Thursday, December 2, 2010

An Interview with Hispanic Market Insider Frankie De Soto of SolPersona


Frankie De Soto of SolPersona recently took the time to join us here at Vista Hispano for a Q & A session. A huge thank you goes out to Frankie.

Following is the transcript from our interview:

First of all, thank you for taking the time from your busy schedule to join us for this Q & A!

Frankie: Absolutely, thank you for letting me be involved in this great discussion.

Q. You’re quite a busy guy! Tell us a little bit about SolPersona

Frankie: SolPersona is a research blog that focuses on Hispanic marketing, Hispanic online media and Hispanic culture. The blog posts vary with my independent Hispanic marketing research, book reviews, collaborations with other Hispanic marketing professionals, and interviews with Hispanic businesses using online media. The content that I provide is not just text, I also add pictures, videos, links, social media integration and free downloadable because I believe that a full multimedia blog not only attracts readers but also boosts searchability and today's online media is all about rich, dynamic content and SEO.

Q:What led to your interest in starting your own blog?

Frankie: It started about two years ago when I gave a full media presentation about Latino popular culture in the United States in my graduate level Latin American Studies class at the University of Texas at Dallas. As part of the presentation I showed the class the music video "Hips Don’t Lie" by Shakira, a perfect example of how she combines both her Colombian culture and American culture into a video that can reach both Hispanic and non-Hispanic audiences.

Afterwards, I wanted to research the subject further but also have an online media platform where others can share their experiences so I took a class in web design and built a website forum just for this purpose but the website was static, it was a chore to update the content, it was difficult to invite people to join in and it lacked real web searchability, so I thought of it as a trial run.

It wasn't till I took an emerging media class that I fell in love with blogging and using WordPress as my main platform. It was very easy to use, readers can automatically join in, and I can provide content quickly.

Q: How has blogging impacted your educational and professional development?

Frankie: It was a very positive impact. For one, it allowed me to enhance my skills in WordPress to a point where I consulted others into utilizing it as a blog or website but I do continue to learn its expanding functions.

Also, blogging really boosted my researching skills as I continue to find content relevant to Hispanic marketing and I learn more from what I find, especially since there are no Hispanic marketing classes at my university. It also allowed me to meet with others online who have the same interest and collaborate with them on small research projects. Every now and then I get asked about certain information related to Hispanic online media from someone that I know from Twitter and Facebook where I'll be more than happy to do a quick online research and send them results. Thanks to my blog, I really have developed a strong and positive online presence that will ultimately help me in my career.

Q: Let’s talk a little bit about one of your bigger projects, your Hispanic Marketing and Online Media face book group, which has proven to be an important resource for those interested in the trends and changing dynamics of the U.S. Hispanic market.

Frankie: Yes! When Facebook Group first came out, I was curious to know how it differs from a regular Facebook Fanpage. I thought of it as an experiment into social intelligence networking; a more enclosed ecosystem where others that I invite begin to collaborate with one another at a more informal and efficient level with a focus on Hispanic online media.

What I found is that members began to share information quicker and discussions are more interactive. For example, when one member needs information for an article or presentation that their working on, the others quickly provide their own research information and links to sites that they find to be relevant, this information is ultimately shared with others within the group. So far, I've received positive comments about the group, which is at 108 members so I consider my experiment a complete success.

Q: Facebook is indeed an important platform for sharing best practices, reaching new audiences, and creating awareness. What do you recommend to those looking to get the most out of these kinds of groups and social media in general?

Frankie: I say spend time communicating within the group, create interesting conversations and share your own research, people will start noticing your contributions. Also, start using and experimenting with the various social media platforms that are out there and create your own community to engage in. There's a great advantage in using social media technology to communicate but also to share information, to promote and to educate.

What I also found to be very important is the study of human/computer interaction. Study why people use certain social media platforms and how do they communicate with one another online with them.

Frankie, thank you for taking the time to join us for this Q & A.

Frankie: You're very welcome.

You can connect with Frankie on twitter at @franklogic or visit his website for more information on cyberculture, new media, and Hispanic marketing.