells me how to write my story; they give me a one-sentence theme of what they would like to see, and it’s up to me to interpret and craft content to match campaign requirements. The other thing? No one is editing me either because there is a level of trust to those selected. I respect them; they respect me, and we all play nice in the mud.

Can we get to the matter at hand, then?

A Domain Extension (.ME) Topped With Smart

When I joined the .ME campaign, it was to launch news of its loyalty program at SXSW with a grand prize awarded to some lucky jamoke. You can read that post right here.

For this second piece, I was encouraged to dive deeper into what .ME offers in addition to its new loyalty program, and here’s what impresses me the most, and I’ll say it again and again:

Who knew a human worked at a domain extension? Who knew .ME could be an actual brand with smart marketing to boot? (That’s not part of the campaign; that’s all me.)

When you hit its website domain.ME, there are so many places to be inspired by smart marketing. I like the success stories of startups using this extension to launch #RockHot websites.

I am particularly impressed with the branding of these domains because we all know that anything .com is gone; creativity becomes the critical mass for success of an online business.

Successful .Me Domains

Here are a few that impress:

  • Diagnose.Me – a place to get a second opinion by radiologists
  • Meow.Me – for cat lovers also interested in becoming pen pals with any of 1 million users the world over!
  • Allove.Me – shares e-greetings for special occasions from the heart
  • JustDelete.ME – guess what? I spotted this domain in my latest issue of Fast Company, my fave zine for blog fodder. It’s featured in “Spring Cleaning—With Tech! as a way to unsubscribe.

No other domain extension makes any effort to market its services, but here is .ME all about establishing relationships with its users, featuring domains/sites on its blog, and sparking even more creativity. When bloggers and .ME owners share the brand love, they earn points and free domain names. You can see more here on the website.

Brand Flavor of .ME

It’s pretty interesting what my research into .ME has prompted…the next time I want to set up a new url or reserve one for kicks, I know hands down I’m going to be reserving a .ME.

Why?

When I look at the website, it’s fun, simple to navigate, newsworthy, has a blog, is backed and staffed by humans with images that match a name, it shares stories about partners and users and new programs at the next big conference.

Because of this website and the smart marketers behind the company, I know I can trust that support is there and opportunities for future engagement are too.

I can see why .ME is working with Triberr on a brand ambassador campaign. It is setting the bar high for smart marketing for all the new TLDs set to flood the market any day now.

I’m impressed, and that’s my unpaid opinion.

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New Loyalty Program For .ME Domain With Big Prize

Post Update: The contest with .ME loyalty program is now closed; however, I encourage you to head over to http://domain.me and consider a new domain for your purposes. While you’re there, check out that loyalty program with #RockHot bennies.

Domain extensions are getting ultra competitive with a plethora of new ones set to hit the marketspace. If you’re not in the know, last year the list of some 700 new generic TLDs or gTLDs or generic domain extensions were published.

You’ll see .book, .cars, .city, and too many others; yet, there’s one tried and true you ought to pay more attention to. It’s the .ME domain, and if you’ve not registered your personal brand with .ME, you need to run quick and grab it.

About .ME

Here’s the coolest factoid I could find on the extensive .ME website right here http://domain.me, this TLD is the domain extension of The Republic of Montenegro! Who knew?

It’s a very human endeavor, too; they’re running .ME much like a company and a brand, which brings me to the next topic.

The Legalities Of This Post

Right up front, I’m telling you, this is a sponsored post. This is your disclaimer. This is a sponsored post, and I don’t want any guff about not telling you, legal peeps.

Secondly, I’m going to write about one of the most well-attended tradeshows in one of the largest states in the union (Texas) in a city that begins with “A.” I’ve been informed, we are not allowed to use the four-letter acronym (that begins with S followed by a multiplication sign) in blog posts to share company promotions being done in its association.

OK, everyone in sync with me?

The New .ME Loyalty Program

This highly personal branding domain has launched a new loyalty program complete with points, rewards, hosting, gift cards, and more.

On a professional note (this is NOT sponsored), I haven’t ever heard of a domain extension engaging with its users ever, so this is pretty freaking clever marketing. And, in light of the bottoms up in the domain world, it’s also smart to get a jump start.

To honor the folks who use .ME and its new loyalty program, the domain (which has been around five years with 750,000 domain names under management), is awarding a grand prize of some pretty #RockHot swag. Let me list it out for you:

http://dot.me/AAvuR4i75o0

  • Accommodations during the interactive period
  • A $500 AMEX gift card for travel and entertainment

Deadline for Grand Prize for .ME Loyalty Program Launch

There’s a deadline, so you need to act really fast, OK? Read this post and hit this link right away because there is a grand-prize drawing on Feb. 15, 2014! Gasp, that’s only three days away, but we all know everything moves at warp on the interwebz, right?

Did I neglect to tell you this is a sponsored post? Nope, I did not; it’s right up there in the “Legalities” section.

Thanks, .ME. This is indeed a cool program; something I’ve never seen a domain extension do; in fact, who even knew there was someone who worked at a domain extension?

12 Most Do Now Online Reputation Punch List Items

Soulati-Media-logo.jpgWhen you sell, buy or build a home, there is a punch list of items on the to-do list to close or complete the deal. Bet you didn’t know social media had one, too? When you engage on social channels, you are building online reputation. You want it to remain pristine. That’s why these punch list items to uphold your personal brand are so important. You should take care of your online self just as you do your vehicle (5,000-mile oil change), your HVAC unit (annual inspection), teeth cleaning every six to nine months, or annual doctor visit.

Every six months or so, consider these online reputation punch list items for your social media presence:

1. Your Avatar Had A Birthday. The little picture you post in all your profiles is called an avatar. If you never change it, you stay forever young. That feels really good as you gaze at a gorgeous you, but what happens when you meet someone IRL (in real life) and they say, “My, you look nothing like your avatar!” What they’re really saying is, “You’re so much older!”

2. Delete Old Photos. While nothing is ever gone from the Internet, you should try to control which personal image you want captured on websites. When you update profile images, ensure the image you’re deleting is nowhere in use on other social media channels. Basically, you’re trying to limit the number of online photos people get to use.

3. Consider Using Gravatar. When you sign up with Gravatar.com, a WordPress.com tool, you upload a photo and brief bio. This photo and personal info populate automatically across the Interwebz (all the online social channels). If someone needs your photo for a blog post or other marketing, they can grab it from Gravatar.

4. Update Your Bio. As you grow professionally, you accomplish more and the list of achievements grows. Every single bio sketch you have ever written must be updated on a consistent basis. If you’re at all like me, I update my bio sketch every few months. This means when you update it in one place you have to keep going and update it everywhere.

5. Delete The Year Of Your Birth. Facebook recently informed me a friend was having a 62nd birthday the next day. Shocked, I posted in my news feed that Facebook was infringing on privacy! No, actually, when you set up your Facebook profile you can elect not to include the year of your birth. That means people can wish you a happy birthday, but they won’t know how young you’re getting! Go to your Facebook settings and delete the year of your birth.

6. Check Privacy Settings. On every social media channel with which you engage, click on settings and carefully review the boxes you’ve checked for privacy. Do you want only “friends” to see your profile and share with you? Do you want to receive third-party junk mail (spam)? Do you want to block the ex-husband or stalker girlfriend from your stream? Be very aware of privacy settings although we all know sharing/living online is nowhere near private (right?).

7. Check Third-Party Apps. When you sign in to a new app or online tool using Twitter or Facebook, you’ve essentially given permission for that app to crawl personal information, friends’ lists and liking behavior. Click the settings buttons on Facebook and Twitter until you find third-party apps or permissions settings. Delete the apps you’re no longer using or engaging with. This is important to pay attention to, and few do.

8. Google Yourself. Everyone should Google themselves! When was the last time you did? You need to see what’s popping up under your name and whether you need to kick into high gear and fix anything negative. If your name is the same as a serial killers, well, that’s going to be a problematic for your online reputation. There are things to do to ensure your reputation remains stellar, and the steps what to do require an entirely new blog post!

9. Update Your Website. Never forget to update your “About” page on your website. You can be a maker of artisanal jewelry or the CMO of a mid-tier company. The information about you is critical, and it cascades across all social media profiles beginning with LinkedIn.

10. Add Personal Info To Comment Systems. When you blog, you get to use a comment system like CommentLuv, Disqus or Livefyre. For each of these, you also can add an avatar (typically automatically taken from an existing photo on Twitter or Gravatar) as well as a tagline describing what you do. Here’s my example to help clarify. I use Livefyre as my blog’s comment system, and I used to have “B2B Social Media Marketing with PR” as my descriptor. It appeared next to my name and avatar. Because I recently updated my professional tagline, this now says “Hybrid PR” with my name and avatar. Do take advantage of things like this; it helps you build your professional brand.

11.Add Your Twitter ID To Social Sharing.Add Your Twitter ID To Social Sharing. For bloggers who use social sharing buttons from AddThis, AddToAny, Shareaholic and others, you are able to customize the retweet content of that blog post share. Let’s say someone wants to share your blog post and they click on the Twitter sharing icon. When it pops up, they see 1) @Wordpress.com 2) @AddToAny or @Shareaholic 3) no personal branding at all. What you want instead is your Twitter ID on every retweet so you can see who’s retweeting your content at various levels of sharing. You’re not owning your content without this type of personal customization; you’re allowing the share bar vendors to capitalize on your content marketing.

12.Use BrandYourself.com. This is the most fun and easiest way to develop an online reputation. See Number 8! If my name was the same as a serial killer’s name, I would run to this website and immediately engage. You add positive links about yourself, your bio, your avatar, and this site tells you how to boost each link for maximum search engine exposure. If you lead a highly professional online life, like me, then privacy is out and working daily to keep a positive online reputation is in.

This post originally appeared on 12Most.com, July 17, 2013 (and it’s still relevant!).

Fashion Brands And Fashionbi Big Data

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Credit: Fashionbi Newspaper screenshot via http://fashionbi.com

The world’s largest fashion brands are ubiquitous. Every developed country and most every woman within yearns for a stylish handbag by Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Gucci, Hermes, Dior, Prada, or Yves St. Laurent. Across worldwide time zones and language barriers, a high-end and classy handbag requires no translation.

A handbag from either of these brands is more important than just being chic. Women in Hong Kong short on cash are using their hand bags from four global fashion brands as collateral for loans. The girl short on money between pay checks turns over her handbag for authentication via Milan Station Holdings and gets 80% of its value from Yes Lady Finance Co. When she’s able to pay off the loan, she earns back her handbag. The Wall Street Journal had this story Aug. 14, 2013, “Cash Is In The Bag, If It’s Gucci.”

What does that mean for the brand? Each has an iconic statement women want; what that means is the need for a more targeted focus on engaging with the customer and having the customer engage positively about and with the brand, called a net promoter score.
How do brands track and listen on a global scale?

Fashionbi Is Big Data of Fashion

Recently, I had the pleasure of being introduced to Italian startup, Fashionbi. It’s the “complete digital marketing tool for the fashion industry,” with big data and analytics crossing borders and time zones for the world’s global fashion brands. Based logically in Milan, Fashionbi has offices worldwide and is growing exponentially.
Its ability to track social media analytics on Twitter and Facebook via Profiles across the world, including Weibo in Chinese, puts Fashionbi squarely at the forefront of its sector as a company to watch and work with.

Not only can Fashionbi share brand engagement by social media channel, it can also provide deep analytics of content quality and value. I got a look at its dashboard for member users only, and it blew me away. The graphs and charts typical to any users’ dashboard put Slideshare presentations to shame.
When I saw the analytics Fashionbi produces with sleight of hand, I immediately suggested it launch or purchase a digital marketing shop to execute on the big data being produced every minute of every day across every time zone. The wealth of information in Fashionbi’s dashboards requires expert assistance from marketers and public relations to interpret the data and put it into action for fashion brands.

Care to learn more?

Fashionbi on YouTube

Check out this YouTube video, two minutes of polished and well-done by the folks at Fashionbi. Even if you’re not that interested in a high-end handbag from Louis Vuitton, you have to admit, the analytics this company produces is enough to make you slap happy.

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