Our guest of today is Chris Reimer, VP of Social Media at Falk Harrison. If you don't know this personality, let's look at his short bio before starting the interview.
Chris was graduated from Marquette University in 1993 with a B.S. in Accounting, became a CPA in 1995, and then served as Chief Financial Officer of several organizations. He also owns a popular T-shirt business named as RizzoTees as his entrepreneurial venture.
Let’s dive into the interview and learn what Chris has to say about his experience on Social Media:
Share your “teenage” life with us Chris?
Yikes, I just turned 43. So let’s see, that’s about 25-30 years ago! Wow, I’m getting old. Here’s the one thing I will say. I didn’t start taking my life seriously until maybe 5-7 years ago. This may be true of most people – it would be almost weird to see an 18 year old as laser-focused as I am now. We’d tell that kid to just “be a kid,” you know? I’ve led a very enjoyable life, including my awkward teenage years when I was smart but nerdy. I now wish that I had found a passion much earlier. I played video games and did not read. I partied with friends instead of trying to start a business. I drank beer instead of coffee in the morning. It’s hard to say this is a regret, but yeah, I guess I do wish that I had taken more of my earlier life seriously. I suppose what I’m saying is, I wish I knew then what I know now.
How did you get started in social media field?
Back in 2007 I started my little t-shirt company, Rizzo Tees. By the time my site was live in 2008, I had to find a way to sell shirts. I had to get the word out. I had previously thought I was going to accomplish this via traditional means – banner ads and the like. That’s what everyone else was doing. I might have been on Facebook at the time – I honestly cannot remember. So my site went live, and I kind of panicked. Wow, who was going to buy these? I seriously had no clue as to what to do next? Banner ads? SEO? I guess I heard of Twitter via TV – it might have been discussed on the evening news. I really wish I could remember how I first heard of Twitter. Anyway, I joined, and immediately started talking to people. I’m actually proud of the fact that I did NOT push my t-shirts very hard. I just interacted with people. And then people started buying t-shirts. I was excited – this was supposed to happen!
From there, I began receiving requests to speak about social media. At this point, I was still a CPA, working at a local nonprofit organization. I enjoyed discussing what I believed and what I knew about communication in this new world, and really enjoyed interacting with people online. As I spent time online, networking in person, teaching others about social media, I grew increasingly dissatisfied with my work life as an accountant. Finally, I hated it. Several friends told me I should quit and start a new career as a social media consultant. I did not believe I could do it, but they encouraged me. Finally, I sent an email to a local agency and asked if they had any advice for me. They hired me straight away.
Who/What Inspires You? And who would be your role model in social media and why?
I am inspired by the kindness of others. I love when people can view situations from the point of view of others. That is truly what makes the world a better place. I have learned so much from Chris Brogan, Gary Vaynerchuk, John Morgan, Mark Schaefer, Olivier Blanchard, Peter Shankman, Bob Burg, David Meerman Scott and others. I actually have a full list here of the people who have influenced me. Whenever anyone asks me for advice on how to learn about social media, I tell them to study the writings of those people.
How do you manage your time between Job and social media activity?
In many ways, they blend together. And I am OK with that. I spend a great deal of time posting every day, and while I am having fun, I do consider it work. It is my job to remain active, visible, and helpful. That’s how I pull in new business for Falk Harrison.
If you could go ahead In Time 5-10 Years, What advice would you give yourself and your followers?
Work harder NOW.
How has a huge Twitter following assisted you and your business?
The more people you’re talking to, the better. That is not always true in life. I don’t want to go to dinner with 20 people. Just 1, 2 or 3 others. But when it comes time to attract inbound attention to a business, cause, or whatever, it definitely helps to have a large audience to speak with.
What would be your ideal social media strategy to any app development company in 5 bullet points?
- Understand why your product must exist. Why must we believe in you? Why do you do what you do?
- Tell your story plainly using video, social media, blog posts, and in person.
- Accept criticism and make your product better. Do not be too proud to listen. Be humble!
- I recommend responding to people as quickly as you can.
- Do not try to take advantage of large, often tragic news stories to market your product.
What social media platforms do you personally use or recommend?
I use Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, Bonfyre, and a few others. Twitter is my favorite. While the adoption rate is lower than Facebook, Twitter people are very passionate about things. Twitter takes work, while Facebook really does not. Therefore, I think I feel more of a kinship with people on Twitter.
Could you give some tips on social media management?
One tip: you DO have time to do it. Yes, you do have time to interact with your customers, to listen to them, to provide them tips and advice and answers to their questions. If you do not, then I would be concerned for your future as a businessperson.
What have been your biggest success and your biggest failure?
I’d say my biggest personal success was escaping my life as a CPA (accountant) and creating a new career for myself. Business-wise, winning Best in Show for our social media work for Belden was a huge win. Out of 200+ marketing campaign entries, the work I did was judged #1 overall. I’m still amazed, and proud.
My biggest failure is giving in to fear. I still have much fear in me, and sometimes it is very hard to overcome. It seems like I have accomplished so much, and sometimes that is a nice consolation, but other times it is not. I am currently writing a book, and sometimes it is so difficult to even begin writing a chapter. I am scared that what I will write will not be good. It’s so stupid. Just write it down and make it better later! That is my failure, and I need to listen to Seth Godin’s advice about overcoming that fear.
Which Social Media medium do you believe works best for B2B models and why; or should there be mingle of all?
Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, and blogging. Mostly, BLOGGING! It really depends on the business – there is no right answer for every situation. Companies are wasting a HUGE opportunity when they dismiss blogging. The word “blogging” must have some negative connotation or something. To me, it really just means meaningful content output.
Interviewer: Rameez Ramzan is a founder of TipTechNews.com and Senior Digital Marketing Executive for SocialCubix. He developed a passion for SEO while working as a webmaster for some well known brands, entrepreneur and agencies. His particularly specialties are technical onsite & offsite SEO and content development. Stay Connected: Follow me on Google+, Twitter & Linkedin