Chris Reimer used Twitter to create and build his T-shirt company, Rizzo Tees. He’s since used his knowledge of social media and Internet marketing to his advantage landing him a job as the Vice President at Falk Harrison. Chris is also in the process of writing his own book. Learn how Chris was able to use Twitter to build relationships to help him grow his business.
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Chris Reimer is an award winning new media strategist and is the V.P. of social media at Falk Harrison, a marketing agency in St. Louis, MO that specializes in branding, design, communications and social media. He’s also the founder of Rizzo Tees and was named the most influential Twitter User in St. Louis by STLTweets.com in 2010 and 2011.
Chris went to Marquette University in Milwaukee and graduated with a degree in accounting. He passed the CPA exam and became a CPA. His last accounting job was as the CFO of a non-profit in St. Louis, but in 2007 he became interested in starting his own business. His grandfather owned his own business and Chris developed his entrepreneurial spirit from his grandfather at a young age.
Chris jumped into the t-shirt business with his t-shirt company, Rizzo Tees. Once his site went live the world changed. He just heard about Twitter and Facebook, but he decided to start using Twitter in order to get the word out. He was out of money and he jumped on social media.
Once he started with Twitter he started using it to connect with other people and would at times he would meet people in person. Using Twitter to build relationships was a very powerful feeling. Chris became much more interested in doing Twitter than he was by working as an accountant. He was forced into using social media when he ran out of money to promote his T-shirt business.
Chris got into the t-shirt business when he was checking out funny t-shirts online and ended up ordering some for his birthday. When the packages came he looked at the brand, American Apparel, and the t-shirts felt awesome and he started thinking that he could do the same kind of things.
Some of Chris’s best sellers are his “Props to My Tweeps” shirt, which he got Gary Vaynerchuk to wear on his wine library website. “I Hate Pants” took off because it landed on Buzzfeed and Break.com. Then he got known for his bacon t-shirts which became very successful. And then his other popular one is “Bacon You Like This” and he became known as the bacon guy. People tweet him everything related to bacon. Chris got some guys at Epic Meal Time to wear his shirts. Whenever he gets people with a big following, those have always helped to increase his sales.
Chris really enjoys helping organizations become successful using social media, working on his book, meeting people and doing interviews.
We get to work and a lot of the time we don’t get to work right away. We talk to each other to say how our weekends went and what our days were like and the ability to use Facebook and Twitter to let people get to know you. And when you meet more people, you have a larger opportunity to have an influence in other people’s lives.
According to Chris, he uses the 80 – 20 rule when it comes to his tweets where 80% of his tweets are not aimed at selling his product. He also recommends Bob Burg’s book, The Go-Giver, and loves the message. He’s been living the philosophy of helping people to make him feel good and that what you give comes back to you. He would give presentations on social media, would educate others and occasionally he would tweet something about his t-shirts.
One of the things Chris learned early on is that sometimes what you think will be successful may not be the case. So listening to customer feedback and altering your strategies to improve your business is critical to the success of any business. He’s learned to adjust his strategies to the needs of his customers to help his business grow.
When Chris left his last accounting job, he got another job as a chief marketing officer for a small business and knew John Falk, one of the three owners of Falk Harrison for over 20 years. He then reached out to his friends and John thought they might be able to work together. The friendship that he had with John led to him getting the job at Falk Harrison.
The coolest thing Chris has done is won an award in some local social media contests and he was able to win an award for social media campaigns for some businesses he’s worked for. Falk Harrison ended up helping this company start their social media campaign and got them going using social media services and did an outstanding job. They won best in class for social media and won best in show for a marketing award in St. Louis.
Chris is currently working on a new book called The Human Team. The book is about the lack of civility in the business world in regards to employers and employees and how those relationships are managed. Chris always noticed how people treat each other at work actually effected the productivity of workers. He’s creating a proposal that should offer a change in the workplace for the better.
Engaging Discussion Questions:
- How do you use Twitter?
- Do you think the way employers treat their employees affect the bottom line?
Links to Great Stuff:
- Rizzo Tees – Rizzo Tees has one employee, Chris. Chris operates Rizzo Tees out of his basement (henceforth known as “Rizzo World HQ” or “ManLand”). He has a full-time job, so he works on Rizzo Tees at night. He prints, picks, packs, and ships your order himself. He have four industrial shelves filled with 1,400+ shirts. His basement can hold a whole lot more shelving units, and his goal is to grow the business but never grow it out of my basement. He operates the whole business by himself on a MacBook Pro and a couple of printers.
- Falk Harrison – “For 40 years, Falk Harrison has helped companies and organizations strengthen brand equity through a proven blend of strategy and design. We bring our unique perspective and a positive approach to consistently deliver results – connecting your brand to your audience and shaping your place in the market.”
- StLTweets.com – “STL Tweets is a new way to keep up with what’s happening in St. Louis. We help you tap into local happenings focusing exclusively on St. Louis news, culture, people, business, and more.”
- Gary Vaynerchuk – “Meet Gary Vaynerchuk, a 36 year old New York Times and Wall Street Journal Best-Selling author who is also a self-trained wine and social media expert. From a young age, it was clear that Gary was a businessman. At 8-years-old he was operating seven lemonade stands in his neighborhood and by 10 he had moved onto selling baseball cards at local malls. In high school while working at his family owned liquor store, Gary started reading The Wine Spectator and wine books, and realized collecting wine offered an allure similar to his previous hobby of collecting baseball cards. With a wealth of knowledge and an entrepreneurial spirit, Gary spent every weekend of his college years at his parents’ wine store. Recognizing the importance of e-commerce in 1997, Gary launched Winelibrary.com and helped grow his family business significantly from $3 million to $45 million by 2005.”
- BuzzFeed , Epic Meal Time and Break.com – Rizzo Tees has been featured on BuzzFeed, Epic Meal Time and Break.com.
- Bob Burg – “Bob Burg shares information on topics vital to the success of today’s businessperson. He speaks for corporations and associations internationally, including fortune 500 companies, franchises, and numerous direct sales organizations.” He also wrote the book, The Go-Giver which Chris highly recommends.
- “Success is happiness and having fun.”
- “Twitter is your 21st century education.”
- “When you tweet a lot, you’re giving yourself the chance to be seen by more people.”
- “It was really about being honest and transparent and letting people get to know me.”
- “It’s about knowing what I like and how I think.”
- “Everything is made easier when you have friends that you know well.”
- “Buying myself a birthday present turned the light bulb on over my head.”
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